Youth Programing

Youth Education and Leadership Program Schedule & Descriptions 2024

We invite you to join us in Berkeley for an incredible lineup of leaders making up the 2024 Youth Education and Leadership Program at Bioneers.

Wednesday, March 27

Youth Mixer & Orientation (includes dinner) 5:00 – 8:00 p.m

Featuring:

  • Jada Imani
  • Kayla Douglass
About this Session

Jada Imani is a Hip Hop artist and community curator involved in environmental justice and social activism. Influenced by the rich traditions of Black American music, her catalog speaks to the insights of liberatory thinkers. With roles as a Creative Organizing Coordinator at Youth vs Apocalypse and a board member at BAY-Peace, Jada’s journey in community engagement began at the age of 15 creating inclusive spaces at events like Oakland’s First Fridays and the Life is Living Festival. In addition to her artistic pursuits, Jada lends her insights to program design for the Bioneers Conference where she plays a role in planning and executing transformative initiatives. Jada is committed to transformative solutions and to uplifting the voices of young activists.

Kayla Douglas, a local activist and creative entrepreneur, is a queer woman who currently occupies the land of the Kumeyaay people but was born and raised on Ohlone territory. Her love for nature and community has led her to work with a variety of nonprofits. As a Co-Coordinator for the Bioneers Youth Leadership and Education Program with Weaving Earth, Kayla is excited to co-host the Bioneers Youth Program. 

Orientation Poets:

Brandon Gagante (he/him) is a Filipino American storyteller born and raised in San Jose. He works at YouthSpeaks as a teaching artist, has hosted Lyricist Lounge and the student-centered open mic at USF. Brandon is also an independent Director and Filmmaker under the name of Kuya B. The stories he creates illustrate everything he carries with him, the lessons he learned, his people, his culture, his intentions in life, and more. He writes in the way he wishes to live: without fear.

Zara Jamshed (they/them) is a queer, non-binary, disabled Pakistani-American poet from NYC living in the East Bay. Their debut full-length poetry collection Neither Created Nor Destroyed was a semifinalist for the Pamet River Prize and a finalist for the Stories Award for Poetry, and is available with Game Over Books. Putting their engineering degree to use, Zara currently works to bring the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy to California’s low-income renters.

Gabriel Cortez is a poet, educator, and organizer. His work has appeared in The New York Times, National Public Radio, The Rumpus, and The Breakbeat Poets Anthology Volume 4. He is a VONA fellow, #BARS workshop alum, Palette Poetry Emerging Poet finalist, and recipient of the YBCA Creative Corps and Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prizes.

Gabriel is the inaugural poet in residence of The Ecology Center in Berkeley, California, where he uses poetry and arts education to uplift local legacies of resistance rooted in climate justice and food sovereignty. Gabriel is a member of the artist collective, Ghostlines, and co-founder of The Root Slam, an award-winning poetry venue dedicated to inclusivity, justice, and artistic growth, as well as Write Home, a project working to challenge public perceptions of houselessness and shift critical resources to houseless Bay Area youth through poetry and arts programming.

Thursday, March 28

Keynote

Sammy Gensaw, III – The Restorative Revolution and a River of Reciprocity | 11:34 am

About this Keynote

Sammy Gensaw III, a dynamic young Yurok leader, will share some of his experiences working for ecological and cultural revival along the Klamath River, central to his people’s identity and livelihood. He’ll discuss how the epic struggle to remove destructive dams required drawing deeply from ancestral wisdom, modern science, and cutting-edge activism, and how Indigenous leadership can play a central role in rekindling our connections to land and water and ushering in a restorative, resilient future for all of us.

Panels | 3:00 pm

Singing Tree: Hands on Mural-Making

Featuring:

  • Laurie Marshall
  • Fernanda Lugo
  • Leslie Rein
About this Panel

In this hands-on art-making workshop, we will engage in the creation of a Singing Tree Mural from start to finish during the conference. No one knows what it will look like in the end, as we will practice “emergent wisdom” together. It will be the 131st Singing Tree mural of a forest of trees, joining a legacy of some 23,500 people from 52 countries. The mural is part of an invitation for the whole world to make a painting together, which had its origins in the vision of an 8-year-old girl. The workshop will also include information about the neurobiological aspects of the eco-based “Peace Building Through Art Inspired by Nature” program. Paint clothes will be provided. Hosted by Laurie Marshall, founder of Unity Through Creativity Foundation and The Singing Tree Project. With Singing Tree Mural facilitators, Leslie Rein and Fernanda Lugo.

