Happy Earth Month, Social Workers



In addition to being my birthday month, April is now celebrated as Earth Month. Earth Day is April 22nd.

I have always loved nature – grass and trees specifically. I would rather be in a park than on a beach although clean beaches are great too. You know I love farms and barns.

When I worked as a Family Support Worker in the late nineties, I went on a home visit to a public housing project and the tree box was filled with dirt. I was overcome with sadness and remember saying to myself, “How can kids grow here when grass and trees can’t grow here”. I didn’t know what to do with those emotions.

I decided against the dual degree Master of Social Work (MSW) and Master of Public Health (MPH) program because I didn’t want to spend another year and a half in school.

Yard sales and flea markets were my jam at one point. I have been fascinated with recycling and recycling centers for years. I’ve always loved design shows where upcycling was the focus. My students have had been given projects on green building, alternative housing, and planned communities. Staying in a treehouse for my birthday is so me! There have been so many loose ideas floating around in my head for years.

I included all the above in my 100-acre goal, but it wasn’t until recently that I started discovering the language and frameworks for what I was feeling, thinking, and planning.

Sustainability, climate policy, environmental justice, community development, agriculture, and food security – are all areas social workers can excel.

Eco-social work is a practice area that makes perfect sense for me. I was unaware and had not considered it as a possibility, but it encompasses all of what I know and love about the opportunities in the profession and the impact we are able to make in the world.

We will explore ecosocial work a bit more on our journey.



Nicki Sanders, MSW, ushers high-performing women of color in mid-level social work and human services leadership through promotion to senior leadership. As Founder and CEO of Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting, her mission is simple – to eliminate toxic workplaces by developing skilled, empathetic, and goal-oriented leaders who have the vision, support, and resources to create a culture where business prospers, and employees thrive individually and collectively. Nicki has an extensive background in nonprofit management leading high-functioning, multi-disciplinary teams. She is an accomplished professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has combined her gift for authentic relationships, Master of Social Work degree, and over 20 years of diverse work experience to create a life and career aligned with her values and purpose. Nicki is a lover of cupcakes, travel, and 80’s hip hop and R&B music.

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