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Fellowship Program

Friends of the Earth's mission is to defend the environment and champion a more healthy and just world. To accomplish that mission, we are working at the nexus of environmental protection, economic justice and social justice to fundamentally transform the way our country and the world values people and the environment.

Within the past year we have seen the dismantling of critical environmental protections through the gutting of the EPA and blatant attacks on our public lands for the benefit of the fossil fuel industry. And this administration is just getting started. Coupled together, these attacks leave the environment more vulnerable than it has been in over two decades and threaten decades of hard-fought victories for people and the planet.

Friends of the Earth was made for this fight. We are tough, scrappy, and aren’t afraid to stand up and speak truth to power. We pull no punches, and neither do our members. We are organizing at the grassroots to expand FOE’s political power and stop many of the Trump administration’s environmental attacks by developing a diverse base of activists and grassroots leaders who are taking action at a local level to influence key decision-makers in their districts.

In order to help us build a diverse base of activists and grassroots leaders we have launched a grassroots fellowship program aimed at organizing to stand up to Trump and his corrupt administration. This program focuses on Friends of the Earth's flagship campaigns to fight the Trump administration's attacks on people and the environment.

2019 Fellowship Program

Friends of the Earth envisions a world where we live within the ability of the planet to sustain life, and in which all people live with dignity, health and equity. We believe that both environmental crises, as well as widespread social injustice, are intertwined symptoms of flawed ideological, economic and political systems that are violating peoples’ rights, perpetuating oppression, failing to meet the needs of people, and destroying the planet.

We believe that increasing racial diversity within environmental organizations is critical to the future success of our movement. Our six-month fellowship is designed to increase the long-term effectiveness of FOE and the environmental movement by operating an inspiring and fulfilling fellowship program that builds skills and relevant job experience for people of color and members of underrepresented communities. Each of our five fellows work closely with one of our five programs: Climate and Energy, Economic Policy, Food and Agriculture, Oceans and Vessels, and Organizing.

Naudelis Fernandez

Oceans & Vessels Fellow

Naudelis is the 2019 Oceans & Vessels fellow in Washington, DC. She was born and raised in Puerto Rico where she grew to be passionate about her island’s history, culture, and natural resources. In high school, Naudelis participated in an environmental leadership program lead by the Sierra Club Student Coalition and she has collaborated with the group as an organizer, facilitator, and coach ever since. Naudelis recently graduated from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and an Economics minor. She is currently a coach and facilitator for the Climate Justice League and board member of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (PR). In both spaces she helps other youth in Puerto Rico organize environmental justice campaigns and projects. When she’s not out and about fighting for climate justice, you can find Naudelis in a Zumba class as an instructor or student or trying to take the perfect picture for Instagram. Naudelis aspires to start law school this fall and continue her work towards a just and sustainable society.

Fun Fact: I have “accidentally” snuck into two VIP concert events

Raena Garcia

Climate & Energy Fellow

Raena Garcia is the Climate & Energy Fellow at Friends of the Earth in DC. Her duties include holding corporations and decision makers accountable on environmental and social injustices while promoting clean and sustainable practices. She is a native New Mexican and graduated with a BS in Biology and BA in Psychology from the University of New Mexico. Previously with Americorps VISTA, Raena dedicated her work in promoting environmental education and Earth stewardship to residents in rural New Mexico. She has worked with local and state representatives, Pueblos, non-profits, and community leaders on conservation campaigns to help permanently protect New Mexico’s diverse wildlife, waters, and public lands. You can find Raena spending her free time outdoors in nature or trying out new restaurants and foods.

Fun Fact: I’ve recently found a love for river rafting. My last trip was a three-day float down the Chama River and I hope to one day do the Colorado River!

William Jones

Economic Policy Fellow

William is the 2019 Economic Policy fellow in Washington, D.C. He works on issues related to the corporate finance and liability of industries that drive climate change via fossil fuel production and deforestation, as well as the transition to a fully renewable grid system and transportation network through the Green New Deal. He earned his B.S. in Environmental Economics & Management from the University of Georgia and is an alumnus of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program. William enjoys outdoor activities, is an aspiring sushi critic, and promotes green entrepreneurship.

Fun Fact: William can tie a knot with a cherry stem using his tongue.

Jolene Mafnas

Food & Agriculture Fellow

Jolene is the 2019 Food and Agriculture Fellow and is primarily working on the Bee Action campaign which focuses on banning pollinator-toxic pesticides and transitioning the food system to be more organic. Prior to the fellowship, she was a Project Coordinator for Nutrition Action Healthletter where she worked on various food centric articles through research and editorial work. She has a B.S. in Kinesiology (Public Health Concentration) and Environmental Policy from the College of William and Mary. Jolene has a strong passion for food justice and its intersectionality with public health. When she’s not working she likes to bike, cook, write, do yoga, and go to museums!

Fun Fact: I can rotate my arms 360 degrees because I have hypermobility in my shoulders!