CSN 2021 Graduate
The week after I graduated from the CLEO Speakers Network training I traveled to Colorado to visit my mom while my sister was out of town. My mom lives in an assisted living facility in Longmont Colorado, and I was asked if I could give a presentation about climate change to the residents at the facility. The crowd was small but enthusiastic and I spoke for about an hour. They had many questions and, thankfully, I was able to answer all of them. They were very grateful to get information from someone who has a background in climate change as it was clear there is a lot of misinformation out there. I was glad to do it and happy for their interest on the subject.
I also gave that presentation to the Seminole County Extension and got approval to start offering the classes to area residents. I have been involved with the National Extension Climate Initiative group who help set the agenda for what the county Extension Services do. At a NECI Forum in April, I helped to get language into the position statement that we prepared for the National organizations such as the USDA which fund and direct the local offices, stating that education and outreach to the public about climate change should be a part of every County Extension Service’s offerings.
CSN 2020 Graduate
Katie is passionate about the intersections of simple, sustainable living, intentional community, and spirituality. She graduated from St. Olaf College in 2017 with a degree in Environmental Studies (Social Science Emphasis) and German; and a Management Studies concentration. Following graduation, she managed Faith in Place’s Winter Farmers Market program through Lutheran Volunteer Corps for one year before joining the Communications team at Faith in Place. As the Communications Senior Coordinator, she managed Faith in Place’s websites and social media platforms and supported database management with a focus on communicating with supporters and optimizing their user experience. Katie was part of planning the organization’s most significant annual events, such as the Green Team Summit, Annual Advocacy Day, and Annual Celebration & Fundraisers. Most recently, Katie launched Faith in Place’s first podcast, Voices of the Earth, with her talented colleague, Lauren Paris!
Starting in August 2023, Katie will be pursuing a Master of Environmental Management degree at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, where she will concentrate on two areas: Energy & Environmental Economics & Policy with emphasis on Community Engagement and Environmental Justice.
Dalton is a coral researcher at the University of Miami and manages the university’s coral conservation program, Rescue a Reef. As part of the Rescue a Reef program, Dalton and his team regularly engage the community through coral education, outreach, and citizen science. After completing the CLEO Speakers Network, he realized the importance of integrating climate conversations more regularly into their program to help build confidence and promote action by their audience members. Every presentation, event, and citizen science expedition now features the lessons and learnings of CLEO!
CSN 2019 Graduate
Karl arrived in Miami in August 2018 and took the opportunity to educate himself further on climate change. He vowed to change his lifestyle to reduce his impact on the planet as much as possible. At the same time, he wanted to educate others who had yet to realize that climate change is the single biggest challenge of our lifetime. Volunteering at CLEO’s 2019 symposium inspired Karl to co-found his own company, Grove Carbon. Karl became a CSN grad and Climate Reality Project Leader, continuing to work with like-minded individuals and inspire others. He also helped set up The Climate Reality Project Miami Fort Lauderdale Chapter. Karl looks for opportunities within the community, regularly joining local groups for beach clean-ups and mangrove planting days. He speaks about the importance of carbon offsetting on regional webinars. In advance of COP26, he committed to offsetting his carbon footprint back to 1990. Karl lives by his motto “measure, reduce, offset” and continues to educate others on how they might also help restore balance to nature and live in harmony with the planet.
I love the environment, and I’m honored to be a part of A Zero Waste Culture (AZWC), an organization focused on composting and sustainability. Composting is one of the best solutions to the climate crisis because it diverts our food waste from entering landfills and water treatment facilities. Instead, it is repurposed into a healthy fertilizer that can be used for our plants and gardens. With AZWC, I truly have found a second family, with some of the most dedicated and loving people I know. I encourage you to start composting, either with us or on your own—and I know the Earth will thank you for it.
CSN 2018 Graduate
Natalie’s first experience with CLEO was at a Climate Change 101 lecture that Caroline Lewis gave at The Cushman School in 2017. She studied environmental science in undergrad and did relevant work abroad, inspiring her to want to do more. After the workshop, she talked to Caroline and looked into the CLEO Speakers Network. Once she was certified, she volunteered at various events, such as the Annual Gala and the Empowering Capable Climate Change Communicators symposium, and eventually was asked to help mentor speakers in the network. When the Program Manager position at CLEO became available, she jumped at the opportunity and the rest is history. CLEO is all about providing leadership and engagement opportunities to the community and that is exactly what happened with Natalie. Now, her job is to make sure everyone in our community can be a leader, too.
