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Core Members

Ania Wright - Maine Climate Council Youth Representative & Sierra Club Maine

Ania (she/her) is the Political & Legislative Specialist for Sierra Club Maine. Ania recently graduated from College of the Atlantic, where she majored in Human Ecology with a focus in Environmental Policy and Climate Justice. She has been extensively involved in climate justice activism in the State of Maine as a founding member of MYCJ. She also sits on the board of Maine Climate Action Now. Ania is also serving as the Youth Representative to the Maine Climate Council, where she is working with her fellow representatives to write a new Climate Action Plan for Maine. Ania lives in Bar Harbor with her partner, DJ, and spends her free time hiking in Acadia National Park and working in her garden.

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Claire McGlinchey - Center for an Ecology Based Economy 

Claire (she/her) is CEBE’s Climate Resiliency Program Manager. After growing up in Pennsylvania, Claire spent her time as a Temple University undergraduate immersed in the academic and professional world of climate communication in Philadelphia... before deciding that New England is the place to be. This brought her to the University of New Hampshire for a master's in Natural Resources and now to Norway, Maine! When she's not in the office, you might spot Claire hiking, fencing, or trying to put a dent in her ever-growing reading list (or, more realistically, hustling to finish her thesis).

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Edge Venuti - Sunrise County Climate Coalition & MYCJ High School Support Cohort Co-Lead

Edge (she/her) is from Robbinston, Maine & attends Washington Academy in East Machias, Maine. She’s worked with Healthy Acadia, Maine Youth Action Network & recently co-founded a local climate group called Sunrise County Climate Coalition. This group is for youth in Downeast Maine to have a safe space to come together to work on making change in their rural communities. Edge is also the High School Support Cohort Co-Lead for MYCJ. 

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Emily Rochford - Our Power Maine

Emily Rochford is a climate activist and Unity College recent graduate with a degree in Sustainable Energy Management. She serves as a Board Member of Our Power Maine, a Core member of the Maine Youth for Climate Justice coalition, and has worked with organizations such as the Maine Partnership for Environmental Stewardship, Window Dressers, Efficiency Maine, and ReVision Energy.

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Isabelle Rogers - Sunrise Movement Franklin County

Isabelle (any pronouns) is an artist, musician and activist from Western Maine. She uses art as a medium for positive change through her award-winning short films and original music from her band Sagittarius Rising. Isabelle is also the hub organizer of Sunrise Movement Franklin County and a Communications Co-Coordinator for Maine Climate Action Now.

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Jane Dawson - Maine Youth Power 

Jane (she/her) is Maine Youth Power’s Legislative and Policy Director and founding member of Maine Youth Power. Jane graduated from Freeport High School in 2021 and is now attending Macalester College. 

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Laura Bither - JustME for JustUS

Laura Bither is an intersectional climate justice activist and the Director at JustME for JustUS, where she supports youth in rural Maine so they can be climate leaders and a political force. She sits on the Governing Circle of the Tri-Town Equity and Inclusion Committee and works with several local equity groups where she lives in Freeport, on the ancestral land of the Abenaki Nation. She graduated from Wesleyan University with High Honors in Biology and Environmental Studies and a minor in African Studies. Catch her taking any excuse to get outside, cooking for friends, and competitively reading books.

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Madison Sheppard - Norway Youth Climate Action & LGTBQ+ Cohort Co-Lead

Madison mainly works on climate education and legislation. She is also an environmental artist by the name "Earthy Artworks". Madison is currently a college student focusing her studies on biology and conservation; they are planning on becoming a scientist in hopes of making a  difference and inspiring other women on the autism spectrum. Her special interest is sharks! 

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Nyalat Biliew - Sierra Club Maine

Nyalat (she/her) joined Sierra Club as the Grassroots Climate Action Organizer in July 2022. She is one of the founders of Black Power, A black-led liberation movement in Maine. She serves as an at-large member of the Portland Board of Education. Nyalat also led a community effort to open the City of Portland Charter commission to reevaluate the city’s charter. She has organized to support environmental justice, health, education, racial equity, and womxns rights. Nyalat’s activism and interest in climate justice started with leading outing events and environmental education training at Deering High School. She has a burning passion for social justice and ensuring that marginalized voices and experiences are centered and valued. Nyalat graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a Political Science degree and a minor in Race and Ethnic Studies. Nyalat lives in Portland and spends most of her downtime playing basketball, and pickleball, hiking, crocheting clothes and traveling worldwide. 

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Sophia Anderson - Mount Desert Island High School Eco Team 

Sophia (she/her) is an MYCJ Core member representing the MDI High School Eco Team. She is also involved with the Nature Based Education Consortium’s Stories For Change Initiative, the Maine Environmental Changemakers Network, the Maine Food Convergence, and A Climate To Thrive in Bar Harbor. Sophia’s biggest passions include advocating for climate justice, watching women’s sports, and relaxing. Sophia is graduating high school this spring, and is looking forward to attending college in the city and majoring in Environmental Studies.

