Iris Fen gillingham

Iris Fen Gillingham is a 17-year-old who has grown up being homeschooled on an off grid farm in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Her family lives and teaches sustainability, growing and raising their own food.  Iris raises Scottish Blackface and Shetland sheep and is a hand spinner. She is an artist and independent thinker with a deep interest in her Celtic heritage. She has grown up with the looming threat of the fracking boom coming to her home and the land she loves which led her to become a spokesperson for youth in her community. This brings her to press conferences, rallies, protests and meetings about environmental and social justice issues. She draws on her connection to the land where she lives and the warrior spirit of her ancestry to speak from her heart. She has led workshops and plenaries on youth engagement, ageism and empowerment.

Iris wrote as a journalist for the local town youth-led newspaper for the past three years and is very active in her community.  She has taught climate change awareness through the theatrical arts and toured around New York State with NACL Theater.  She is a member of the Earth Guardians RYSE Youth Council and serves as the Regional Youth Director for Earth Guardians New York. Iris is a voting member of her college senate and leads the Earth Guardians SUNY Sullivan crew there.