Nico Edwards – Outreach Coordinator
My name is Nico! I am a senior at Mahwah High School and your new Outreach Coordinator. I joined MEVO about a year and a half ago. I will never forget my first MEVO event, a trash cleanup at Ramapo Reservation. The land was beautiful and green and the air was so fresh. I couldn’t believe the amount garbage we pulled out. We found everything from cans dating back to the 50′s to glass Snapple bottles. From then on my heart and soul belonged to the Earth crew. I know each piece of trash has an impact of the environment, which is why I am at every event doing the dirty work. I made a lot of new friends through MEVO. I hope I can be a new friend to the kids that will come out to help cleanse the Earth of all this pollution.
Christina Choi – Event Coordinator
My name is Christina Choi and I am pleased to announce that I will be the MEVO Event Coordinator this year! I have been involved with this well-established organization since my junior year and I have thoroughly enjoyed every single event I have attended. Whether it was picking up the debris and litter from Catherine Avenue under the blazing sun or painting the MEVO recycling bins in a garage during the dull winter, there was always a great sense of accomplishment when the job was completed! These are the steps to make a cleaner environment for the community that we all love and cherish. Through the work I do as a volunteer of MEVO, I can proudly declare that I am actively helping the environment return to its green and natural state.
FARM TO LIVE
Matt Jordan – Farm Manager
Matt joined MEVO’s Farm crew in early May 2013 with a passion for sustainability and an interest to learn how to grow food. Matt grew up and still lives in nearby Glen Rock. After graduating with a degree in sociology from Rutgers University and interest in environmental consciousness and social reform, he found the local sustainable agriculture movement as a connection between the two, as well as an answer to many of today’s social problems, including poverty and public health. Since joining MEVO Matt has learned a lot from organic gardening to beekeeping to public outreach. He has lead corporate volunteer groups, helped teach high school and college students, and spent a week on a non-profit organic farm in New Paltz, NY. He also plans to get his Permaculture Design Certificate from a two week course in Cuba this November. Along with MEVO, Matt spends his time working for a local raw juice company and has connected with many people from the community with a grow conscious for personal health, local organic food and environmental sustainability. Matt sees the growing movement towards local sustainable agriculture and sees his place as both a learner and a teacher as Farm Manager for MEVO.
Eric Sturm – Director of Curriculum
Eric first volunteered with Farm to Live at NYU in 2012, and in January 2014, he began developing the curriculum for the Bergen County Educational Farm. He is currently a junior at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, concentrating in Critical Psychology and Social Change. He is particularly interested in mental health and prison reform/abolition. In the spring of 2013, Eric worked as an intern in a drug rehabilitation program at Northern State Prison in Newark, New Jersey. Later that year, Eric worked as a summer research assistant for the Kessler Foundation. He is also the co-president of FACE AIDS at NYU, a student organization dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS and promoting comprehensive health care in Rwanda. MEVO’s Educational Farm is an exciting opportunity for Eric to combine his passions for education, mental health, social justice, and environmentalism. He hopes that with this farm, the public will start to examine the inherent connection between agriculture, public health, and community involvement. In his free time, Eric plays with a rock & roll band in New York City.
Eric J. Fuchs-Stengel – Executive Director
Eric founded MEVO in the summer of 2008 when he was sixteen years old. Since then he has lead and grown the organization from its very first trash clean-up. He is currently a Senior at New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Study majoring in Environmental Sustainability and Social Change with a minor in Environmental Studies. Eric has also volunteered and worked for many other environmental organizations such as City Growers, New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, Greenpeace, AmeriCorps, and the Energy Action Coalition. In the summer of 2011 Eric went to the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan in the Himalayan Mountains and studied eastern Himalayan forests and rural livelihoods with the School for Field Studies. While there he interviewed over 80 local farmers in four villages of Ura Valley, Bhutan, and wrote a research report on “The effects of population increase and climate change on water scarcity and rural livelihoods in Ura Valley, Bhutan” which he then presented to a gathering of colleagues and Bhutanese government officials. He is the receiver of the 2012 Russell Berrie Award for Making a Difference as well as many other honors. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by cell phone at 201-316-4888. He loves to hear from anyone interested in volunteering for the natural environment.
