Seeds for Living Earth were planted in the mid-1980s when Betsy Toll worked with Ram Dass on a conference in Los Angeles for Seva Foundation. Her early background in art, theater, and performance provided strong vehicles for activism on behalf of the natural world and her commitment to social justice.
Also a student of Joanna Macy, in 1998, Betsy founded Living Earth in Portland, offering opportunities to explore what we love, what it means to be fully human, and how our awareness shapes our participation in our communities, our society, and our interactions with the living planet.Other influences include Roshi Joan Halifax and Frank Ostaseski. A writer and editor, Betsy also serves in hospital and home chaplaincy with individuals facing crisis, grief, trauma, and death. She leads dharma circles, and workshops, and offers residential retreats twice a year for Living Earth.
A Pennsylvania native, Jan Levi has enjoyed a long career as an occupational therapist working with children with disabilities. She has been a devotee of Ram Dass for many years and treasures his teachings and wisdom.
Jan first learned about Living Earth in 2010 when she attended a retreat with Betsy Toll at Breitenbush Hot Springs, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Ram Dass’s book “Be Here Now.”
Jan joined Living Earth’s Board in 2012 and, with her partner, Tim, she coordinates Living Earth’s Brown Bag Project. She’s also active in Winter Warming, Dharma Circles, and loves the mission of Living Earth.
Born and raised in the Columbia Gorge, Bev Stadick lives in a cohousing community in Portland. She became active in Living Earth’s peace activism in 2002, post 9/11, drawn to the group’s warm community and conscious approach to engagement in social action.
On the board since 2008, Bev has organized community programs and currently coordinates our Winter Warming Project. She deeply appreciates Living Earth’s “beautiful ways to serve our brothers and sisters who experience compromised conditions in their lives.”
Tess Marino was raised in the Pacific Northwest, and came in through Living Earth’s dharma door in 2010, when she met Betsy at a meditation retreat with Frank Ostaseski, and then began sitting in our weekly dharma circles.
A registered nurse and nursing instructor, Tess spent many years providing hospice care and, semiretired now, she offers trainings in Healing Touch.
Since joining the board in 2014, Tess has assisted in our Loving, Living, and Dying programs and coordinated a 2017 grant project to support our Winter Warming Project.