Angelou Ezeilo and her husband James are among our nation’s foremost experts in preparing young people from urban communities to become responsible environmental stewards. For close to a decade the Ezeilos’ non-profit Greening Youth Foundation has pioneered culturally-based programs that help youth make healthy lifestyle choices, including focusing on public land management agencies and the conservation sector as a source of employment and careers. Mrs. Ezeilo is an expert in the development, placement and retention of racially-diverse young people in the environmental sector. She serves on the National Park Service’s Centennial Advisory Board. Greening Youth Foundation has also been selected as one of the 21st Century Conservation Corps.
Mrs. Ezeilo’s love for the environment dates back to her childhood when she had the chance to escape the dense urban streets of Jersey City, New Jersey and spend summers in upstate New York with her family. Graduating from Spelman College in Atlanta, she pursued a Juris Doctorate in Law from the University of Florida, College of Law.
She began her career as an attorney for the New Jersey State Agriculture and Development Committee. Her environmental focus led her to a position as Project Manager for the Trust for Public Land (TPL) in its New Jersey and Georgia offices. In that capacity, she specialized in acquiring land for preservation, working on the New York/New Jersey Highlands Program; Parks for People-Newark; the New York/New Jersey Harbor Program in New Jersey; the Atlanta Beltline and the 20 County Regional Greenspace Initiative in Georgia.
Over years of immersion in this sector, Mrs. Ezeilo came to see the huge gap between the land being preserved and the paucity of efforts to engage citizens with those lands. She was particularly struck by the fact that young people were missing from the equation. This became her impetus for creating Greening Youth Foundation, providing environmental access to underserved children and young adults through its Public School Initiative and Youth Conservation Corps programs. Greening Youth provides services throughout the country and in West Africa.
Mrs. Ezeilo is widely recognized in the conservation and civil rights sectors and is part of the growing movement to connect racially diverse America with our publicly owned lands and the environment. She is a member of the National Center for Civil and Human Right’s Women in Solidarity Society and the South Fork Conservancy boards; an Advisory Board Member for the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, The Million Mile Greenway, Inc., Keeping It Wild, Inc., and Outdoor Afro.
Mrs. Ezeilo and her husband live in Atlanta with their two sons Miles and Cole and their dog, Nina.