Board of Directors

The individuals serving on MAEOE’s Board of Directors represent a wide range of personal and professional interests in environmental, outdoor education, and natural resource issues, and further represent organizations and institutions from across the state.  Below you will find a list of the Officers and current MAEOE Board members.  You will also find details for the Current Board Members, Emeriti Board Members and the Alumni Board Members.  We welcome you to learn more about each of them.

Officers:

President: Melanie Parker
Past President: Coreen Weilminster
President Elect: Lisa Jones
Treasurer: John Sandkuhler
Secretary: Celeste Adams
Members at Large:Katrina Jones & Bart Merrick
Executive Director: Laura Johnson Collard

Current MAEOE Board Members:

Name, Affiliation

Tom Ackerman, The Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Celeste Adams, R.J. Princnsky, Inc

Andrew Cassilly, Harford County Public Schools

Jeremiah Chiappelli, Chiappelli Law Firm, LLC

Lee Derby, Cedar Grove Elementary School

Gina Felter, North Carroll High School

Dave Honchalk, (retired) Montgomery County Public Schools

Katrina Jones, Maryland Port Administration

Lisa Jones, Living Classrooms Foundation

Bart Merrick, NOAA

Melanie Parker, Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Carrie Samis, Maryland Coastal Bays

John Sandkuhler, Forbush School

Josh Schmidt, Annapolis Maritime Museum

Coreen Weilminster, Chesapeake Bay Nat’l Estuarine Research Reserve- Maryland (CBNERR-MD)

Board Member Profiles


Tom Ackerman
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
tackerman@cbf.org


Celeste AdamsCeleste
Richard J. Princinsky & Associates, Inc

Celeste has worked in a management capacity in the insurance industry for more than 25 years. Her background includes human resources, benefits and risk management at companies such as Sealy Bedding and BSI Temporaries, a national temp placement company. She has also worked in group account management with both fully insured, self funded, and union plans.  Celeste joined the RJP & Associates team in 2005 as a licensed large group account manager. She assists with the day-to-day operations of insurance plans, handles escalated issues, assists in scheduling training for sales executives and account services staff members, and spearheads wellness initiatives for some of our largest clients. She has been successful in forming partnerships with many of our non-profit clients by attending and volunteering at their fund raising functions. She currently resides with her family in Westminster.


Andrew Cassilly
Harford County Public Schools

In his current position as resource conservation manager, Andrew has played a critical role in making HCPS more eco-friendly and energy-efficient. He has developed a wide variety of sustainable practices for the school system, including programs for single stream recycling, commercial composting, furniture refurbishing, and a rebate maximization program that resulted in over $200,000 in rebates for the school system. Due to his efforts, Andrew was honored as “Innovator of the Year” by the Maryland chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council in 2012. In his spare time, Andrew spends time with his wife Amy, and their three children. He has served as a mentor for Big Brothers and Sisters, and as a coach for high school and recreational level sports.

 

 


 

Jeremiah ChiappelliJeremiah
Chiappelli Law Firm, LLC

Jeremiah has been a member of the Maryland bar since December 2006.  His commitment to public service has led him to the Womens Law Center and the YWCA Annapolis where he has participated as an attorney in the Reduced Fee Custody Project. He is also a member of Civil Justice, Inc., an organization dedicated to providing legal services to people who might not otherwise be able to afford it. As a former Air Force brat, Jeremiah understands the military lifestyle first-hand. Prior to starting the Chiappelli Law Firm, LLC, Jeremiah was privileged to apprentice with The Law Offices of Alan S. Forman, LLCWalsh and Company, PA, and Gary Greenwald, PC. Before settling into a legal career, Jeremiah enjoyed a brief Hollywood career as a background actor and production assistant. If you ask him, he will be more than happy to share the highlights. As part of his committment to public service, Jeremiah ran for state delegate for Maryland District 31 in 2010.


