People

Our people make everything possible. At NAAEE, we strive towards an inclusive and innovative workplace—one that encourages growth and fosters creativity, while keeping our mission in mind. Learn more about who we are and how we work to provide education we need for the world we want.

Board

Judy Braus profile picture

Judy Braus (she/her)

Executive Director

Judy Braus brings to her role as NAAEE Executive Director a wealth of experience in the environmental education profession, with a focus on conservation education, diversity and inclusion, and using the power of education to help create healthier communities that empower local communities, stakeholders, and individuals to help restore and protect the environment. She comes to NAAEE from the National Audubon Society, where she was the Senior Vice President of Education and Centers, overseeing an extensive nationwide network of nature centers and educators. Prior to that, she led the education programs at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the U.S. Peace Corps, and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).

 

 

black woman wearing a light blue blouse and cardigan smiling at the camera

Karyl Askew

At Large Board Member

Karyl Askew is dedicated to developing the next generation of multicultural scientists and scientific thinkers. She is an educational psychologist and program evaluator who applies a culturally responsive equitable approach to promote inclusion and equitable outcomes in mission-driven STEM organizations. Her goal in every exchange is to enhance the capacity of program stakeholders to invite multicultural perspectives into program development and evaluation by honoring the dignity and value of each contributing voice. Since 2005, Karyl has worked alongside program developers and community stakeholders to lead research and evaluation studies. Overall, her body of work has concentrated on the forward-thinking initiatives intended to broaden access for populations that have been historically marginalized or underserved in STEM education and career pathways. Dr. Askew has co-authored peer-reviewed publications focused on gender differences in educational outcomes and multicultural perspectives in program evaluation, along with reports that aid STEM leaders to integrate findings into policy and practice.

Karyl Askew, Ph.D.
Owner & Principal Consultant
Karyl Askew Consulting, LLC

Visit Karyl’s site

David Chase

David Chase

Treasurer

A focus on the environment, education, human service, social justice, and sustainability has been at the core of Dave Chase’s professional life for more than forty years. For twenty-five of those years, he successfully led and managed a variety of organizations within these fields at the local, regional, and national levels. For more than fifteen years, Dave has worked as an independent organizational consultant, concentrating his work as Founder and Principal of DRC Consulting on various aspects of organizational development, including strategic planning, board, and staff training and development, process facilitation, program evaluation, and conflict resolution. Dave has also served as an Affiliate Faculty at Antioch University New England, where he has taught and advised graduate students in the Environmental Studies, Education, and Management departments. He holds a B.S. in Natural and Human Resource Management and Education from the University of Maine and an M.Ed. in Organizational Teaching and Learning Environments from Harvard University, as well as post-graduate certificates in Organizational Development, Leadership and Management, Nonprofit Administration, Human Resource Management, and Professional Coaching. Dave is a Lifetime Member of NAAEE and a past recipient of the organization’s President’s Award. Dave and his wife Amy, an educator and artisan, live in a 19th-century farmhouse on the coast of Downeast Maine in the small town of Brooklin, self-proclaimed “Wooden Boat Building Capital of the World” and longtime home of author E.B. White of Charlotte’s Web fame.

Dawn Chavez

Dawn Chávez

At Large Board Member

Dawn Chávez brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in nonprofit management in the environmental field as the Executive Director of Asheville GreenWorks. A native of the Bronx in New York City, Dawn has lived and worked across the country in many different communities, from wilderness outposts to small towns to large urban centers. Throughout her career, Dawn has been passionate about equity issues, environmental protection, and the intersection of the two. Before moving to Asheville in January 2015, Dawn worked in Boston for twelve years as the Boston Youth Environmental Network director and education director of the Urban Ecology Institute. Dawn serves on the board of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina and the NC Center for Nonprofits. In her free time, Dawn enjoys hiking and camping in the mountains around Asheville with her husband, Andrew, two children, Noah and Phoebe and the family dog, Finn.

Mary Ford

Mary Ford

Board Chair

Mary Ford is Director of Professional Learning at the National Geographic Society. Mary has an undergraduate degree in environmental science and policy from Harvard University and a master's degree in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Her career has focused on environmental education and citizen science. She has worked at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, the World Wildlife Fund, the Council for Environmental Education, and the National Audubon Society. She has taught preschool, middle school, and high school, and has done ecology research from Borneo to Siberia. Mary has served on the board of the North American Association for Environmental Education, the Education Operating Committee of the American Forest Foundation, the Advisory Board of Toyota TogetherGreen, and the board and Education Working Group of the Citizen Science Association.

Jaime González

Jaime González

Secretary

Jaime González serves as the Houston Urban Conservation Programs Manager for The Nature Conservancy in Texas (TNC). His work at TNC involves building partnerships, and creating and managing projects, to help make Houston a more resilient, biologically diverse, cooler, healthier, and better-connected city. He is one of growing corps of 25 Nature Conservancy city leads working to create Healthier Cities using nature-based solutions throughout North America.

Prior to TNC, Jaime served as the Community Conservation Director at Katy Prairie Conservancy (KPC), where he worked to further prairie conservation efforts through ecological restoration, both on the Katy Prairie Preserve and at pocket prairies throughout the region and also through environmental education programs, collaboration, and digital storytelling. He is also Vice President and Co-founder of the Coastal Prairie Partnership (CPP) a nonprofit which seeks to catalyze and strengthen the local prairie conservation movement but uniting NGOs, government agencies, and private citizens to take collaborative conservation and education action. Jaime González has won numerous awards for his work including a Catalyst Award from Houston Tomorrow, the Elizabeth Hull Abernathy Award from the Garden Club of America for his leadership in environmental education, and the Alban-Heiser Award from the Houston Zoo. Jaime holds an M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction in Science Education and a B.S. in Biology, both from the University of Houston. Jaime also holds a Certificate in Environmental Communication from the Nicholas School for the Environment at Duke University.

Kenji Hakuta

Kenji Hakuta

At Large Board Member

Kenji Hakuta is the Lee L. Jacks Professor, emeritus, at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education. He received his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Harvard University in 1979, has held faculty positions at Yale University and the University of California at Santa Cruz, and served as the Founding Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts at the University of California, Merced.  He has published in the areas of psycholinguistics, bilingualism, language shift, the acquisition of English in immigrant students, and education policy.  He has served on the boards of the Center for Applied Linguistics, the Spencer Foundation and the Educational Testing Service, and currently serves on the board of the William T. Grant Foundation, Multicultural Education and Training Advocates (META), Gooru Learning, and the Great Basin National Park Foundation.  For eight years, he chaired the National Educational Research Policy and Priorities Board (predecessor of the IES Board) of the U. S. Department of Education.  He is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Education, the American Educational Research Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Will Parish

Will Parish

At Large Board Member

Will Parish is a credentialed public high school science educator with a 30-year record of innovative accomplishments in the environmental and educational fields. He taught environmental science and civics at Gateway High School in San Francisco and now serves on their board. He served on the California State Board of Education’s Curriculum Commission and then founded Ten Strands as a nonprofit organization to support California’s efforts to achieve statewide penetration of high-quality environment-based education into schools.

