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Meet the MAEOE Staff

Laura Johnson Collard

Executive Director
410-777-9530 x 162

Laura has experience in non-profit and for-profit management in the UK and USA. She has worked with non-profit leaders to develop successful strategies for strengthening and diversifying funding bases.

Her skills include change management, strategic planning and start-up planning and implementation. She has positioned organizations for growth, new initiatives and sustainability. Areas of expertise include increasing capacity of non-profit organizations, strategic planning, financial management and team building. Additionally, she specializes in connecting public and private sector leaders while enabling them to work in partnership and build better communities.

Laura holds an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management. She speaks Spanish as a second language and enjoys spending time outdoors with her family.

Mary Westlund

Associate Director
(Office Cell Phone) 443-699-6791

Mary Westlund, the Associate Director at the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE), brings over two decades of educational expertise to her role. Initially trained in interior design, Mary's journey led her to explore sustainability and interactive learning while studying energy-efficient lighting and museum exhibit design. Transitioning from the architectural field to elementary education, she focused on enhancing student engagement and integrating subjects to foster critical thinking skills.

Mary's passion for environmental education blossomed during her time as an educator, prompting a shift from the classroom to diverse opportunities in the educational field. She served as an environmental educator in Pennsylvania and Maryland, and as a facilitator, she created customized professional development experiences for adult learners nationwide.

In her current position at MAEOE, Mary leverages her extensive professional background to enhance the organization's programs, catering to a diverse community. She is dedicated to connecting individuals and organizations to environmentally focused resources and opportunities, striving to instill a love of nature, encourage outdoor exploration, and foster environmental stewardship across all age groups.

Mary holds a BS in Interior Design and Elementary Education, as well as an MEd in Teaching and Learning. Actively involved in professional associations such as the Association of Talent Development (ATD) and the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), she remains committed to continuous learning and growth.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Mary enjoys long-distance cycling, baking, gardening, playing her upright bass, and participating in improv classes.

Camille Jefferson

Special Assistant to the Director
office: 410-777-9530

Camille Jefferson joins MAEOE as Special Assistant to the Director. Camille is a Communications Professional with combination of 20+ years of experience in operations management, project management and marketing in profit and non-profit organizations. During her career as a media professional she’s worked for numerous broadcast and cable companies throughout the country.

Having spent many years in studios and control rooms, Camille is extremely excited about being involved with outdoors and education. As a Project Manager and Educator, her passion is now her second career. From early in life, Camille encouraged literacy, diversity and community involvement with the environment. The depth of her commitment with the environmental community was deeply enriched when Dr. Mamie Parker became her Advisor. She has partnered with Dr. Parker to work on several environmental projects.

Camille has a BA in Communications from the University of Maryland, College Park and a MBA from Saint Edwards University, Austin. She is an active member of Project Management Institute D.C. Chapter and a member of the Dunn-Loring Merrifield Rotary. She enjoys authentic hands-on experiences, spending time on farms, at beaches, and in parks.

Brenda Miller

Education Coordinator

Brenda Miller joined MAEOE in October 2023 as Education Coordinator. A native of Washington state, Brenda comes to MAEOE with over 7 years of experience in environmental education. While initially intending to pursue a career as a research biologist, Brenda found her calling as an educator while working on the education and outreach team for the Puget Sound Museum of Natural History. This newfound passion led her to return to school for her Masters degree, after which she found herself moving across the country to take on the role of Education Director for the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art in Salisbury, MD. Throughout her career, Brenda has enjoyed working closely with K-12 teachers and administrators to provide valuable hands-on, inquiry-based programs and help students form meaningful connections with nature.

Brenda holds a BS in Biology with a double major in music from University of Puget Sound, and an MS in Environmental Education from Southern Oregon University. In addition to being an educator, Brenda is an avid birder and a trained concert pianist. She enjoys hiking, kayaking, cross-country skiing, gardening, and cuddling with her ball python, Cosmo.