Lee Derby
Principal, Cedar Grove ES
MCPS
Lee_f_derby@mcpsmd.org

Lee is a lifelong resident of Maryland and lover of all the natural beauty found in this America in Miniature.  This love of the outdoors and dedication to preserving it has infused his work as a counselor, teacher, and administrator in Montgomery County for over 25 years.  Partnering with local, state, and national organizations he and his staff have built on the state’s environmental literacy standards to provide their students and staff with expanded opportunities to learn in and about the outdoors and take actions as they develop their environmental stewardship.  These efforts have resulted in Cedar Grove’s recognition as a Maryland Green School and National Green Ribbon School.  Lee and his wife Shelley live in a recently empty nest in Damascus with their two dogs and enjoy travelling to beaches near and far.

 


Gina Felter
Assistant Principal
North Carroll High School
gcfelte@carrollk12.org

Ms. Gina C. Felter has spent the 41 years of her life learning about and caring for our local, natural environments here in Maryland.  Following high school, Gina attended Virginia Tech to attain a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Science/Pre-Veterinary Medicine and then attend Towson University to attain her Master of Arts in Teaching.  For the past 15 years, Gina has been an educator in Carroll County Public Schools working as a science teacher Sykesville Middle School, the Carroll County Outdoor School and Francis Scott Key High School.  During these experiences, Gina also worked to attain her administrative certification from McDaniel College and now works as an Assistant Principal at North Carroll High School.  For the past three years, she has provided unique professional development opportunities for her staff and is the advisor for the NC Green Team, a club created by NC students to improve the local environment both in and around the school.  North Carroll High School became both a MD Green School and a USDE Green Ribbon School under Ms. Felter’s direction.  Throughout her life, Gina has strove to learn more about and then to positively change the local environment through the education of others using creative, hands-on, authentic environmental learning experiences.


Dave Honchalk
(retired) Montgomery County Public Schools


Katrina Jones
Outreach Coordinator
Maryland Port AdministrationKatrina Jones photo

Katrina Jones works as an outreach coordinator for the Maryland Port Administration where she chairs the MPA’s Education Outreach Committee and the Port of Baltimore Education Outreach Committee, which is a collaboration of public and private agencies in the maritime industry, educators, and representatives from civic organizations.

Although the disposal of dredged material is a very sensitive issue, the Port is committed to the beneficial reuse of this material to restore eroding islands in the Chesapeake Bay, and create and improve uplands and wetlands areas, thereby providing suitable habitat for wildlife. As outreach coordinator, Katrina works to help the citizens of Maryland learn about this delicate balance, and encourages the public and students to experience it first hand by offering field visits to the various dredged material facilities and the marine terminals.

Katrina coordinates directly with schools and organizations such Maryland Environmental Service, Living Classroom Foundation, Arlington Echo, and the National Aquarium in Baltimore to help facilitate meaningful field experiences at the Port facilities. She is a graduate of Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Communications.


Lisa Jones

Lisa Jones photo Living Classrooms Foundation
Lisa Jones is from Owings Mills, Maryland. She received a B.S. in Human Development from St. Mary’s College of Southern Maryland. Lisa has been working for Living Classrooms Foundation since 2000 when she was the Program Director on Mildred Belle, and later became Director of Shipboard Education in 2001. Lisa is currently in grad school pursuing a Master’s of Education degree. When she is not working, she spends a lot of time rock climbing indoors and out, playing with her dog,  and just generally enjoying the outdoors.


Bart MerrickBart
Education Coordinator
NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office
Environmental Science Training Center

Bart Merrick has been an environmental educator for eighteen years (15 of which have been in Maryland), working with teachers and students from Massachusetts to Virginia, to promote environmental literacy and foster understanding, awareness and respect for the natural world.  He developed an appreciation for the many opportunities to learn and explore offered by Maryland’s diverse environments, especially the Chesapeake Bay, through his work with both Living Classrooms and Chesapeake Bay Foundation.  Upon receiving a Masters in Environmental Science,  Bart went to work for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as the Education Coordinator for the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.  In this position he began to grasp the breadth of scientific work occurring in the Bay and along with many others he began to incorporate more of this work into education programs. Currently, Bart Merrick is the Education Coordinator for NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office’s Environmental Science Training Center focusing his energies on integrating the use of environmental science and technology with field-based learning experiences.


