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, vocational discernment, faith formation, storytelling, mentoring, recreation and hands-on environmental stewardship. Past programs have been located in rural West Virginia, Montana’s Crow Reservation, Boston/Vermont, Portland, Oregon and Gainesville, Florida. 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 have to say about our program:
“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.”
Rev. Rob Mark is an ordained Presbyterian minister who has served as pastor of Church of the Covenant in Boston since 2012. He grew up outside of Boston, cultivating a love for nature by wandering in his backyard woods. In college, he studied geology and international development and spent summers leading youth trips to the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana. Today, Rob is passionate about the movement for climate justice along with reclaiming the Celtic traditions that underpin his ancestral heritage intertwined with the roots of the Presbyterian tradition. “On a personal retreat to the Iona Community in Scotland,” he wrote, “I felt guidance from the Holy Spirit that my vocation should always center around three elements: Jesus, the earth, and the poor.” Rob has been coordinating Eco-Stewards since its exciting inception in 2006 and continues to be deeply inspired by this growing community and its potential to impact lasting change.
Vickie Machado graduated with her Masters in Religion & Nature from the University of Florida in 2013. She now works as an organizer in Florida, where she is actively working for labeling of GMOs and against fracking in the Everglades. Vickie has been an active part of the Eco-Stewards Program since attending her first program trip to Montana in 2011. She is also active with the Food Justice Fellows and the Watershed Discipleship Alliance. She spends her spare time at the beach and with family.
Rev. Liz Leavitt is pastor 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. She has held leadership roles in several Presbyteries and other church-based organizations and had attended two Eco-Steward adventures as a leader/organizer.
Brian Frick serves as the National staff person for Camp and Conferences for the PC(USA) and work for the national offices of the Presbyterian Church. He served as Program Director for 10 years at three different camps (Johnsonburg, NJ; Westminster Woods, CA and Heartland, MO). He has served on the board of PCCCA for 7 years, including when this program was launched. Brian is passionate about helping our camp and conference centers to teach leadership, deepen faith and instill wonder, respect and stewardship for God’s creation.
Colleen Earp lives in Richmond, Virginia where she works for the Presbytery of the James at Camp Hanover doing environmental and youth ministry. Before that, she was a Young Adult Volunteer in South Louisiana doing wetlands conservation work. Colleen joined the Eco-Stewards leadership after participating in the 2014 Gainesville program. She has a background in geography, but will be starting the MDiv program at Union Presbyterian Seminary this fall in hopes of mashing up all of those degrees into some kind of spectacular outdoor/conservation ministry. In the meantime, she loves to explore and learn about new places and how this whole beautiful world is connected.
Becky Evans teaches media writing to college students, . A former environmental journalist, she keeps an eye on the changing media landscape and intends to return to the newsroom of the future. Until then, her students keep her writing and editing skills sharp and her reporter’s mind is never far from her three beats: fishing, environment, and immigration. Since 2010, she’s trained Eco-Stewards in multimedia storytelling on trips to West Virginia, Montana, Oregon and Vermont. She enjoys mentoring the Eco-Stewards alumni, who keep her inspired by their passionate faith, service and love of this planet.
For more info about The Eco-Stewards Program, contact us at email@example.com