Eric J. Fuchs-Stengel
Executive Director, Beekeeper
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Eric J. Fuchs-Stengel is the Executive Director and Founder of MEVO one of the most awesome youth lead environmental organizations in the Northern New Jersey region. He recently graduated from the New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Study majoring in Environmental Sustainability and Social Change with a minor in Environmental Studies. He has worked for many environmental organizations such as City Growers, New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, Greenpeace, AmeriCorps, and the Energy Action Coalition. In addition, to his full time role at MEVO, he is also the full time Outreach Coordinator for the Rockland Conservation & Service Corps a program of the Rockland County Government Youth Bureau. He has worked internationally, 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. Amongst the many honors Eric has received for his work thus far, in 2014 he was declared a “New Jersey Hero,” by New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat Christie; he is the 29th New Jersey Hero to date. That same year he was also awarded the National Jefferson Award for Public Service, “The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting Local Communities.” The Jefferson Award is positioned as the, “Nobel Prize for Public Service,” and is considered the nation’s highest honor for community service; Eric is one of only two hundred people in the world to receive this award.
Farm Team Member
William Dimas, (who usually goes by Billy), is a summer 2016 farm crew member and a recent graduate from William Paterson University with a degree in Earth Science. His interests began while growing up and spending time on his Uncle’s goat farm up in the Catskills. One thing he learned from that experience is that he loves goats, but does not get along with llamas. In the summer of 2015 he spent a few weeks back up in the Catskills working and studying topics ranging from food production and access to forest management. In addition to MEVO he plays hockey, snowboards and manages a restaurant while exploring possibilities for graduate school. He also continues a project at the farm to grow them a moss lawn near the firepit.
2017 Apprentice Beekeeper
Lana Mustafa Hi there! My name is Lana Mustafa. I live in Clifton Nj with my family, where We grow a full garden every summer! I am also a backyard chicken, and bee keeper. As a kid, I always felt a strong sense of connection with nature, and I began gardening at the young age of 7! I have maintained that love, and it has developed into an ever lasting fascination with the complexities, and interconnectedness of this planet and society. I love sharing what I know, and I’m always looking to gain knowledge from others who are willing to share. Which brings me to how I started with MEVO!
I began volunteering on the farm last summer, and this year I wanted to be more involved. I wanted to learn more about organic farming, stewardship, and bees . And what better place to bring all my questions than MEVO! I believe that it’s imperative that we help children make a connection to nature, here at MEVO we take that seriously. We know that all it takes is a seed that is planted into their hearts! We are the future, and it’s time we all worked together to make sure that future is good!
David Howard is currently a student attending Ramapo College as a Business Administration Management major. He has been volunteering with MEVO regularly since its first event was held in 2008. As an Eagle Scout of Mahwah’s BSA Troop 258, David values opportunities to give back to the community and to work toward improving our environment. In addition to volunteering at events, David applies his skills as a Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicle technician to diagnosing and maintaining MEVO’s vehicles. In his free time, David enjoys hiking the trails of Ramapo Reservation and Campgaw, as well as working on various projects including restoring antiques, motorcycles and a vintage VW.
Member, Board of Directors
Hi, I am Sandy Shevack. I have an MA in Child Advocacy. I teach Sociology and Anthropology courses at William Paterson University, Montclair State University, Ramapo College, and Bergen Community College. I participating in the making of the 1979 Academy Award documentary “Scared Straight” and “Scared Straight-20 Years Later”. I have volunteered working community development projects in Nicaragua (with the Sandinastas in 1988), Cuba and Guatemala. I obtained foundation grants for a NGO in Guatemala to construct three school buildings from 2004-2008. I started a non-profit in Passaic in 1982, the Juvenile Education and Awareness Project, hired local teenagers and renovated 5 vacant buildings into affordable housing and a preschool center. I am still the Volunteer Director. I organized activists and artist to create 6 human rights themed murals in Passaic from 2001-2013. Among my awards are the 2000 Russ Berrie “Unsung Heroes” Award, the 1998 William Donner Foundation Fellowship, the Record Newspaper Community Service Award and the Passaic Valley United Way’s Volunteer Award. I am long time member of Amnesty International. Thanks again!
email@example.com / 973-670-2753
Allie Grinkevich is a recent graduate from Ramapo College with a major in Global Issues (Liberal Studies) and minors in Philosophy and Environmental Studies. The courses she took granted her a better understanding of the issues facing our world, such as the impact of our unsustainable agricultural system on global climate change. It also enabled her to explore ideas of ethics and develop insights into the nature of human perception and society. Allie wants to experience the world and loves to travel. Some of her favorite places include Rohnert Park, California; Barcelona, Spain; Stonington, Maine; Lake Tahoe, Nevada; and Denver, Colorado. Allie is an animal rights activist and has been vegetarian since December 2013, and vegan since September 2014. She is anti-factory farms and sees community farming projects, such as MEVO’s Fresh Roots Farm as proof that it is possible to grow food sustainably in a manner far different from the high input industrialized monoculture model. She plans to continue working to educate others about sustainability and the impacts of human actions on a global scale. .
