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MAEOE's Board of Trustees & Advisory Council

The Board of Directors represents a wide range of environmental organizations and businesses, they promote outdoor education, natural resource issues, and sustainable Green Schools through a network of organizations and institutions from across the state.

Board of Directors: Officers

Chair: Bob Hoyt
Vice Chair: Kevin Maxwell
Treasurer: Josh Schmidt
Directors:
Gary Allen
Melanie Parker
Martin Poretsky
Katrina Jones (Past President, Advisory Council)

Executive Director: Laura Johnson Collard

Bob Hoyt

Bob is one of the founders and principals at EcoLogix Group, an environmental strategy firm, where he focuses on helping clients partner with stakeholders to further stewardship, environmental education, environmental justice, and natural resource restoration programs and polices. Bob led the EcoLogix Group team that designed and implemented the highly successful stakeholder strategy that led to the development of the Port of Baltimore’s Masonville Dredged Material Containment Facility and the Masonville Cove Environmental Education Center. Before rejoining EcoLogix Group in 2014, Bob served as Director of the Department of Environmental Protection for Montgomery County, Maryland, an agency responsible for developing and implementing the County’s stormwater, air quality, recycling, water quality monitoring and other environmental programs. During Bob’s tenure there the County had the highest recycling rate in the State, implemented one of nation’s most stringent Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit, and created the Montgomery County Green Business certification program.

Bob’s experience prior to forming EcoLogix Group includes roles as Assistant Secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment, Senior Vice president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Associate Professor, Widener University School of Law, Harrisburg, PA Campus, and a Deputy Attorney General for the State of New Jersey. While in these roles, he has served on many boards and committees including the DC Water Board of Directors (Chair of the Environmental Committee), Chesapeake Bay Trust Board of Directors, and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Board of Directors. Bob’s educational background includes a BA in Political Science from Princeton University and a JD from Rutgers University School of Law, Camden, NJ Campus.


Josh Schmidt

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.


Kevin Maxwell

Dr. Maxwell began his career 40 years ago as a Prince George’s County high school teacher. He became an assistant principal, middle school and high school principal and returned before retiring as Superintendent there. He also led Anne Arundel County Public Schools for seven years. During his tenure in AACPS, he was named Maryland Superintendent of the Year and a finalist for National Superintendent of the Year. Prior to joining Anne Arundel County, he was an administrator for Montgomery County Public Schools.

Dr. Maxwell is a leading authority on arts integration, language immersion and environmental literacy. Under his leadership, PGCPS significantly increased student enrollment, expanded access to full-day prekindergarten, and enhanced dual enrollment programs and specialty offerings. Throughout his career, he focused on raising student achievement, increasing academic rigor and engaging school communities.

Dr. Maxwell’s children – three daughters and one son – are all graduates of Maryland public schools. His hobbies include reading and traveling. He and his wife Nancy live in Bowie.


Martin Poretsky

Martin “Marty” Poretsky has been a third-generation builder in the Washington metro area and in 1970, co-founded Poretsky & Starr, Inc., which became Poretsky Building Group (PBG) in 1982. In 1999, Marty was appointed by Governor Parris Glendening to a four-year term as a member of the Board of Trustees, Chesapeake Bay Trust. He was elected Chairman of the Trust in May, 2000, and served in that position through May 2004. He has also served on the Board of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the D.C. Advisory Board of the Living Classrooms Foundation. Since 2017, Marty has resided in Longboat Key, Florida and is a member of the Rotary Club of Longboat Key as well as the Yale Club of the Suncoast, where he is seeking ways to continue to make a difference in his community.


Gary Allen

President Maryland Forestry Foundation 2009 to present

Gary manages programs in private forest land restoration, natural resources careers, higher Education Fellowships, and Urban and Community Forestry. He offers expertise in public policy, outreach, management and advocacy in areas of environmental resources, land use and public policy and education for federal, state and local government with a history of successful management, fundraising, project development, and citizen engagement, as shown by:

  • Launching a regional nonprofit to assist local governments in their environmental resource and protection initiatives. Including passage of the Sustainable Forestry Act in Maryland in 2009 and the Forest Preservation Act in 2013. Mel Noland Fellowships in 2018
  • Serving as Mayor and Council Member of Bowie, Maryland, a rapidly a growing city in Maryland's Washington suburbs. (1990 to 1998)
  • Selection by local, regional and state colleagues, including five Governor to serve on and lead numerous groups to plan, promote and recommend public policy initiatives in land use, forestry, air quality planning, conservation, economic development, transportation, habitat preservation, education and the environment.