Melanie Parker
Outdoor Educator
Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center
mdparker@aacps.org

A native of St. Mary’s County, Melanie spent most of her childhood exploring the creeks, farmfields and woods of the western shore of the Bay. She currently is a Teacher Specialist at Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center, Anne Arundel County Public Schools.  Melanie coordinates the Chesapeake Connections Program, a year-long environmental education program where students are involved in formal classroom instruction, outreach activities, and hands on projects such as schoolyard or community restoration, terrapin, SAV grasses, or the American Eel program. . She has been with Anne Arundel County for the past 12 years where she works with students K-12, instructs adults and teachers. Prior to Arlington Echo she worked with Izaak Walton League of America as their Outdoor Ethics Program Coordinator. Schooling includes PhD work in Education at Maryland (Teacher Certified in Geography), MS in Outdoor Recreation from NCSU, BAs in Geography (Cert in Cartography) and Art-Graphic Design (minor in Computer Art) at UMBC.


Carrie SamisCarrie
Maryland Coastal Bays
Ocean City, MD
www.mdcoastalbays.org

Carrie Samis is the Education Coordinator for the Maryland Coastal Bays Program, one of 28 National Estuary Programs, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. With nearly 20 years of experience as a conservation education professional, Carrie has been involved in developing a variety of programs designed to help children and adults foster a connection with nature. Carrie works with multiple partners and community leaders to help organize and coordinate environmental education programs for diverse audiences throughout the Delmarva region – where she enjoys exploring with friends, family, colleagues, and visitors. As a founding partner of the innovative Coastal Stewards program, Carrie has helped pipeline young people from diverse backgrounds into green jobs, equipping them with workforce skills linked to the emerging green economy.

Carrie’s areas of expertise include: teacher professional development, minority outreach & engagement, and gifted & talented education. She has extensive experience with grant writing and event planning, and, also, with volunteer recruitment, training, and management. In the past few years, she has worked extensively on developing strategies for working with minority communities on the rural Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Carrie enthusiastically shares her love of the diversity of Maryland’s nature and culture with her daughter, Ella.


John Sandkuhler 
The Forbush School @ Glyndon
jsandkuhler@sheppardpratt.org

John Sandkuhler is a high school teacher at The Forbush School @ Glyndon, Baltimore County. John won the 2007 Chesapeake Bay Trust “Teacher of the Year Award” for excellence in environmental education in a high school setting. As a teacher at Forbush, a special education school, John developed innovative site-based environmental education programs that have allowed his students the opportunity to make important contributions to the Bay restoration effort, regardless of personal constraints. His efforts have brought numerous formal recognitions to Forbush, including a Maryland Green School Award in 1999, 2003, 2006, and Model Green School status in 2011.


Josh Schmidt

 


Coreen Weilminster
photoEducation Coordinator

Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maryland (CBNERR-MD)
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Email: cweilminster@dnr.state.md.us

Background: Born and raised for most of her life in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, Coreen Weilminster spent her days exploring the woods and lake near her home. She has a BS from Penn State University (’92) in Political Science and with aspirations of working in environmental policy, began to volunteer at a local environmental center only to find a calling in environmental education. In 1995 she finished a Graduate Teaching Fellowship at the Montclair State University, New Jersey School of Conservation with a 4.0 GPA, honors, and a Master of Arts degree in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Education. Coreen has served as Chief Naturalist at the Riverfront Parks in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and received an Environmental Management Fellowship with the Chesapeake Research Consortiumwhere she worked for one year as Riparian Forest Buffer Initiative Coordinator for the Chesapeake Bay Program Office’s Forestry Workgroup. She was Education Director for the Wildfowl Trust of North America at Horsehead Wetlands Center in Grasonville, MD (now called the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center), and has served on the Board of Director at MAEOE since 2001. Coreen worked for several years on a consulting basis in order to take time to raise her family. Her clients have included the Chesapeake Bay TrustA Rocha USA, and Adkins Arboretum.  She is currently acting Education Coordinator at the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maryland (CBNERR-MD). Coreen lives in Arnold, MD with her husband and two daughters.


