Julia Olson - Executive Director & Chief Legal Counsel
Julia Olson graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, with a J.D. in 1997. For the first part of her 22-year career, Julia represented grassroots conservation groups working to protect the environment, organic agriculture, and human health. After becoming a mother, and realizing the greatest threat to her children and children everywhere was climate change, she focused her work on representing young people and elevating their voices on the issue that will most determine the quality of their lives and the well-being of all future generations. Julia founded Our Children’s Trust in 2010 to lead this strategic legal campaign on behalf of the world’s youth against governments everywhere. Julia leads Juliana v. the United States, the constitutional climate change case brought by 21 youth against the U.S. government for violating their Fifth Amendment rights to life, liberty, property, and public trust resources. Julia and OCT are recipients of the Rose-Walters Prize for Global Environmental Activism. She received the Kerry Rydberg Award for Environmental Activism in 2017 and is a member of Rachel's Network Circle of Advisors. 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 Helmuth - Deputy Director
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 - Staff Attorney, Global Program Manager
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 - Staff Attorney, State Program Manager
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 - Communications & Youth Engagement Director
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 was involved in the Environmental Leadership Program where she devoted her time to developing and implementing science curriculum in low-income schools across Eugene, Oregon. Before graduating, she spent six months studying environmental planning at the University of Tampere, in Tampere, Finland. At Our Children's Trust, Meg leads the communications team and works closely with the young people behind the legal actions to elevate their important voices within the climate movement and beyond. Always with a book in tow, Meg spends her time away from the screen in the outdoors surrounding San Francisco, and enjoys bringing people together through dinner parties and weekend camping trips.
Matt McRae - Climate Policy Strategist
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 - Community Engagement Manager
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. In addition to managing OCT's YouCAN Program, Coreal heads our federal trial mobilization efforts and is our point person for individual and organizational partnerships.
Andrea Rodgers - Senior Staff Attorney
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. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Tenth Circuit, U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Northern California, 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 climate change case in King County Superior Court against the Washington Department of Ecology (Foster v. Ecology), and named her part of their “Perfect Party,” which includes the “month’s most interesting locals and newsmakers.” Andrea is Senior Attorney at Our Children's Trust, where she serves as co-counsel on the constitutional youth climate lawsuit against the federal government, Juliana v. United States, and as lead counsel on the constitutional youth climate lawsuits against the state of Washington, Aji v. State of Washington, and the state of Florida, Reynolds v. State of Florida.
Andrew Welle - Staff Attorney
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.
Brittany grew up the small coastal town of Seward, Alaska. From a young age, she watched a nearby glacier rapidly melt and nearly disappear as the winters got warmer, her first exposure to the realities of climate change. She graduated from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon in 2009 with a B.A. in Religious Studies. After graduating, she volunteered on an organic papaya farm in Hawaii before moving to Washington state. She worked in the financial office for an organization serving adults with disabilities before moving on to a non-profit providing energy assistance to low income families while educating them on climate-friendly practices to lower their home heating costs. In 2015, Brittany moved with her husband back to Oregon to start a new adventure. At Our Children’s Trust, Brittany serves as both the Executive Assistant to Julia Olson and the Office Administrator. She ensures that day-to-day operations are running smoothly and is passionate about contributing to the OCT team. In her free time, Brittany enjoys hiking and exploring the forests, digging in her garden, and spending time with her husband and their cat.
Caitlin Howard - Digital Storyteller
Caitlin grew up in Portland, Oregon and in 2006 moved to Montreal, Canada to attend McGill University. She graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and English Literature. After some time working in a Canadian immigration law firm helping people from around the globe move to Canada, she set off to see more of the world herself. She lived in New Zealand and Australia, and traveled throughout Southeast Asia. Her time abroad highlighted the way in which humans worldwide are intrinsically connected and that our planet's changing climate is an issue we all must face together. In 2016 she embarked on an M.S. in Journalism and upon graduation joined the communications team at Our Children's Trust. Caitlin spends the majority of her free time reading, doing yoga, riding her bicycle, swimming in rivers and exploring the wilderness.
Sherri Jackson - Paralegal
Prior to joining Our Children’s Trust, Sherri worked as a corporate paralegal for a start-up tech company in Reston, VA, and then made her way to NYC to work for a top Canadian law firm where she specialized in cross-border private placements, and finally to an investment management company. Sherri is excited at the opportunity to bring her experience to a different and especially meaningful area of the law. She studied political science and economics at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL.
In her free time, she loves to engage in “experimental cooking,” hiking, gardening, making soap, and exploring Oregon’s magnificent coast. She volunteers one day every week as a shift leader at Chintimini Wildlife Center in Corvallis, OR. She also recently designed and built her own tiny house.
Sherri considers it a privilege to work on behalf these inspiring youth to ensure a safe and healthy climate for generations to come.
Danny Noonan - Lawyer (Australian qualified), Global Program Coordinator
At Our Children’s Trust, Danny primarily supports staff attorneys with our coordinating global legal actions. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Danny previously clerked with Our Children’s Trust in Fall 2015. Prior to re-joining Our Children’s Trust in 2017, Danny worked in the class actions department of a major Australian plaintiff law firm, where he gained experience with toxic torts, securities and product liability class actions. Danny has also previously interned with attorneys in the native title and public interest environmental law sectors in Australia, and with a microfinance non-profit. Danny graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and French in 2013, and with a J.D. in 2017. Danny is admitted as a lawyer in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia. In his spare time Danny enjoys swimming, cycling, hiking, yoga, live music, good coffee and vegetable gardening.
Devin Kesner - Climate Law Fellow
Devin is honored to be serving as an advocate for the Earth and future generations. Devin grew up in New Jersey and graduated from McGill University in Montreal with a B.A. in International Development. While a student at McGill, Devin traveled to East Africa to study, work, travel, and learn some Swahili. After graduating from McGill, she spent time working on small organic farms in California and Colorado. These experiences led Devin to pursue a legal career with a focus on environmental law. In 2018, Devin graduated from University of Washington School of Law with honors. While at UW, Devin was the Chief Managing Editor of the Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy and had internship experiences in the judicial, private, public, and non-profit sectors, including working as a law clerk with Our Children's Trust. She is excited to return to OCT and Eugene as a Climate Law Fellow. When not working, Devin loves wandering in the woods, gardening, writing, cooking, and sitting down with a good book.