WASHINGTON, DC — Greening Youth Foundation (GYF) CEO and Founder Angelou Ezeilo, a leading expert on diversity, equity and inclusion in the conservation field, has joined the nonprofit funders’ network Rachel’s Network as an advisor.

Angelou is working to change the face of conservation in the United States and help young people of color find meaningful outdoor careers. Her work earned her an Ashoka Fellowship, sponsored by Rachel’s Network from 2016-2019. She also served as a judge for the Rachel’s Network Catalyst Award and was featured in a video about the award.

In cities like Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Selma and beyond, African American youth face unemployment rates well above the national average, and limited career opportunities. Meanwhile, the leadership responsible for stewarding our public lands doesn’t reflect our country’s diverse population.

GYF’s signature program is its Youth Conservation Corps which has worked with thousands of young people from 17-25 and places an average of 500 a year in conservation internships across the country. Participants in its Urban Youth Corps program are trained in light construction, conservation, agriculture, forestry, trail restoration, leave-no-trace methods, teamwork, financial literacy, job interviewing, and more.

“Knowing Angelou has inspired our organization and our members to grow their commitment to equity in the environmental movement,” said Rachel’s Network President Fern Shepard. “As both an Ashoka Fellow and Catalyst Award judge, we’ve seen firsthand the dedication and passion she brings to elevating new leaders. We’re honored to have her as an advisor.”

Before founding GYF in 2007, Angelou was a legal specialist for the New Jersey State Agriculture and Development Committee, and project manager for the Trust for Public Land in New Jersey and Georgia. She serves on many boards, including the Atlanta Audubon Society, the South Fork Conservancy, and advisory boards of the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, and Outdoor Afro. She is the author of a new book, Engage, Connect, Protect: Empowering Diverse Youth as Environmental Leaders.

“I am thrilled to be a part of such an incredible group of women who are all about equity and advocating for change throughout broken systems in an effort to protect our planet,” said Angelou.

Rachel’s Network Circle of Advisors — prominent women environmental leaders — provide high-level expertise and keep Rachel’s Network members connected to nonprofits that share our goals. This esteemed roster includes Dr. Jane Goodall, Julia Olson, Alice Waters, and Terry Tempest Williams.


Rachel’s Network, a nonprofit organization named in Rachel Carson’s honor, promotes women as impassioned leaders and agents of change dedicated to the stewardship of the earth. The Network builds productive alliances among members and offers services that empower them to lead.

The Greening Youth Foundation’s mission is to engage under-represented youth and young adults, while connecting them to the outdoors and careers in conservation.

Photo by Kaia Rose

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