Board Emeriti

The MAEOE Board of Directors Emeritus position is a designation of honor that represents the lifetime achievement and dedicated service provided to the organization. An individual should meet at least two of the following qualifications: 1. Served three terms on the MAEOE Board of Directors 2. Served two terms on the MAEOE Executive Staff 3. Served as a MAEOE Officer.

Designated 2013

Elena S. Takaki

Elena TakakiNational Geographic Society
www.fieldscope.us

Elena is the Program Manager for National Geographic’s Chesapeake Bay FieldScope program. With a B.S. in Natural Resource Management (Environmental Education concentration) from the University of Michigan, Elena has had the privilege of working with Dr. Bill Stapp, who has profoundly influenced her life and career. Additionally, she has a M.A. in Science Education from the University of Michigan and a M.S. in Environmental Science from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to working at National Geographic, Elena worked at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Michigan. In her spare time, Elena enjoys hula dancing and traveling.


Designated 2012Steve Heacock photo

Steve Heacock

Carroll County Outdoor School

Background: 26 years with Carroll Co. Outdoor School (22 as a very happy teacher 4 as administrator). BS Towson State College;   MS Northern Ill. – Outdoor Ed/Environmental studies; MS Western Maryland College – Ed. Administration.  Certified wilderness education. Associate Director Maryland summer centers for gifted students.  Environmental Studies. Federal and state licensed raptor rehabilitator.  Married Patti, 2 sons, Forrest 15 Taylor 18.  Hobbies hunting reading, Passion fly fishing.  Educational Philosophy: “Education is not about life, Education is living”…John Dewey.


Designated 2008

Carol Thompson 

Former MAEOE Executive Director. Carol received a BS in biology from Tulane University and a Master’s of Arts in Teaching (Biology) from Tulane. She taught biology and general science in the New Orleans city schools. Later, Carol volunteered for the Marine Docent program at the University of New Hampshire where she fell in love with marshes, bays and anything estuarine. While developing the Java History Trail at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, she learned about the impacts of land use on water quality. Carol has worked for the Department of Natural Resources since 1994. She served as the Director of Conservation Education and is currently the manager of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maryland where she gets to combine her love of science with her interest in education.


Designated 2007

Willy Agee


Designated 2006
Cindy Etgen

Aquatic Resources Education Coordinator
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
cetgen@dnr.state.md.us


A Harford County native, employed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources since 1987, Cindy is the Aquatic Resources Education Coordinator and the Project WET Maryland Coordinator for the state. Spending the summers of her youth in Avalon, New Jersey her passion quickly became water and sand which led to a passion for travel and collecting sand from all over the world.  Her passion for all things water led her to her role in helping to create Green Eggs and Sand, establishing the “Hooked On Fishing, Not On Drugs” fishing clinic program in Maryland, as well as work in Project WET (Water Education for Teachers). She has a B.S. from Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA and a Master’s degree from the University of Maryland. Cindy joined the MAEOE Board in 1995 and has served on the MAEOE Executive Board as President (1999), Treasurer, and Member at Large, and has also served as the MAEOE conference chair or co-chair for many years.  She has served as Council Member and Board Member for several national organizations. Cindy lives in Jarrettsville with her husband Lou (a former member of the MAEOE Board of Directors) and is trying to redefine her life as she becomes an empty-nester as her children Garth (at MIT) and Kalie (soon to be in college) move on to an exciting new chapter in their lives.