Gary is the author of two books, various policy papers, and numerous magazine and newspaper articles

Master's plus 30 in Public Policy and Administration, American University

Bachelor of Science, and Education at Indiana State University


Melanie Parker

Melanie combines her passion for the environment and love of teaching by serving as the Coordinator of Environmental Literacy and Outdoor Education for Anne Arundel County Public Schools in Maryland by developing and implementing environmental literacy curriculum and programming. The focus of these programs is to empower students of all ages through authentic hands-on outdoor experiences with the environmental knowledge, skills, and motivation to make and act upon responsible environmental decisions. She has been with Anne Arundel County over 20 years serving as an educator and teacher prior to becoming the administrator. Prior to AACPS she worked with nonprofits. She earned her Doctorate of Education at University of Maryland and she holds certificates in Administration and teaching.

A member with MAEOE since 1996, Melanie has been involved with MAEOE in various capacities. Volunteering with the conference for many years handling registration and expanding to conference chair as well as serving on the Board of Trustees since the early 2000s. Melanie has served as President Elect, President and Past President.


Advisory Council Officers

President: Gina Felter
Past President: Katrina Jones
President Elect: Melissa Boyd Acuti


Current MAEOE Advisory Council Members

Melissa Boyle Acuti

Chief of Interpretation
Maryland Park Service
Department of Natural Resources

Melissa Acuti is currently the Maryland Park Service’s Statewide Interpretive Manager and works out of the Annapolis Headquaters Office. Melissa has been with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources- Maryland Park Service since 2010 and worked as a Park Ranger and Assistant Park Manager at Point Lookout State Park and as the Conservation Corps Program Coordinator before taking her current position. Melissa was also previously employed by Carroll County Recreation and Parks as the Park Manager of Hashawha Environmental Center and a Park Naturalist at Bear Branch Nature Center. Melissa also worked as a teacher at the Carroll County Outdoor School.

Melissa has her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and her Master’s Degree in Environmental Biology from Hood College.

Melissa currently lives in Edgewater and in her spare time enjoys bird-watching, gardening (with native plants), kayaking and sailing the Chesapeake with her husband. In addition, each fall Melissa tags migratory Monarch butterflies and helps run an owl banding station for migratory Northern Saw-whet Owls.

Melissa has attended almost every MAEOE conference since 2000 and especially enjoys the networking opportunities and feeling of re-invigoration that follows each conference. Over the past two years, Melissa has assisted with the MAEOE Auction at the Conference. This past year, Melissa also attended the MAEOE Youth Summit at Sandy Point State Park. Melissa’s many connections with the state parks and park staff will benefit MAEOE as much as MAEOE will benefit Maryland’s State Parks.


Juliann Dupuis

Associate Professor and Associate Dean

Dr. Juliann Dupuis is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean in the School of Education at Notre Dame of Maryland University. In these roles she oversees the secondary science program and is the Director of the STEM leadership program. Her background is in wildlife and fisheries biology and science education. At her previous positon at the University of New Hampshire, Juliann was the Assistant Coordinator for the Masters in Environmental Education program, where she taught the practicum and oversaw student internships in non-formal environmental education sites. Within her current role, she teaches STEM courses, including a sustainability course for educators, an application of engineering design, and a STEM summer institute which includes the use of Projects WET, WILD, Learning Tree, Wonders of Wetlands, Invasive Species, Flying Wild, and NOAA Globe. Each of the courses that she teaches includes a component of environmental education, but these three courses in particular require students to conduct research and develop projects or solutions to problems focused on environmental issues. Students focus on designing and carrying out green school initiatives which can help them to apply for green school status or to keep them current. As a proponent of environmental education, educators in her courses are required to attend environmental, field-based trips in order to experience situations that they should be including their students in.

Juliann has been an active member of both NAAEE and MAEOE, presenting at both conferences and acting as a member of the conference planning committee for MAEOE. Juliann is served as the co-chair of the 2019 MAEOE conference committee. As part of this role, she helped to coordinate volunteers to present on a STEAM panel, present at a STEAM fair, construct displays for the student STEAM art exhibit, work with vendors for marketing materials and videography, among other items. She is extremely passionate about environmental education and is committed to advancing the mission of MAEOE.


