2018 EEAO Conference Presenter Bios

Mel Bankoff has started four non-profit organizations and a national organic food business. He has dedicated his time, energy, and passion in service to youth for two decades. Mel founded Emerald Valley Kitchen, leading the company for 23 years to become a pioneer in the organic and natural foods industry nationwide. In recognition of his contributions to sustainable business Mel received a Socially Responsible Business Award, Green Business of the Year Award, and the Community Applause Award presented by the Oregon Bankers Association. He also served as an inaugural member of the Lane County Food Policy Council and played a key role in the development of the Willamette Valley Food and Farm Coalition’s Farm to School Program. Mel helped to guide the Partner for Sustainable School's success in forging successful partnerships with local schools, the University of Oregon, Lane Community College, the Eugene Water and Electric Board, the City of Eugene, Lane County government, and numerous community organizations.

Coreal Riday-White received a B.A. in Community Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz, before working as a mental health counselor and special education instructor in California and Oregon youth group homes. Coreal earned his J.D. from the City University of New York, School of Law and practiced environmental law in San Francisco before moving to Eugene, Oregon and joining the Our Children's Trust team three years ago. As the Community Engagement Manager, Coreal is the point person for individual and organizational partnerships and heads OCT's federal trial mobilization efforts.

And featuring Ken Ward, of the documentary film “Reluctant Radical”


Connections Between the State of EE in Oregon and Beyond

Rick Reynolds has been a passionate educator and developer of educational resources for 25 years. Through Engaging Every Student, he creates curriculum and multimedia resources with partners such as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, BLM, SOLVE, and PBS. His works help all ages connect with nature, including The EverGreen Twins Activity Book, SOLVE's Environmental Service Learning curriculum, Marco the Molecule, and Inquiry, Exploration, and Service Learning in the Sagebrush Ecosystem.

Morgan Parks, Oregon Education Coordinator - National Wildlife Federation, received her B.S. in Natural Resources from OSU and has 8 years’ experience in community education and
engagement having previously worked for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, SOLVE, and the Clackamas River Basin Council. She leads education programming including Eco-Schools USA, Garden for Wildlife (Certified Wildlife Habitats and Schoolyard Habitats), and salmon education initiatives (Fish Eggs to Fry) with NW Steelheaders.

Becca Gilbert graduated with an Elementary Education degree from Indiana University, then taught in Kenya before returning to teach in rural Kentucky for two years. Her she worked on Green School Programs and the Kentucky NEED program. She moved to Bend in 2015 to enjoy the lifestyle of the Pacific Northwest. She worked with Camp Tamarack Outdoor School as a field instructor for one season, which led to her role as Campaign Organizer for the Save Outdoor School campaign. She currently is a sustainability educator at The Environmental Center teaching students about waste, energy and climate change and assisting schools through the Oregon Green School certification.

Sarah Stapleton is an Assistant Professor in Education Studies at the University of Oregon. Before earning her PhD, she taught middle and high school sciences including environmental science at public schools in California and West Africa. In her teaching, Sarah helps future teachers learn to teach science that is responsive to social & environmental justice. In her research, she uses participatory methodologies to explore social contexts and inequities around science and environmental education.

Shirley Lomax is Supervisor for Student Teachers at Western Oregon University. For over 30 years, she was a teacher of Talented and Gifted, alternative education, social studies and language arts in the Salem-Keizer School District, and taught methods courses for graduate students at Willamette University. Shirley has been awarded Teacher of the Year by the National Council for Geographic Education. M.S., Geography, University of Oregon; B.S., Elementary Education, Western Oregon State College.


Connecting Tools, Technology and Science-based Education

Marie Reeder graduated from Reed college, has a MAT from Southern Oregon University and taught in a classroom for 20 years, most of them in alternative education. Before entering public school education, she started an outreach program (the Zoo to You) for Portland Parks and Recreation, taught interdisciplinary workshops on watershed and energy themes for the Children’s Museum of Portland, and traveled in several western states with a wildlife presentation for National School Assemblies.

