Julia Olson graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1993 with a B.A. in International Affairs and from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, with a J.D. in 1997. Julia worked for 15 years representing grassroots conservation groups in the West. She helped protect rivers, forests, parks, wilderness, wildlife, organic agriculture and human health. After becoming a mother, and realizing the greatest threat to her children and children everywhere was climate change, she began focusing her work in that field and founded Our Children's Trust. Her work has led her to the intersection of human rights and environmental protection and she is passionate about working for youth. Julia also teaches environmental courses as an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon School of Law. To rejuvenate, Julia loves being high up in the mountains with her family and her dog or playing tunes on her ukulele with friends.
Lou graduated with a J.D. from Vermont Law School and a B.A. from Boston College. His career spans law practice, legal education, fundraising and non-profit administration. In law practice, Lou represented youth with disabilities from all around the country, relative to their educational needs and also handled a number of environmental and land use matters on behalf of citizens groups. He spent several years in legal education administration and as a staff member, board member and volunteer with a variety of non-profits. At Our Children's Trust, Lou contributes to our legal strategies, organizational and program development, fundraising and marketing. His passion is the outdoors. He has spent countless hours monitoring the flora and fauna on the beaches of Point Reyes, transplanting leatherback turtle eggs, sailing our oceans and gazing at the beauty of our planet wherever he finds himself.
Elizabeth Brown has been working with Our Children's Trust since 2011. Elizabeth earned her J.D. from University of Oregon School of Law in 2013, with concentrations in public interest environmental law and international law. From 2008 to 2010, Elizabeth worked on energy policy in Texas as a Clean Energy Advocate for statewide public interest organizations—Public Citizen and Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition. Elizabeth lived in Budapest, Hungary and earned her M.A. in International Public Policy from Central European University in 2008. Elizabeth is a passionate climate justice advocate with particular concern for the human rights issues surrounding climate change, including food security, climate refugees, and natural disasters. Elizabeth enjoys backpacking and exploring the natural wonders of Oregon, getting to know other cultures, and gardening.
Nate Bellinger earned a B.S. in Natural Resource Studies from the University of Massachusetts before moving to Oregon. After spending three years working as a firefighter, a ski instructor, and a rafting guide, Nate returned to school and earned a Master’s degree in Geography from the University of Oregon. His thesis documented the social and environmental impacts of Ecuador’s commercial tuna fishing industry. In 2014 Nate graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law with a concentration in public interest environmental and natural resources law. Nate began volunteering with Our Children’s Trust before law school and was hired as the Climate Law Fellow upon his graduation from law school. In his free time Nate enjoys trail running, backpacking, canoeing, and working in his garden.
Meg Ward graduated from University of Oregon in 2010 with a B.S. in Environmental Studies before joining Our Children's Trust in early 2011. As an undergrad, Meg took part in the Environmental Leadership Program and spent time developing and implementing lesson plans in low-income middle schools across Eugene, Oregon. She also spent six months studying environmental planning at University of Tampere, in Tampere, Finland. At Our Children's Trust, Meg leads communication strategy and works closely with the amazing young people behind the legal actions. Meg spends as much time as she can in the outdoors in and around San Francisco, and enjoys bringing people together through dinner parties and weekend camping trips.
Matt McRae graduated from the College of Natural Resources at Utah State University with a B.S. in Environmental Studies. Matt spent eight years as a local government Climate and Energy Analyst developing climate action plans, conducting greenhouse gas inventories, evaluating climate policy, and implementing climate actions. Prior to working for local government, Matt worked for the National Park Service for nine years. Matt is the Climate Policy Strategist for Our Children's Trust. His work involves researching and developing the climate actions and policies necessary to achieve a stable climate. In his free time, you’ll find Matt with his family hiking, canoeing, and sailing.
Coreal Riday-White received a B.A. in Community Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz, before going on to work as a mental health counselor and special education instructor for youth group homes in California and Oregon. After backpacking across both South and Central America, Coreal returned to school, earning a J.D. from the City University of New York, School of Law. While at CUNY, he completed the mediation clinic, mediating cases in Queens Civil and Small Claims and the EEOC. After law school Coreal and his wife moved to San Francisco, where Coreal joined a small civil litigation firm, primarily representing cities in connection with environmental claims. Coreal joined the OCT team in the Fall of 2015, primarily to manage the YouCAN program. Now a father of two, and as eager as ever to discover a hidden trail or open ball field, Coreal is thrilled to be back living and working in Eugene.