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Anna Siegel - Maine Youth Action & LGBTQ+ Cohort Co-Lead

Anna Siegel (she/her) works primarily on municipal policy, state legislation, and press relations. Anna currently serves on the Committee for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability for the Town of Yarmouth, and the Political and Legislative Teams for Sierra Club of Maine. She was also a youth representative to the Emergency Management Working Group of the Maine Climate Council. Anna has been involved with climate advocacy since middle school. She is a founding member of MYCJ and a co-founder of Maine Youth Action. Anna loves to hike all around the state, from the Gilsland Farm Audubon to Mt. Katahdin.

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Cole Cochrane - Maine Youth Action

For the past few years Cole has developed a deep passion for Maine’s environment, focusing on both electoral and legislative affairs to address issues regarding climate change. He was campaign manager to Representative O’Neil of Saco. In addition to being avidly involved in elections, he pursued his interests in the legislature by proposing bills that invest in climate action projects on the municipal level, on public transportation issues, and even lowering the voting age. During his time as a policy development coordinator, he built coalitions and negotiated with organizations for support, one of them being MYCJ. Shortly thereafter, he became a volunteer legislative team member for MYCJ and co-founder of Maine Youth Action. 

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Ella Dudley - Sunrise Movement Bowdoin

Ella (she/her) is a senior at Bowdoin College. She works with both Bowdoin Sunrise and Maine Youth for Climate Justice. She also worked as a communications and outreach intern with the Pine Tree Amendment, working to gain legislative and community support for LD 489.

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Idey Abdi - Color of Climate

Idey lives in Lewiston, ME and is currently a sophomore at Cornell University. Her advocacy lies at the intersection of racial and climate justice. She is a member of the Color of Climate (COC), a newly created BIPOC youth-led environmental advocacy group out of Gateway Community Services in Lewiston. Her goal is to help educate people who aren’t aware of how climate change will drastically affect disadvantaged communities.

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Josh Caldwell - MYCJ Food Sovereignty Cohort Lead 

Josh (he/him) leads MYCJ’s Food Sovereignty Cohort and works for the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) as the Climate & Clean Energy Outreach Coordinator. At NRCM, Josh works to build coalitions that can effectively implement policy by pushing our state and federal legislators to act on climate and clean energy initiatives. For the past six years, he has been engaged in environmental and political organizing in Maine, forging new connections and deepening his knowledge of an incredible state. Before coming to NRCM, he spent the prior two years working on the electoral side of politics in order to elect more empathetic, transparent, and environmentally friendly officials.

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Kaethe Rice - MYCJ High School Support Co-Lead 

Kaethe Rice (she/her) attends Waterville High School and has experience organizing in multiple youth-led spaces.

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Luke Sekera-Flanders  - Community Water Justice

Luke recently graduated from Fryeburg Academy. Luke has been a strong advocate for water justice from a young age, he is co-founder and Youth Lead for Community Water Justice, a statewide network of frontline communities resisting water privatization and working toward sustainable access to clean water for all people. Luke was also a MEEA Changemakers Fellow, working on education and mobilizing support for environmental justice efforts in Maine. Luke hopes to help strengthen the movement for environmental justice in Maine by supporting other young organizers.

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Negina Lowe - Maine Environmental Education Association’s Changemakers Program

Negina (she/her) is a Black and Native Hawaiian woman who is currently based in the Greater Bangor Area. While she has worked both professionally and voluntarily in advocacy, she developed her passion for environmental advocacy and justice through friends and colleagues, and exploring and appreciating the outdoor spaces around her. Negina spent the beginning of her life in Hawaii and was taught to understand that nature is not something we are superior to, but something we exist with and are a part of. Living in Maine has given her the opportunity to connect to the land in a healing way. Having access to these spaces and this knowledge lit a flame in her to preserve them for generations to come. In wake of the climate change, Negina felt moved to pursue a role with Maine Environmental Changemakers because of their focus on equity and elevation of BIPOC youth voices. Negina has worked in the fields of mental health, racial justice, and policy work and is most excited to combine the skills and knowledge she has developed to find points of intersection between these issues and environmental justice

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Saga Hart (she/they) - Maine Youth Power

Saga is a Core member representing Maine Youth Power, an organization that strives to help youth across Maine build power! Saga helped found the organization Youth Oriented Queer Club Maine (YOQC), which is a statewide organization that aims to connect youth online by creating a safe space and helping students create change in their schools/towns for the LGBTQ+ community. 

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Tamra Benson - University of Maine Climate Action 

Tamra (she/her) is a student at the University of Maine in Orono, where she’s studying Biology, Political Science, & English. She is a core member of a student organization called Divest UMS, which recently inspired the University of Maine System to commit to complete fossil fuel divestment by 2030. She is a Campaign Associate for Maine Youth Action & a member of the energy campaigns team for MYCJ. She hopes to go to graduate school & pursue a career in environmental policy. She enjoys hiking, reading, cross country skiing, playing the piano, & organizing for climate justice! 