Jim Stufft

SERT Program Facilitator

Jim Stufft has been dedicated to environmental education while employed by Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) for over 42 years. Twenty-five of those years at the Lathrop E. Smith Environmental Education Center and most recently, 14+ years with the MCPS School Energy and Recycling Team (SERT) program. While at the Smith Center, Jim initiated and coordinated many permanent environmental education projects that have continuously supported the instructional program. Jim assisted with the Smith Center becoming the first MAEOE Green Center in MD. Jim was awarded the annual Montgomery County Outdoor Educator Award in 1994. In 2005, Jim left the Smith Center for the SERT program. Jim currently assists 70 schools with environmental sustainability and natural resource conservation. Jim assisted the SERT program in becoming a MAEOE Green Center and as such, has helped many MCPS schools become MD Green Schools. Jim has long believed in the MAEOE mission that every student should develop an appreciation for the natural environment and experience environmental education. To this end, Jim will do what ever he can to support MAEOE in it’s mission. To learn more about Jim visit his Twitter account @SERTGUY


Curtis Bennett

Director of Conservation Community Engagement
National Aquarium

As Director of Conservation Community Engagement, I work collaboratively with community residents and stakeholders to develop relatable environmental programs and projects which meet the needs of the community, and ultimately facilitating and implementing these efforts, directly where people are, within their communities. One of the programs that I coordinate is our Urban Conservation & Education Summer Internship Program, designed to provide opportunities for local Baltimore college students to experience environmental stewardship and to expose students to career options in the conservation sector. Additionally, through my involvement in the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program’s Diversity Workgroup as well as the State of Maryland’s Project Green Classrooms, we frequently discuss career pathways and pipelines within the environmental field, especially through a diversity, equity and inclusion lens, in order to ensure that students not only have opportunities for entry into the field but for matriculation as well. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Policy, Wildlife Ecology and Management concentration, from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Master of Science degree in Wildlife Conservation from the University of Delaware. I have over 10 years of experiences in environmental education and community engagement, through naturalist positions with the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) and Delaware Nature Society respectively.


Lee Derby

Principal
Cedar Grove Elementary School
Montgomery County Public School

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

Principal
Carroll County Outdoor School

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.


Dr. Sarah Haines

Professor, Biological Sciences
Towson University
Department of Biological Sciences

Sarah earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bucknell University, an M.S. and PhD in Zoology from the University of Georgia, and an M.A. in Education from Salisbury University. She taught middle school science at Pocomoke Middle School before moving across the bay to take a position at Towson University, where she has been been teaching for 18 years. Sarah’s interests lie in the areas of science education and environmental education. Her courses for preservice teachers all include outdoor components, and many include service learning. Sarah has built relationships with many local nonformal educational institutions, and she often teaches her classes off campus at these local organizations- she has had her students learning and leading programming at the Maryland Zoo, Irvine Nature Center, Oregon Ridge Nature Center, and the National Aquarium. Sarah’s involvement in science education initiatives and environmental education initiatives has led her to hold several positions of leadership at the national level, most notably with the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Education Advisory Council (NEEAC), to which she was recently appointed for a three-year term. She is also involved in the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE). For many years, Sarah has served on NSTA’s Recommends Review panel, which critically reviews science trade books for K-12 students. Sarah has served on the advisory boards of two NSTA journals and is currently serving as a manuscript reviewer for two NSTA journals as well. She also has experience serving on the NSTA Pre-Service Teacher Preparation Committee and the College Science Teaching Committee. For the past 8 years, Sarah has served as the vice-chair of the NAAEE Accreditation Review Board. This board is responsible for reviewing EE Certification program applications from states wishing to become accredited. Each year, the review board also plans several EE Certification-themed sessions at the NAAEE conference, and she has presented at these sessions numerous times. Sarah was a founding member of MAEOE’s EE Certification Committee.