Diego Román

Diego Román

At Large Board Member

Dr. Diego Román is an Assistant Professor in Bilingual/Bicultural Education at the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to this appointment, he was an Assistant Professor in Bilingual Education at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Román holds a B.S. degree in Agronomy from Zamorano University in Honduras and an M.S. degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He also earned an M.S. degree in Biology, an M.A. in Linguistics, and a Ph.D. degree in Educational Linguistics, all from Stanford University. At the K-12 level, Dr. Román taught middle school science to English Learners and newcomer students for seven years, first in rural Wisconsin and then in San Francisco, California.

LaTresse Snead

LaTresse Snead

At Large Board Member

LaTresse Snead is a multi-faceted leader and visionary changemaker with deep expertise in program leadership, strategic planning, global fundraising and partnerships, board governance, budget management, and capacity building. A Birkman Certified Consultant and Certified Personal Development Coach, she is passionate about environmental justice and a vocal champion of equity and inclusion in outdoor spaces.

She most recently served as chief program officer of the National Park Foundation (NPF), where she drove awareness and engagement in the national parks system and oversaw more than $55 million in program investments. Driven by a deep desire to influence and build diverse, nonprofit talent, LaTresse resigned her position with NPF and launched Bonsai Leadership Group LLC with the goal of developing multicultural leaders and helping nonprofit executives cultivate inclusive, dynamic, and high performing teams to succeed in an increasingly complex workplace. Bonsai offers leadership coaching and consulting for individuals and teams; succession planning and strategic guidance; board assessment, development and training; and program development, consultation, and support.

LaTresse’s previous experience includes seven years at The Nature Conservancy; she started her career there as director of volunteer programs and community outreach and went on to become global director of the Healthy Cities program. She has also held leadership positions at the American Red Cross, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

LaTresse earned a master’s in Public Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Administration from Georgia State University and a bachelor’s in Black Studies from San Francisco State University. She and her family currently reside in Washington, D.C., with poochon pup, Pancake.

Beth Stevens

Beth Stevens

At Large Board Member

Beth Stevens is a former Senior Vice President of Environmental Affairs at Disney Worldwide Services. Her responsibilities included reducing companywide CO2 emissions, promoting nature conservation efforts, and creating a culture of "environmentality" within the corporation. Before joining Disney, Beth worked at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, and then led conservation, science, and education programs at Zoo Atlanta. After joining Disney, she became the Conservation & Science Director and then Vice President of Disney's Animal Kingdom, and later led the environment and conservation portfolio for Disney's Corporate Citizenship team. Beth is a graduate of Duke University and the University of Tubingen and holds a PhD in Biology with emphasis in animal behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

William Street

William Street

At Large Board Member

Bill Street is currently the Corporate Curator of Conservation and Education at SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment in Orlando, Florida. In this role, Bill creates and implements the organization’s conservation and education strategies. Bill has been a leader in environmental education for over 15 years. Prior to joining SeaWorld, Bill was the Director of Zoological Conservation and Education at Busch Gardens in Tampa, the Senior Director of Education Programs at the National Wildlife Federation in Washington D.C., an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biology at California State University in Long Beach, and held leadership positions at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific in California and the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL. Bill began his career at SeaWorld, beginning as a Science Writer and Instructor, and moving into the role of Community Relations Manager.

In his innovative and accomplished career, Bill has been a spokesperson for conservation and education, appearing on local, regional, and national television programs. Bill was also executive producer of the Emmy-winning series, Saving a Species, as well as co-host of Adventure Camp, a national television series broadcast on Discovery Kids and the BBC. Bill has also been a keynote speaker at numerous national and international zoological conferences and serves on the boards of a number of zoological and aquarium organizations. Bill holds an MA in Instructional Systems from the University of Central Florida and a BA in Biology from Augustana College.

Mandakini Sud

Mandakini Sud

At Large Board Member

Mandakini Sud is a Senior Director at JLL where she leads communications for Global Operations, Work Dynamics. In this role, she is responsible for developing the internal and executive communications strategy as well as supporting large transformation activities.

A strategic marketing-communications professional with over 20 years of international work experience spread across public, private, nonprofit, and development sectors, Mandakini has advised some of the world's leading organizations and their chief executives on marketing, communication strategy, stakeholder management, media relations, reputation management, political and policy communication. 

Her past employers and clients include–but are not limited to–The World Bank, United Nations, ArcelorMittal, Global Environment Facility, International Food Policy Research Institute, Government of India, Sodexo, Quintiles, SITA, Mittal Investments, Synergy Capital, diplomatic missions, nonprofit organizations, and multinational companies. She is passionate about universal literacy and sustainable development and therefore, contributes both her time and resources on initiatives that foster these goals. 
 
Mandakini holds a postgraduate degree in Public Communication from American University in Washington DC. From 2008-10, as visiting faculty, she designed and taught graduate-level curriculum at MICA, India’s premier academic institution for Strategic Marketing & Communication.

Mandakini resides in the Washington D.C. metro area.

Danni Washington

Danni Washington

Vice Chair

Danni Washington is a TV host and science communicator who is also the first African-American woman to host her own nationally syndicated science television series. Most recently, Danni was featured as a correspondent during the first season of Mission Unstoppable, which aired weekly on CBS with host Miranda Cosgrove. Danni has also hosted a variety of other STEM productions including Xploration Nature Knows Best on FOX, Science the $#!* Out Of It for Facebook Watch, Untamed Science for Pearson Publishing and Ocean GEMS. In 2017, Danni was selected as one of the 10 young rising innovators who was profiled in CA Technologies #STEM10 initiative alongside artist Jaden Smith, YouTube Star Dianna Cowern (Physics Girl) and other rising stars in the field. Danni also served as the 2018 spokesperson of the nation’s largest celebration of STEM at the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington D.C. She is a graduate of the University of Miami with a B.Sc. degree in Marine Science & Biology. Danni co-founded Big Blue & You at 21 years old in order to educate youth in her local Miami community about ocean conservation using arts and media. She’s also known as the original Mocha Mermaid, co-creator of Sea Youth Rise Up initiative, an inspirational speaker, and a passionate marine conservation advocate.

Staff

Judy Braus profile picture

Judy Braus (she/her)

Executive Director

Judy Braus brings to her role as NAAEE Executive Director a wealth of experience in the environmental education profession, with a focus on conservation education, diversity and inclusion, and using the power of education to help create healthier communities that empower local communities, stakeholders, and individuals to help restore and protect the environment. She comes to NAAEE from the National Audubon Society, where she was the Senior Vice President of Education and Centers, overseeing an extensive nationwide network of nature centers and educators. Prior to that, she led the education programs at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the U.S. Peace Corps, and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).