Gary Heath
Retired
Maryland State Department of Education

 


 Bernie Samm
Montgomery County Public Schools
Move Coordinator
Dept. Materials Management
bernie_samm@mcpsmd.org

 

Bernie Samm hails from Baltimore and has lived in the Washington suburbs since graduating from the University of Maryland with a BS in Science Education in 1967. He holds a BS in Science Education for the U of M and an MA in Special Education from Trinity College. In 2000 he retired from his job as Supervisor of Outdoor Education for Montgomery County Public Schools. He continues to work part time for the school system. Maryland is his home and its environment is his passion. He helped found both the Montgomery County Outdoor Education Association in 1974 and MAEOE in 1985. He was MAEOE’s first president and has served on its Board ever since. Bernie spends most of his free time at a little waterfront shack on the lower Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Board Alumni

 
The following is a partial list of the many fine individuals who have contributed greatly to the ongoing evolution of MAEOE as an organization:

Jeanne Armacost
Natural Resource Specialist
Baltimore County Department of Environmental
Protection and Resource Management (DEPRM)
jarmacost@baltimorecountymd.gov

Background: Since 1987, Jeanne has worked as a Natural Resource Specialist in environmental education for the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management (DEPRM) in Towson, Maryland.   She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geography and secondary education and a Master’s degree in geography and environmental planning.   She lectured on topics in physical geography at Towson University from 1987-2003 and has additional classroom experience in both public and private schools K-12 in Pennsylvania and Baltimore County public and private schools. Serving a second term on the MAEOE Board of Directors, she chairs the statewide MD Green Schools Committee and serves on the conference committee. For Baltimore County DEPRM, she promotes the Green School Program in public and private schools, acts as environmental education consultant for Girl Scouts of Central MD, the Towson Gardens Day committee, the Herring Run Watershed Association, and is currently working with the Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network and Chesapeake Covenant Congregations, two faith coalitions working to enhance stewardship in the Bay watershed.

Kerri Bentkowski
Sr. Grants Manager
Chesapeake Bay Trust
kbentkowski@cbtrust.org

A Baltimore native, Kerri’s interest in environmental education and protection grew from summers on the South River and surviving crabbing trips with her father on the Chesapeake Bay. After receiving a B.S. in Biology from Salisbury University and a B.S. in Environmental Science from University of Maryland Eastern Shore, she staffed the leading Education Board (SREB) staff development conference.

Karen Cifranik
The Center for Instruction, Staff Development and Evaluation
www.cisde.org
cifranick@yahoo.com

Karen retired after 30 years in education from Harford County Public Schools and is living in Virginia. Currently, Karen works with The Center for Instruction, Staff Development and Evaluation (CISDE) as an environmental education consultant. Her work includes coordinating assessment for a National Environmental Literacy Study (NELA) and conducting trainings in Investigating and Evaluating Environmental Issues and Actions (IEEIA) in North America and abroad. Karen credits her professional development in EE to Dr. Harold Hungerford and considers her association with him over the years to be both a privilege and an honor.

Karen served on the MAEOE Board of Directors and Executive Board as both Secretary and Treasurer from 2002-2009. She believes MAEOE provides unique opportunities for educators, both formal and informal, that positively influence the next generation of learners. Working together, we can move from issues to actions, to create a more sustainable and healthy environment in Maryland and beyond.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, she is an avid Steelers Fan. In between games, she can be found walking her dog on the beach, volunteering at the Five Points Community Farm Market and with the Tidewater Master Naturalists.

Julie Dieguez
Wild Child, LLC

Staff photoBackground:  As Coordinator of the Maryland No Child Left Inside Coalition, Julie practiced what she preached, taking every opportunity to teach kids the joys of dirt and sunshine. A graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Julie conducted several field studies in California and Montana and worked for several years at the Humane Society of the U.S. in DC before taking a position as a Maryland state park naturalist.  Shortly thereafter, Julie joined Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center‘s Chesapeake Connections Schoolyard Habitat program, then continued her habitat work with The Chesapeake Bay Foundation‘s Education Program. In 2006, Julie joined MAEOE as the Schoolyard Habitat Specialist for the Schoolyard Habitat Partnership. In 2008, Julie joined the MAEOE Board, chairing their Schoolyard Habitat Committee. She is also a board member of the Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council.  Julie recently launched her own business, The Wild Child LLC,  designing wildlife habitats and nature playspaces for children.