After graduation from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1998 and the Arizona State University School of Law in 2001, where she served as co-executive editor of Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science and Technology, she clerked for the Hon. John C. Gemmill on the Arizona Court of Appeals. She has served as an Honors Attorney for the U.S. Department of Transportation, In-House Legal Counsel for the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, and Staff Attorney for the Western Environmental Law Center. Her environmental law practice focuses on reducing pollution from industrial agricultural operations, protecting and enhancing instream flows for people and fish, and fighting climate change on behalf of young people and future generations. Andrea is licensed to practice law in Washington and Oregon and is admitted to practice in the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Northern California, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Tenth Circuit, the Snoqualmie Tribal Court, the Lummi Indian Nation Tribal Court and the Muckleshoot Tribal Court. In 2016, Seattle Met Magazine recognized her legal work representing youth in the Washington Atmospheric Trust Litigation case in King County Superior Court against the Washington Department of Ecology, and named her part of their “Perfect Party,” which includes the “month’s most interesting locals and newsmakers.”
Curtis Morrison earned his J.D. from Whittier Law School, where he also earned a Certificate in International and Comparative Law, and was named the 2016 Outstanding Graduate in Environmental Law. Before that, he received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Louisville, which may help explain his southern accent. His experience spans journalism, political organizing, and sales. At Our Children’s Trust, Curtis splits his time between supporting staff attorneys and assisting with communications. When not attached to internet, he enjoys running, bicycling, hot yoga, and reading good books.
As a storyteller, climate activist and educator, Morgan Curtis works at the intersection of sustainable community-building and strategic mobilization, striving to understand how stories shape human relationships, resilience and revolutions. Before joining Our Children’s Trust as the Digital Storyteller, Morgan led the SustainUS Youth Delegation to the 2016 UN Climate Talks, working to bring youth-led storytelling, community and ceremony to the heart of political organizing and decision-making. While a student at Dartmouth College Morgan toured the US on the vegetable-oil powered Big Green Bus, worked with the National Biodiesel Board, and studied engineering in a futile search for climate solutions. It was as co-leader of her college’s fossil fuel divestment campaign that she first felt part of an intersectional climate justice movement, reinforced by her storytelling work with county jail inmates and under-resourced high-schoolers. Ever-increasingly seeing climate change as a symptom of deeper cultural crisis, Morgan turned to education as the place where cultural stories are written, teaching Environmental Issues to high school juniors as the Sustainability Fellow at Maine Coast Semester. She then spent 6 months on Climate Journey, bicycling 3500 miles and gathering stories from grassroots climate activists in eleven countries en route to the 2015 UN Climate Talks in Paris. A facilitator of the Work That Reconnects, Morgan is dedicated to decolonization and white anti-racism work, and currently lives in community at Canticle Farm in Oakland, CA. As a 2016-17 Spiritual Ecology Fellow, Morgan is launching Sustaining Our Resistance, a community of practice and workshop series that brings sacred activism to the youth climate justice movement.
Gordon earned his J.D. and M.S. in Conflict and Dispute Resolution from the University of Oregon School of Law in 2016, and his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Oregon Robert D. Clark Honors College in 2012. His Master’s thesis explored strategies that local governments in Oregon could use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change. Gordon enjoys backcountry skiing, rock climbing, gardening, and volunteering with a variety of environmental organizations around Oregon.
Before joining Our Children’s Trust, Allison was a senior legal fellow at the Climate Investigations Center where she focused on climate liability and state and federal public records law. Allison was also a litigation fellow at Earthjustice in Washington, D.C. from 2014-2015 working on oceans, clean air, and environmental justice. Prior to earning her J.D. from the George Washington University Law School, Allison worked for three years at Greenpeace in campaign operations. Allison first became interested in environmental advocacy after learning about the links between human rights issues and climate change while working at Amnesty International after college. Allison enjoys nature, playing sports, and film. She made an award-winning documentary with her husband in 2010 which has been screened across the country and in a few international cities. Allison is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Florida with a degree in political science.
Andrew Welle graduated from Indiana University in 2008 with a B.A. in philosophy. He earned his J.D. at the University of Oregon School of Law, graduating in 2013 with a concentration in public interest environmental law. Following law school, Andrew worked as an associate in a nationwide law firm for two years before accepting a post-graduate fellowship with the University of Oregon School of Law's Environmental and Natural Resource Center, where his scholarship focused on the intersection of multinational trade agreements, environmental sovereignty, and the Public Trust Doctrine. Following his fellowship, Andrew worked with Eugene-based Blue River Law on Endangered Species Act, NEPA, Clean Water Act, and Freedom of Information suits on behalf of citizen groups, and on additional matters as a sole practitioner, including representing the League of Women Voters of the United States and the League of Women Voters of Oregon as amici in Our Children's Trust's federal case. In his free time, Andrew enjoys multi-day backpacking trips, trail running, exploring Oregon, and playing guitar and piano.