 

 

Carrie Albright

Carrie Albright

Social Media & Communications Coordinator

Carrie earned her B.A. in both Environmental Studies and Spanish, a dual major she explored hands-on while studying in the cloud forests of Ecuador. After attending Indiana University to complete her Masters in Public Affairs, with concentrations in Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Management, she took on the role of Environmental Educator with the City of Bloomington. Here she connected with community members of all ages, teaching about habitats, sustainability practices, and conservation efforts. 

As an established marketing professional and award-winning public speaker, Carrie brings a variety of skills to NAAEE. Hailing most recently from the private sector, she is versed in planning complex marketing strategies for such names as REI, Icelandair, NPR, and The Weather Channel. A thought-leader in her industry, Carrie has developed and delivered training and audits to hundreds of participants, and prides herself on empowering those around her to excellence. She enthusiastically joins the NAAEE team to combine her creative innovation with her passion for environmental justice and education. 

Carrie has spent her life in the Midwest and currently resides in the rolling hills of southern Indiana. Outside work, Carrie serves on the Bloomington Environmental Commission and takes every opportunity to go hiking with her wife and two rescue pups.

Man wearing glasses smiling at the camera

Adrian Ayson

Program Consultant

Adrian has enjoyed a lifelong career in environmental education. Starting out as a park ranger, he has since served as Statewide Director of Education at Massachusetts Audubon, Director of Operations at the Center for Whole Communities, in Vermont, and as NAAEE's Senior Director for Technology Programs. As the founder of eeMatters, an environmental education and interpretive planning consulting group, Adrian led professional and community-based teams that developed strategic plans, master interpretive plans, exhibits, and technology-based communication tools for clients as varied as NAAEE, Maine Audubon, Vermont Institute of Natural Science, Trustees of Reservations, Monadnock Media, Old Sturbridge Village, and New York Botanical Gardens. 

Adrian has treasured the unique rewards that come from being of service to the field of EE. Serving on the board of the New York City Environmental Education Advisory Council was the first of many turns with professional EE associations. Adrian played leadership roles with the New England EE Alliance  (executive director, president), Massachusetts EE Society (president), and as special projects manager for the Maine EE Association. He has served as a consultant for capacity building and environmental literacy initiatives with state EE associations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Vermont. Adrian has also been active on the NAAEE Affiliate Network, serving on the Steering Committee and as Chair of the Professional Development Committee.

Adrian is pleased as punch about having received the NAAEE Outstanding Service to EE Award, in 2016. 

Sarah Bodor

Sarah Bodor

Director of Policy and Affiliate Relations

NAAEE’s Director of Policy & Affiliate Relations, Sarah Bodor comes from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, where she held a number of program management and leadership positions throughout the organization. She worked closely with state education agencies in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia to develop and pilot standards-based curricula and provide teacher professional development. Her background also includes communications and fundraising. In 2008, she served as the writer of Maryland’s Children in Nature Plan, which resulted in passage of Maryland’s environmental high school graduation requirement.

From 2008–2012, Sarah coordinated the national No Child Left Inside grassroots coalition of more than 2,200 organizations focused on generating public and private support for the development and implementation of state-wide environmental literacy plans. She monitors local, state, regional, and national advances in the integration of environmental education into K–12 public school curricula, and develops funding and programmatic strategy for the implementation of state and local environmental literacy plans. She is a member of the Maryland Children in Nature Partnership Steering Committee and the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Education Workgroup.

Drew Burnett

Drew Burnett

Senior Advisor

Drew Burnett is a retired Federal civil servant with 32 years of service in the U.S. Peace Corps, Environmental Protection Agency, Forest Service, and Fish and Wildlife Service.  Beginning in July 2019, Drew began working part-time as a consultant specializing in meeting facilitation services focused on policy development, decision making, team building, and visioning and strategic planning. Drew is also interested in short-term (NTE 3 months) project leader work focused on environmental education and natural resource management and policy development. Current clients include the North American Association for Environmental Education, Project Learning Tree, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He loves practicing his Spanish, triathlon training, gardening at their weekend home in Garrett County, MD, and volunteering at the house museum Fallingwater.  Drew lives in Washington, DC with his husband of 22 years, and their kitty, Stella.

Jimena Cuenca picture

Jimena Cuenca

Digital Community Coordinator

Jimena Cuenca is happiest when she is a part of a community working towards positive change. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and she started her career volunteering to outreach and present bicycle safety workshops. Jimena holds a Bachelor's degree in Geography from UC Berkeley. Since graduating, she's worked as a seasonal research technician on avian field projects in the Copper River Delta and the northern coast of Alaska. More recently, she has developed and led environmental education programs as a park ranger. In her work as a communicator, she seeks to elevate conversations about the environment and social change. When not at work, she's walking her huskies, and drawing comics about wildlife.

Andrew David

Andrew David

GEEP Consultant

Andrew (Andy) David grew up in Washburn, Wisconsin, a small town on the shores of Lake Superior. In 2019, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Geography and Political Science and minors in African Studies and Development Economics.

Following his undergraduate degree, he served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Glacier National Park in a Tribal Liaison role. There, he worked to build trust between local Indigenous populations and the Park to collaboratively manage natural and cultural resources and grow economic opportunities. 

Andy recently completed a Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) from Emory University, with concentrations in Environmental Sustainability and Monitoring and Evaluation. Throughout his time at Emory, he completed two practicums: one at the Georgia Conservancy (2021) and the other at World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) (2022). At World Agroforestry, he worked on the Regreening Africa project, which restores degraded land across the Sahel through agroforestry and farmer managed natural regeneration.

Madeline Halvey

Madeline Halvey

International Programs Coordinator

Madeline joined NAAEE's Global Environmental Education Partnership (GEEP) team in August 2021. Madeline recently received her Master's degree in Global Environmental Policy from American University in Washington, D.C. She previously worked as a researcher for the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. Much of her scholarship has focused on sustainable and equitable policies toward climate change resiliency, including published research on sustainable agriculture, environmental activism, and public-private partnerships.  Madeline has a B.A. in Writing and Rhetoric and a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies-Social Sciences from the University of Central Florida (UCF).

Nina Hamilton

Nina Hamilton

Manager, International Programs and EE 30 Under 30

Nina joined NAAEE with a background focused on community-based conservation and social inclusion, from working with mangrove-dependent communities in Madagascar to coordinating a global advisory group to promote women's land rights. After a childhood spent living in Asia and Latin America, Nina is particularly passionate about working across cultures to combine her interests in the environment, sustainable development, and social equity. Nina has a Master's in Environmental Management from Duke University. Through her Master's project, she worked closely with a community-based wildlife management and environmental education project in Gabon, where she conducted community mapping in 10 rural communities to better understand their priorities and concerns related to their natural resources. 

