Ayana is an American podcast and radio personality specializing in intersectional environmental and social justice, deep ecology and land-based restoration. With an undergraduate degree from Loyola Marymount University including a double major in Art History and Theology and a minor in Philosophy as well as education through Columbia University in Ecology and Eastern Religions and Restoration Ecology at the University of Victoria, Young has a strong academic background at the intersections of ecology, culture, and spirituality.
Post-graduation dividends, from her early career allowed Young to conserve 500 acres of coast redwood and salmon habitat in Northern California, where she has been living for over five years. Living for the first years, in a tent with no electricity or running water while she established a homestead, and broke ground on a native species nursery and research center.
A budding filmmaker, Young is no stranger to the medium having spent her childhood as a prolific working actor, working alongside the likes of Steven Spielberg and Meryl Streep. Young’s debut film, When Old Growth Ends is an ode to the complex interweaving of the irreplaceable Tongass National Forest during its last stand as a distinctly wild place in Southeast Alaska. As Director, Producer, Narrator and Featured Cast Member of the film, Young wore many hats in midwifing this compelling and poetic story of struggle and beauty surrounding the Tongass National Forest.
Young leans into her vast experience on the other side of the camera, along with her intersectional approach to ecological restoration to guide her process as the Founder and Executive Director of millennial media organization and nonprofit For The Wild. Learning deeply from the critical dialogue she’s shared with over 100 guests on the For The Wild podcast, including Chris Hedges, Sylvia Earle, Vandana Shiva, Jill Stein, Winona La Duke, Terry Tempest Williams and other thought leaders (including some of the brightest activists, political thinkers, and scientific minds of our time) Young approaches her mission with For The Wild with critical thinking, deep reverence and artistry.