We are a grassroots community that shapes young adult leaders through place-based experiences that connect faith and the environment.
Each year, the Eco-Stewards program invites young adults (ages 20-30) to immerse themselves in a particular place where we study how people of faith are responding to environmental problems in their communities. Each program provides opportunities for community building, faith formation, vocational discernment, storytelling, mentoring, recreation and hands-on environmental stewardship. Past programs have been located in California, Pennsylvania/New York, West Virginia, Montana’s Crow Indian Reservation, Boston/Vermont, Portland, OR; Gainesville, FL; Seattle, WA; and Richmond, VA. For more information about past programs, view this page.
Testimonials from Eco-Stewards Alumni
Our alumni community includes more than 40 young adult leaders from around the country. Our alumni go on to study, work and serve at the intersection of faith and the environment in fields such as ministry, environmental policy, education, academia and activism. Here’s what they had to say about our program in a recent alumni survey:
- “I attended Eco-Stewards when I was just beginning to discover who I was and where I wanted to go in life. It really helped me think about the world and what my place is in it.”
- “The Eco-Stewards Program definitely connected me to a wider community of people who are thinking about faith and environmental stewardship.”
- “Eco-Stewards IS the reason I attend (a Presbyterian church). It reintroduced me to institutionalized religion and I have been able to reestablish a faith community!”
- “It was an excellent experience in environmental storytelling, and in exploring my relationship to God in and through the natural world. It confirmed my understanding that there is a desperate need in the world for prayerful environmental justice and care for creation, and that I would like to dedicate my own life for this purpose.”
- “My Eco-Stewards experience was formative and incredibly life-giving.”
- “The program is so so valuable, and was a huge milestone in my journey to seminary.“
- “The experience affirmed the belief that you can be a Christian and also be an environmentalist where you exercise care and consideration of God’s creation. It also taught me important lessons that I use today in my job, relative to drinking water, environmental regulations and enforcement, wetlands as remediation, government relations and other realities and challenges of merging our care for the earth and for the health of all humans.”
- “Eco-Stewards supported me at a time when I couldn’t find people of faith interested in environmental stewardship. The Eco-Stewards Program connected me with others who were driven by their religion and/or spirituality to actively care for the world around them.”
- “Participation in this program really opened my eyes to people who are both fully resting their faith in God, but also acknowledging our role in keeping His creation safe and healthy and pristine.”
- “The Eco-Stewards Program energized me and reassured me in a way I wasn’t aware I needed. Knowing that there were people out there seeing and feeling the things I was, being able to learn from their studies and experiences really grounded me.”
Meet the Eco-Stewards Leadership Team
Rev. Rob Mark serves as a Presbyterian pastor at Church of the Covenant in downtown Boston, and has coordinated the Eco-Stewards Program since its inception in 2006, leading programs in California, New York/Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Massachusetts/Vermont, Oregon, Florida, Washington, and Virginia. In November 2016, he responded to a call from indigenous leaders to join 500 clergy from around the country in a historic witness of solidarity at Standing Rock. Rob is passionate about grassroots programs like the Eco-Stewards Program that affect lasting change. He also likes coffee, ultimate Frisbee, stringed instruments and the joy of stewarding his 4-year-old son. Rob is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. and holds degrees from Wheaton College and Boston University School of Theology.
Rev. Liz Leavitt is a Presbyterian pastor serving at Christ Church Uniting in Kailua, Hawaii, a Presbyterian and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregation on the windward side of O’ahu. When not busy pastoring, she enjoys exploring the island by foot, bike, kayak, canoe and paddleboard. She is also a casual gardener, proficient food preserver, and reasonably good cook, and is currently exploring the new plants, tastes and recipes of the Hawaiian islands. Liz is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., holds degrees from the University of Oregon and Harvard Divinity School, and has also served congregations in Massachusetts and Oregon. Liz has hosted Eco-Stewards Programs in Portland, OR (her hometown) and Seattle, WA and now, Hawaii.
Becky W. Evans is a New England Presbyterian with a passion for storytelling and experiential education. She serves as the storytelling mentor and communications coordinator for The Eco-Stewards Program, which she joined in 2010. She brings her experience as a former environment reporter for The Standard-Times of New Bedford, MA, a communications writing professor at Boston University, and an ESL instructor for adult immigrants in Cambridge, MA. Currently, she helps coordinate the Boston Food Justice YAV Program, where she mentors young adults and educates them about food justice issues. She enjoys gardening, birding, yoga, cooking, and cross-cultural encounters. She holds degrees from Colgate University, Boston University College of Communication, and Boston University School of Education.
Vickie Machado is a third generation South Floridian. While pursuing her masters, she lived and worked at the Gainesville Catholic Worker house and later helped to host the EcoStewards Gainesville trip. Upon graduation, she worked as a an environmental organizer, pushing for a ban on fracking. She is currently a graduate student at the University of Florida, studying Religion & Nature. Vickie is still passionate about water issues and loves being in the ocean. She participated as an Eco-Steward in our Montana, Boston/Vermont and Portland programs and grew into a leadership role, helping plan and facilitate our programs in Gainesville, Seattle, Richmond and Hawaii.
Kathleen Murphy is from the great city of Richmond, Virginia where she works for the Center for Healthy Communities at Virginia Poverty Law Center. She currently attends Second Presbyterian Church and has become active with their young adult group. When she’s not working she loves to cook, garden, spend time outside, and go to various festivals and events around Richmond. Kathleen in an alum of the Boston Food Justice YAV Program. She joined the Eco-Stewards community as a participant in our Seattle Program and stayed on to plan and lead trips in Richmond (her hometown) and Hawaii.
CONTACT: For more info about The Eco-Stewards Program, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org