Kit Harrington

Kit Harrington

Policy Advisor, Natural Start Alliance

Kit is the co-founder of one of the country's first urban outdoor preschools, the Fiddleheads Forest School at the University of Washington. In 2015, Kit founded the Washington Nature Preschool Association to support the regional growth of nature-based early childhood education and successfully advocated for the passage of the first licensing regulations for outdoor preschools in North America. Today, she continues her work to support the field as the Policy Advisor for the Natural Start Alliance, helping improve equitable access to nature-based early learning experiences and develop meaningful support for educators around the country.

Lea Harvey

Lea Harvey

Development Consultant

With a background that spans environmental, higher education, governance, and policy organizations, Lea Harvey is committed to building the capacity of the nonprofit sector to be a force for positive change. Across three decades, Lea has held fundraising and senior management roles at organizations like World Wildlife Fund, BoardSource, and Resources for the Future. She currently leads her own fundraising consultancy, LLH Strategy Advisors, LLC, based in Northern Virginia, and also serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives, Foundations, and Corporate Relations for her alma mater, Sweet Briar College.

Maxwell Kennady

Maxwell Kennady

Technology and Analytics Advisor

Maxwell works part-time on website, technology, and analytics projects for NAAEE. He was an NAAEE intern during the summer of 2012 and then worked as NAAEE's Project and Technology Coordinator from 2014 to 2015. In this role, he was part of the team that worked on designing and building eePRO and NAAEE's new website.

Maxwell has previously worked on organizational development projects with a variety of government, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, including the Aegis Group, the City of Eden, Texas, the Eden Economic Development Corporation, and the Martin County Convent, Inc. Additionally, he served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa from 2015 to 2016, when he worked on community and economic development projects in Mali and Benin.

Maxwell graduated summa cum laude from Angelo State University with a dual BBA in Management Information Systems and International Business. He graduated from the ASU Honors Program with Highest Honors after completing a senior thesis on the use of knowledge management technology in nonprofit organizations and is passionate about using technology and data for social good. In May 2020, Maxwell finished a Master of Science in Data Analytics and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Ariel Lumpkins

Ariel Lumpkins

Senior Administrative Assistant

Ariel joined the NAAEE team in September of 2021 as a Senior Administrative Assistant. Prior to this role, she has over 15 years of administrative experience in a laboratory and office setting. She is originally from the suburbs of Illinois and moved to Washington DC in 2009, where she attended Howard University. She received her B.A. in Psychology at the College of Arts and Sciences with a minor focus in Administration of Justice. She aspires to travel the world to learn and experience cultures outside her own. Should Italy be next?

Lori Mann

Lori Mann

Director of Conferences and Programs

Lori Mann has nearly 40 years of experience in environmental education at the local, state, and national levels. Lori joined the NAAEE staff in 2012 as Program and Conference Manager and now serves as Director of Conferences and Programs. In this capacity, she manages all aspects of the NAAEE annual conference and coordinates several national projects related to building capacity to deliver high-quality environmental education. 

Christy Merrick

Christy Merrick

Director, Natural Start Alliance

Nearly 20 years ago, Christy took her first job in environmental education at a conservation summer camp, and she hasn't looked back. She has worked in universities, international nonprofits, local organizations, state agencies, and private companies—always with an eye toward helping people build environmental literacy and meaningful connections to nature. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida and a Master's Degree in Environmental Management from Yale University. When she's not working, Christy likes to swim, surf, and play with her family on the beaches of South Florida, where she lives and works.

Laurie Monserrat

Laurie Monserrat

Digital Accessibility Consultant

Laurie Monserrat supports NAAEE's work to provide accessible content on webinars, media, and websites. Laurie began with NAAEE as the Corporate Initiatives Educator Consultant promoting the UL Innovative Education Award and the Cal Water H2O Challenge.

Her passion for environmental education started when a teacher plucked her from the detention room in 5th grade and got her working to clean up a creek near her school. Laurie used those lessons later when she worked teaching literacy to at-risk youth and often used trips to local beaches to help her students learn by connecting with their environment. 

Laurie previously worked with the Walt Disney Company helping teachers who were participating in Disney’s Planet Challenge. Laurie also works as a Research Scientist with CalEPA's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment where she works on Climate Change Indicators for California. Laurie lives in Point Reyes Station, CA with her wife and teenage nephew and holds a Bachelor of Science in Physiology and a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics.

Martha Mulokoshi

Martha Mulokoshi

Financial Operations Coordinator

Martha started her conservation career in Namibia, where she worked for World Wildlife Fund. Her role was to support tourism business development and bolster communal conservancies in establishing viable joint ventures with private partners. She also supported business enterprise efforts of a nonprofit organization that aims to empower the San people socially and economically in the rural Nyae Nyae Conservancy in northeast Namibia (the first conservancy in the country).

While earning her Masters of Tourism Administration at George Washington University, she worked at the International Institute of Tourism Studies and the Institute of African Studies in program administration. She comes to us from Academic Travel Abroad.  She is passionate about people, environmental conservation, and sustainable development.

Colleen Norton

Colleen Norton

Consultant, Climate Education Policy Coalition

Colleen supports the NAAEE Coalition for Climate Education Policy communication and coordination efforts and climate change education policy research. She joins us from the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office, where she worked closely with the Environmental Literacy and Diversity working groups. She gathered and analyzed data on environmental literacy and educational policies in the Chesapeake Bay region to support the infusion of environmental education and green career awareness into more school content areas. She also supported NOAA’s B-WET grants which aid in the systemic implementation of Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) into K-12 curriculums. Her interests lie at the intersection of environment, social justice, education, and policy. She will be pursuing a master’s degree in Environment and Sustainability Management at Georgetown University during the 22-23 academic year.

Mary Ocwieja

Mary Ocwieja

Director of Technology

As the Director of Technology since 2011, Mary serves as the project lead for NAAEE online technology, including the NAAEE website and eePRO, the hub for professional development. She collaborates with developers, designers, staff, leaders, and end-users in building out features and improving user experience; coordinates with NAAEE project managers to support the technology used to deliver their programs, including the in-person and virtual conferences; and leads and collaborates with the communications team on association newsletters, web content, and community outreach. Mary has been on NAAEE staff since 1999 and her extensive background in technology, website development, outreach, multi-stakeholder collaboration, security, systems support, and project management experience consistently provides the highest level of support to NAAEE’s team, leadership, and members. 

