Meet RIEEA board member Ayana Melvan! She is the Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships for Mission Programs at Mystic Aquarium.
Ayana has been involved with RIEEA for 8 years. She loves that RIEEA is committed to equity and inclusion in environmental education. This organizational commitment drew her to to want to be on the board, “to help amplify a diverse voice of environmental educators that look like me.” We are grateful for all that Ayana has done to help RIEEA grow in our equity and inclusion efforts, as well as in advocacy.
What’s your favorite outdoor place in Rhode Island, and why?
Misquamicut Beach – I have been coming to this beach since I was young and it’s always held a special place in my heart. It’s where farm, salt pond, and beach meets the ocean and it’s a perfect 7 mile stretch that you can enjoy in the winter and avoid during the 8am – 3pm summer hours but have your own beach type feeling after 3pm. It’s also in my opinion the Caribbean of New England – clean blue water – salty air – good food and drink.
How did you get involved with the environmental field?
I worked in the Afterschool and Summer Learning Program sector or out-of-school time for over 20 years. When we did evaluations with students on what they wanted for programming they overwhelming choose environmental education and getting outside in a meaningful way. I’ve been involved in the field for over 10 years.
What’s your favorite environmental fact to share?
That humans are included in biodiversity.
What has been your favorite memory of working with RIEEA?
I love working on the policy and advocacy arm in RIEEA and my favorite memory is when we the board went kayaking together in August of 2022. What a nice way to relax, get outside, and get to know one another.