Restorative Justice Workshop

Featuring:

  • Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth
About this Panel

Restorative Justice is a philosophy, a movement, and a body of practice that offers a radically different model of a society’s justice system, one based not on retaliation and vengeance but on healing, transformation, mending broken relationships and maintaining positive, healthy relationships. Come explore and discuss what we can do to help make this fundamental shift in the way our society views and does justice. Restorative Justice healing circles will be facilitated by RJOY (Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth).

Community of Mentors with Nikola Alexandre

Featuring:

  • Nikola Alexandre
  • David Hage
About this Panel

Bioneers is inherently a community of mentors—people eager to learn, share, explore and create together. The “Community of Mentors” space at Bioneers is an intergenerational container that offers youth the opportunity to be in small group mentoring sessions with Bioneers presenters. The presenters will share their life experience in an interactive dialogue with youth who are seeking guidance on their path to activism.

We are thrilled to welcome Nikola Alexandre to the Community of Mentors space this year. Nikola’s work and experience touches many areas that are of critical importance to young people today. We welcome all interested youth to come join the conversation with your thoughts, questions and curiosities. Co-hosted by David Hage of Weaving Earth.

Panels | 4:45 pm

LGBTQ2SIA+ Talking Circle – In the Twilight In Between

Featuring:

  • Orion Camero
About this Panel

True to a rainbow, queerness carries a spectrum of perspectives, with many gradients of experience. Alongside the inherited magic and joy of our liberated identities, we are often also moving with our wounds, questions, thoughts, and processes that can be challenging to navigate alone. This space is dedicated to providing a sanctuary for discussions, witnessing and peer support as we seek to work through who and with whom we are. Come as you are to speak, be heard and to hear, so we can make medicine for each other in the shared journey of being queer. This space is dedicated to the LGBTQIA+ experience and those respectfully honoring that intention. Hosted by Orion Camero, former Brower Youth Award winner and Spiritual Ecology Fellow.

Mixer | 6:30 pm

Queer Mixer – Gathering the Flowers

Featuring:

  • Orion Camero
  • Ruby Kaur
About this Mixer

Whether you are gay, bi, or lesbian, transgender or two-spirit, or adjacent allies supporting us to thrive, our shared lineage makes for a vibrant garden of beings that mutually support our growth and blooming. This gathering is designed for celebratory self-expression through performances with participation. Come take part and witness the spells cast for wellness for the queer community through food + drink, song, dance and connection in a night celebrating our unique roles in liberation. This is a space dedicated for LGBTQ2SIA+ folx, but allies are welcome. Hosted by Orion Camero, former Brower Youth Award winner and Spiritual Ecology Fellow; and Ruby Kaur, transdisciplinary artist and healer working at the intersections of ecology, community, wellness, somatic (re)connection to nature, and seva (selfless service).

Friday, March 29

Keynotes

Sage Lenier – A Just Transition: Blueprint for a Green Economy | 10:30 am

About this Keynote

We spend a lot of time talking about the ecological crisis, and not nearly enough talking about real, workable solutions. If the ultimate goal is to keep fossil fuels in the ground, how must we transform our economy to make that possible? Award-winning activist and innovative educator, Sage Lenier, one of the most impressive young leaders to emerge in recent years, takes to the stage to shed light on what a realistic and just transition looks like, and the role we can each play in leading us towards a more circular and equitable economy.

Panels | 3:00 pm

A Youth Activist Toolkit Workshop

Featuring:

  • Zara Ahsan
  • Aniya Butler
About this Panel

What tools do we have around us to organize and mobilize our communities? In this workshop we will: engage in activities that highlight the work of our ancestors and elders; learn how to build up and educate our communities; and leverage our power through sustainable and equitable policy and direct actions. Two leading activists from Youth vs Apocalypse will share their approach on how to work effectively toward environmental justice along the intersections of race and class. We young people are often shut out or silenced in decision-making about our lives and futures, but equipped with these well-tested organizing tools, we can go out and create systems of support and lead the work necessary for a thriving and liberated future. Facilitated by Zara Ahsan, 17, and Aniya Butler, 16, leading Climate and Social Justice activists with Youth vs Apocalypse.