Sarah Krizek

Education Director
Annapolis Maritime Museum

Sarah is a lifelong Marylander, growing up sailing and exploring the Chesapeake Bay. These early experiences on the water have created a passion for the Bay and a desire to share this with children of all ages. Sarah has worked in the field of outdoor and environmental education for over 15 years. Sarah graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management and Environmental Education. After graduation, Sarah worked at the Audubon Naturalist Society (ANS) in Chevy Chase, MD. There she started as a summer camp intern and progressed to the Children and Family Director. At the ANS, Sarah developed a robust afterschool and birthday party program. In 2012, Sarah moved to Eastport and started working at the Annapolis Maritime Museum, located on Back Creek. She now serves as the Education Director and hopes to inspire children to learn and protect the Chesapeake Bay. During her tenure with AMM, Sarah has grown the Education Department by over %180 establishing fee-based programs both during the school year and summer. In her role, Sarah also manages several local and national grants, establishes partnerships with local organizations, and serves on the board of the Back Creek Conservancy. While away from the museum you might spot Sarah with her husband Matt enjoying the local Eastport Community or sailing on their 49’ Kenner Skipjack.


Katrina Jones

Outreach Coordinator
Maryland Port Administration

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.


Sean McGuinn

Outdoor Educator
Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center
Master Environmental Educator Certification

Sean is currently an Outdoor Educator for Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center where he runs the kindergarten and first grade Environmental Literacy programs. Sean is an Educator at heart. He has a thirst for learning, but loves teaching even more. It is Sean’s purpose to share the beauty and magic of the natural world with others. More importantly, however, he aims to educate people on preserving and respecting our planet. Sean graduated with his Bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Education and a Master’s degree in Education from Salisbury University. Sean became a Certified Environmental Educator in 2013. He has served as a mentor through Chesapeake Bay Trusts Chesapeake Conservation Corps program since 2014. Sean served on the Education Committee with the Friends of Jug Bay from 2011-2015 at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary. For the past 7 years, Sean has worked closely with the Monarch butterfly. His passion for the species is demonstrated through his presentations on the topic. Sean also enjoys expressing his love for nature through his photographs.


Mike Callahan

Environmental Educator

Mike Callahan lives in Charles County and is a native Marylander. He and grew up in Prince George’s County on the eastern border of Washington, D.C. There he spent many days roaming the fields, streams, forests and swamps along the shore of the Northeast Branch of the Anacostia River. It was his third grade teacher who helped feed the spark of interest in nature and outdoors and lead him to his choice of career in the environmental education field. Mike has been employed full time with Charles County Public Schools in Maryland at Nanjemoy Creek Environmental Education Center and an environmental educator since 1997.

In addition to working with students, he also works with non-releasable raptors. He also works part time as a Park Interpreter at Caledon State Park in King George. Mike is a past member and past co-chair of the MAEOE 30th Anniversary Conference Committee. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources Management with an area of concentration of Environmental Education and Park Management from the University of Maryland at College Park (UMCP).

It was while attending UMCP that he truly became a birdwatcher. His involvement in environmental education is not only a career choice, but a hobby as well. He currently serves as Raptor Conservation Committee Chairman of the Southern Maryland Audubon Society, Conservation Chairman of the Crossroads of Hughesville Garden Club, Member of the Board of Directors of the Friends of Chapman State Park and The Friends of Maxwell Hall. He is the co-chair of the Cobb Island Monarch Mania Butterfly Festival and the Colonial Beach Osprey Festival. He also serves as the Coordinator of the Port Tobacco Christmas Bird Count. In addition to his interest in nature, he is also a volunteer living history and 1st person interpreter.


Kerry Wixted

Education and Outreach Specialist
Wildlife and Heritage Service
Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Kerry Wixted is the Education and Outreach Specialist for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service. She coordinates statewide programs such as Project WILD for educators and Wild Acres for backyard wildlife habitat enthusiasts. She oversees the wildlife resource area for the Maryland Envirothon program, teaches and co-facilitates for the Maryland Master Naturalist Program, and travels state-wide to spread the word about Maryland wildlife and their conservation. Kerry has been with the Wildlife and Heritage Service since 2009. She began her career as a regional biologist, working to inventory and assess rare, threatened, and endangered species and their associated habitats in southern Maryland.

In 2011, Kerry switched gears and began her career in wildlife education. She loves to teach others about wildlife and nature through professional development workshops, by designing resources like wildlife education trunks, and by creating informational materials. Kerry has a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Management from Frostburg State University and a Master’s Degree in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology from West Virginia University. As part of her master’s thesis, Kerry researched and published on the impacts of invasive plant species on the native, medicinal plant American ginseng.

