Board of Trustees
The individuals serving on MAEOE’s Board of Trustees 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, Current MAEOE Board members, Emeriti Board Members and the Alumni Board Members. We welcome you to learn more about each of them.
President: Lisa Jones
Past President: Melanie Parker
President Elect: Katrina Jones
Treasurer: John Sandkuhler
Secretary: Celeste Adams
Members at Large: Bart Merrick
Executive Director: Laura Johnson Collard
Current MAEOE Board Members:
(See Biographies Below)
Tom Ackerman, The Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Celeste Adams, R.J. Princnsky, Inc
Jeremiah Chiappelli, Chiappelli Law Firm, LLC
Lee Derby, Cedar Grove Elementary School
Gina Felter, Carroll County Outdoor School
Katelin Mielke Frase, Environmental Concern
Chandra Harvey, BioEYES with the Carnegie Institution for Science
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
Katie Swanson, Sargent Shriver Elementary School
Board Member Profiles
Tom has shared his passion for education and the environment with teachers and principals as the director of CBF’s professional learning programs since 2004. In 2012, he helped found and continues to co-direct the Maryland Environmental Literacy Partnership, a collaborative of partners around the state that supports systemic environmental literacy. Tom has been an advocate for environmental education for over a decade, helping to found and coordinate the national No Child Left Inside Coalition, and the Maryland NCLI Coalition. Tom also serves on the Governor’s Children In Nature Partnership steering committee, the Chesapeake Bay Program Education Workgroup, and as a MAEOE board member. Prior to joining CBF, Tom was a middle and high school teacher in Harford County and earned bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Environmental Science and a master’s degree in Education from the George Washington University. Tom lives in Severna Park, MD with his wife and three sons, although Baltimore will always be his home. He enjoys kayaking, camping, travelling, and any other good excuses to spend time with his family and friends.
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.
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, LLC, Walsh 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 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.
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 Manchester Valley High School. For the past three years, she has provided unique professional development opportunities for her staff and was the advisor for the North Carroll H.S. 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.
Katelin Mielke Frase is currently the Education Director at Environmental Concern’s Wetland Learning Center in St. Michaels, Maryland. Kate has been with Environmental Concern since 2009 developing curricula and teaching wetland and environmental education programs to children and adults, both in the classroom and outdoors in wetland environments. Environmental Concern is a non-profit organization that has implemented and connected students as habitat designers to create over 100 sustainable schoolyard habitats.
Kate has been involved in wetland restoration projects, with a particular focus on outreach and education, for the last eight years. Ms. Frase is an accomplished presenter and environmental educator. She leads professional development workshops for educators throughout the country in wetland education and schoolyard habitat creation, including WOW! The Wonders of Wetlands, WOW! Facilitator, Wetland Plant Identification, POW! The Planning of Wetlands, Rain Gardens: Landscaping for Water Quality, Wetland Plant ID for Educators and more.
Kate has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL. She is also a certified Environmental Education Professional through the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education.
Kate is an Eastern Shore native, and currently resides in Preston, MD with her husband and daughter, Amelia.
BioEYES with the Carnegie Institution for Science
Chandra Harvey has been a BioEYES Science Outreach Educator within Baltimore City Public Schools at Carnegie Institution for Science for 3 years. She is the primary teacher for the environmental unit, “Your Watershed Your Backyard.” (YWYB) She teaches approximately 500 students per year at 8 schools in Baltimore and one County school. Chandra coordinates and host water quality field trips, career day, and outdoor environmental projects at all participating schools. She is also responsible for forming new partnerships with organizations like GM, Earth Force, National Aquarium, Parks and People Foundation and maintaining partnerships with other environmental organizations like Blue Water Baltimore and Trout In the Classroom. Most recently, Chandra was an honoree at the Women of Color STEM conference in Detroit, MI for her achievements in “raising the bar” for BioEYES.
Chandra spent most of her professional career as an analytical chemist in pharmaceutical/environmental industries. She analyzed and monitored for safety of potential and current over the counter medications and other products for 13 years. Chandra began her second career as educator by receiving certifications as a Northern Virginia Master Naturalist, stream monitor, and volunteer educator in Arlington County Public Schools. She received formal training to monitor streams for E-Coli in Arlington County, VA. Chandra is a volunteer aquarist assistant at the National Aquarium, Baltimore in both the Atlantic Coral Reef and Black Tip Reef exhibits. She is also a former volunteer for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Chandra assisted in monitoring fish stocks and snakeheads in the Potomac River.
Chandra currently serves as a Pre-College Initiative Chair for NSBE-BMAC (National Society of Black Engineers-Baltimore Metropolitan Alumni Chapter). She coordinates STEM events and establishes NSBE Jr. chapters in junior high and high schools within Baltimore City. She is also former Vice-Chair of the Engineers Club in Baltimore.
Katrina Jones is the outreach coordinator for the Maryland Port Administration’s dredging program where she works to build diverse stakeholder engagement and maintain partnerships for enhancing the public’s knowledge and support of the State of Maryland’s dredged material management program (DMMP), with the purpose identifying potential dredged material disposal options and getting project approval. She also co-chairs the Baltimore Port Alliance’s Education and Outreach Committee, which is a collaboration of public and private agencies in the maritime industry, educators, and representatives from government and civic organizations.