Lucy Miner, Program Director and Garden Educator for School Garden Project of Lane County, has 6 years of experience in environmental education, which includes facilitating lessons in a variety of ecosystems, coordinating volunteers and young educators, and incorporating standards-based curriculum into the outdoor classroom. At School Garden Project, Lucy coordinates educational programs with partner schools, supports garden educator staff, and leads hands-on science lessons in school gardens with elementary school students.

Sarah Wheeler has 6 years of experience as an environmental educator in school gardens. At School Garden Project, Sarah is a Garden Educator, leading hands-on science lessons in school gardens with elementary students, and Support Services Coordinator, a program which offers resources, consultation, and gardening advice to educational gardens in Lane County and beyond. Sarah has led workshops on outdoor classroom management and school garden development.

Sarah Kelly recently graduated from Oregon State University with an M.A. in Environmental Arts & Humanities. Her research project was based at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest where she led field trips and research efforts for the Discovery Trail Interpretive Experience. Prior to graduate school, Sarah directed the University of Houston sustainability program. She graduated from UH with a B.A. in Communications and a minor in World Cultures and Literatures. Other collaborators on the project (not presenting): Kari O’Connell, Lissy Goralnik, Mark Schulze, Michael Nelson.

Kassia Rudd is the Washington County Coordinator for Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom. Her enthusiasm for the outdoors solidified at Outdoor School and followed her to college where she studied Geology (B.A.), and later Curriculum and Instruction (M.Ed.: Food Systems). Kassia is overjoyed to put her knowledge to use connecting with educators and farmers to further student learning through agricultural programs. Ask her about pollinators, public health, and school gardens!

Connecting Oregon Communities: DEI Initiatives and Practices in Action

Karelia Ver Eecke, her husband, young daughter, and dog live and work in the Rogue Valley. Karelia’s background is diverse and includes time spent at JSWCD as a plant and habitat technician and aquatic conservation technician, and as an adjunct professor, environmental educator, and ski bum. Karelia’s passion is to bring people together to improve and better understand the landscape in which they live through hands-on experiences with their human and natural communities.

Kora Mousseaux graduated from Southern Oregon University with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies and a concentration in Land Use Planning. Her work at JSWCD provides technical, financial, planning, and design assistance to urban landowners and other clients to implement stewardship projects that protect and conserve our natural resources. Such natural resource concerns include water quality, soil erosion, invasive plants, riparian health, and stormwater runoff/low impact development.

Clint Nichols provides technical assistance to help rural landowners develop land-use plans that conserve water, maintain water quality, improve soil health, maintain healthy and fire resilient forests, while allowing for economic benefit from working the land through JSWCD. Much of his educational background applies to rural landowner challenges and his knowledge includes soil science; plant, fire and aquatic ecology; hydrology, hydrogeology, environmental policy, ecological economics, and resource management.

Sarah Anderson taught middle school at The Cottonwood School of Civics and Science in Portland before becoming their Fieldwork and Place-based Education Coordinator. She leads workshops and mentors teachers in place-based curriculum design through a school-sponsored effort to disseminate PBE across Oregon. Anderson has written for Teaching Tolerance and Educational Leadership, among others, and her book Bringing School to Life: Place-based Education across the Curriculum was published last fall.

Robin Butterfield, an enrolled member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska with ancestry from the White Earth Ojibwa Tribe of Minnesota has over 45 years of experience as a Native educator in classrooms in district Indian Education Programs; as a Indian Education/Civil Rights Specialist for Oregon; with educational research laboratories, and nationally with the National Education Association, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as President of the National Indian Education Association (NIEA). and advisor to the Secretary of Education for the US Department of Education.