Emma Spett – Volunteer Coordinator
Emma is a humanitarian and environmentalist who joined MEVO in pursuit of her passion for the world around her. Besides volunteering her time and energy towards helping improve the environment on a local and international scale, Emma enjoys traveling. She has visited multiple countries in Asia, most recently spending the summer of 2010 in India where she trekked through the Himalayas and volunteered with three magnificent schools: the SECMOL School in Ladakh, the Tibetan Children’s Village in Choglamsar and the Dil Se Campaign in New Delhi. Emma is also active in school organizations that work towards the advancement of environmental and human rights issues. She hopes to pursue a career in international human rights advocacy and law. Emma envisions a bright future for MEVO, following the idea to “never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
David Nicholson – Social Media Author
David is a veteran volunteer, a consistent member of Earth Crew’s projects and cleanups. Always curious about the world, David found MEVO to be not only a source of knowledge about the environmental problems occurring in his hometown but also a means to resolve them. He has completed first aid courses in wilderness survival and has hiked the local state parks with family and friends. Currently, David is a student at Northeastern University in Boston, is a member of the local hiking club there and is seeking ways to integrate environmental studies into his business degree. This summer he plans to have fun working on a farm for the first time. David enjoys foreign cultures and languages, reading anything and everything, the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, and has a variety of goals for the future, like seeing an Olympic Games event at some point in his life.
Peter Hauenstein – Deputy-Executive Director
Pete is a volunteer who helped on many MEVO projects such as managing farm plots and trash clean ups. He grew up in the town of Mahwah, went to Commodore Perry School and always had memories of the Ramapo reservation. When he first heard of MEVO he was impressed and knew that this organization was accomplishing big things. He did not know how big those things were until he started talking with Eric. A few years back Pete traveled to the Caribbean to do a marine biology study abroad program, he had yearned to be in a tropical place. As he was swimming on and studying a coral reef, doing conservation research, analyzing the impacts of tourism and beach clean ups he felt very rewarded, privileged to be in such a beautiful place. It was quite some time later, that he realized Mahwah is a special place too. Despite having lost mountain lions and wolves a century ago, it remains one of the last forested regions in this whole county. This instilled a passion in Pete to protect these lands and also stressed the importance of thinking globally (back to his time in Turks and Caicos) and acting locally right here in his own town. Pete knows the way to make the suburbs more sustainable is to clean up trashed areas, plant gardens instead of lawns and remove invasive plants and replace them with native plants. MEVO is doing this each and every day and it is an amazing and incredible experience to be able to help out with such important work such as this. There is so much just to do in one town but these are ideas that could easily be spread to other towns. That’s the beauty of MEVO: the work can inspire people and meaningful change towards a more sustainable way of living is suddenly entirely possible. Imagine if this spread to other states, it would be a revolution sweeping the country. Pete hopes to work in biological conservation, has done sea turtle night patrols in Grenada and plans on doing many more conservation based trips. In the photo, Pete is on the northern tip of South Caicos in the Turks and Caicos archipelago north of the Caribbean Sea. The place is called Coast Guard. Its shores are fringed with mangroves and pristine beaches, more inward are saline tolerant plants that serve as habitat for a variety of lizard and bird species. This whole area is under threat from a vacation home development. When the area is settled by wealthy tourists, the ecosystem may never be the same again.
Dmitry Merkulov – Web Developer
Dmitry, a Ramapo College graduate, joined MEVO shortly after it was founded in 2008 as its web developer and network administrator. In 2011 he began regularly volunteering for the Earth Crew and in 2012 also joined the Farm To Live program as a general handyman. “America, America, man sheds his waste on thee, and hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea.” – George Carlin.