Community of Mentors with Sage Lenier

Featuring:

  • Sage Lenier
  • David Hage
About this Panel

Bioneers is inherently a community of mentors—people eager to learn, share, explore and create together. The “Community of Mentors” space at Bioneers offers youth conference participants the opportunity to be in small group mentoring sessions with Bioneers presenters who share their life experiences in an interactive dialogue format in order to be of service to young people seeking guidance on their path to activism. After her presentation on the main stage, Sage Lenier, founder and Executive Director of Sustainable and Just Future, will bring her insights as a young leader to the Community of Mentors forum. Co-hosted by David Hage of Weaving Earth.

Panels | 4:45 pm

Building Our Capacity for Unity: Who Are We Beyond Whiteness and How Do We Journey There?

Featuring:

  • Hilary Giovale
  • Lauren Gucik
About this Panel

This interactive caucus space for white-identified youth is rooted in truth-telling about the past. We will seek to unpack the history of whiteness and explore how it lives in our bodies. Through ritual, introspection and dialogue, we will witness and support each other in cultivating the emotional capacity to dismantle white supremacy from the inside out. Come explore how we can regain our collective humanity, cultivate solidarity with BIPOC communities, and contribute to creating a world that works for everyone. With: Hilary Giovale, author of Becoming a Good Relative: Calling White Settlers Toward Truth, Healing, and Repair; and artist and community organizer, Lauren Gucik.

Note: White-identified people of all ages are welcome to join and witness this session.

Youth of Color Caucus

Featuring:

  • Brandi Mack
  • Minkah Taharkah
  • Alondra Aragon
About this Panel

The BIPOC Youth Caucus is a safe and brave open forum where youth of color have an opportunity to listen to one another and share the real issues that come with holding their identities in social and environmental movements as well as in the world at large. Facilitators will help youth deal with their struggles and aspirations and have an opportunity to move toward healing. Facilitated by activists Brandi Mack, Minkah Taharkah, and Alondra Aragon.

Saturday, March 30

Keynotes

Charlotte Lenore Michaluk: Researcher, Biomimetic Inventor and Eco-activist | 10:09 am

About this Panel

An extraordinary 17-year-old scientist, researcher, biomimetic inventor and passionate eco-activist and conservationist shares her hopeful vision of a new world informed by a deep respect of the natural world and powered by brilliant, clean green technologies.

Panels | 3:00 pm

Community of Mentors with Marlowe Sam

Featuring:

  • Marlowe Sam
  • David Hage
About this Panel

Bioneers is inherently a community of mentors—people eager to learn, share, explore and create together. The “Community of Mentors” space at Bioneers is an intergenerational container that offers youth the opportunity to be in small group mentoring sessions with Bioneers presenters. The presenters will share their life experience in an interactive dialogue with youth who are seeking guidance on their path to activism.

In this session, Bioneers youth will have the unique opportunity to sit with Marlowe Sam, Wenatchi/Lakes descendant from the Colville Confederated Tribes of Washington State (CCT). Marlowe carries a lifetime of knowledge and experience as a professor and expert on indigenous water rights in Canada. Co-hosted by David Hage of Weaving Earth.

Youth Speaks/Spoken Word Poetry

Featuring:

  • Rose Garcia
  • Vivian Owens
About this Panel

In this poetry writing workshop, we will explore the concept of “the third place,” i.e., where we hang out besides home and school. What are our favorite third places? What makes for a great third place? Are stimulating, safe and supportive third places hard to find? We will write and improvise about third places, share our work, and collectively discuss how to find or create more excellent third places. Facilitated by young poets, Rose America Garcia and Vivian Owens.

Singing Tree Mural Completion

Featuring:

  • Laurie Marshall
  • Leslie Rein
  • Fernanda Lugo
About this Panel

This is a working session open to all youth who want to come and complete the Singing Tree Collective Mural before the close of the conference, as well as to reflect about the symbolism that has emerged in our collective artistic collaboration. Hosted by Laurie Marshall, Leslie Rein and Fernanda Lugo.

Panels | 4:45 pm

Open Mic

Featuring:

  • Jada Imani
About this Panel

Join us for the grand finale of the weekend—an Open Mic session that celebrates the vibrant voices and talents of our youth. This event creates a sacred and empowering space for truth and healing, where young folks are invited to share their thoughts and talents. This Open Mic welcomes all expressions. Guiding us through the evening is the Hip Hop and R&B artist and activist, Jada Imani, who will add her unique flair to make it an unforgettable experience.

Bioneers 2024 Conference - Revolution from the Heart of Nature
Bioneers 2024 Conference - Revolution from the Heart of Nature