Lillian Garcia was born and raised in the great state of Oregon. Growing up, she understood the privilege of being surrounded by lush trees, rivers, and mountains. Her parents continually espoused the importance of caring for our home, the planet earth. With the desire to help and care for others, Lillian began studying in the Family and Human Services program at the University of Oregon. This program began opening doors into the world of professional helpers. Lillian explored the tumultuous nature of the foster care system with the Looking Glass Independent Living Program and the Citizens Review Board. She rediscovered her childhood love of plants and playing in dirt at the FOOD For Lane County GrassRoots Garden. At Catholic Community Services, Lillian delved into the desperate need for safe and affordable housing in Lane County. After graduating in the Spring of 2016 with a B.A. in Family and Human Services, Lillian was faced with the daunting task of finding an area of social justice in which to help. When the opportunity presented itself at Our Children's Trust, the choice was clear. Lillian would do everything in her power to support the organization and people responsible for establishing our constitutional right to a controlled climate and healthy atmosphere. When she's not worrying about the state of our planet, Lillian enjoys cooking, learning new things, creating art, tap dancing, and riding bikes.
Daniel Jubelirer is passionate about the intersections of community building, social change and climate justice. With East Coast roots in North Carolina, and West Coast fruits in the Bay Area of California, he is currently a Peace Studies student at Naropa University in Colorado. As a community organizer, youth educator, artist, facilitator and activist he follows a passion for linking personal, interpersonal, and systemic change in the building of a radically just and beautiful world. He co-founded Tufts Climate Action, running a fossil fuel divestment campaign for two years, is a trainer with Generation Waking Up, and a collaborator with Earth Guardians. He serves on the Coordinating Body of SustainUS, working on national organizing with youth across the United States and has attended the COP21 and COP22 U.N Climate Talks. A student of Joanna Macy, Daniel is honored to be a facilitator of the Work that Reconnects. In school Daniel explores how to use dance, restorative justice and contemplative practices to decolonize his own being and support others to bring a critical analysis to our movements. He is also pursuing a path of being a life coach for change-makers. As a 2016 recipient of the Goddard Prize, Daniel is working to ignite a “Soil for Life” movement for soil-based carbon sequestration with small scale farmers in Colorado and beyond, including the creation of a land-based center in the next 3 years. Daniel is delighted to serve as National Climate Campaign Field Organizer for Our Children’s Trust
Born to a migrant farmworker from Michoacan, and a former northwest tree planter from Chihuahua Mexico, Niria Alicia is a Xicana storyteller and community organizer whose work is rooted in her spirituality, undying love for her community and her commitment to the decolonization, decarbonization and collective liberation of Mother Earth and humanity. A first-generation student, Niria graduated Phi Beta Kappa with Cum Laude honors from the University of Oregon with B.A’s in Environmental Studies, Latin American Studies and a minor in nonprofit administration. Her research focused on women-led grassroots environmental and social justice movements in the U.S. and Latin America. As an undergraduate, she was involved with MEChA, NASU, and co-directed the Raza Unida Youth Conference and the Coalition Against Environmental Racism. Niria has traveled, studied and worked in Brazil, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Morocco participating in social justice delegations, teaching, translating, conducting research, contributing to reforestation efforts and running youth programs building aqueducts, and greywater treatment systems. She was a SustainUS youth delegate at the COP 22 helping to create inclusive spaces to amplify frontline communities’ concerns about climate change. As a writer, she has contributed to environmental blogs, local newspapers and magazines in English and Spanish writing about the effects that pesticides, pipelines and climate change have on frontline communities. Niria has worked on campaigns with Earthjustice, the Winnemem Wintu Tribe and the Run4Salmon coalition. Niria is honored to serve as a National Climate Campaign Field Organizer for Our Children’s Trust.
Jess Grady-Benson is honored to be joining the team at Our Childrens Trust as a National Field Organizer. As a trainer, organizer, and artist, Jess believes deeply in the transformative power of collective action - to transform our selves, our relationships to the land, and dynamics of power. Witnessing the stark connection between social inequality, land rights, and environmental degradation in Southern California, Jess began organizing for climate justice as a student at Pitzer College. Jess co-founded the Claremont Colleges Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, and over the course of two years, helped guide the campaign towards victory at Pitzer College. After graduating with a B.A. in Environmental Policy and Music, Jess dedicated herself to supporting other young people to become life-long organizers. As a co-founder of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network, Jess helped build a national network of fossil fuel divestment campaigns and student climate justice organizers. In particular, Jess worked as the Director of Training, and has designed and led climate justice and campaign skills trainings for students and young people across the country. Over the course of her organizing experience, Jess has worked in collaboration with a wide range of organizations including The Wildfire Project, Training For Change, Responsible Endowments Coalition, Momentum, 350.org, Movement Generation, Reinvest In Our Power, and SURJ (Showing Up For Racial Justice). Jess is most at home surrounded by the mountains and waters of the Pacific Northwest. Through her work as a potter, Jess explores the relationships between land, story, and community. She lives and adventures with her partner in Seattle.