Lead Course Facilitators
Judi Shils | Executive Director & Founder of Turning Green
Judi has spent the last 28 years of her life spearheading grassroots community projects. The shortage of answers around Marin County’s high cancer rates led Judi to found the nonprofit Search for the Cause, now Turning Green, a global student-led movement advocating for healthy food, safer products, and ethical businesses. She is also the force behind The Conscious Kitchen, a paradigm-shifting model for school food service, transitioning school meals from pre-packaged, processed, heat-and-serve to chef-prepared, scratch-cooked local, organic food, cooked in on-site zero-waste kitchens. Believing that access to healthy food is a right, not a privilege, she began this work on a campus where 95% of children live below the poverty line, qualifying for free-and-reduced government-subsidized school meals. Moving to the Bay Area in 1989 and becoming a mother to daughter Erin changed the course of Judi’s life. Prior to this, she was an Emmy Award-winning television producer for 25 years with ABC Sports, FOX, and Oxygen, founded The Diary Project forum for youth at the onset of the internet, and ran a successful student art exhibition, Celebrate Arts. Judi has been a consultant with the California Coastal Commission regarding public education for the past two decades.
Natasha Mmonatau | Program Manager and Facilitator
Natasha Mmonatau is currently a student of environmental communication in Stanford’s Earth Systems program and completed her M.A. degree in December 2017. Natasha has worked as a freelance writer and intern for alternative media and arts news outlets, including the East Bay Express, OkayAfrica, and most recently Stanford’s Bill Lane Center for The American West. Natasha was born and raised in Botswana, a beautiful, semi-arid country just to the north of South Africa. This fall, she is teaching a class called “Liberation Through Land: Organic Gardening and Racial Justice” at Stanford. As an environmental artist, educator, and writer, Natasha intends to continue to explore ecological futurities through the lens of racial and social justice following her graduation in December.
Cassidy Nelson | Program Coordinator
Cassidy is in her fourth year at Whitman College, where she is pursuing a degree in Sociology and minoring in Economics. Cassidy worked with Turning Green as an intern in the summer of 2021 and continued to assist in PGCourse as her love for Turning Green grew. She became interested in sustainability from a young age, while gardening, cooking, and traveling with her parents and siblings. Upon graduation, she hopes to continue non-profit work in the sustainability, environmental, and social justice fields to make an on-the-ground difference in her community. In her free time, she can be found reading, running, listening to Fleetwood Mac, taking care of her various house plants, and cooking with her family or housemates.
Teaching Assistants (TA's)
Ella is a 3rd year at the University of Virginia. She is majoring in Global Environments + Sustainability with a minor in public policy. Sustainability sparked Ella’s interest in high school, thanks to one of her teachers and her participation in the Project Green Challenge 2017. In particular, Ella is interested in the development of sustainable food systems. In her free time, Ella can be found journaling or cooking a good meal.
Gabriela is a sophomore at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina. She is an intended Environmental Studies major on the social sciences track with a potential minor in sociology. She has always had a strong love for the environment through years of hiking on the nearby Appalachian trail and other outdoor adventures, but she found her passion for Environmental Justice after watching There’s Something in the Water in her first environmental studies college course. She is the student ambassador for Davidson’s Sustainability Collective and is passionate about making sustainability an accessible choice for all students on campus. In her free time, she loves long walks, plant-based baking, and having dance parties in her dorm room.
Grace is in third year at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she is studying History and Political Science. She is passionate about youth activism and has been involved in sustainability efforts and activism on her campus. This past year, she has been working on a campaign to end oil drilling in California and recently started a campus coalition for human and environmental intersectional advocacy. In the future, she hopes to work in research and policy for environmental justice and focus on human issues of climate change. For fun, Grace loves to cook plant-based food, hike, and swim, and she is learning how to surf.
Tamia is a sophomore at Barnard College in New York City, originally hailing from a rural town in Southern Chile. She is a lover of nature and good organic food, and is majoring in Environment and Sustainability. Tamia grew up in the countryside and spent most of her time camping and tending to her garden + animals. Together with her mother and sister, she owns and operates an organic, locally sourced, vegetarian coffee shop in her hometown.In the future, she hopes to use her degree to further environmental education, sustainable living practices, and sustainable agriculture + organic food production. In her free time, Tamia loves hiking, drinking coffee, baking, and knitting.
Lia Haile is a sophomore at Denison University in Granville, Ohio double majoring in Environmental Studies and Global Studies. Lia currently lives in Columbus, Ohio but was born and raised in Eritrea. Growing up, Lia spent her days outside climbing trees and enjoying the beautiful natural landscape that Eritrea had to offer. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her family. Coming from a country without access to clean water, Lia is very passionate about global environmental justice. Lia currently serves as a teaching assistant for Project Green Course, and after she graduates, she hopes to continue to be an environmental educator and tackle environmental injustice all over the world.