Virtual Featured Speakers

Meet this Year's Virtual Featured Speakers: Amara Ifeji, Jess Cleeves, and Asia Dorsey


Join us on Tuesday, September 6th at 11am MST for Amara's Session: Equitable Engagement of Youth in Environmental Education

Amara Ifeji, Director of Youth Engagement and Policy, Maine  Environmental Education Association


Session Description: Participants will hear about the youth climate and environmental  education movement in the state of Maine, including lessons learned from a youth organizer engaging students at the  intersection of EE and civic engagement. Participants will leave the session with an understanding of the ways they  can apply equity to their programs in order to better engage youth in environmental education efforts.

Bio: Amara Ifeji is an environmental justice activist committed to advancing equitable access to the outdoors and  climate justice education for ALL youth. Her barriers to access to environmental learning compelled her to lead community  science learning efforts for high school students like herself and conduct internationally awarded climate change research.  Through her role with the Maine Environmental Education Association, she strives to empower a network of over 400+  youth environmental activists in the Maine Environmental Changemakers network. Amara also pushes for both state and  federal environmental education policy reform, recently contributing to securing over $2 million for climate education  professional development in Maine. In recognition of her work, she was awarded the 2021 National Geographic Young  Explorer Award–one of only 24 youth in the world.



Join us on Wednesday, September 7th at 10am MST for Jess' Session: Reclaiming Connectedness: How to Overcome Burnout, Demoralization, and Exploitation

Jess Cleeves, Educator, Learning Humans

Session Description: Informal environmental educators are some of the best people you'll ever meet. Unfortunately, the very same qualities that support that claim also leave many informal educators vulnerable to burnout, demoralization, and exploitation. There's good news, however; the work that you love doesn't  have to hurt you. By learning about the causes, symptoms, and differences between burnout, demoralization, and  exploitation, informal educators can empower themselves to embody healthier, more fulfilling relationships to their  work. What's more, when this framework is used to understand formal teacher collaborators, it can support building  effective partnerships more easily and enduringly.

Bio: Jess Cleeves is an educator obsessed with relationships. Originally trained as an ecologist, Jess  earned her MAT in secondary science education at Stanford's Teacher Prep program (STEP). Jess taught middle  and high school science in impacted and marginalized communities in California, Colorado, and Utah. While  serving as the Associate Director for Equitable Instruction and Clinical Support at the Center for Science and  Mathematics Education at the University of Utah, Jess earned a second Master's of Social Work. In her current  work, Jess helps people, organizations, and communities to heal, liberate, and connect.