“We are sisters of this Earth—members of one powerful tribe.”

—Jada Pinkett Smith
“If you can feed yourself, you can free yourself.”

—Dr. Grace Lee Boggs, philosopher and Detroit community organizer
“My daughter talks about what she did and learned at ECO Girls all weekend long. This is a great program!”

—ECO Girl Parent

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Tiya Miles

Tiya Miles, Founder and Director

Tiya is a mother of three and the author of two books on Black and Cherokee history. She is a professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she teaches on the subjects of African American, Native American, and American women's history and lives. When her children were babies, she organized a toy exchange at the Center for the Childbearing Year in Ann Arbor and a diaper and organic baby food drive for SOS Community Services in Ypsilanti. In the summertime, she enjoys hiking with her family in her husband's home state of Montana, eating ice cream, and reading mysteries.

When Tiya was a girl growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, she loved to play in the tucked away meadow beyond the buildings of her apartment complex. Once she saw three rabbits hopping in a circle there, and she was sure that they were dancing.

For information on Tiya's most recent books, visit Tiya's website.

Alexandria Cadotte

Alexandria Cadotte, Program Manager/Camp Manager

Alyx is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. She is founder and director of Good Path Kids, a company that specializes in Native children's toys and books. Her involvement in children's education has taken many forms, including youth camps, community center programming and pre-college campus visits for teens. In her spare time she loves to read, explore nature and serve on the planning committee for the Ann Arbor Pow Wow.

Alyx is happiest when she's picking wild blueberries in northern Ontario. If she could be any animal, it would be a black bear so she could do that all summer.

Program Manager Alyx Cadotte is on the Big Island (Oahu) of the Hawaiian Islands this year (2016-17) teaching food sustainability to elementary kids in the VISTA program.

Zakiyah Sayyed

Zakiyah Sayyed, Project Coordinator/Camp Director

ECO Girls Project Coordinator and Camp Director, Zakiyah Sayyed, has journeyed to the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, where she now resides in the city of Pietermaritzburg. Zakiyah is currently a Research Fellow with the Centre for AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA). CAPRISA is known for innovative work in HIV prevention technologies with extensive experience with female populations. Zakiyah is stationed at CAPRISA’s Vulindlela Clinical Research Site where her projects include work in the areas of: HIV/AIDS in adolescent populations, social mobilization, community engagement and community lead approaches to infection reduction. Zakiyah misses the ECO Girls team and participants during this time away but is staying close via email, Facebook, and Twitter!

When she is not dancing, hugging trees or recycling everything in sight, Zakiyah enjoys howling at the moon and making snow angels.

LiLi Passarelli

Alexandra "LiLi" Passarelli, Program Co-Manager

LiLi is a proud multi-racial, multi-ethnic woman. She will be graduating Winter 2014 from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with a degree in Global Health & Environment. She plans to pursue more work with children, women, and health inequity issues before returning to graduate school. One of her favorite hobbies is traveling, and she's pictured here at Tiger Leaping Gorge in southwestern China.

Her most amazing nature experience was in Taman Negara or "National Park" in Malaysia. She trekked the lush jungle at the age of 15 with her mother and heard and felt the vibrancy of an entire ecosystem. LiLi's grandfather was a lumberjack in Malaysia a long time ago. He and his men always prayed to the protectors of the forest before entering to log. To have shared a small bit of this experience with her grandfather is very special to her.

Co-program manager, LiLi Passarelli, is off this year (2016-17) on a Fulbright Fellowship working with women migrant laborers in Indonesia. She sent this message for ECO Girls participants:

"Indonesia has been wonderful! The first 4 months (June-Sept) were an absolute whirlwind navigating immigration bureaucracy and intensive language training. At the time, I was living in a cozy homestay that took great care of me. After language studies were done I moved into a shared house with international students and passing travelers.

