Environmental Education 
Association of Indiana
 

Speaker Bios

Session 1 (Friday 1:30-2:45 pm)

Vera Vander Kooy – Nature and STEM – the Perfect Match

Vera Vander Kooy is the founder and executive director of The STEM Connection. She is a highly regarded STEM educator and naturalist who has facilitated hands-on standards based STEM learning experiences in elementary and middle school settings for over 15 years.To complement her inherent love of the sciences, Vera studied science education at Calvin College and gifted and talented programming at Grand Valley State University. After graduating she taught 5th grade, middle school science and served as a K-8 science lab facilitator. Currently, Vera presents, consults and provides positive STEM learning experiences.

 

Tom McConnell, Tolly Foster, Michele Schilton – Conservation Educator Academy at the Indianapolis Zoo

Tom McConnell is an associate professor of science education in the Department of Biology at Ball State University. His work includes teacher professional development programs for science teachers in all grades.

Tolly Foster is the Education Programs Manager at the Indianapolis Zoo. She is involved in designing and implementing a wide range of educational programs at the Zoo.

 

Mindy Murdock – Developing a Sense of Place through Urban Environmental Education

Mindy Murdock is the Park Naturalist and Nature Center Manager for Zionsville Parks and Recreation. She’s worked over 15 years for various park systems throughout Ohio and Indiana.

At the Zion Nature Center, as the only educator in the parks department, her goal is to inspire and encourage residents and families to get outside and Discover their Backyard.

She focuses on offering unique, exciting and fun programs and projects that help develop a sense of place and stewardship within the Community.

When not at work she enjoys gardening, crafting and spending time with her husband and daughter.  

 

Carla Gull – Creating an Outdoor Classroom

Dr. Carla Gull is an online instructor for beginning courses at the University of Phoenix. She received a B.S. from Brigham Young University, an M.A. from National Louis University, and an Ed.D. from Argosy University.  She leads nature programs in her local area and blogs at www.insideoutsidemichiana.com.  Additionally, she presents on the topic of loose parts play, nature play, tree climbing, and more.  Find her outside in northern Indiana catching tadpoles or playing I Spy with frogs with her four boys. 

 

 

Session 2 (Friday 3:00-4:15pm)

Mindy Murdock – Oh Those Preschoolers! Is Your Program Age Appropriate?

 

Jane Litwiller – Gender and Family Inclusive Language and Practices for EE

Jane graduated from Goshen College in 2006 with a major in Environmental Studies, a concentration in Environmental Justice, and a minor in Women’s Studies.  Jane began work at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College in 2006 as an intern and has worked primarily with the PreK-12 school groups that visit.  Jane finished her M.A. in Environmental Education in 2015.

 

William Smith – Work, Study, and Play in Environmental Stewardship via CIMBY

William is currently in his 34th year teaching AgriScience & Science.  Bill has also been a National Park Ranger / Guide for 31 years at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. He has been involved with Calumet Is My Back Yard (CIMBY) Environmental Stewardship program since 2003.  He feels that his "lessons" work best when there are three components present.  These components are Work, Study, and Play!!  

 

Session 3 (Saturday 10:30-11:45 am)

Nichole Nageotte – Take it Outside: Strategies and Tips for Teaching Outdoors

Nichole is currently a doctoral student at IU Bloomington studying Science education and has a BS in Wildlife Care and Education and an MA in Zoology through Miami University's Global Field Program. She worked for four years as an environmental/ outdoor educator at a camp in Ohio and before that was a zookeeper. 

 

Elizabeth Tompkins – Nature Days – Planning and Implementing Large Group Programs

Elizabeth Tompkins is the Natural Resources Coordinator with the City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department. She began her current position in June 2009, but has worked for the department since 2005. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Outdoor Recreation and Resource Management from Indiana University.

As Natural Resources Coordinator, Elizabeth organizes environmental education programs for the general public of all ages, school groups, and summer camps. She also manages the 109-acre Griffy Lake and its seasonal boathouse operations. As well as boat rentals, the boathouse offers an Eco-Outpost where visitors can exchange and explore natural items and an Explorer Backpack checkout that visitors can use for adventures in the park.

Elizabeth is passionate about getting kids outside to explore and learn about their natural world. She loves to get outside herself to hike and kayak and is a frequent traveler all over the U.S. and soon to be all over the world.

 

Angela Burgess – Integrating Citizen Science Mobile Apps for Environmental Education

Angela is a British environmental educator who has worked extensively in the Middle East and South East Asia. Her background is in environmental biology and she has worked in environmental education for the past 10 years. Angela is currently studying for a doctorate in science education at IU Bloomington with a focus on informal environmental and conservation education."