Kerry currently lives in Crownsville with her husband, Dan, and their rescue guinea pigs. In her free time, she enjoys nature photography, learning new species, hiking, snuggling guinea pigs, and working to purge invasives from her backyard wildlife garden. She volunteers with Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue, Project OwlNet, and the Maryland Biodiversity Project. Kerry has attended almost every MAEOE conference since 2012. She enjoys presenting on misunderstood wildlife like spiders and snakes as well as designing professional development workshops for fellow environmental educators. She would love to assist with growing membership for MAEOE and strengthening partnerships with education organizations across the state.


Jennifer Scully

Director
Black Hill Visitor Center and Nature Programs

I have been the director of Black Hill Visitor Center and Nature Programs for Montgomery Parks since 2012. Before that I worked for Maryland DNR as a Park Ranger and naturalist. I have been involved with MAEOE since 2008 and have grown professional through the opportunities that MAEOE has offered like the annual conference and green school program. MAEOE has allowed me to grow our school programming at the visitor center and network with other EE professionals. I have been a conference attendee and presenter, have helped with Youth Summit registration and provided student hands-on activities for several years, and have been at the planning table in Montgomery and Frederick counties to grow the green school program. Black Hill Visitor Center became a Green Center in 2014 and we just received our recertification in 2018. I’m passionate about strategic planning, thinking outside of the box, and building community via the Green School program. I’m also active with ANCA (Association for Nature Center Administrators) and just completed my first trip as a Peer Consultant for a nature center in Nebraska. In my spare time, I raise Lionhead rabbits and Texas longhorns with my husband and two kids in Frederick county.


Carly Miller

Teacher
Carroll County Outdoor School
Adjunct Faculty & Hiking Instructor, Carroll Community College

Growing up with a Father who is a Wildlife Biologist, Carly Miller was introduced to caring for our environment and spending every minute outside at a very early age! She has worked in the field of outdoor and environmental education for over 15 years.

Currently, Carly is a Teacher at the Carroll County Outdoor School at Hashawha Environmental Center in Westminster, MD. Each week, she instructs sixth graders from the district’s middle schools. She teaches students to investigate and act upon relevant local environmental issues, with the goal of positively impacting the environment. In addition, Carly is a Resource Teacher for Carroll County elementary schools, helping to facilitate their process to become a Maryland Green School and leads outreach projects on their school grounds. Carly’s prior experience as an Outward Bound Instructor for the Baltimore Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School allows her to lead professional development and team building exercises for the Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and Carroll County Public Schools staff throughout the year. Finally, Carly is an Adjunct Faculty at Carroll Community College and takes adults outside to learn about the environment as a Hiking Instructor.

Carly Miller has a M.A. from West Virginia University in Secondary Education and a M.S. in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Resources Management from WVU as well. She was able to fuse her two passions and found her dream job at the Carroll County Outdoor School teaching outdoor and environmental education. Carly is originally from Wells, Maine but now calls Gettysburg, Pennsylvania her home. You can find her outside with her family and dogs, adventuring and enjoying anything outside!


James Roberson

Instructional Specialist for Environmental Literacy

James Roberson works for Prince George’s County Public Schools located in the Washington, DC metro area, as an Instructional Specialist for Environmental Literacy. James works at the William S. Schmidt Outdoor Education Center (Schmidt Center) in Brandywine, MD. He leads an Environmental Literacy team in creating, implementing, and monitoring programs and initiatives developed to support environmental education and Maryland’s Environmental Literacy Standards. He also provides educational leadership to staff, schools, and community partners through curriculum development, teacher professional development, on site program implementation, and fostering partnerships that support the mission of the Schmidt Center.

James holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Horticulture from Oklahoma State University, a Master's of Science degree in Environmental Studies & Policy from Johns Hopkins University, and a certificate in School Administration from Johns Hopkins University.


Lisa Jones

Lisa Jones has spent her career in the environmental education field. First as a Program Director for a large experiential, environmental education program and more currently as the Senior Outreach and Communications Manager for a state agency. Lisa isn't a stranger to MAEOE, she is returning to the Advisory Council after taking some time off after a 10+ year term on the original MAEOE Board. When not working hard to teach children and adults about the environment she enjoys traveling, rock climbing, dog training and finding any excuse to be outside, although enjoying a good book on the sofa is also a favorite past time. Lisa has a BS in Human Development and M. Ed. in Elementary Education. She lives in Baltimore with her dog and cat.