 

Betty Olivolo

Betty Olivolo

Senior Advisor, Natural Start Alliance

Betty has a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of New Hampshire and is currently Senior Advisor for the Natural Start Alliance, NAAEE's early childhood program. In addition to being a classroom teacher for more than 15 years (in the US, Taiwan, China, and South Africa), Betty also worked in the field of environmental education for 25 years. She worked with Judy Braus at World Wildlife Fund, and prior to that, Betty worked at other environmental NGOs, including National Wildlife Federation and as Director of Project Wild. She currently lives in Kittery, Maine, and in her spare time, Betty’s hobbies include traveling, photography, sailing, swimming, and walking.

Stacie Pierpoint

Stacie Pierpoint

Manager, Communications and Engagement

Stacie joined the NAAEE team in April 2020 as the Communications, Marketing, and Membership Specialist. Stacie has worked in the education field for almost two decades. Prior to joining NAAEE in April 2020, she managed communications for Annenberg Learner, a leading national nonprofit that connects K–12 educators with classroom content and professional development to support and strengthen their practice. She also taught Spanish at a high school in Washington, D.C. for six years. She holds an M.A. in Spanish and Latin American Studies from American University, and a B.A. in Modern Languages and Linguistics, and Certificate in Secondary Education from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She recently completed a Certificate in Social Impact Storytelling at Georgetown University. Throughout her career, she has been committed to bringing exceptional educational opportunities to underserved areas and educating to promote civic engagement.

Stacie was born and raised in Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay watershed, instilling her connection to the environment, and has volunteered in parks since high school. She enjoys birding, hiking, writing, and drawing in her free time.

Sristi Pradham

Sristi Pradhan

Intern

Sristi is a freelance digital strategist who is passionate about the emerging power of media to create offline impact and systematic change; she is excited to support the team at NAAEE in service of that goal. She is currently pursuing an MSc. in Media Management the New School.

Drew Price

Drew Price

Consultant

Drew is an organizational and logistics specialist with nine years of project and program coordination. Drew has expertise in creating and implementing systems to ensure program success and federal regulation compliance, including budget management, reporting, and program activity coordination. Drew started working for NAAEE in 2012. Prior to that, he worked for ChemStewards, an environmental, health, and safety program, and as a Sustainability Assistant for the City of Sioux Falls in South Dakota, focusing on data management as well as community engagement. He has a bachelor's degree in Political Science, with a minor in biology, from the University of South Dakota.

Grace Pugh

Grace Pugh

Administrative Assistant

Grace joined the NAAEE team as an Administrative Assistant in September 2021. She was raised in western Massachusetts where she developed a deep appreciation and love for the surrounding environment. Grace began her journey in Washington, DC by attending American University, where she earned both her BA and MPA in 5 years. During her undergraduate time, Grace studied Environmental Studies and Public Health. Grace's master's program was in Public Administration, where she concentrated in Nonprofit Management. Grace often focused on university waste management in her spare time, acting as the Co-President of the school's Zero Waste Club, and also working in the Zero Waste Office at American University.

When COVID hit her hometown, Grace ran a virtual farmers market with Roots Rising where she managed an entire e-commerce platform to ensure food security and farmer stability during the pandemic. She has also worked as an educator for youth development programming and as a market manager of many in-person farmers' markets. Grace is passionate about advancing sustainable food systems and fostering accessible environmental education spaces. In her free time, Grace likes to garden, cook, and explore her local farmers' markets.

Danielle Rodriguez

Daniella Rodriguez

ee360+ Consultant

Daniella earned her B.S. in Conservation Biology and Ecology from Arizona State University.  She holds a certificate in Sustainability and Behavior Change from the University of California-San Diego and is pursuing her master’s degree in Environmental Studies from Prescott College. She has been in the Environmental Education field for over a decade. This includes working as a gallery interpreter for the Arizona Science Center, as a Recreation Coordinator for the City of Chandler Nature Center, and then as a Water Conservation Specialist for the City of Chandler. Daniella recently transitioned to the East Coast and has helped the Shaw Institute, a nonprofit marine and environmental research center in Blue Hill, Maine, with outreach and special projects. She’s excited to join the NAAEE team and help support the ee360+ program.

Krishna Roy

Krishna Roy

Development Consultant

Ms. Krishna K. Roy is a conservationist and social activist.  She has worked in the nonprofit sector for three decades as a grantmaker, consultant and in senior management positions specializing in capacity building, strategic planning, development, marketing, event planning, and public relations.  She was a Branch Chief at the US Fish and Wildlife Service and held positions at Island Press, San Diego Zoo, The Nature Conservancy, and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation among other assignments.

From 2010-2015, Ms. Roy was the U.S.G. representative to the Ramsar Wetlands of Importance Convention and co-chaired the reform of its Scientific and Technical Committee that was approved by 170 countries. She was instrumental in the adoption of a migratory bird conservation plan at the Convention of Migratory Species Conference of Parties.  She has raised more than $85 million and developed groundbreaking environmental media and marketing partnerships with Discovery Communications, Black Entertainment Television, Telemundo, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Exxon, among others.

In 1984, Ms. Roy worked on the Oscar-nominated film The Garden of Eden, on the importance of saving biodiversity that won numerous other film awards. She won a Telly in 2000 for co-producing a documentary entitled Killing our Oceans

Ms. Roy has a B.A. (Honors) in Political Science from Jadavpur University in India and an M.A in Comparative History and Television Production and Direction from the University of Michigan. She serves on several nonprofit boards.

SPREAD THE WORD!

T'Noya Thompson

T'Noya Thompson

Consultant

T’Noya Thompson Being born and raised in the Bahamas fostered a deep connection to the ocean that inspired a career path at an early age for T’Noya. She began her career at Moody Gardens in the animal care department, where she served several roles, including connecting with communities in various capacities for twelve years. After Moody Gardens, she worked at Galveston Bay Foundation for two and a half years as the Advocacy Programs Manager. There she educated and encouraged action to improve the overall health of Galveston Bay, Texas’ largest estuary. T’Noya joined NAAEE as the EE Specialist in 2019 and then became the Manager of Research, Evaluation, and eeBLUE in 2021. She worked with various partners on eeBLUEeeWORKSeeRESEARCH, and developing eeVAL, an evaluation portal with Duke University. Currently, T’Noya serves as a consultant for NAAEE.

Additionally, she serves as a Community Learning Leader for Miami University’s Project Dragonfly’s Global Field Program, the Board Chair for the Vermilion Sea Institute, and a Board Member for Ecology Project International. She is a graduate of Class Eight of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders Program. T’Noya is also a member of the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation governing council, Science Committee, serves on the Advisory Council for A Rocha USA, and is an AZA Conservation Education Committee advisor. In the fall of 2021, she was the recipient of Conservation Nation’s Established Conservationist Grant and will be collaborating with Bahamian scientists on a dream project!

T’Noya holds a B.S. in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University at Galveston and an M.A. in Biology from Miami University through Project Dragonfly’s Global Field Program. This August, she began her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership at Southeastern University. She is passionate about wildlife, environmental education, and supporting conservation and equity through community engagement. She enjoys growing in her faith, spending time with her wonderful family, meeting new people, and exploring when traveling in her spare time.

