Arlington Heights, Illinois,
Roles at NAAEE
Melanie (she/her) has an extensive history employing a social justice lens to projects and is especially interested in migration and the environment. Through dialogic learning and hands-on workshops, local funds of knowledge will be surfaced to create a living knowledge base.
Melanie enjoys papermaking, photography, songwriting, and is an amateur entomologist. If she could travel anywhere in the world she’d visit Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. She brings JEDI, project design, action research, and conscious leadership skills to her work.
Neighbor2Neighbor builds learning and engagement scaffolds from resident’s lawns to the surrounding social structures of community. Dialogic learning and hands-on practice for changemaking surfaces tacit funds of CEE knowledge that neighbors and community leaders can use to build “permaculture precincts,” naming and overcoming institutional and cultural barriers to sustainability transitions.
How It Works
N2N begins with residents, meeting and collaborating on simple projects to green their public facing lawns and common spaces. Normally, neighbors learn about each other, solve problems of lawn and land use on individual properties and across the boundaries of lots and blocks. The N2N project starts with this neighborly interaction as an entry point for CEE engagement that can elevate longer-term goals towards sustainable cultural, societal, and environmental change.
Using participatory action research frameworks and methodology, N2N convenes neighbors, community leaders, and organizations in CEE project activities, many documented to become knowledge base artifacts, extending reach beyond the particular event.
N2N's Innovative Spirit
N2N’s key innovations address often overlooked needs in CEE action-research work, linking education and engagement with asset and power mapping to surface synergies between resident’s land use with each other, the natural and urbanized landscapes they inhabit, and the institutional and political geographies of the communities they live in.
Our Partner Organization, Communicas, provides management and fiscal sponsorship through Open Collective to disseminate activities and learnings to partners and global sustainable communities audiences.
- Surfacing and documenting tacit knowledge to create a living knowledge base.
- Creating digital infrastructure/analytics to map and track progress.
- Building bridges and relationships where there is shared synergy.
- Increasing knowledge, awareness, and action regarding transitioning to sustainable yards and green spaces.
- Identifying barriers and opportunities at landscape edges for collaborations between residents and community institutions.
- Facilitating dialogue within and between participating communities to compare and contrast neighborhood, precinct, community and institutional N2N experiences and learning.
- Producing broadcast and web based media products in the form of interviews, webinars and content for learners and targeted audiences.