Pat Harrison is a senior at Ramapo College of NJ where he studies Environmental Science, before attending Ramapo he earned his associates in science at Bergen Community College. Pat is an amateur beekeeper, keeping bees at home with his dad in Dumont. He feels that the base for environmental change youth base organization that is self-education, self-motivation, and working together and that is why he is so drawn to MEVO.
Social Media Manager
Ariel Kallenbach is a rising junior at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she is studying Communication and minoring in both Natural Resources Conservation and Anthropology. Ariel developed a love for nature and a deep appreciation for our earth at a young age. Through her studies and dedication to protecting the environment, she hopes to be a force of positive change in the world.
Michael Dalessio is MEVO’s go-to culinary expert, he is passionate about food, hospitality, great local ingredients and has a growing interest in sustainable farming practices. Michael believes that the best meals are those made with locally-sourced quality ingredients that are produced in a responsible and sustainable matter and shared with the people you love. In the fall of 2016, Michael and his team executed the inaugural MEVO Fresh Roots Farm Feast, a farm to table charity dinner that raised thousands of dollars for the organization. Michael graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 2012 with an Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts Management and is currently employed at the Indian Trail Club in Franklin Lakes, NJ. Since he began volunteering with MEVO in 2008, Michael has been a proactive member of the organization before taking on the role of chef. Aside from creating fantastic feasts and volunteering with MEVO, Michael enjoys yard work, collecting and restoring antiques and repairing and customizing cars and trucks.
Karin La Greca
Chairwoman, Board of Directors
Karin La Greca has a Masters of Arts in Sustainability Studies and is a Sustainability Consultant. She works with local communities helping them achieve their sustainability initiatives as well as Sustainable Jersey certification. Karin also is an environmental educator for Ramapo College of New Jersey.
firstname.lastname@example.org / 908-472-1029
Hello everyone! My name is Isabel Arrieche and I am majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Food Studies at Ramapo College. This coming fall I am looking forward to beginning my last year at school and living in the Sustainable Living Facility on campus as well as taking on the position of Co-President of 1STEP (Students Together for Environmental Progress). I am deeply interested in preparing food and growing food as a source of physical and spiritual healing for individuals, communities, and the land. The medicinal value of plants, minerals, and experiences never ceases to amaze me and I plan on channeling this energy into becoming trained in traditional forms of medicine, such as Ayurveda. Another part of my life’s work is to ensure that under-served communities have access to fresh, organic produce. I am grateful to my family, to my professors, and for my study abroad experience in India for revealing my passions so I could begin my journey of servicing humanity. I thank MEVO for making me a part of the Farm Crew and I am looking forward to getting dirty! Let’s grow some veggies!
Member, Board of Directors
David Nicholson, a veteran volunteer, is responsible for MEVO’s e-mails and MEVO’s various social media channels. He also contributes to the written content of the MEVO website. David has completed wilderness first aid training, was inspired to start beekeeping thanks to MEVO’s Farm to Live program, and has hiked the local state parks of Northern New Jersey with family and friends. Currently, David is a student at Northeastern University in Boston, with a major in Business Administration along with an Environmental Studies minor. David enjoys strength training with both barbells and kettlebells, statistics, beekeeping, improvisational theater, reading books of all kinds, and the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. His plans for the future are to pursue a path that helps make the world a better place.
Treasurer, Board of Directors
Rebecca Fuchs has years of experience in the creative design fields of Interior, Textile and Graphic Arts. She worked as a Design Stylist and Art Director for many years in a Textile converter mill in NYC. Rebecca is an independent surface pattern and print designer and her work can be viewed at her company website patternprintsource.com. Rebecca is also the Treasurer for the Board of Directors of MEVO. She maintains the company’s financial records, photographs the volunteer events and designs the company artwork. She volunteers her time to support MEVO’s altruistic and charitable environmental work.
Deborah Francis Emery
Secretary, Board of Directors
Deborah Francis Emery has been the Director of the Community Volunteer Services for the Volunteer Center of Bergen County since 1995. Debbie has a long background in volunteer management, serving as the Director of Volunteer for Valley Home Care and Valley Hospice and the Assistant Director of Development and Volunteer Management for the Pascack Valley Hospital Foundation. After graduating from Muhlenberg College in 1981 with a BA in History and Political Science, Debbie served two terms in Governor Kean’s administration for the State of New Jersey. Debbie joined the MEVO Board in late 2013. She also serves on the Service Learning Advisory Panel for Bergen Community College. Debbie resides in Glen Rock with her husband Shawn and two adult daughters, Carley and Maddie.
Member, Board of Directors
Norm Rasmussen graduated from Ramapo College with in individualized Bachelor of Arts, focusing on Anthropology. Since graduating, he has had experience in a number of industries from tech to sports and recreation. He currently is a fundraiser for an independent school in New Jersey and joined MEVO’s board in 2016 and assists with MEVO’s fundraising and stewardship efforts. In his free time he can be found rock climbing, tending to his garden, or foraging for medicinal plants.