Anne Umali

Anne Umali

Director of Professional Development

Anne Umali has been working in the environmental education field since 2000 and has built a strong passion for teaching and training others, especially when it comes to leadership training, community engagement, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Anne is the Project Manager for the ee360 Project at the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), U.S. EPA’s most recent National Environmental Education & Training Program. Before NAAEE, she was the Project Manager for EECapacity, the U.S. EPA’s National Environmental Education & Training Program housed at Cornell University 2011–2016.

Emily Van Laan

Emily Van Laan

Communications and Conference Specialist, Natural Start Alliance

Emily earned her B.A. in Elementary Education from Ball State University and went on to teach first grade in Indianapolis, IN. At that time, the lack of widely accessible environmental education in urban areas led her away from formal education and into the field of informal science education at Lincoln Park Zoo. She worked on developing inquiry-based science curriculum for the zoo’s Conservation Camp program and later found her niche as the Early Childhood and Family Programs Coordinator.

Emily’s knowledge of nature education and developmentally appropriate practice allowed her to drive early childhood programming to the forefront of education offerings at Lincoln Park Zoo. Her work primarily focused on highlighting the importance of early experiences with the natural world and the long-term positive impact of these experiences. In an effort to break down barriers and create more diverse and accessible programming, Emily worked to expand the zoo’s offerings to a broader audience. Her progress on this goal is exemplified most notably through a partnership with Chicago Park District, the addition of an early childhood volunteer position, and the design and implementation of several nature play spaces.

In service to the greater AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) community, Emily served as a Nature Play Leader, where she supported other early childhood environmental educators by sharing resources, professional development opportunities, and leading discussions around important topics. Her experience advocating for early childhood environmental education led her to NAAEE and Natural Start Alliance as the Communications and Conference Coordinator. She is excited to continue the important work of Natural Start Alliance and explore new ways to support and engage the Alliance’s amazing community of members.

Emily is based in Chicago, IL.

Bruce Young

Bruce Young (he/they)

Affiliates Relations Specialist

Prior to coming aboard with NAAEE Bruce worked as a freelance environmental education consultant, educator, and volunteer for a variety of schools and organizations including the Rivanna Conservation Alliance, Greensboro Science Center, Tandem Friends School, and Free Union Country School. 

Advisory Council

Janet Ady v2

Janet Ady

Division Chief, Retired

Janet Ady is the Chief of the Education, Interpretation, and Partnerships Division for the Bureau of Land Management’s National Conservation Lands and Community Partnerships directorate. The division provides national level program support, training, and products for environmental education, interpretation, volunteer management, and partnership programs; leads the Junior Ranger initiative to connect people with nature; and coordinates the BLM youth and stewardship programs. Previously, she worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a national wildlife refuge in California, in the Alaska regional office, in the Washington, DC headquarters, and at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) in Shepherdstown, West Virginia as an environmental education and training specialist, the Chief of the NCTC Division of Education Outreach, and a Senior Advisor.

Janet received a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Planning and Interpretation, with an emphasis in Environmental Education, and elementary school and high school biology teaching credentials from Humboldt State University. She obtained a Master’s degree in Natural Science and Environmental Education from San Jose State University, in California, and a doctoral degree in Sustainability Education from Prescott College in Arizona, with a focus on engaging youth in conservation science.

Nicole Ardoin

Nicole Ardoin

Associate Professor, Stanford University

Nicole Ardoin is an associate professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University. She is also Stanford's lead researcher on the eeWORKS initiative in partnership with NAAEE. Professor Ardoin´s research focuses on environmental behavior as influenced by environmental learning and motivated by place-based connections. In particular, she is interested in considerations of geographic scale, which is an understudied yet crucial aspect of people-place relationships in a rapidly globalizing, urbanizing world. Professor Ardoin has current studies on the use of education, communications, and other social strategies in informal and community-based settings, including nature-based tourism programs, to engage individuals and communities in deliberate dialogue, environmental decision-making, and informed conservation behavior.

Professor Ardoin also researches the effectiveness of a range of environmental education and social science endeavors in achieving measurable and meaningful conservation results. To this end, she conducts evaluations with informal organizations, including museums, zoos/aquariums, parks, and residential environmental education programs, with an emphasis on using innovative, non-traditional metrics and adaptive management approaches. She is also interested in philanthropic support of environmental education and emergent trends in the field of environmental education research.

Paul Hart

Paul Hart

Professor of Education, University of Regina

Paul Hart is Professor of Science and Environmental Education at the University of Regina in Western Canada where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in his subject areas as well as courses in research methodology and curriculum inquiry. He is the author of Teachers’ Thinking In Environmental Education: Consciousness and Responsibility (© 2003, New York: Peter Lang). His research interests extend from genealogical roots of teacher thinking and children’s ideas about environment-related education to sociocultural views on learning. His recent work focuses on exploring the potential of both critical and post-informed theories for research practice in writing beyond human-environment boundaries. His work seeks to understand possible relationships amongst ideas of relational ways of knowing, sociocultural views of learning and processes implicated in young people’s construction of identity and agency. Currently, he is an Executive Editor of the Journal of Environmental Education and a consulting editor/editorial board member for several journals including the CanadianAustralian and Southern African Journals of Environmental Education and Environmental Education Research. He has served several terms as a member of the Board of the North American Association for Environmental Education and has served on the grants adjudication committee of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. He publishes quite extensively and has received several awards for his publications and for service work, including the Journal for Research in Science Teaching and the North American Association for Environmental Education research awards, the Melanson Award for outstanding contributions to environmental and outdoor education in Saskatchewan and the NAAEE Jeske Award for leadership and service to the field of environmental education. 

Ashley Hoffman

Ashley Hoffman

Executive Director, Kentucky Association for Environmental Education

Ashley Hoffman has served as the Executive Director of the Kentucky Association for Environmental Education since 2010 and currently serves as the NAAEE Affiliate Chair and the part-time Executive Director of the Southeastern Environmental Education Alliance (SEEA). The Affiliate Network represents the state, provincial and regional environmental education organizations of NAAEE. The SEEA is a collaboration of environmental education organizations in the eight southeast states (AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, and TN). Ashley Hoffman holds a B.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida and a Masters in Nonprofit Administration from North Park University School of Business and Nonprofit Administration. Prior to her work with KAEE, Ashley served as a Biologist for the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program, a partnership between The Nature Conservancy and the Natural Resource Conservation Service. Ashley is a Certified Professional Environmental Educator in Kentucky. She serves as the Kentucky State Coordinator for Project Learning Tree and is a certified member of the NAAEE Guidelines Trainers Bureau. In her free time, she enjoys traveling to new places and enjoying time in the outdoors with her husband and children.

