Promoting Professional Development and Best Practice in EE
Roles at NAAEE:CEE-Change Fellow
Zee (they/them) is a Program Coordinator at Community Nature Connection, a non-profit that focuses on increasing access to the outdoors for communities most impacted by racial, socio-economic, and disability injustices.
Outside of work, Zee leads Rootin’ 4 Us, a land-based collective where they empower communities through land liberation, community food networks, and ancestral knowledge and practices. Drawing inspiration from Fannie Lou Hamer and many other Black radical ancestors, Zee brings 10 years of community organizing and popular political education, alongside their profound commitment to reciprocal healing between soil and self.
Zee heads into nature as often as they can. This interest lends itself easily to birding, hiking, and nature journaling—a few activities that energize Zee. At a young age, Zee’s interest in growing food stemmed from their grandma tending to her fruit trees in South Central LA. Now, Zee has gained an interest in workforce development from their work as a Ready2Work organizer with the LA Black Worker Center, in combination with outdoor access from their participation in the Conservation Studies Course at West Los Angeles City College. From these two experiences, Zee understood that social and environmental issues need to be equally tackled in order to reconnect Afro and Indigenous folks to nature and also to equip them with the professional skills needed to sustain leadership roles.
If Zee could travel to any place on Earth, they’d head off to the Andes Mountains in Peru.
The community action project consists of providing opportunities for civic engagement, community organization, operational and financial skills, and leadership development within community gardens and green urban spaces. This training and these skills will be fundamental in the future development for folks to secure employment and lead their own community action projects with a social and environmental justice focus. Zee hopes to collaborate with local community gardens, collectives, and organizations to grow a support network and build power.
Through this 9 month fellowship timeframe, the work that will be completed is outreaching, phone banking, more power mapping, connecting with more school staff to build stronger relationships, solidifying curriculum content Rootin’ 4 Us will be sharing, and overall finalizing program facilitators by reviewing culturally relevant content material. From September and so on, I need to continue connecting with more organizations that are willing to support even once this fellowship is over.
The action steps to record this information will be through survey creation and documentation and attendance tracking by printing out sheets and having folks sign in at in-person event and write peoples names down that attended virtual workshops.
For each program there needs to be a specific P.O.P: Purpose, Outcome, Process that lays out the what will happen during every hour of the event.
- Increase awareness of Vanguard Community Garden.
- Facilitate Leadership Development to the gardeners that will encourage more organized involvement.
- Provide skill sharing around the square foot gardening method, succession and companion planting.
- The importance of community garden collaborations and awareness of mutual aid work being done in our communities.