Seeking Nominations – 6th Annual Environmental Leader in Residence

Akiima Price, who "“I use nature as a medium to create social change in urban communities of color,” was Common Ground's 2015 Environmental Leader in Residence.

Akiima Price, who uses nature as a medium to create social change in urban communities of color, was Common Ground’s 2015 Environmental Leader in Residence. Photo credit: Mel Morales.

Common Ground High School, Urban Farm, and Environmental Education Center is seeking nominations for our 6th Annual Environmental Leader in Residence. The residency takes place during the week of April 1st or 8th, 2019.

The deadline for nominations is extended to January 30, 2019. Read more below, and then nominate a leader. Self-nominations are welcomed. 

Past leaders in residence have included:

Hiram Rivera, our 2017 Leader in Residence, helped students organize around improving Common Ground’s curriculum and partnered with members of our community to create a mural.

We invite nominations of powerful environmental leaders, who have:

  • The ability to facilitate and lead with young people, teachers, farm staff, environmental educators, and others.
  • Strong commitment to and background in social justice, racial justice, equity, and inclusiveness work — and who can make the connections between this work and environmental issues.
  • Experience in environmental justice, environmental education, outdoor education, or related fields, with a particular focus on work in multi-racial and urban settings.
  • Youth leadership & youth development background, expertise, and commitment.
  • Charismatic, positive, warm presence — able to make connections and build community with young people and adults.
  • Honesty, passion, courage, risk-taking, a powerful voice.
  • A set of experiences that are inspiring and relatable for young people and adults, and a willingness to share those experiences.
  • Something unique to contribute, which can help shape the residency and engage community: work as an artist, a wellness/healing practice, etc.

We are explicitly committed to building a new, more racially and culturally inclusive generation of environmental leaders, and particularly value applications from people of color leaders. We are also interested in considering nominees who are young people, and who are members of LGBTQ communities.  

At Common Ground, we define the environment and environmental leadership broadly — not just trees, air, land, wild animals, and water, but people and the human environment as well.

Leah Penniman, Common Ground’s 2016 Environmental Leader in Residence, is the co-founder of Soul Fire Farm, as well as an environmental science educator. Photo Credit: Mel Morales.

The Leader in Residence’s Role

During the week of April 1 or 8, the Environmental Leader in Residence would:

  • Connect with, inspire, challenge, support, and learn with members of our community in a variety of ways.
  • Sit in on classes, enjoy school lunch, join in after-school programs, and participate in life at Common Ground.
  • Help to lead a workshop or professional development opportunity for Common Ground staff.
  • Provide input and advice on key Common Ground initiatives — including restorative justice, staff and student mental health and wellness, and creating choice-rich pathways for our students.
  • Be the featured speaker at a school-wide POWER assembly at Common Ground.
  • Engage with members from the broader New Haven community and/or peer schools through an event that the environmental leader in residence helps to define.
  • Meet with small groups of students, board members, staff, community partners informally to share experiences and offer advice — including over meals.
  • Meet informally with Common Ground’s environmental education staff, who run our children’s and community programs.
  • Write a reflection — blog post, letter to Common Ground — providing feedback and observations on the experience of being an environmental leader in residence.
  • Create a ripple effect and impact that goes well beyond the residency — leaving something lasting behind in our community. 

To support the residency, Common Ground can offer a $2,500 honorarium, as well as travel, accommodations (hotel or homestay), and meals while in New Haven.

Selection Process

Nominations will be reviewed by a committee of staff and students, who will narrow down nominees to create an all-community ballot. This ballot will determine the top 2-3 nominees.

The student and staff committee will then conduct Skype or phone interviews of the top candidates (planned for the week of February 11 and 18), and pick this year’s Environmental Leader in Residence.

Nominate a leader.


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