J Drew Lanham

J. Drew Lanham

Wildlife Ecologist

J. Drew Lanham is a native of Edgefield, South Carolina with a B.A. and M.S. in Zoology and Ph.D. in Forest Wildlife Ecology from Clemson University. He is an award-winning faculty member and was named as Distinguished Alumni Professor and Master Teacher at his alma mater in 2012. Dr. Lanham is a Certified Wildlife Biologist and an active board member in several organizations, including the South Carolina Wildlife Federation, Aldo Leopold Foundation, and BirdNote. He is a widely published essayist and an endeavoring poet who has contributed to several anthologies with pieces focusing on a passion for place and introspection on the internal and societal conflicts that sometimes put ethnicity and passion for nature at odds. His most recent work, “9 Rules for the Black Birdwatcher,” was featured in Orion Magazine and on NPR’s All Things Considered. A member of the inaugural Audubon/ToyotaTogether Green Fellows class and a member of the Whole Thinking Community at Knoll Farm, he views his professional passion and personal missions converging to define environmental sustainability and conservation in new ways. A major focus of this effort is to tell the stories of Black-American connections to nature in the Southeast and beyond. Drew is a lifelong birder, naturalist, and avid hunter living in the Upstate of South Carolina with his wife, Janice. They have two adult children: Kimberly Alexis and Donovan Colby.

A Michael Marzola

A Michael Marzolla

4-H Youth Development Advisor Emeritus, University of California

Michael is an emeritus 4-H Youth Development and Master Gardener Advisor with UC Cooperative Extension in Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties. He has over thirty years of experience in the field of non-formal environmental education in national and international settings. He is the Principal Investigator of the Agua Pura and Pescadores watershed, salmon, and steelhead youth education project. Michael holds an M.A. in Education, specializing in non-formal education, from the Center for International Education at the University of Massachusetts. His undergraduate degree is in fine arts, from Humboldt State University, with course work and special projects in environmental planning and design. In recent years he has served various consultancies with ACDI/VOCA in Bolivia and in Serbia. Before he began his work with the University of California, He directed a farmworker service center for eighteen Northern California counties. He served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala as Peace Corps recruiter and trainer and as a non-formal education project leader in Lesotho, Southern Africa. He has served on the board of the NAAEE as Chair of the Nonformal Commission, and more recently as Co-chair of NAAEE’s International Commission. He is fluent in Spanish and he has a working knowledge of Italian.

Heidi McAllister

Heidi McAllister

Assistant Director of Conservation Education, US Forest Service

Heidi McAllister currently serves as the Assistant Director of Conservation Education at the U.S. Forest Service. Her background includes a wide variety of national and international experience in environmental education. She is the recipient of the 2006 Renewable Natural Resources Foundation’s Sustained Achievement Award, which recognizes Heidi’s contribution of more than 25 years to the teaching of environmental education and the sustainable management of natural resources. Heidi holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management from Yale University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Education and Outdoor Leadership from Hampshire College. Heidi is a published author in two languages and three countries. One of her books is used by the Ministry of Education in Mexico as a text for 35,000 students per year.

Heidi began her career working for the United States Peace Corps and the Paraguayan Ministry of Education where she co-developed a national environmental education program for elementary schools, implemented in-service training and university classes, and served as a consultant to train Peace Corps volunteers and teachers. Heidi also lived in Mexico for over a decade, where she developed educational activities and materials on the monarch butterfly, education and recreation plans for a forest experimental station, and designed in-service training courses and curricula for the Secretariat of Education. Heidi also served as the environment specialist for the Europe, Mediterranean, and Asia Region of the Peace Corps where she managed an international portfolio and provided technical oversight to about 100 programming and management staff in more than 20 countries with the main mission of strengthening environmental education programming in these countries. Her leadership strengthened programming and training in countries such as Armenia, Bulgaria, China, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Philippines, Romania, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Heidi also trained host country professionals in the environment and education fields. As the sole environmental education specialist at Peace Corps headquarters, she served as a specialized resource in this field to countries around the globe. 

Kathy McGlauflin

Kathy McGlauflin

Senior Advisor

Kathy McGlauflin has served as the National Director for Project Learning Tree and Senior Vice President of Education for the American Forest Foundation since 1985. She was responsible for all the materials development and professional development implementation, as well as supporting the network of PLT state leaders. She is past president and a former board member of the North American Association for Environmental Education. She served on a number of boards, including World Wildlife Fund’s Windows on the Wild national advisory board and the National Association of Conservation Districts’ Education Board. She also served on the National Science Teachers’ Association Task Force on Environmental Education and the Council for Environmental Education advisory board.

Kathy has a B.S. in Natural Resource Management from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She began her career as an urban naturalist at the Schlitz Audubon Center in Milwaukee and later directed youth programs for the National Audubon Society at their headquarters in New York City. Prior to coming to PLT, she worked as education coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation.

Kathy has received several awards, including the Walter E. Jeske Lifetime Achievement Award for Environmental Education from the North American Association for Environmental Education and the Rudolph J. H. Schafer Award from the Western Regional Environmental Education Council for her work with Project Learning Tree and her dedication to environmental education. She is a frequent speaker and advisor on environmental education issues, including international keynotes. She is also co-author of Living Lightly in the City, an urban environmental education curriculum.

Gus Medina

Augusto Medina

EE Consultant Independent

Dr. Medina is an independent consultant specializing in environmental education. His areas of proficiency include program design, project management, proposal writing and review, professional development, cultural competency and inclusiveness, strategic planning, and facilitation. Dr. Medina has worked extensively at both the national and international levels. Until early 2014 he was Project Manager of the Cornell University-led Expanding Capacity in Environmental Education (EECapacity) Project funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Education. Between 1995 and 2010, he managed the National Environmental Education Training Program (EETAP). Within the last few years, he has facilitated professional-level environmental education courses and workshops in Thailand, India, and Chile.

Brenda Metcalf

Brenda Metcalf

Executive Director, Environmental Education Council of Ohio

Brenda Metcalf is the Executive Director for the Environmental Education Council of Ohio, (EECO).  In 1991 Brenda graduated from Bowling Green State University with a degree in Environmental Studies Policy and Analysis, with an area of emphasis in Education and a minor in Geology.  Immediately after graduation, Brenda started in the Environmental Education field. Brenda became the Executive Director for EECO in 2003. In 2006 Brenda became more involved with NAAEE by becoming a part of the Awards Committee and in 2007 became the chair of the Awards Committee and part of the Affiliate Steering Committee.