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.
Visit http://www.mpasafepassage.org/outreach.html for tour information.
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 and a Masters in Elementary Education from Towson University. She has been working for Living Classrooms Foundation since 2000 beginning as an educator and then became the Director of Shipboard Education in 2001. When she is not working, she spends time rock climbing both indoors and out, taking agility classes with her dog, embarking on adventures and enjoying time with friends.
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.
A native of St. Mary’s County, Melanie spent most of her childhood exploring the creeks, farm fields and woods of the western shore of the Bay where her love for nature took root. As Coordinator of Environmental Literacy and Outdoor Education, she has the honor of providing hands on environmental learning experiences for students in Anne Arundel County Public Schools. She oversees the implementation of the pre-12 Environmental Literacy Curriculum and the environmental and outdoor education programming for AACPS, including Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center. She has been with Anne Arundel County Public Schools since 1996. Prior to Arlington Echo she worked in the non-profit and private sector. She holds Administrator and Teacher certifications, and studied at Univ. of MD College Park, North Carolina State, and Univ. of MD Baltimore County. Melanie is the past President of the Board of Trustees for the MAEOE.
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 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, a resident of Arnold, MD, retired recently after a career in education that he began as an English teacher when he graduated from college in 1968. As a teacher, coach, college counselor, English Department Chair, then later Head of School – all in independent schools and for over 20 years in Quaker Schools – his primary and resolute focus was on helping each student grow, learn, develop sensitivity to others and other cultures, and find ways to make the world a better place. Most recently he was a fundraising consultant for nonprofits, including Sidwell Friends School, Partners in Care Maryland and The National Foundation for Cancer Research. He also serves on the Education Advisory Board of the Annapolis Maritime Museum, and is a former Board member for Friends Meeting School.
Sargent Shriver Elementary School
Katie Swanson started out as an environmental law and litigation attorney, practicing in both New York City and Washington, D.C., but when she realized that most big-firm litigation was not primarily focused on helping the world, she decided she could make a bigger difference through teaching. Katie taught 3rd grade in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS), and currently teaches 4th grade in Montgomery County. She founded after-school environmental clubs at both schools whose activities increased the schools’ environmental literacy and earned Maryland Green School status with student-authored applications. Her clubs have received both national and international recognition. Katie also worked as an Environmental Education Specialist and helped develop curriculum for PGCPS that incorporated Maryland’s Environmental Literacy Standards. In her year as PGCPS’s Green Schools coordinator, she shepherded more than a dozen schools through the Green School certification process. She is currently working with the Harvest Collective to develop an environmental literacy curriculum for schools focused on students stuffing bottle bricks and constructing Earthbenches on school campuses in Maryland. Katie lives in Silver Spring with her husband, son, and two dogs.
The MAEOE Board of Trustees 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 Trustees 2. Served two terms on the MAEOE Executive Staff 3. Served as a MAEOE Officer.
National Geographic Society
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.
Carroll County Outdoor School, Retired
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.
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.
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.
Maryland State Department of Education
(Retired) Montgomery County Public Schools
Dept. Materials Management
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.
Natural Resource Specialist
Baltimore County Department of Environmental
Protection and Resource Management (DEPRM)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wild Child, LLC
Background: 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.
Special Events Specialist
Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI)
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 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 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/education, http://www.watershedradio.org/.
Department of Biological Sciences
B.A. Biology, Bucknell University
M.S. Zoology, Univ. of Georgia
Ph.D. Zoology, Univ. of Georgia
M.A. Education, Salisbury State University
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.
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.
Dave has been involved with outdoor and environmental education for more than 35 years. He holds a BS in elementary science from California University (PA), a master’s in outdoor education from Northern Illinois University, and certification in Administration and Supervision. While a graduate assistant at Northern, Dave had a unique opportunity to interact with many of the pioneers in the field of outdoor education. Retired in 2007 after 35 years in education, half of Dave’s professional career was spent as an outdoor education teacher at the Lathrop E. Smith Environmental Education Center in Montgomery County, MD. For 8 years, Dave served as the supervisor of the outdoor education program, one of the largest in the state. Dave is on the Board of the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education, where he has also served as president, executive Board member, and conference chair in the past. He firmly believes that creating environmentally literate students is one of the most important goals in education and will only increase in importance in the next decade.
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 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 Consortium where 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)from 1999-2001, as well as Education Manager from 2009-2011. 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 Trust (as a grant reviewer), A Rocha USA, and Adkins Arboretum.
Currently, Coreen is the Education Coordinator for the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maryland (CBNERR-MD), one of 28 Research Reserves around the country. She is a committed member of the education staff of DNR’s Chesapeake and Coastal Services Unit. Much of her work involves Climate Change education. As such she actively participates in the Maryland and Delaware Climate Change Education, Assessment and Research (MADE-CLEAR) program through an informal education Community of Practice. The MADE CLEAR program is supported by a Phase II Climate Change Education Partnership (CCEP) grant awarded to the University System of Maryland (USM) by the National Science Foundation. Coreen is a member of the National Network of Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI), and is trained to use and facilitate strategic framing techniques, and is a regional leader for the effort. She is an active workgroup advisor to the National Geographic Society’s FieldScope curriculum on Sea Level Rise in the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay. Coreen lives in Arnold with her husband and two daughters.