April Amacker

Youth Leadership Coordinator

April Amacker is currently a graduate student at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland where she is studying Cultural Sustainability. She has worked with youth in various communities for over 15 years teaching self-empowerment, enrichment and implementing visual arts as therapy for inner-city youth. April has always been resourceful and innovative which has led to the success of several social entrepreneurship projects in which she managed to help new businesses and entrepreneurs develop products and models to address social and economical issues.

She is ecstatic to work with the Youth Advisory Council as she and the students both share a love for ensuring our earth is treated with care.

​Jemima LaClair Clark

Maryland Environmental Literacy Advisory Network (MELAN) Coordinator

Jemima LaClair Clark has been teaching in formal and non-formal settings since 1998. She has a degree in Biology from Washington College and a Master's in Education from Wesley College in Delaware. A Maryland certified teacher, she spent many years at Queen Anne's County High School before moving outside to teach in an informal setting at Evergreen Heritage Center in Allegany County, MD. Since June of 2015, Jemima has served as Asst. Director of Educational Programs at the Center for Environment & Society at Washington College. She spends her time working closely with K-12 educators and administrators, delivering the engaging programs classrooms, facilitating teacher Professional Development experiences, and coordinating Environmental Literacy Plan development.

In the Fall of 2021, 2 & 23, Jemima served as faculty for the Chesapeake Semester Integrated Course at Washington College. She also teaches Science Methods for Elementary Educators and is active in the Higher Education Environmental Literacy (HEEL) Faculty Development Program. Jemima has been a consistent member of the Chesapeake Bay Program Education Workgroup, Project Green Classrooms committees, and MAEOE, including working on the revision for the MD Environmental Literacy Standards and several successful grant proposals.

She is excited about the new position as Coordinator for MELAN, Maryland Environmental Literacy Advisory Network, funded by NOAA BWET. She is a native of the Eastern Shore and resides in Ingleside Maryland in an old house with her two college age children, Shiloh & Joce, and her adorable dogs, Puck & Gus.

Carrie Shershanovich

Grants Administrator

Carrie Shershanovich joins MAEOE as the Grants Administrator with over 20+ years of experience as a wildlife biologist, and a formal and informal educator. She has served as the president of a non-profit in Montgomery County and as an executive board member of local PTAs. While starting out her career in wildlife biology, Carrie quickly realized she had a passion for teaching about the environment.

Carrie is excited to share her wealth of experiences with the environmental and outdoor education community in Maryland from outdoor field research and data collection to environmental education curriculum and program development. Carrie has served as a Green Leader for MAEOE and looks forward to continue her involvement in the Green Schools program.

Carrie holds a BS in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology (Wildlife concentration) from North Carolina State University, and a MS in Biology and a second BS in Secondary Education (Biology and General Science) from Mississippi State University. Carrie is a Maryland Certified Educator, a Maryland Master Naturalist, and a NAAEE Guidelines for Excellence facilitator. She trained in Project WILD, Project WILD Aquatic, Growing Up Wild, Getting Little Feet Wet, Project Learning Tree, GLOBE, MWEE, and Youth Voices, Youth Action and Local Impact with Earth Force.

Carrie enjoys being outdoors hiking, kayaking and canoeing; traveling to new destinations; attending musicals and concerts; and spending time with her family.

Vanessa Young

Little Black Book, Ltd, Contractor


There are no do-overs in this business. We take what we do very seriously because we want our clients to have the best memories. You invest time and money into your day to make it perfect and we are your insurance plan to protect your investment and execute your plan. Planning events is our passion. The details matter and we love bringing clients’ visions to life, allowing them to create the best-shared experiences.

Chief Planner, Vanessa Young founded Little Black Book in Washington, D.C. to provide clients with exclusive access to vendors and services starting with event planning that exceeds expectations. With an Event Management Certification from George Washington University and over 7 years of industry experience, she is a seasoned event professional.

We take time to understand each of our clients’ communication styles, visions, and needs. We then build a plan based on that foundation, leveraging our years of experience and vast network of vendors. We manage all aspects of the day, behind the scenes, ensuring that our clients are able to be present and enjoy every emotion of their day. Let us be your connection to just the right people, places, and services. Let us make your event unforgettable.

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