Mal Fordham
Special Events Specialist
Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI)
mfordha@rei.com

Matt Gay
Background:  Matt serves as a training specialist for the Division of Education Outreach at the National Conservation Training Center.  He is responsible for a number of courses including, Introduction To Visitor Services, Interpretive Writing; Interpretive Talk, Interpretive Panels and Wayside Exhibits, Introduction to Interpretation, Trail Management, The Role of Hunting in Wildlife Conservation and Management, and Accessible Hunting and Fishing Opportunities.  Matt transferred to NCTC from the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Fremont, California where he served as the Chief of Visitor Services.  Before moving to Colorado, he served as the Education and Outreach Specialist for the Division of Federal Aid and as a Regional Outdoor Recreation Planner for the Division of Refuges; both positions were in Denver, Colorado.  Matt joined the Service in 1990 as an Education Specialist for the Chesapeake Bay Estuary Program after spending a year as a Program Assistant at Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center in Anne Arundel County, MD.

He holds a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Northern Illinois University with an emphasis in Outdoor Teacher Education and a Bachelors from Appalachian State University in Outdoor Recreation Management.

Pat Ghingher
Outdoor Science Team Leader
BCPS Office of Science PreK-12

Pat Ghingher is currently the Team Leader and Senior Teacher Naturalist for the Baltimore County Public School’s Outdoor Science Department.  Previous to this position she was a classroom science teacher for Baltimore County in both middle and high schools. She has also worked for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Duval County Public School System in Jacksonville, Florida. Pat received her BS in Biology with a minor in Chemistry and Education from Hood College and her MS in Environmental Science and Policy from Johns Hopkins University. Pat serves on the boards of the Baltimore County Soil Conservation Board, Marshy Point Nature Center and Camp Puh’tok.

Mark Haddon
Director of Education
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
haddon@serc.si.edu

Mark has been in Maryland since 1965. He graduated from Bowie High School and presently lives with his family in Lothian. He has been involved in research and education with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) since 1983. As the head technician in the Crab Lab, he spent 6 years researching blue crabs in the Rhode River and Chesapeake Bay. He has also done extensive monitoring of fish populations within tidal creeks along the Bay and, in particular, concentrated on the Atlantic Menhaden and its parasite, Lorenica preagustator. For the last 13 years, Mark has been Director of Education at SERC and focuses his attention on creating school programs that link students with aquatic, terrestrial, and atmospheric research experiences in the field. Under his leadership, the Education Dept has distance learning programs that connect students to educators and scientists at SERC and watershed radio websites that feature daily programs focused on relevant issues within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. He has also developed a traveling school exhibit titled Tales of the Blue Crab  which has visited a number of elementary schools in the Maryland area. An alumni of Towson University, Mark holds a bachelors degree in biology and science education and a masters degree in secondary education.  Learn more at: www.serc.si.edu/educationhttp://www.watershedradio.org/.

Sarah Haines
Department of Biological Sciences
Towson University
shaines@towson.edu

B.A. Biology, Bucknell University
M.S. Zoology, Univ. of Georgia
Ph.D. Zoology, Univ. of Georgia
M.A. Education, Salisbury State University

Ellisa Hidalgo
momellisa@earthlink.net

Background:  Ellisa been in the education field for 15 years. For last four, she has been a High School science teacher in Bethesda, Maryland, and Miami, Florida. Prior to being in the classroom, Ellisa was the Director of Education for an aviary and tropical gardens in Florida, and the director of experiential education in a home for adolescent girls in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Ellisa has always stayed actively involved in community-based environmental education efforts, including organizing Earth Day celebrations, stream and bay clean-ups, and outdoor experiences for at-risk children. She has led over 300 two-ten day outings with teenagers which focused on outdoor/environmental education. While getting her Masters of Arts in Teaching, she realized that “the more I learn, the less I feel I know.” Ellisa is also a mother of three young children (currently: 4 yrs, 2 yrs & 7 months) and lives in Montgomery County.

