Sarada Sangameswaran (she/her)Director of School Programs, Communitopia
- CEE-Change Fellow
Sarada works with students and teachers to explore the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation on nature and human communities and the solutions we can all harness for a brighter future.
About Sarada Sangameswaran
Sarada (she/her) is the Director of School Programs at Communitopia, a small nonprofit in Pittsburgh dedicated to climate change education. She has a bachelor's degree in biology from McGill University, and a master's in ecology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She has worked in environmental consulting and environmental education, including stints at Chicago Botanic Garden, the Three Rivers Park District, and Pittsburgh Botanic Garden. In her various roles, she developed environmental curricula and taught hands-on programs for all ages, helped design interactive exhibits and spaces, developed a docent program, and worked with educators to ensure a great experience for students. She believes environmental education should be equitable, and is part of the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators DEI Committee. Sarada loves spending time in beautiful natural spaces in all types of weather, going on long hikes or curling up with a good book and a cup of tea. She is passionate about creating a bright, sustainable future for everyone while preserving nature for generations to come.
Sarada’s Community Action Project (CAP)
Communitopia’s mission is to empower young people to be agents for transformation in the climate change movement. The organization works at schools, delivering climate change workshops to classrooms, leads climate action teams, provides teacher workshops, and plans the annual Pittsburgh Youth Climate Action Summit. As the organization’s work continues to evolve, Sarada realized the importance of breaking down climate change into smaller modules that allow students to study a topic in depth, and use that knowledge to create solutions. Central to this effort is for students to recognize the value of nature and nature-based solutions at a local level to promote climate resiliency.
Sarada plans to create focused modules that would allow students to take a deep dive into a topic and then take an action in their school or community that relates to this topic. The range of topics is wide but could include green spaces in schools, water quality, air quality, or healthy food systems. This process of discovery would include fact-finding sessions, research, hands-on data collection, and engagement with stakeholders such as community leaders or school officials. Communitopia will create curriculum, and provide the curriculum knowledge and tools to study the topic at hand and craft an action plan. Sarada would work with teachers to implement the curriculum over 4-8 weeks. Her goal is to create environmental civics programming infused with science/citizen science opportunities. This would enable Communitopia to reach students at their level and focus on a topic that is relevant to them and their community.