Fernando’s first presentation was to a group of 40 business people at the Venture Cafe. Part of the success and feedback that he received from his presentation was that he wove in several ideas around the psychology of climate change as well as a variety of action steps that people can take—from “Gateway Actions” to local steps, to more advanced topics such as advocating for HR 763.
Ellen retired in 2018 after a successful 38-year career as a Certified Financial Planner practitioner. With 25 years of National Park Service as a volunteer Everglades interpretive ranger, Ellen also holds the UF/IFAS Master Naturalist certificate. Following her training, Ellen taught three multi-week sessions of Climate Conversations through the University of Miami’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. This established a precedent for climate education at the university. She also conducted a three-hour program at Temple Beth Or for temple and community members, including Ron Magill and Daniella Levine Cava. Ellen intends to continue her climate change education efforts and collaborations in Gainesville.
Dr. Ortiz works with the Global Oncology Medical Team at Bayer Pharma. After attending numerous CLEO lectures, he was inspired to become a CLEO Climate Speaker. He joined in June 2019 and provided a Climate 101 training for his Global Oncology Medical Team at Bayer’s HQ in New Jersey. Attendees noted that the biggest takeaway from the presentation was the urgency within the climate crisis as most of the attendees did not realize the extent and depth of climate impacts.
Matt is a native South Floridian, scuba diver, avid hunter, and outdoorsman. He has always had an appreciation and respect for the environment. Matt was invited to speak to graduating students at his alma mater, the University of Central Florida’s College of Business. He delivered an informed presentation about the business opportunities of eco-conscious practices.
CSN 2013 Graduate
Mikey was invited to present a climate training to 6th-8th graders at the Metropolitan International School in Wynwood. His presentation covered the basics of the greenhouse effects and what gases contribute to it, how those gases are correlated with our temperature, main emitters, temperature rise affecting sea level, and what all that means for us in Miami. Using Greta Thunberg as a role model, he let students know how to take action and get involved.
CSN 2019 Graduates
During SDL’s annual Executive Leadership Summit Commercializing Change in Agtech 2019, Lisa Merkle and Fernando Migliassi partnered together to facilitate a breakout session covering solutions for the climate crisis from Project Drawdown that focus on food, agriculture, and biochar. Lisa Merkle is the proud co-founder of Box Greens, bringing “Hydroponic Box Farms” into urban areas of South Florida for fresh farm to table greens. Fernando is a local entrepreneur with a wide range of experience, working on how to improve climate education through technology.
GenCLEO CSN 2019 Graduate
Matias is a part of our GenCLEO youth advocacy group. On October 10, 2019, he, along with a group of GenCLEO leaders, spoke at the City of Miami Commission Meeting about the urgency of climate change. The commissioners voted unanimously to pass a climate emergency resolution.
Miriam (Mary) Dorsett is an artist and a life-loving aficionado. Before starting her own company, she worked in the field of youth development. As graduate of the CLEO Speakers Network, she enjoys sharing her knowledge through her talk “How to Do, What You Want to do, Every. Day.” which was inspired by her own entrepreneurial story. Using the power of her voice, she hopes to educate and empower youth on how they can become leaders of not only the climate crisis solution but of their own lives, speaking recently at the Pembroke Pines Charter Girl Up chapter.
Elizabeth Joseph, ARNP, MPH is a Nurse Educator at a local hospital. On January 11, 2020 she participated in the 5th Annual Community Health & Wellness Fair “Healthy People Healthy Planet” to lead a discussion on the effects of climate change and health. She elaborated how the climate crisis has affected health through a range of pathways, such as increased frequency and intensity of heat waves leading to heat strokes. Furthermore, she addressed how the climate crisis has an effect on air pollution, emphasizing how these threat multipliers affect vulnerable societies globally.
CSN Graduate 2019
Fred’s work experience before retiring included directing the planning for Intel’s future microprocessors, eventually becoming an Intel Fellow. Fred lives in Miami Beach and became concerned with the street flooding, so he decided to dive deep into peer-reviewed scientific literature. He became a certified CLEO Climate Speaker in 2019 and went on to lead a “Lunch and Learn” for Fiduciary Trust International, a financial firm (division of Franklin Templeton) that manages investments for high-net-worth clients, at their Coral Gables office.