Many of the Indonesian islands are dotted with volcanoes. I had to face my fears of heights and instantaneous death. The girls from ECO Girls were very much on my mind as I struggled to pull myself up tree branches and rocky outcroppings. I wondered if the girls in ECO Girls had the same feeling of "I can't believe I did that!"


The women at one of the grassroots organization, Women in Solidarity, are phenomenal. This week I’ll have a chance to see how they run their feminist philosophy training session with rural working women."

Elizabeth James

Elizabeth James, Storyteller; Outreach Coordinator for DAAS

Beth is the program manager for the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and she also does outreach on behalf of the department. A native Detroiter, she is honored to be a third generation storyteller and librarian, as well as an activist, following in the tradition of her family.

The first “miracle” she saw was a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. Her happiest memories include playing in the grass watching for bumblebees then flipping over to watch the clouds float by.

Mallory Horne

Mallory Horne, Lead Teacher & Curriculum Specialist

In the spring of 2013 Mallory Horne moved to Denver, Colorado with her husband. They soon welcomed a new daughter and future Eco Girl to their family. Mallory is a recent graduate from the University of Michigan’s School of Education. Her focus of study was Curriculum Development for Elementary Education. Mallory was born and spent the first half of her live in Denver, Colorado. There her father instilled in her a deep love of nature through frequent camping and hiking trips in the beautiful Colorado Rockies. The best thing her father ever taught her was to, “take only memories, and leave only footsteps.”

After moving to Scottsdale, Arizona Mallory learned to love and appreciate the Sonoran Desert as much as her Colorado Rockies. However, she has been enjoying the beautiful changing of the seasons here in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She especially loves the opportunity to buy and even hand pick food from the local farms. In addition to brainstorming new ways to become more sustainable Mallory enjoys crafting, particularly sewing and crocheting.

Joe Reilly

Joe Reilly, Environmental Education Specialist

Joe is a singer, songwriter, and environmental educator who performs and teaches throughout Michigan and across the country. Joe combines his love for the earth with his joy for singing, engaging and inspiring children of all ages to appreciate and understand themselves and the world around them. Joe just recently released his second album of environmental songs for kids called "Let's Go Outside".

Website: www.joereilly.org

Rachel Dennis

Rachel Dennis, Project Artist

Rachel Mae Dennis is the artist behind the ECO Girls signature image of five active girls on top of the world. She is a graduate of Michigan State University. From children's books to comic strips, her artwork is always evolving and changing. .

Advisory Group:

Dorceta Taylor, Professor, School of Natural Resources and Environment, UM

Carole Lapidos, Co-founder, Raising Strong and Confident Daughters; Co-founder and director, “It’s Great To Be A Girl!”; Program Consultant, Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives, UM

Debbie Taylor, Assistant Director, Women in Science and Engineering Program (WISE); Director, Women in Engineering Office

Jamie Saville, Assistant Director, Women in Science and Engineering Program (WISE); Director, Women in Science Office

Kelly Cunningham, Director, Office of Public Affairs, UM

Amanda Edmonds, Executive Director, Growing Hope, Ypsilanti

Manja Holland, Research Programs Officer, Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute, UM

Shari Saunders, Clinical Associate Professor, School of Education, UM

Emily P. Lawsin, Lecturer III, Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies, American Culture, and Women's Studies; Co-Founder, Detroit Asian Youth (DAY) Project and Filipino Youth Initiative (FYI).

Maria Cotera, Associate Professor, American Culture, Latino/a Studies, Women’s Studies, UM

Angela Dillard, Director, Residential College; Professor, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, UM

Margaret Noori, Director, Comprehensive Studies Program; Lecturer, American Culture, Native American Studies, Ojibwe language and literature, UM

Perry Samson, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences, UM

Amy Harris, Director, Exhibit Museum of Natural History, UM

Nick Reo, Research Fellow, School of Natural Resources and Environment, UM

Shari Robinson-Lynk, Director, Project Community, Ginsberg Center, UM