Earth Day Event 2021

April 22, 2021

A diverse panel of community leaders will share what they are doing in their communities related to environmental education, environmental justice and sustainability. Join us for Q&A and discussion!



Earth Day Event

On Thursday, April 22, 2021 we had the pleasure of hearing from a diverse panel of community leaders who shared topics related to environmental education, environmental justice and sustainability in celebration of Earth Day. After the speakers shared about what they are doing in their communities, we had a Q&A and a casual conversation space. The recording is below:

Click here to access the Environmental Education Resources page

Click here to access the recording of our Environmental Education and Montessori session held on April 7, 2021

Meet the Speakers!

Carlos Chiver Jassan – Carlos was born into a Jewish family in México City, where he still resides. He is an architect who founded his own architecture office under the name of Nivel Tres. Being passionate about life and nature, he studied his master’s degree in Sustainable Design, Construction and Architecture at the University of the Environment, where he developed his thesis on Living Architecture, which he applies in the projects he develops. In 2015 he cofounded Merkaz Montessori School. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Educational Innovation for Sustainability because he is convinced that learning is an innate condition of life itself.

Carlos es arquitecto licenciado por la Universidad Anáhuac. Trabajó en el despacho del Arq. Alberto Kalach durante su carrera y en 2009 fundo su propio despacho de arquitectura bajo el nombre de Nivel Tres, cuyo propósito es vivir en bienestar con el mundo a través de los procesos de la arquitectura y los espacios construidos.

Siendo un apasionado por la vida y por la naturaleza estudió su Maestría en Diseño, Construcción y Arquitectura Sustentable en la Universidad del Medio Ambiente, donde desarrolló su tesis sobre Arquitectura Viva, la cual aplica en los proyectos que desarrolla.

Es colaborador del proyecto La Casa de la Vinculación en Oaxaca, de la Fundación Pro Vincalma, en el área de diseño, implementación y construcción de la arquitectura del lugar, que tiene como principio el desarrollo de una arquitectura ecológica al servicio del usuario y de la tierra.

En 2015 participa en la fundación del Colegio Merkaz Montessori, donde colabora en el diseño, la filosofía y el sistema educativo de la escuela siendo coordinador del área de ecología y educación ambiental. Actualmente está cursando su Maestría en Innovación Educativa para la Sostenibilidad, también en la Universidad del Medio Ambiente, debido a que está convencido que el aprendizaje es una condición innata de la vida misma y, por lo tanto, del ser humano.

Con entusiasmo y disciplina, Carlos está convencido que el buen diseño, el pensamiento ecológico, el aprendizaje y la colaboración son claves para la construcción de un mundo mejor.


Judith Cunningham – Judith Cunningham is the Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Montessori Model UN. Judith founded MMUN to help students find their voices, take action and build peace. MMUN is named after Dr. Maria Montessori who said to the UNESCO, “If the world would listen to the children, they would hear new, innovative solutions to the world’s problems”. As a Montessori educator and former head of school, Judith’s experience enabled her to design MMUN to align with the developmental interests of students from 9-18 years of age moving from awareness of the global-local nature of problems to a sense of responsibility to take action to the implementation of student action project. Judith holds an AMI Elementary Diploma, a M.Ed. and post graduate work in Alternate Dispute and Conflict Management and has worked with students and teachers from 30+ countries since founding MMUN in 2006. Click here to learn more about the MMUN Climate Summit June 28-30, 2021

Marilú Mejía-López – Marilú is a Montessori climate activist who developed two projects for the Youth Impact Forum:

Marilú lives in Cozumel Island, Mexico, the supporting school for these projects is Montessori Bech io Middle and High School, AMI-NAMTA.

Facebook – Bech io Consultoría México


Dallas Nelson – Dallas Nelson is an Oglala Lakota from Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Dallas and his wife Emily Charging Crow-Nelson have four children and reside in the Red Cloud Community on the Pine Ridge Reservation. He currently serves as the Director of the Lakota Language & Education Initiative at the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology, a Bachelor’s in American Indian Studies and a Masters in Lakota Leadership and Management. He holds his AMI Primary Guide Assistant certification and is working towards his AMI Primary Teacher Training certification. He is advocate for Indigenous Education, Language Reclamation and the ongoing movement to create systemic change within Indigenous Communities. Check out A Continuing Legacy of Lakota Liberation written by Tȟatúye Tópa Nážiŋ Wiŋ (Tatewin Means) & Ašʼápi (Dallas Nelson) and recently published in the Embracing Equity blog.


Centro Tyrone Guzman | Siembra Montessori 

Dorothy Lerma – Dorothy Lerma is a Montessori Guide at Siembra Montessori located in Minneapolis, MN. Siembra Montessori is a dual-language environment serving the Latine community. Dorothy holds a B.A. in Political Science at the University of Texas San Antonio. She was awarded the Women United Scholarship to attend the Montessori Center of Minnesota Primary Training course and internship at Siembra Montessori. Dorothy completed the Primary Montessori training course in 2017 and joined Siembra Montessori as a Supporting Guide. She completed a M.A. in Montessori Primary Education 2018 at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. While training, she learned of the AMI Inclusive Education course and instantly knew this course would support the work in the environment. Shortly after, Dorothy enrolled to attend the Montessori Institute of San Diego for two summers and completed the course in 2019.


Stephanie Becerra is 22 years old from Mexico. Stephanie started working at Siembra Montessori in 2016 as an Aid and then from 2017 – 2019 as an Assistant Guide after taking the Assistant course. Stephanie loves working with children and fell in love with the Montessori method which was something new that she learned as she started working at Siembra. In fall 2019, Stephanie took the Primary Course at MCM and graduated in May 2020. After she graduated, she started working as a Lead Guide at Siembra Montessori. Stephanie shares: “It has been such a wonderful experience where I have learned so much from the children.” Stephanie is working closely with the children on the medicinal herb garden.




Maritza Darling-Ramos is a Black and Mexican woman from the Southeast Side of Chicago. After graduating from Monmouth University in 2019, she returned to East Side to learn more about community organizing and found her passion in advocating for people with disabilities and amplifying Black voices. Maritza will celebrate almost 6 months as an Outreach Worker with Access Living which aims to transition people with disability in nursing homes to help them live independently.  Maritza is also a community organizer with the Southeast Youth Alliance a grassroots community organization located on the Southeast side of Chicago.


Are you located in the Chicagoland area? Join SYA for a tree planting event this Saturday, April 24 – click on the graphic for more details!



Arielle King is a Maryland-based 23-year-old environmental justice and anti-racism advocate. She is currently completing her final year of law school and prepping for the bar exam this summer while writing anti-racism policies for school districts and organizations to help them begin holistic cultural shifts through her small business called Writing Wrongs LLC. She holds both a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies with a concentration in Political Ecology and a MA in Environmental Law and Policy. Arielle is passionate about integrating environmental justice considerations into law, policy, and school curriculum. She believes that understanding the principles of environmental justice is a meaningful way to equally consider and value both people and the planet in decision-making for every industry. Arielle is also a finalist in the Miss Maryland USA competition and will be competing in the state pageant this July.

Below are some additional resources shared during the session:

  • Land Acknowledgement – here is a link to a resource to identify indigenous tribal land near you!
  • Information shared by Maritza Darling-Ramos including social media accounts to follow working for environmental justice in the Chicagoland area:
IG for against general Iron: se_coalition_to_ban_petcoke & chihungerstrike