Unpacking the EcoRise Journey: From Environmental Education to Environmental Justice


Unpacking the EcoRise Journey: From Environmental Education to Environmental Justice

Photo of a snowy hill, forest silhouette in the back, and rows of mountain ranges higlighted by a few rays of sunlight peeking out under a dark blue cloudy sky

Thursday, January 27, 2022 - Recorded

EcoRise is learning how to become an anti-racist organization. As part of this journey that began in 2017, EcoRise staff have interrogated and redesigned systems and structures ranging from hiring practices and board selection to partnership development and teacher recruitment. Simultaneously, EcoRise took advantage of increased staff capacity during the covid-19 pandemic to realize its dream of developing environmental justice curriculum and professional development for K–12 educators across the U.S. This curriculum development project presented unique challenges and forced staff to grapple with and deepen their commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice while engaging with a growing network of environmental justice communities and infusing anti-racist principles into a wide range of instructional resources.

In this eeWEBINAR, learn how EcoRise is prioritizing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice within both their organizational structure and curriculum and programmatic output. 



Abby Randall, Deputy Director, EcoRise

Abby Randall is a visionary leader in the green schools movement with a passion for deeply embedding sustainability and climate justice education into every facet of our school systems. A former secondary science teacher, Abby has more than 15 years of experience facilitating and designing educational programs for a wide variety of K-12 science courses and alternative education programs from Cambridge Public Schools and the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project in Massachusetts to Austin Independent School District and the University of Texas. Abby holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Trinity College in Hartford, CT and an M.S. in Agriculture, Food, and Environment from Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. In 2018 Abby was selected as an NAAEE ee360 Fellow and she is currently the Principal Investigator for the Building a Green Texas Project, funded through a NOAA Environmental Literacy Grant. 

In her current position as EcoRise’s Deputy Director, Abby oversees program strategy, partnerships, curriculum development, and evaluation, and co-leads EcoRise’s equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives. She is also responsible for leveraging and streamlining technology to efficiently scale EcoRise's innovative programs to thousands of educators across the globe.


Zakhia Grant, Northeast Program Manager, EcoRise

Zakhia Grant provides professional development for K–12 teachers participating in the Sustainable Intelligence program in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. She is a geologist and a LEED Green Associate and brings with her more than a decade of experience teaching science sustainability at both High School and College levels in NYC. She is passionate about equity and justice in sustainability and environmental education. Zakhia holds a B.A. in Geology from George Washington University an M.S. in Geology from Bowling Green State University.


Kizzy Hannibal Xolani, Program Manager, EcoRise

Kizzy Hannibal Xolani is a devoted community member that is passionate about serving youth in finding their unique purpose and potential, creating accessible education, prioritizing justice, racial equity and community upliftment, fostering local intergenerational leadership and helping people maintain their personal well being.

Kizzy is the Co-Founder of EcoRise and has played key roles in every department since the organization's inception. From teaching in the classroom, to writing curriculum, to marketing and design, to facilitating professional development to helping launch the youth climate council program and more.  In her current position, she manages programming in D.C. and California, where she supports K–12 teachers in both of those regions with their sustainability and environmental justice initiatives. Kizzy is a co-collaborator of EcoRise’s Environmental Justice (EJ) curriculum and EJ Professional Development workshop, initiatives and outreach. She is also providing facilitation and development support for EcoRise's year-long Youth Climate Council programs in Austin and San Antonio and has over 20 years of experience in teaching, developing and running youth leadership programs, training and mentoring facilitators, and launching non-profit organizations and feels that collaboration and healing-centered approach is key to community engagement and transformation.

eeINSPIRE: Sparking Innovation in Environmental Education

We are pleased to continue eeINSPIRE, NAAEE's webinar series presented in partnership with the US Forest Service. This series is designed to bring new ideas and thinking to USFS conservation educators, but is open to all who want to sign up! 


Upcoming eeINSPIRE Webinars

Future topics will include: increasing civic engagement through education and service learning, becoming a natural and effective storyteller, citizen science in education, building a diverse and inclusive field, and more. 

We look forward to seeing you online, and stay tuned for updates on upcoming webinars in the series!