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The Team

Who We Are

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Gabriela Miranda-Diaz

Communications Specialists

Since childhood, Gabriela Miranda-Diaz has been an outspoken advocate for social and environmental equity. In 2021, she graduated from the CUNY BA program with a bachelors degree in Environmental Sustainability. During her studies, she conducted scientific research in conservation biology and food security in New York City and Puerto Rico. After graduating, Gabriela worked for NYC Parks, as a wildlife monitor and then as an Urban Park Ranger. Her first published work, a chapter in Decolonizing Paradise, was released in October 2022 by Peter Lang Publishing. Gabriela currently works for the Onondaga Earth Corp as a crew leader.

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Ciana Perez

Chief Sustainability Officer

Ciana Perez was born in Dallas, Texas. Since childhood, she dreamed of being a scientist and educator. She believes science is magic and by learning how the world around us works, we can change it for the better. What started as an interest in meteorology and earth science, evolved into environmental science and renewables in high school.  She learned that the earth was on fire and if we did not take drastic steps away from our reliance of fossil fuels, the earth would continue to suffer. This drove her to earn a degree environmental science at the State University of New York - College of Environmental Science and Forestry with a focus in renewable energy. Her goal is to make solar panels more affordable and accessible for everyone.  True sustainability cannot be achieved if it’s not attainable by any one group of people.  If we rise, we rise together or not at all.  She wants to make sure everyone has a seat at the table because this is OUR planet and we all live here.  Teamwork is her specialty.  She’s eager to build this ecovillage from the ground up with the help of such a tenacious group of friends. Ciana will take the lead on our energy related projects from solar panels to energy efficiency. 

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Sarah Melo

Chief Environmental Educator

Raised in Brooklyn, New York, Sarah Melo has always had a love of nature. Going to Binghamton University combined that love with the tools and motivation to improve the world one square foot at a time. Through volunteer work and teaching assistant work she learned the importance of human connection and relying on others. As an Urban Park Rangers she shares history and nature with New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds, helping others discover the often overlooked diversity in the aggressively man-made New York City.

Michelle Sellers

Environmental Policy Specialist

Michelle Sellers has had a passion for education, environmental conservation and justice all her life.  She earned her associates degree in Natural Science from South Louisiana Community College. While studying for her associates, she became a certified teacher.  She taught children in after school activities and summer camps (ages 3-14)  in ballet and aerial arts, while also assisting in the wide-scale lesson planning of a well-renowned curriculum. Growing up in southern Louisiana, she had first hand experience with wetlands, coastal resilience, and hurricane recovery. This unique perspective inspired her to earn a bachelor of science degree from SUNY-ESF in environmental studies with a focus on policy, planning, and law. Her time at ESF provided extensive training preparing environmental impact statements. She’s worked at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water division assisting with enforcement actions and informing the public on water quality of regional waterways with special focus on Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). Michelle has a wide array of environmental compliance experience in multiple media and the related sampling for long-term monitoring. She’s our resident NY NEPA specialist due to her expertise in NY NEPA short form writing from her consultancy days.  

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Victoria Blair

Secretary

Victoria “Tori” Blair has over a decade of experience in education and childcare both in schools and with nonprofits, has spent two decades working as an advocate and community organizer in conjunction with marginalized groups, and works as a labor activist. A firebrand from a young age, Blair has devoted her life to the uplifting of the downtrodden and the flattening of hierarchies. No stranger to hard labor, she grew up on a farm in rural Texas, learning small scale agriculture. Alongside the responsibilities of farm life and the trials of growing up queer and neurodivergent in Texas, she always made time to do service work for charities and various nonprofits throughout the state. Now a resident of the state of New York, she continues her work as an activist, as a labor organizer, and as a community organizer. 

Rosalina Diaz

Advisor

Dr. Diaz has taught Anthropology, Education and Women’s Studies with the City University of New York for over 20 years. She served as Supervising Anthropology Instructor for the world renowned American Museum of Natural History. She received her doctorate in Urban Education with a minor in Anthropology from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2006. Currently, she is an Associate Professor of

Anthropology at Medgar Evers College, CUNY, where she focuses on culturally responsive teaching practices. She has written several articles, books and chapters on the subject of multicultural education, gender and indigeneity. Her most recent research on the Taino, “El Grito de Caguana”, was published in 'O Brave New World:' The Archaeology of Identity in Contexts of Dissonance, In D. F. George and B. Kurchin (Eds.), University of Florida Press, 2019.

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