NAKASI FORTUNE ‘20
SELF-DESIGN MAJOR/ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
Guyana, South America | born & raised
Nakasi Fortune ‘20 is an environmental educator who is passionate about youth development, agriculture and the environment.
The path to Sterling
Before attending Sterling, Nakasi was working with Guyana Youth & Environment Network, a non-profit whose mission is to “foster nation building through environmental stewardship, youth inclusion and empowerment.” She chose to attend Sterling because “Sterling gave me an opportunity to learn in the way I wanted to learn and create a course of study that is beneficial to me and my life goals.” While recognizing that Sterling is not for everyone, Nakasi shared that “you will flourish here if this is where you want to be.”
Life at Sterling
Nakasi points to several highlights of her time at Sterling so far, including the 53rd Expedition in December 2017, which she describes as an experience that “connected me to myself, to the people and to the place.” (You can read more about her experience here.) The Environmental Education course she took in Spring 2018 was also influential. Students in this class present four workshops in the classroom at the local elementary school focusing on nature education and farm-to-school education.
Nakasi works in the Admission Office and gives campus tours to prospective students and their families. She can be found at mealtimes in Dunbar Dining Hall “sitting at a table with my friends and sharing laughs.” She is especially close with Faculty in Ecology Farley Brown. Of Farley, Nakasi said, “She is my academic advisor and an all around remarkable woman who supports all of my crazy ideas.”
On being an environmental steward
Nakasi described environmental stewardship as “seeing yourself as a part of the environment as opposed to apart from it, enjoying it in a sustainable way and doing what is necessary to ensure it’s protection and conservation.”
Nakasi is living her values as an environmental steward through her work and studies, and was honored by the North American Association for Environmental Education as a 2018 NAAEE 30 under 30 EE Awardee. This prestigious program recognizes individuals from around the world who are making a difference through environmental education. Nakasi and her fellow awardees work across five continents addressing issues related to water, climate, energy, environmental health and more.
In terms of being an environmental educator, Nakasi wrote in her NAAEE bio that “as environmental educators you have to be willing to create safe and compassionate spaces for whomever you are teaching, whether it is in a formal or non-formal setting. It is not enough to stand and deliver; you have to shape and create moments of discovery and reflection so that students are active participants in their learning and unlearning. Get them outdoors as much as possible, too.”
This summer, Nakasi will be working at North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier, Vermont as a field staff member for their camp. This summer job is directly related to her Environmental Education major and she will be “teaching lessons in natural history and field studies as well as leading group games, arts and crafts, sensory awareness activities, storytelling and singing.” Nakasi added that she is “super excited about it because it’s an opportunity to develop my skills and build relationships beyond Craftsbury. Also, I’ll get to spend time with children who are excited about being outside.”