Elena Naranjo is the Program Director at Earth Learning. With a clinical background in mental health and a desire to help people achieve their greatest potential, she manages the educational and work experiences of our apprentices and acts as their advisor to maximize their learning opportunities, and ultimately, their future success. She also oversees the development of new programming and heads up Earth Learning's Community Engagement with Verde Gardens, a LEED certified development of permanent housing for formerly homeless families with a disability. She received a Master of Science in Counselor Education from Florida International University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and received her Permaculture Design Certification from the Permaculture Guild. Elena teaches a university-level course in sustainable urban agriculture. She is deeply committed to the mission and vision of Earth Learning to grow a life-sustaining culture in the Greater Everglades Bioregion.
Buck Reilly received his Masters of Architecture from Washington University in Saint Louis and his Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University where he studied Art & Architectural History and Studio Art. He has spent his professional career focusing on the buildings of South Florida, and the climatic conditions which make our buildings different from the rest of the United States. At his Architecture firm RooTS DNA PA, and his building performance company, Pro Energy Consultants, Buck has found a marriage for his passions of Architecture, Horticulture, and Environmental Conservation in the practice of sustainable architectural design and whole building performance consulting. His spare time is spent serving on the South Miami Green Task Force, and the Board of Directors of the Miami chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, he is also an active member of the Miami Blue chapter of the North American Butterfly Association, the Tropical Audubon Society, and Rotary International. He and his wife enjoy turning their tiny little yard in South Miami into a productive habitat for themselves and all kinds of wildlife and telling anyone who is willing to listen all about it.
Dion Taylor is co-owner of rawOne Foods, a raw “living” food snack manufacturer based in Hollywood, Florida. Dion has a Bachelors Degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of New Orleans and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the Georgia Tech. He served on the Boards of Positive Growth Inc., an organization that provides shelter and life skills training to abandoned minority boys. He spent the last 18 years in the high-tech industry where he held a variety of management level positions, in 2009 he and his wife, a 20 year Personal Chef veteran…discovered the raw “living” food diet, combining their passion for healthy cuisine, sustainable food sources, and earth conscious living, they launched rawOne Foods. A Hollywood based raw “living” food snacks business which supplies stores such as Whole Foods and Yoga & Pilates studios around Broward/Dade counties.
The Advisory Council
Carlos Gonzalez holds a Master of Arts degree in English from the University of Miami. He teaches classroom and WebCT English literature and composition courses at the InterAmerican Campus of Miami Dade College, where he also serves as Campus Coordinator for Service Learning. He was awarded an Endowed Teaching Chair in 2006. Carlos served as core faculty for the College’s Earth Ethics Institute where he was instrumental in the development of Green Studies Professional Development courses for faculty, designed to assist faculty in infusing their curriculum with concepts of Earth Literacy and sustainability. In collaboration with Florida International University’s Center for Urban Education and Innovation, Carlos led the effort to launch the Earth Ethics, Social Justice and Intercultural Literacy Certificate which fuses environmentalism and social justice issues. In addition, he helped establish an educational garden at Phillis Wheatley Elementary in Overtown, Miami’s original black community. The project is for elementary school students in the I Have a Dream Program, which provides tutoring and mentoring for students through high school and scholarships for college. Carlos helped design curriculum that integrates biology, writing and the arts. College students work on the garden to complete service-learning and field experience projects that explore education, racism, poverty and environmentalism.
Deena Blazejack is Professor Emeritus of English at Miami Dade College where she was an endowed chair recipient. She was the co-founder of the College’s EcoUrban program, an interdisciplinary, residential honors program in downtown Miami for which she was awarded Recognition for Innovation of the Year by the League for Innovation in the Community College. Deena now serves on the national advisory board for the Earth Ethics Institute. In her retirement Deena is enjoying her organic kitchen garden, meditative walks on the beach, riding her bike and devoting time each day to writing. She is currently working on a novel and is Artist in Residence at Deering Estate.