Rick Hobbs
Irvine Nature Center
Schoolyard Discovery ‘s Schoolyard Habitat Coordinator, Rick Hobbs, received a B.A. in History from St. Lawrence University, after which he spent 5 years as a classroom teacher, teaching abroad and in Maryland English and Spanish respectively.   From 1999 through 2001, Mr. Hobbs served a two and a half year tour of service with the United States Peace Corps in Paraguay S.A.   During that time, he earned certifications in: soil conservation management; natural resource management; and beekeeping technology and management.   During his tenure with the Peace Corps, Mr. Hobbs served as an Agriculture/Community Development Specialist with the Paraguayan Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resource Management.   He came to Irvine after working as the Program Director for Community Harvest in Washington D.C., where he linked farmers to underserved, urban communities.   Fluent in Spanish, Mr. Hobbs brings a dedication to environmental education and conservation, and a wealth of experience in community building and project management to his role as Irvine’s Schoolyard Habitat Coordinator.

As Schoolyard Habitat Coordinator Mr. Hobbs heads up the schoolyard habitat revitalization and restoration component of the Schoolyard Discovery Program. This role includes consulting with, facilitating and advising a planning committee at each of the 7 elementary schools participating in Schoolyard Discovery. Mr. Hobbs provides technical capacity in the planning, design, implementation and maintenance of the schoolyard habitat revitalization projects. Mr. Hobbs advises and conducts workshops with the planning teams on fundraising for these projects. He also serves as a community partnership liaison, connecting the schools with neighborhood groups, non-profit organizations and local government agencies that can provide resources and participate as stakeholders. Mr. Hobbs integrates the participation of the students involved in the Schoolyard Discovery Program with every step of the habitat revitalization project planning process by going in to the classroom and teaching 1 hour long habitat-focused lessons 7 times a year at each participating school in order to demonstrate the importance and purpose of the habitat projects and to prepare the students for the implementation and care of the gardens.   In addition to his role as Schoolyard Habitat Coordinator, Mr. Hobbs coordinates the Summer Fellowship Program, which is the summer component of Schoolyard Discovery.   He also serves on the board of trustees for the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education.

Rick Leader
Director
National Audubon Society: MD – DC
rleader@pickeringcreek.org

Background:  Mr. Leader directs activities of the National Audubon Society in Maryland and the District of Columbia serving the Society’s 15,000 members and five chapters. Primary duties include management of the Pickering Creek Audubon Center and the Jean duPont Shehan Audubon Sanctuary. Mr. Leader is the former Assistant Director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust where he was active in the management of Maryland’s commemorative Chesapeake Bay license plate program and the Bay and wildlife tax check-off. While at the Trust, Mr. Leader reviewed and made recommendations on over 3,000 grant requests for Bay restoration. He holds a Masters degree in public administration and a Bachelors in political science from the University of Maryland.

Joe Keyser 
GreenMan Communications

Joe Keyser is the President of GreenMan Communications, an environmental and media communications firm based in Arlington, Virginia.  Joe has been known by many monikers over the years, once as “America’s Compost King,” while at the American Horticultural Society, and later as the “GreenMan” owing to his eponymous newspaper column, radio “EcoMinutes,” and his award-winning “GreenMan Show” on cable television. Until 2006, Joe was the environmental education specialist for the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, where he developed a series of public outreach programs that won more than 40 international, national, and regional awards.

Joe holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from Georgetown University, serves on the board of OurEarth.org, as well as the MAEOE Board of Trustees, and teaches classes for the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service, among other venues. He and his wife, Dr. Linda Migl Keyser, an Assistant Professor at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, have tended an edible landscape and habitat garden on their rooftop in Arlington for more than 20 years.

Rob Mardiney
Education Director
Irvine Nature Center
mardineyr@explorenature.org

Background: Rob Mardiney is the Education Director at the Irvine Nature Center in Baltimore County. He holds a B.S. in Biology from Vassar College and a Master’s in Environmental Education from Cornell University. He has more than 20 years experience in environmental education including work as an Interpretive Ranger with the National Park Service and as a naturalist at an Outdoor Education Center. Rob is also a past-president of MAEOE (2000).

