Sue co-founded the nonprofit along with her husband Chris and has accounting and management skills that help keep One Cool Earth operating from day to day.
Personal Statement: As a youngster, I admired what miracle nature produces since planting flowers in my backyard. As an adult, it’s no different. Volunteering, gardening, planting trees or seeds, learning what works and what doesn’t, it’s all outside and that’s the best part!
Being married to the guy who started One Cool Earth (10 years ago) keeps my involvement at the forefront.
Founder & President
With formal training in art and business, Chris is a natural entrepreneur and has founded and managed several successful companies. Chris brings creativity and a strong business mind to the OCE team.
Personal Statement: Cleveland, Ohio 1969, the Cuyahoga River erupted in flames. 1971, I moved from my parent’s nice house in the suburbs to live above the river, across from the steel mills. The river and air were still an open sewer. At first I was angry, at everyone. Eventually I came to understand. Close to the mills were the poor trying to survive and forget where they lived. In the suburbs, they viewed the river fouling as the price of progress. Each had a position and a set of solid facts to support it. I couldn’t pick a side, didn’t know what to do, so I moved away. Today after many ventures, I’m not so much an environmentalist as a realist. In the end, debating the facts doesn’t matter because you can’t move far enough away…
Greg grew up in Wyoming, but came to San Luis in 2003 to attend Cal Poly. He began volunteering with One Cool Earth in 2005, helping Lionel plant trees and carry environmental education programs and service learning projects to over a dozen schools in the county. After graduating from Cal Poly with an English degree, Greg began grant writing for One Cool Earth. Greg returned to school temporarily to study sustainability in the Materials Engineering department of Cal Poly, but soon dropped out to work with OCE full time. In 2010, Greg was hired through AmeriCorps to work full time with OCE developing volunteer infrastructure and programs. After AmeriCorps, Greg was hired onto OCE as a full-time staff member. In 2013 he became a Director. In his free time he enjoys music, friends, food, and the great outdoors.
Megan van Hamersveld
Lead Marine Debris Educator
Scouring the city in search of rogue plastic bags, Megan is a transplanted mermaid who longs for a trash-free ocean. She spends her days in 17 Paso Robles and Atascadero Schools teaching students about the effects of land-based litter on the marine ecosystem. Together, the students, staff, and Megan are working to create lunchtime waste sorting stations, establish on-site worm compost bins, and teach the school and community about zero-waste practices. Surfer, environmentalist, and general ocean-lover, Megan studied Environmental Communication at Cal Poly and hopes to inspire youth to alter systems in support of a more sustainable world.
FoodCorps Member 2016-2017
Mariah holds a Bachelors of Science in Nutrition from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and devoted her undergrad work to pursuing her interests in garden-enhanced child nutrition education. While studying, she volunteered with Sprout Up, teaching environmental science focused upon food systems. She has been a mentor for the Morro Bay Guerilla Gardening Club where she has volunteered to restore community gardens and offer compost education at local events. Mariah also partnered with CAPSLO as their volunteer Farm to Preschool Program Coordinator, working to gather community resources and volunteers to establish a sustainable Farm to Preschool educational program at 10 local Head Start Centers. She is humbled to be apart of FoodCorps, a nationwide team of AmeriCorps leaders who partner with school districts to engage kids with gardening and real food to foster a nourishing environment. She looks forward to serving her home community with One Cool Earth to teach about the cycles of food, water, and waste!
Cathy is a dedicated community volunteer and leader. She has a long interest in the role of nutrition and health. Combined with a savvy business sense she is well versed in fiscal responsibility. Her years of working for non-profits in our community attest to her dedication and commitment.
Lionel Dennis Johnson
Lionel’s background in project management as a ironworker’s foreman. Since his retirement 20 years ago, Lionel has volunteered countless hours and materials to promote native trees. Lionel co-founded One Cool Earth with Chris and Sue Elliott to increase environmental education and protection in the county.
Chrissy uses skills gained in her past career as a professional secretary to keep One Cool Earth organized and on track. Chrissy has volunteered with OCE for over 5000 hours over the past seven years–an amazing commitment!
In the Spring of 2013, OCE launched a Fellowship, bringing Victoria Carranza on board as the first participant in a new project of One Cool Earth meant to support local change-makers in their work, financially and organizationally. First, the Fellowship provided a monthly stipend to an individual for one year, buying the Fellow time to address important community issues that don’t necessarily pay up-front. Victoria leveraged her fellowship over the past two years to strengthen OCE’s programming, secure long-term funding, and launch new programs. Among her major achievements:
Launched a composting pilot program at Georgia Brown Elementary and expanded to three additional schools.
Lead youth project to raise funds for and install largest rainwater catchment system at any Paso Robles school.
Rehabilitated the Lewis Middle School garden.
Wrote and won nearly $2M in funding for low-impact development at Lucia Mar and Paso Robles schools.
She has also leveraged funding for a new garden-based nutrition and exercise program at Liberty High School and is holding healthy food tastings, gardening, making good food hip.
Lead Watershed Educator
After graduating Cal Poly SLO with a degree in Environmental Management & Protection, Jesse became One Cool Earth's 'Lead Watershed Educator'. He teaches students across SLO County about the importance of protecting water resources and empowers them to conserve water in their homes and at school. In addition to teaching in the classroom, Jesse organizes student-driven low impact development (LID) projects and leads several lunchtime garden club extensions. In his free time he likes to cook, watch basketball and host international couchsurfers!
AmeriCorps Member 2016-2017
Born and raised in Santa Maria, Miranda is currently serving as a Volunteer Infrastructure Program (VIP) service member with AmeriCorps for OCE. She will focus on developing a high-impact volunteer infrastructure that supports and expands outdoor education opportunities at public schools in SLO county. She graduated in June 2016 from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in Environmental Studies. Miranda appreciates how nonprofits seek to improve the quality of life for our region. She hopes to strengthen environmental education in the community by working together to create outdoor classrooms. In her spare time, you can find Miranda running outdoors, trying a new recipe from Pinterest, hanging out with her family, or solving a Sudoku.
Ed has over two decades experience connecting people with nature. Trained in horticulture, Ed has managed community tree planting programs, youth training programs delivering conservation outcomes, supervised community nurseries and been an extension officer for landholders wanting to enhance biodiversity on their properties.
Ed is also passionate about permaculture and organic food production having lived in an off grid permaculture village in Australia for more than a decade.
Personal statement: As a child I was always happiest in nature so I totally embrace the One Cool Earth mission statement, “Every child needs a place to grow.” I feel privileged to be able to work with our kids and communities to create gardens that will inspire a love of nature, the joy of growing clean fresh food and assist our earth in healing.