The Environmental Education Association of Alabama is led by a board of directors comprised of up to 25 educators from across the state. The current board members are listed below with a short paragraph giving you an idea of their involvement in EE.
Current President: Toni Bruner having served 13 years as the Educational Programs Coordinator for Legacy Partners in Environmental Education, has now joined the Cook Museum of Natural Science as they develop their new state of the art museum (opening Dec. 2017) offering education and outreach opportunities for communities throughout Alabama. She has been an EEAA member for 12 years and has served on the board for 8. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Science from Troy University. Toni’s passion is helping others. She volunteers for the Red Cross and the Montgomery Therapeutic Center. Toni serves as the DAT team leader for the Montgomery American Red Cross. In 2005 her team was awarded, Irma Bently Moore Volunteer of the Year for their efforts opening and operating shelters for Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Toni’s continued dedication to helping her community was acknowledged when she received the Distinguished Volunteer of the Year’s award in 2011 from Emergency Services for her work during the Super outbreak tornados. In her spare time, Toni enjoys spending as much time as possible outdoors and most of all underground. Toni is a member of the Southeast Cave Conservancy and National Speleological Society.
Current Vice-President: Kimberly Murray is enjoying her 11th year at Munford Schools. She received her Wildlife Management degree from Ohio State University and her Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Jacksonville State University. She has a passion for teaching environmental education and has taught at summer camps, nonprofit centers, and residential environmental education centers in New England, Alabama, and Ohio. She married Robert Murray from Jacksonville, Al in 1997 and has continued teaching environmental education inside and outside the walls of the classroom. She has a 12 year old daughter named Rio who also attends Munford Schools. She has been teaching environmental education for over twenty years and continues to attend workshops, conferences, in-service meetings, college classes, and seminars. She reads professional journals and stays up-to-date in her professional knowledge. As a Science Resource Teacher at Munford Schools she has the opportunity to work with her fellow teachers in K-12th grade. Most important she loves to teach, and is proud to be an environmental educator.
Treasurer: Shirley Farrell is a recent president of EEAA, and is an Education Specialist for the Alabama State Department of Education. She has been involved in environmental education for over 20 years in Alabama. Currently, she has helped develop the Alabama Environmental Literacy Plan.
Secretary: Kim Hall is the Director of Cahaba Environmental Center. Born and raised in Kentucky, she spent her childhood splashing in the neighborhood creek and often returned home caked in mud. Kim attended Centre College in Danville, Kentucky where she studied anthropology and environmental studies. Following graduation, Kim spent the next two years working as an environmental educator in New Mexico and at the McDowell Environmental Center in Alabama. Kim joined the Peace Corps in 2010 and served as an Environmental Education Extension Agent in Senegal, West Africa. She recently received her M. Ed. in Environmental Education through Western Washington, as well as Nonprofit Management and Leadership and North Naturalist Certification though the North Cascades Institute. After graduate school, Kim worked as a Program Coordinator and Summer Camp Director for Primitive Pursuits based out of Ithaca, New York. She has now found her home on the Cahaba River.
Region 1 Coordinator: Ali Papp graduated from the University of Illinois-Chicago with a degree in Secondary Education; the Teaching of History. Her love to travel and explore the outdoors grew as a little girl; discovering the woods of Wisconson, hunting for frogs in the ravines of her hometown, Waukegan, Illinois, and spending as much time playing in the waters of Lake Michigan as possible! While studying abroad in Southern France, she discovered that she must, in addition to travel the world, see what her own country holds. She worked with students and teens in a variety of capacities in Chicago, but her heart settled on environmental education while she lived and worked on the ocean in North Carolina. In attempts at better understanding her world, she made a bold move south to became an instructor at the McDowell Environmental Center years ago. The grip of Alabama was strong and here she remains, constantly striving to learn and grow. The farm is the ideal environment for her to cultivate her passion for all things cheese; milking goats, experimenting with new recipes, and reading and discovering as much as possible.
Region 2 Coordinator: Alma Huston
Region 3 Coordinator: Tim Gels is a third grade teacher with Madison County’s Endeavor Elementary School in north Alabama. He is a second-career teacher after retiring in 2004 from a military career with both the United States Marine Corps and Army. He graduated from Athens State University in 2006 with a BSED (Elementary Education) and Grand Canyon University in 2012 with a M.Ed. in Elementary Reading Curriculum and Instruction. Tim has been involved with his school’s Environmental Education program for the last 8 years. He is also a part of the Land Trust of North Alabama’s “Tuesday’s on the Trail” Environmental Education program. His favorite educational activity, however, is introducing his granddaughters to the woods, fields, and streams of this great state.
