Mira Manickam-Shirley,

Mira has spent over 25 years working at the intersection of nature, community, arts, and advocacy. Her focus throughout has been on creating change to support equitable, culturally rooted, and just pathways for connecting with the outdoors, building healthy communities, and living sustainably on this earth. She is also an artist, writer, and performer whose work reflects her wide range of lived experiences and explorations in this space, as a child of two continents, and a jill of many trades.  Mira was the former Executive Director of Brown Girl Surf, where she conceived, developed, and launched the community surf programs, which over the years have grown into the Salted Roots grassroots community movement. Prior to that she developed and managed several innovative youth programs in Oakland in partnership with United Roots, Urban Peace Movement, Urban ReLeaf, and Growing a Global Heart, and also worked as a naturalist in the Marin Headlands with Naturebridge, an outdoor recreation guide for East Bay Regional Parks, and a program designer for Oakland Parks and Recreation. As a teaching artist, she has led youth percussion classes with Boomshake, and has guided youth hip hop artists to create collaborative performances and workshops throughout Oakland. She has worked in national parks, in local community gardens, in play yards, and in grade school classrooms, as a full time teacher, a science specialist, and an urban forester. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Brown University, a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from Yale’s School of the Environment, and a Certificate in Digital Video Production from New York University. Earlier in her career, she worked extensively in Thailand, documenting the stories of communities whose livelihoods have been impacted by environmental degradation. This work resulted in an internationally broadcasted short documentary, The Recruit, and a book, Just Enough, available through the University of Washington Press.