Ciarra Greene is Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) and of mixed European descent. Her cultural traditions emphasize an intricate relationship with the environment, driving her academic, professional, and personal endeavors. Ciarra has a BS in Chemistry from Northern Arizona University (2012) with additional experiences with the Dept. of Energy, EPA, US Fish and Wildlife, and the US Geological Survey. She is currently pursuing her MS in Science Teaching at Portland State University.

Danielle Jones is guided by her passions for transformative learning, traditional ecological knowledge and justice. She is a recent graduate of the Leadership for Sustainability Education M.S. program and certificate in Sustainable Food Systems program at Portland State University. In June 2017 she completed Center for Diversity and the Environment’s six-month long E42 Emerging Leaders program. Danielle enjoys facilitated learning in ways that honor learners’ background, creativity, and Mother Earth.

Antonia Decker was raised in Salem and holds a B.A. in Communication Studies and Spanish from Seattle University. Given her own Mexican background and Spanish fluency, Antonia worked for organizations committed to making change within the Latinx and/or other under-resourced communities: an AmeriCorps early education program, Casa Latina, El Centro de la Raza and the Coalition of Refugees from Burma. At Straub Environmental Center, she coordinates the ¡Naturaleza Ahora! Initiative, Latino Engagement Team and leads DEI trainings.

Lena Baucum spent two decades working with diverse communities and language learners. At the Straub Environmental Center, she specializes in curriculum and instruction for language learners from early childhood through high school. She works with educators across various disciplines and grade levels to integrate quality, discipline-specific pedagogy with applicable language supports and structures to ensure success for all students. She is passionate about science literacy as a means of developing a generation of educated decision-makers and stewards.


Connecting Nature, Arts, Spirit and Science

Tess Malijenovsky manages Honoring Our Rivers (HOR), a statewide project nurturing the next generation of conservation and civic leaders by engaging the creative capacities of our youth. HOR publishes student artwork and creative writing inspired by rivers and watersheds in an annual anthology publication, hosts student gallery exhibitions and readings, and supports outdoor schools and teachers in including more of the arts in environmental education. Honoring Our Rivers is a project of the environmental nonprofit, Willamette Partnership, which is working to make conservation and restoration happen on larger scales, faster, and more effectively to create benefits for people and nature.

Roy Simpson worked as a Park Ranger, Environmental Educator and Interpreter for over 30 years. A dedicated Banana Slug from UC Santa Cruz, he created education programs and authored curriculum with the BLM at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, the National Park Service at Tumacacori National Historical Park and Chiricahua National Monument, and the USFS at Stanislaus National Forest. A two-time Peace Corps Volunteer (Niger, Africa and Honduras, Central America); he worked as an international Environmental Education consultant in Ecuador, Panama and Mexico. Retired in 2014, he now consults and works as a trainer with Joseph Cornell and the Sharing Nature Foundation.

Valerie Stephan-Leboeuf began her work as a zookeeper and spent ten years as a wildlife rehabilitator. Focusing on humane and sustainable solutions to environmental issues, she was the program manager for a population control and conflict resolution program for beavers residing in a large urban area and improved native fish habitat by relocating beaver groups into areas needing restoration. She continues to advocate for wildlife and habitat preservation, which includes her work as an educator and presenter for The Animals’ Trust and as a facilitator for human-wildlife conflict resolution. She has presented at professional conferences in the United States, Canada, and Greece, and has a M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Environmental Education, and a M.S. Environmental Science. She is currently pursuing pre-doctoral studies in Environmental Science with the University of Idaho, USA, focusing on human-marine mammal conflict resolution and the human dynamics of restoration efforts for sea otter along the Oregon Coast.

Lauriel Amoroso holds a B.A. in Environmental and Cultural Studies from the Evergreen State College and a Master’s in Teaching from Lewis and Clark College. She also earned a graduate certificate in Environmental Education from the University of Idaho and a Master’s degree in Sustainability Education from Portland State University and is working towards a Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Portland State University. As an elementary and middle school teacher, she uses inquiry and exploration to spark curiosity and she loves helping people of all ages connect to nature through exploration, journaling, making art, and learning to carefully observe the world.