MYCJ Staff Members

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Cassie Cain - MYCJ Program Director 

Cassie (she/her) is the Program Director and a co-founder of MYCJ. Cassie has a BA in Environmental Studies. She has been organizing within the youth climate justice movement since college and been involved with multiple fossil fuel divestment campaigns. Cassie is grateful for the opportunity to organize with the youth climate justice movement in the state she grew up in.

Ezra Sassaman - MYCJ Advocacy and Organizing Coordinator

In addition to being the advocacy and organizing coordinator at MYCJ, Ezra (he/him) also works for A Climate to Thrive, a climate solutions nonprofit based on Mount Desert Island, the area of his hometown. He studied German and Philosophy at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. Since graduating in 2016, he has been a yoga teacher, legal assistant, and freelance journalist. He has also researched dark money and corporate influence in politics at the Center for Media and Democracy, a watchdog organization based in Madison, Wisconsin. In his free time, he loves playing basketball, Scrabble, and Magic: the Gathering!

"Tony" (Winston) Antoine Jr. - MYCJ Climate Justice Coordinator 

Tony (he/him) is a multi-lingual outdoorsman who fishes, forages, gardens and hunts to exercise food sovereignty, to obtain sustenance ethically and to take part in anti-capitalist food systems. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Tony is an Afro-Caribbean American of Trinidadian descent. His love affair with the outdoors started with hearing stories of his ancestors in the Caribbean. Since before he could walk, he spent many hours crabbing and fishing in the Chesapeake Bay with his father and siblings. He left Baltimore for college and graduated from Bowdoin in 2016. Never forgetting his roots and connections to nature, he has remained in Maine, and continued to do the same things that his ancestors have always done, and has expanded his knowledge and activities when outdoors. Tony is very vocal about his passions and is enthusiastic in encouraging people of the Afro-Diaspora, women, and BIPOC folks to re-establish their natural and ancestral connections to the great outdoors. Tony believes that rekindling these natural relationships amongst marginalized and intentionally excluded groups of people is the first step in participating in climate justice and addressing issues of climate change.

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Zak Kendall - MYCJ Member Support Coordinator 

Zak (he/him) is MYCJ's Member Support Coordinator. He approaches climate activism mostly through music as the co-leader of the Maine-based, indie/folk band, GoldenOak. The band travels throughout the United States and Canada, sharing songs about the emotional and physical impacts of the climate crisis. When he’s not on the road touring with his band or encouraging Maine youth to fight for their future, he loves paddling Maine's beautiful rivers near his home in the western foothills.

Elise Hartill - MYCJ Administrative and Communications Coordinator

Elise (she/they) has a M.Sc. in marine biology from the University of Maine where she studied cold-water coral ecosystems. She received a National Geographic Society Early Career Grant in 2019 to support a science education and communications project in Southeast Alaska, where her graduate research was based. She is motivated by the need to develop community-driven resilience to climate change by supporting robust public education, local food systems, involving communities in citizen science, and developing adaptive strategies that meet each individual community's needs. She is also an artist who works with different mediums. She lives in Whitefield, Maine.

Jess Falero - MYCJ Climate Justice Coordinator 

Jess (they/them) has been a community organizer for 5 years in Portland, ME. They have focused on homelessness, poverty, & harm reduction, along with an emphasis on climate change as an intersection for those who have historically been left out of the conversation. Among the projects they have organized were the Unhoused Encampments on the steps of City Hall during the 2020 pandemic. They were recognized in the House of Representatives for their work on LD 1294, and they have raised over $100,000 through social media to directly support poor and working class people in Portland. 

 

 

 

 

Mental Health, Climate Anxiety & Burnout Support Space Facilitators

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Emily (she/her) is a graduate student working towards her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Denver Graduate School of Professional Psychology. She received her master’s degree from the University of Denver in International Disaster Psychology: Trauma and Global Mental Health. In this program, she learned about intersections between natural and environmental disasters, social justice, and mental health. Building on this education, Emily is excited about the opportunity to support youth climate activists and recognizes how this critical but taxing work can impact mental health. Emily operates primarily from a relational approach and hopes to facilitate a welcoming space for youth to process and support one another. In her free time, she enjoys reading, camping, biking, and hiking in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

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Adrian (they/them) is a student at Bates college & an organizer with the Bates Leftist Coalition. They are also a SPARQ (Support - Perspective - Allyship - Representation - Qmunity) peer mentor through the Office of Intercultural Education at Bates. Through this role, they provide mentorship to students who identify as LGBTQ+ or are questioning their identity. They have volunteered for multiple national eco-socialist campaigns through the Democratic Socialists of America and are now a phonebank leader for the Green New Deal campaign. Adrian is also MYCJ’s Social Media Lead!

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