Board Emeriti

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

Melanie Parker

Designated 2018
Coordinator of Environmental Literacy and Outdoor
Education
Anne Arundel County Public Schools
Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center

Melanie combines her passion for the environment and love of teaching by serving as the Coordinator of Environmental Literacy and Outdoor Education for Anne Arundel County Public Schools in Maryland by developing and implementing environmental literacy curriculum and programming. The focus of these programs is to empower students of all ages through authentic hands-on outdoor experiences with the environmental knowledge, skills, and motivation to make and act upon responsible environmental decisions. She has been with Anne Arundel County over 20 years serving as an educator and teacher prior to becoming the administrator. Prior to AACPS she worked with nonprofits. She earned her Doctorate of Education at University of Maryland and she holds certificates in Administration and teaching.

A member with MAEOE since 1996, Melanie has been involved with MAEOE in various capacities. Volunteering with the conference for many years handling registration and expanding to conference chair as well as serving on the Board of Trustees since the early 2000s. Melanie has served as President Elect, President and Past President.


Dave Honchalk

Designated 2016

Dave Honchalk retired from Montgomery County Public Schools in 2007 and 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. In fact, 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 eight years, Dave served as the supervisor of the outdoor education program, one of the largest in the state. Dave served on the Board of the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education for nine years, where he served as executive Board member, president and conference chair. 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.


Elena S. Takaki

Designated 2013
Director, Project WILD, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies

Elena Takaki focuses on getting youth outdoors and connected with the environment in which they live. From encouraging youth to recognize the ecosystem values of urban environments to providing wilderness experiences, Elena believes it is important for young people to go beyond just understanding the world around them; they should have the opportunity to experience it through exploration, curiosity, and wonder.

Elena currently serves as a Director for Project WILD at the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), where she can combine her passion for the environment and her calling to education. She enjoys working with dedicated formal and non-formal educators across the country to make wildlife education an engaging endeavor, while also being scientifically accurate, and encouraging learning in the outdoors.

Before coming to AFWA, Elena worked at the North American Association for Environmental Education, focusing on developing online modules for professionals. During her time at National Geographic Society, she managed the Chesapeake Bay initiative, funded by a NOAA grant, that involved uploading student water quality data to an online platform and creating curriculum and professional development opportunities to incorporate its use in social studies and science classrooms.

While at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Elena was the lead staff for the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature and coordinated education and outreach efforts for the state agency. Throughout her career, she has developed numerous curricula and lessons that involve student data collection and using that data to make informed resource management decisions. Elena worked with the Friends of the Smithsonian Zoo to co-develop a migratory bird tracking curriculum called, “Follow That Bird!”

Additionally, Elena has served as President of the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education, where she is currently Emeritus and Chair of their Maryland Environmental Education Certification program. Elena has served as Adjunct Faculty for Towson University where she supervised Master’s Education Students during their internships in middle and high schools, and she has led several study abroad courses in Costa Rica for pre-service educators.

Elena is a graduate of University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources (BS), University of Michigan’s School of Education (MA) and Johns Hopkins University (MS). She is currently pursuing a certificate in E-Learning and Instructional Design through Oregon State University.

Elena lives along the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, with her husband Ryan, where they enjoy kayaking and spoiling their dog.


Steve Heacock

Designated 2012
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.


Carol Thompson

Designated 2008

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.


Willy Agee

Designated 2007


Cindy Etgen

Designated 2006
Education Section Chief
Maryland Department of Natural Resources

A Harford County native, employed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources since 1987, Cindy is an Education Section Chief and the Project WET Coordinator for Maryland.

Spending the summers of her youth in Avalon, NJ, her passion quickly became water and sand which led to a zeal for travel and collecting sand and sea glass from all over the world. All things water led her to her role in helping create Green Eggs and Sand, establishing the Hooked on Fishing clinic program in Maryland as well as work in Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) on a national level. Cindy has a B.S. in Environmental Science from Juniata College and a M.A. in Natural Resources Management/Outdoor Recreation from the University of Maryland.

After joining the MAEOE Board in 1995 she 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, Committee Member and Board Member for several national organizations including NAAEE, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, Aquatic Resources Education Association and more. Cindy recently joined Towson University as Adjunct Faculty. She lives in Arnold, MD with her husband Lou (A former member of the MAEOE Board of Trustees).


Gary Heath

Designated 2006
Maryland State Department of Education
Retired


Bernie Samm

Designated 2006
Montgomery County Public Schools
Retired

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.


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