The 2018 Organizing Team
Maria is in her senior year at the University of Arizona in Tucson, majoring in Natural Resources with an emphasis in Wildlife Conservation. She is a part of the 2017 Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program and has gained experience in diversity, equity and inclusion in conservation through that. She is passionate about working with communities on a local scale to provide equal access to natural resources, and is incredibly excited to learn from this great group of people!
Salt Lake City, UT
Olivia hails from Salt Lake City, UT as Latinx Community Organizer at the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. There, she is living out her passion for the natural world by working to amplify the voices of people of color in public lands conservation. She graduated wiht Honors from the University of Utah in 2017, where she studied Peace and Conflict and first experienced redrock wilderness and mudbathing in the San Rafael Swell with fellow students on a fall break service trip. She enjoys camping with her family, loud music, playing in the snow, yoga, and gazing at cryptobiotic soils.
Elea grew up between the canyonlands of the Southwestern United States and the stretches of lavender fields and olive trees of Southern France. Born to a bicultural family, Elea spent her childhood traveling, speaking different languages, and roaming around wild, natural spaces. This formed her deep passion and appreciation for the communities and different peoples of the world as well as the outdoors. Her concern for the wellbeing of these things has manifested itself in tackling issues of climate and social justice in her years as a young adult. Focusing especially on the interconnectedness between climate change/environmental degradation and human rights, she spent her last few years of high school working closely with the Grand Canyon Trust to empower local youth communities to mobilize around issues of climate justice. Elea presently is a freshman at Prescott College where she studies Cultural and Regional Studies. She hopes to build on the work she has done in the past as well as find new methods and ideas to contribute to the movement.
Salt Lake City, UT
Ryan grew up in Oregon’s rainforests, went to school in the foothills of Colorado, and now works as a campaigner for the public lands program of the Center for Biological Diversity in Salt Lake City. After four years spent living and working perched between the Colorado Plateau and the Sonoran Desert in Flagstaff, Arizona, he recently moved to Salt Lake in order to be closer to the heart of the movement to cede public ownership and control of the people’s lands to state and private interests. He believes that in order to counteract the public land seizure movement we must cultivate a more vibrant, revitalized public lands movement capable of outshining the darkness and fear of anti-public lands zealots.
Tó Dínéeshzheeʼ dę́ę́' naashá.
Nát'oh dine'é táchii'nii éí nishłí.
Nóóda'í dine'é éí báshíshchíín.
Kinłichíi'nii éí dashicheii.
Dibéłízhíní éí dashinálí.
Ákótéégo dine'é éí 'asdzání nishłí.
Denyce grew up in the southern region of Comb Ridge in Kayenta, AZ and currently resides near Dibé Nitsaa—the North Sacred Mountain of the Indigenous Diné—in Durango, CO. She has deep ancestral ties to the land within and near the Colorado Plateau Region; her identity, Diné and Yamparika Nuche, is deeply rooted to nahasdzáán nihimá and yádiłhil shitaa’. She is in her senior year at Fort Lewis College, majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in Chemistry.
Diego, son of a Mexican migrant, is a first generation Chicano who has been able to call Tucson, Arizona his community and home. Diego has navigated through the spaces of being a scholar-activist focused on environmental and climate justice, energy justice, and racial justice. Diego received a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Geography and the University of Arizona where he is now working towards a Master’s of Art in Geography & Development. Focusing on how Latinx communities engage with critical questions of social justice, Diego’s work has been informed by his organizing, passion, and critical perspectives into the climate movement.
Georgie Pongyesva was born and raised close to nature amidst the freshwater springs and towering rocks of Oak Creek Canyon, tucked away between Sedona and Flagstaff Arizona. Growing up with a traditional Hopi farmer father and a very environmentally conscious mother; she was raised with a deep respect for Mother Earth and the reciprocity and mystic power of the natural world.
Georgie graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango CO with a BA in Public History and a double minor in Archaeology and Native American Studies in the Spring of 2016. Since then she has returned home to Northern Arizona, splitting her time between Hotevilla Village on Hopi Reservation and Sedona. Letting her passions and heart lead the way, she has had the opportunity to work with Native Led organizations focusing on cultural preservation, environmental stewardship, and outdoor education. She received her Tribal Monitoring Certification through the NFS at the end of January 2018, and just accepted a full time position with the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office as a Research Assistant. An advocate for the Environment, language and cultural preservation, she strongly believes that a deeper understanding and connection to our sacred landscapes can be achieved through outdoor adventure education; which in turn can be a valuable tool for cultural revitalization, environmental stewardship, activism and healing.
Salt Lake City, UT
Eliza grew up between Tuba City and Flagstaff Arizona, and spent a season doing conservation work in the Flagstaff Monuments and the Grand Canyon before moving to Salt Lake City to pursue a degree in Environmental Studies at Westminster College. In all of these places, she has fostered a love for the Colorado Plateau and a connection to the desert. Immersing herself in an activist community, she has been exploring the union of her passions by experimenting with the role of art in environmental advocacy. She also loves running around the desert and climbing rocks.
Eva Malis grew up in southern California and spent the most recent years of her life studying environmental science at UC Berkeley. There, she delved into youth activism and student organizing in a number of social and environmental justice campaigns. She was the core organizer of 2016's Power Shift West Convergence and a US youth delegate to the United Nations conference on climate change (COP23). She fell in love with the red rock and rivers of the Colorado Plateau as a participant in the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program. Her passion lies in the overlap of racial and environmental justice, and she has deeply explored intersectional movement-building, environmental communications, and restoration ecology. Now, she works as the Uplift Coordinator from Flagstaff, AZ.
Danielle grew up in Northern Arizona, a place that she is deeply passionate about and committed to. She is currently working on her thesis in the Sustainable Communities program at Northern Arizona University. Her thesis is an inquiry into how migrant justice leaders imagine possibilities for change, especially as climate chaos threatens everything. She uses poetry and collaborative methods to co-create knowledge with others, believing that we must all bring our most creative and imaginative selves to the work together. She also teachers yoga and enjoys any chance to practice collective healing, growing, and playing.
the 2017 organizing team
uplift 2016 Organizers
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