Greetings dear ones, all!

I am excited to officially join the UUMFE team as the Interim Co-Director of Strategy and Program Development. Over the next six months, I will work closely with all UUMFE stakeholders to create a five-year strategic plan, examine and develop our programming and outreach, and oversee and support our wonderful team of staff and volunteers. Some years ago, I ran a Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) not-for-profit organization in New York City and I hope to apply much of what I learned about “growing” an organization here at UUMFE.

My love for the wonders of our planet started early. My two urbanite parents – hailing from the South Bronx and Jersey City – made it a point to take my siblings and I camping. Although they were probably completely out of their comfort zone, their efforts turned me into a biologist, rock climber, and advocate for Earth.

For most of my adult life, I’ve worn many ‘hats’ and my time at UUMFE will be informed by all my experiences to date. I studied biology and ecology and have spent more than 25 years teaching science and environmental science to learners of all ages. I hold a doctorate in International Education with a concentration in Peace Education so all of my work is informed by the three core values of peace education: Planetary Stewardship, Humane Relationship, and Global Citizenship. These values guided my earlier work as a professor and founder of a science center in Manhattan, and continue to guide me as a UU minister.

In addition to this new role at UUMFE, I am a full-time Visiting Professor at Vassar College, a Community Minister at the 4th Universalist Society in the City of New York, anorganizer for the Rivers and Mountains GreenFaith Circle in the Mid-Hudson Valley where I live, a member of the Kingston Interfaith Council, and I recently founded the Peace Education Center of the Hudson Valley. (And when I find the time, I make music…mostly jazz!)

There is much work to be done for environmental justice amid the climate chaos of today. I hope you will join me in forwarding the mission of the UU Ministry for Earth!


Rev. Dr. Leonisa