Teri Lysak teaches animal tracking, wild plant foraging, and primitive skills, and works for the nonprofit Cascadia Wild running a community science project called the Wolverine Tracking Project that trains and organizes volunteers to carry out carnivore surveys on Mt Hood. Prior to this, she worked as a forester for the Washington Dept of Natural Resources and the US Forest Service and holds a MS in Forest Ecology from Oregon State University.


Connecting Educators and Students to Outdoor School

Steven Braun Dr. Braun is an environmental science and education consultant. He earned his Ph.D. in Earth, Environment and Society from Portland State University in 2015, studying educational and ecological impacts of Environmental Service-Learning; he holds a Master’s degree in Special Education. His research and leadership activities include directing the Lane County STEM Hub and serving on the Oregon Environmental Literacy Program Council where he leads a team investigating outcomes of outdoor school. He has authored publications in Environmental Education Research, the Green Teacher and in the book Teaching About Invasive Species. He has taught as a certified teacher in four states and led professional learning activities for in-service and pre-service educators in STEM, Environmental Education, Service-Learning and Inquiry.

Spirit Brooks Dr. Brooks is the Research, Evaluation, and Assessment Coordinator for Outdoor School/OSU Extension. She earned her PhD from the University of Oregon in Critical Sociocultural Studies in Education in 2017, studying teaching practices in college access programs that catered to under-served students in elementary, middle, and high school; and she holds a Master’s degree in Women and Gender Studies and Anthropology. Past research includes leading a study of Native women leaders in the Environmental Justice movement, research and development of best practices in implementing Native Studies curriculum in K-12 schools, and collaborative research ethics, particularly decolonizing research practices. Dr. Brooks has authored peer-reviewed publications in the Journal of Family and Diversity in Education, the Qualitative Report, the High School Journal, Gender and Education, and the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. Dr. Brooks is also affiliated faculty in the College of Education at Oregon State University, teaching Ethnographic Methods, and has taught Educational Foundations and the Cultural Context of Schooling in the College of Education at the University of Oregon.

Darin Borgstadter has worked with youth for over 30 years. He started his career as an EE instructor in Puget Sound. He continued working for outdoor schools in San Diego County leading trips and coordinating programs. He was Director of one of the largest ODS programs in Southern California before moving to Oregon for the green. He continues to be passionate about the environment and getting kids outdoors.


Annette Lee is an astrophysicist, artist and the Director of the Native Skywatchers (NSW) research and programming initiative. She has over 28 years of experience in education as a teacher, university instructor, teacher educator, program administrator, professional visual artist, and researcher.
Designed by Lee, the NSW initiative seeks to remember and revitalize indigenous star and earth knowledge, promoting the native voice as the lead voice. The overarching goal of NSW is to communicate the knowledge that indigenous people traditionally practiced a sustainable way of living and sustainable engineering through a living and participatory relationship with the above and below, sky and earth. We aim to improve current inequities in education for native young people, to inspire increased cultural pride, and promote community wellness. We hope to inspire all people to have a rekindling or deepening sense of awe and personal relationship to the cosmos. Currently Annette is an Associate Professor of Astronomy & Physics at St. Cloud State University (SCSU), Director of the SCSU Planetarium, and an Indigenous STEM consultant for Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College. Annette is mixed-race Native American and her communities are Ojibwe and D(L)akota.

Bethany Shetterly Thomas, a native Oregonian, was inspired to pursue environmental education through her own experiences in Outdoor School. In 2005, Bethany co-founded Ecology in Classrooms and Outdoors (ECO), a nonprofit, inspiring elementary school students to connect to the natural world through hands-on ecology experiences. To date, ECO has served over 20,000 students. Bethany is an Environmental Leadership Program Senior Fellow and alumni of Oregon Environmental Council’s Emerging Leaders Board.


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