 

Tom McConnell et. al. – Conservation Tales: Environmental Education with Diverse Characters for Young Readers

Tom McConnell is the author and publisher of the Conservation Tales book series. He is an associate professor of science education in the Department of Biology at Ball State University.

Barbara Giorgio-Booher serves as the art director for the Conservation Tales books. She is also an instructor in the Art Department at Ball State, and an artist who creates works based on collaborations with scientists.

 

Session 4 (Sunday 9:00 -10:15 am)

Jen Smith – Wildlife in the Woods

Jen Smith is an Assistant Director of Environmental Education at Bradford Woods, where she started in the Fall of 2014 and is an EEAI board member.  She has spent the last 15+ years in the residential outdoor environmental education field and recently became a certified Professional Environmental Educator through the Kentucky Environmental Education Council. 

 

Skye Greenler – The Great Clearcut Controversy: An Inquiry Based STEM Unit

Skye Greenler is currently a graduate student at Purdue University in the Forestry and Natural Resources Department.   She has been actively engaged in both ecological research and STEM education for many years.  Her broad research interests are investigating how plant communities are affected by disturbance and how to incorporate this understanding into management decisions.  In addition to scientific research she has written data-driven science lesson plans for the Catamount Institute, an environmental education non-profit in Colorado; the data nuggets program with Michigan State University; and Purdue University Extension.  She thinks that bringing real scientific data and inquiry out of university labs and into classrooms and afterschool clubs is a great way to engage and inspire the next generation of scientists and make science fun, exciting, and authentic.

 

Kathy Boone and Zevon Adkisson – Integrating the Indiana Junior Master Naturalist Program into the Curriculum

Zevon and Kathy are 5th & 6th grade teacher at Harmony School in Bloomington, IN. Zevon is a 2012 Indiana University graduate in Mathematics and Mathematics Education, a Certified Indiana Master Naturalist, and loves sports and the outdoors. Kathy Boone has taught a combined 5th and 6th grade class at Harmony School in Bloomington for over 20 years. Specializing in Language Arts and Social Studies, she teaches all subjects, except math, along with her teaching partner, Zevon. She currently enjoys introducing her young grandson to the natural world.


Elisa Pokral - Sacred Heights Session 1: How Do I Get to Who I am and where I want to be at Any Age: Strategies to Co-create, Revitalize, and Make Things Happen on Your life Path

Elisa is Media and Education Director for the Monroe County Waste Management District and is a regular presenter of environmental education programs for children, youth, and adults in schools, community organizations, and childcare groups. She writes and hosts earth care infomercials, has appeared on PBS children’s programs, and has guest columns and articles for print media. Through Sacred Heights.com she enjoys teaching Chi Gong, Tai Chi, self-empowerment and meditation.


Session 5 (Sunday 10:30-11:45 am):

Stephanie Schuck – Citizen Science Projects in the Classroom and Beyond

Stephanie is the Outdoor Education and Restoration Coordinator for the Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab at Marian University. She is also the land manager and restoration ecologist for the over 75-acre EcoLab property on Marian’s campus, and leads many of the K-12 environmental education programs there.

 

Susan Snider Salmon – It’s Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – What Can We Do to Keep it That Way?

Susan is a landowner who lives near Lake Lemon and has organized her neighbors to take action against invasive plants.

 

Carol Cavell and Nancy Eagle – Introduction to Trees Indiana’s Woodland Trails Guide

Carol Cavell - co-founded Trees Indiana in 2006 and serves as the Executive Director. Before pursuing her passion full-time of developing young minds through environmental stewardship, she was a business owner in the medical field for 18 years and an active community volunteer for over 40 years. 

Nancy Eagle - Retired public school educator with over thirty years of experience. Has a profound interest and love for outdoor science and nature. Nancy continues to contribute to the development of several nature centers and parks. Current project leader for the Trail Guide manual.

 

Elisa Pokral - Sacred Heights Session 2: Story Board Visions: Techniques for and Empowered Life

Elisa is Media and Education Director for the Monroe County Waste Management District and is a regular presenter of environmental education programs for children, youth, and adults in schools, community organizations, and childcare groups. She writes and hosts earth care infomercials, has appeared on PBS children’s programs, and has guest columns and articles for print media. Through Sacred Heights.com she enjoys teaching Chi Gong, Tai Chi, self-empowerment and meditation.


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