For more information about EECO and EE in Ohio please visit eeco-online.org

Angela Mooney D'Arcy

Angela Mooney D'Arcy

Executive Director, Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples Sustainability Initiative

Angela Mooney D’Arcy (Juaneno Band of Mission Indians, Acjachemen Nation) has been working with Tribal Nations, Indigenous peoples, and grassroots organizations on Indigenous environmental justice issues for over fourteen years.  She is the founder and Executive Director of the Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples, a Los Angeles-based, Indigenous-led organization that works to build the capacity of Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples to protect sacred lands, waters, and cultures.  She is also the Co-Director of the United Coalition to Protect Panhe (UCPP), a grassroots alliance of Acjachemen people dedicated to the protection of their sacred sites.

She serves on the Board of the Blas Aguilar Adobe Museum & Acjachemen Cultural Center and secured funding from the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, Mobilizing Communities through the Arts initiative to support monthly traditional cultural programming for tribal members at the museum in San Juan Capistrano, CA.  She also teaches Native American Law through the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of California, Riverside, and teaches Indigenous Cultural Resource Law in Theory and Practice through UCLA Extension and the TLCEE Working in Tribal Communities program.

She is a recipient of the New Voices Fellowship, a national Ford Foundation-funded program dedicated to cultivating the next generation of social justice leaders, the Earthjustice Sutherland Fellowship, awarded each year to a young lawyer to continue their work in environmental public-interest law, and is a member of the 2012 Circle of Leadership Academy sponsored by Native Americans in Philanthropy and the Center for Leadership Innovation.  She received her B.A. from Brown University and received her JD, with a concentration in Critical Race Studies and Federal Indian Law, from UCLA School of Law.

Taylor Morton

Taylor Morton

Co-Lead, Env. Health & Justice Leadership Training WE ACT for Env. Justice/Univ. of Pennsylvania

EE 30 Under 30 Class of 2018 Interview:

New York City, NY, United States
Age: 25

Tell us a bit about yourself!

Originally from South Carolina, I spent most of my childhood outdoors in the Blue Ridge Mountains. During my time at Spelman College, I interned with the National Park Service at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park in Georgia, where I co-created wayside trail signs and related teacher-led trail programs under the Greening Youth Foundation. My other previous roles in the Atlanta area have included working with the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta as a camp program director, and volunteering for the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance.

In my current role as an environmental consultant and contractor for WE ACT for Environmental Justice(link is external), I create curricula and facilitate programming related to environmental health, equity and environmental justice. These adult and youth programs teach participants not only to value the natural world, but also to understand that everyone has the right to a clean and healthy environment. For the past three years, I have co-lead the organization’s Environmental Health and Justice Leadership Training(link is external), which is an educational program that teaches Northern Manhattan residents to advocate for their rights to a clean environment. One of my biggest projects was co-creating and facilitating the Youth Climate Change and Health program with partners including Columbia University, University of North Carolina, and many others. I am also a teaching fellow for the University of Pennsylvania Independent School Teaching Residency Program, through which I teach middle school science in New York City.

What inspired you to become a champion for the environment and environmental education?

For me, environmental education is rooted in my family’s experiences as descendants of sharecroppers in Georgia. I carry on the twin legacies of my assistant school principal mother and wildlife biologist father. My brother and I grew up hunting and fishing, which our family began doing generations ago as sharecroppers in Georgia. These activities began to foster my love for the environment.

I was aware that we were the only black family that spent a lot of time outdoors. While attending Spelman, a historically black women’s college, I became more aware of stigmas about the environment, and barriers to access for communities of color. This also helped me understand what environmental education means beyond its natural elements. This sparked my interest in breaking down those stigmas and barriers through education, where it is needed the most. I believe that the best way to honor my family and my ancestors is to be an advocate for an equitable environment for all people.

What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders that are looking to bring about positive change in their communities through EE?

My advice is to be inclusive in your work and meet people where they are. There are a lot of people who do not have easy access to a safe and healthy environment, or are unsure about engaging with their environment. Never underestimate the power of partnerships!

Who do you look up to as inspiration for your work?

I look up to my parents as an inspiration for my work. They have always encouraged me to spend more time outdoors, and to learn as much as I can. They are big advocates for reaching back to help others, as a way to repay those who have helped us to get where we are. I think it’s really important to teach people how to pay it forward when it comes to the environment.

My mentors, Dr. Na’taki Osborne Jelks and Dr. Ana Baptista, are also two of my biggest environmental justice inspirations. They are both huge advocates for their own communities, and mentor a lot of young people as they become environmental advocates.

If you could be any animal or plant, what would you be and why?

I would be a bear. My father was a black bear biologist in South Carolina, so they remind me of home. Bears have a big nurturing instinct, which was and still is critical to my development as a person. In fact, my nickname at Girl Scout camp was “Grizz,” short for “Grizzly Bear.”

Katie Navin

Katie Navin

Executive Director, Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education

Katie has been active in the field of environmental education for over 10 years. As the executive director of the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education, she leads environmental literacy planning and implementation efforts and is active both locally and nationally.

Darryl Ramos-Young

Darryl Ramos-Young

Public Information Specialist, West Basin Municipal Water District

Darryl Ramos-Young is the Education Coordinator for the West Basin Municipal Water District, a local government agency providing water to over one million people in the coastal Los Angeles area. He earned his BS degree in Environmental Education from Humboldt State University and has over 30 years of education program development and fundraising experience with local, state, and national environmental education organizations.  He helped establish the Hawaii Environmental Education Association, served as a steering committee member for the Golden State Environmental Education Consortium, is a board member of the California Environmental Education Foundation, and was one of the current Diversity and Inclusion eePRO moderators for the North American Association for Environmental Education. Darryl’s passion is strengthening the communication networks and available resources for urban EE organizations.  His efforts have included expanding the community outreach for an environmental education grants program to diverse populations for Save-the-Redwoods League, building the first Los Angeles urban nature center for the National Audubon Society, and creating an environmental education job training program for urban young adults for the West Basin Municipal Water District. When time allows, Darryl enjoys plunging into ice-cold rivers, telling good ghost stories, and savoring small-batch handcrafted whiskey.

Bora Simmons

Bora Simmons

Director, National Project for Excellence in Environmental Education

Bora Simmons serves as the founding director of the National Project for Excellence in Environmental Education. The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) initiated the Project in 1993 to help educators develop and deliver effective environmental education programs. The Project has drawn on the insights of literally thousands of educators across the United States and around the world to craft guidelines for top-quality environmental education.

Elena Takaki

Elena Takaki

Director, Project WILD/Interim Director Mgmt. Assistance Team Assn. of Fish & Wildlife Agencies

Elena was an EE Specialist for NAAEE supporting the state capacity building program, Guidelines for Community Engagement, and Community Climate Change. Prior to coming to NAAEE, Elena was the Program Manager for National Geographic’s Chesapeake Bay FieldScope program and the co-lead staff for Maryland's Partnership for Children in Nature at Maryland DNR. 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 an M.A. in Science Education from the University of Michigan and an M.S. in Environmental Science from Johns Hopkins University. Before 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 is training to be a teacher of hula.