Frank Marsden
Eden Mill Nature Center

Dave Michaels 
Dave first developed his passion for environmental communication canvassing for U.S. PIRG.

Today, he works on a variety of environmental communications issues and has come to see the intricate connection between communication and education. Effective communication requires shared understanding built incrementally. It is this crossroads that best sums up his interest in working for MAEOE.

His diverse experience in printing, environmental work, relationship development, marketing, and communications offers a fresh perspective and several skill-sets to help support MAEOE reach its objectives. Many of his Ecoprint clients being nonprofits, he has come to understand their special situations and objectives to offer pertinent advice.

Dave is also interested in storytelling for improved communication. He serves as the Chair of Market Research, Branding, and Web Development for Montgomery County’s Sustainable Working Group, which is developing its Climate Protection Plan to change behavior and reduce the carbon footprint of the county.

Bronwyn Mitchell 

Louisiana’s rich marshes, swamps and bayous fueled Bronwyn’s love for wetlands. After graduating with a B.S. in Environmental Management Systems, Bronwyn joined the Peace Corps and headed to Botswana to work as an environmental education specialist attached to Conservation International’s Okavango Delta Office. The Okavango Delta just happens to be the worldís largest inland delta and is designated as a Wetland of International Importance. While dodging hippos, Bronwyn managed to help create an interpretive trail system and nature center in a small education game park. When electricity and running water finally returned to Bronwyn’s life 2.5 years later, she Dallas for the South Pacific when she took the position of Territorial Wetland Specialist for American Samoa (2500 miles south southwest of HI). Bronwyn was instrumental in developing a wetland education program which included month long activities for Wetlands Month, teacher trainings, and community outreach. After achieving the perfect tan, the Pacific Ocean was traded for the Chesapeake Bay when Bronwyn took over as Director of Education for Environmental Concern Inc. where she was instrumental in creating a well-respected, quality-driven, national Wetland Education Program. Bronwyn served as the organization’s 4th Executive Director, 2009 – 2011.

 

Martha ShaumPhoto
jmshaum@atlanticbb.net

Background: Martha has a BA degree in biology and in a previous life was a food microbiologist. She began her current life as an environmental educator doing outreach programs for the National Aquarium in Baltimore and knows every coffee stop within a three hour radius of NAIB. She then became the School Programs Coordinator at NAIB and traded the van for a cubicle. After moving to Godís Country (a.k.a. the Eastern Shore), she worked at Washington College, where among ìother duties as assignedî, she co-taught an undergraduate course on environmental education. She is currently employed at the Department of Natural Resources as the Angler Education Coordinator and spends her summer putting worms on hooks. She continues to volunteer at NAIB, teaching biology and interpretation to volunteers.

Pam Sherfey

Donna Stotts
Education Specialist
Horn Point Laboratory
dstotts@hpl.umces.edu

Background: Donna has been an educator and naturalist at Horn Point Laboratory for over ten years. She graduated from Millersville University of Pennsylvania with a degree in biology, and has experience as both a field and laboratory biologist. Childhood experiences with a father, who is now a retired biologist, laid the foundation for her work today. A career working for the environment and with children is something she finds both personally and professionally gratifying.

Cathlyn (Cat) Stylinski
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
cat@al.umces.edu

As a University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science tenured faculty member, Dr. Stylinski has spent over ten years designing, implementing and evaluating formal and informal environmental/science education programs and products. These include leading the NOAA-funded Chesapeake-FieldScope User Group, NSF/NOAA-funded Mapping Our Stream project, and CBT-funded western Maryland Partners in Ecology and Restoration of Schoolyard (PIERS) project. She also produced the NSF-funded Flood of Mud video, which was distributed on North Carolina Public Television and at the North Carolina Aquarium. Dr. Stylinski’s research interests focus on the integration of innovative technology applications into formal and informal education, the relationship between children and nature, and media impacts on public understanding of and attitudes about science. She holds degrees in radio/television production (B.S), biology (M.S.) and ecology (Ph.D.). Prior to her current position, she worked in broadcast television for over six years and on a multi-media interactive science education program for students and public audiences.