Region 4 Coordinator:
Region 5 Coordinator: Jo Dale is a gifted specialist with the Bessemer City School System. She lives in Mountain Brook where she and her husband raised five children. Born in Mobile, her love of the natural wonders of Alabama goes back to childhood, spending summer time in the woods with her grandfather, a State Conservation Officer, at the farm in Hawthorn, and also with her parents on beautiful Lake Martin. About a decade ago Jo started taking her gifted students annually to Camp McDowell’s Environmental Center. This led to her involvement with EEAA and many wonderful friendships with people who care about the environment and learning (and teaching others) about our beautiful state.
Region 6 Coordinator: Renee Raney is a recent EEAA president (March 2012-March 2013) and has been the Assistant Director for Jacksonville State University’s Field Schools and Little River Canyon Center for the past decade. Prior to that, she spent ten years as the Education Director of the Smithsonian Affiliated Anniston Museum of Natural History. Renee is one of Alabama’s National Storytellers (ask her about her Life as a Black and Tan Coon Hound) and has told stories for national and international audiences. For the past twenty five years, she has provided EE to hundreds of thousands of children through unique programs and is passionate toward No Child Left Inside and toward defeating Nature Deficit Disorder. Renee is certified in Measuring EE Outcomes through Cornell University and she received special recognition from the Oxford University Round Table for Women of Excellence (in EE). She has two sons (Joshua and Jo), four furry canine daughters (Roux Roux, Piper Blue, Calico Sally and Paddy Cakes) and she is the author of Calico Ghosts and Calico Fairies…books that encourage children to use their imagination and to play outside with their grown ups.
Region 7 Coordinator:Jennifer Lolley was born in Warner Robins, Georgia, but lived all over the country growing up. Her parents loved to travel and take her and her siblings to state parks everywhere. She graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Biology and has been married for 26 years with 3 children. She worked for a few years in animal research until a 13 year stint as a domestic goddess. Finding that her children’s schools lacked in the arts and sciences she started volunteering to teach music, astronomy and reptile programs. This really helped her develop her passion for sharing nature with children and this started her naturalist career at Landmark Park in Dothan, Alabama. In 2007 she and her family decided to move back to auburn and thus started her current position as the first full-time administrator at the Louise Kreyer Forest Ecology Preserve. She loves to read, play tennis, garden and enjoy any water sports.
Region 8 Coordinator:
Region 9 Coordinator: Mona Dominguez has worked with the volunteer water monitoring programs Alabama Water Watch and Global Water Watch, since 2009 when she was a student in the Masters of Community Planning program at Auburn University. Her first position with AWW was focused on watershed management planning. For the past few years, a major part of her work with AWW has been focused on developing an official youth water monitoring program in partnership with Alabama 4-H. She is very grateful for the opportunity to inspire the next generation of Alabamians to be good watershed stewards. Her motivation to do this was greatly increased when she became a first-time mom in 2014! Mona is originally from the small south-Alabama town of Excel. She studied anthropology and environmental studies at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. After college, she worked at McDowell Environmental Center and then served as a Community and Environmental Conservation Extension Agent with the U.S. Peace Corps in Panama. Both of these experiences helped her to find her passion for environmental education. Mona loves to travel, read, and spend time with her family and friends in the great outdoors whenever she has the chance. She is honored to have the opportunity to serve as an EEAA Board Member.
Region 10 Coordinator: Jimmy Stiles received his BS in Biology from Samford University and his MS in Biology from Auburn University. He currently works for the Auburn University Environmental Institute conducting biological inventories across the state. While not in the field he spends much of his time teaching people of all ages about Alabama’s amazing biodiversity. To relax Jimmy gets out in nature more by hiking, bird watching, fishing, hunting, and searching for fossils. He has been a member of EEAA for twenty years.
Region 11 Coordinator: Anita Salinas has a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Science and a Master of Education in Secondary Science Education both from Auburn University. Upon returning to her home town, Mobile, she taught Environmental Science and Earth and Space Science at Murphy High School for seven years. She then transferred to Mobile County’s Environmental Studies Center where she leads the STARLAB planetarium and high school ecology programs. She also works with the educational birds of prey housed at the center using her experiences from Auburn’s Southeastern Raptor rehabilitation Center. She is a National Board Certified teacher and is a Doctoral Candidate in Educational Leadership at the University of South Alabama. She has served as secretary, vice-president, and president of EEAA. She has presented the Leopold Education Project to educators throughout the state of Alabama. She was exposed to Aldo Leopold and his famous work “A Sand County Almanac” during her Wildlife Philosophy and Policy class during her Bachelor studies. She has written multiple grants to fund the purchase of LEP materials to share with educators throughout the state. As the new coordinator for region 11 of EEAA, Anita has started the Mobile Bay Environmental Educator (MBEE) group which holds monthly meetings to encourage networking among region 11’s environmental educators.
Board Members At Large:
Christina Turner graduated from Athens State University with an Elementary Education degree. She recently graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Master’s degree in Reading Curriculum and Instruction. Currently Christina works at Endeavor Elementary as a second grade teacher. She has always had a passion for animals and the great outdoors so she integrates as much of science and environmental education into her classroom and into the school. Christina serves as the contact person and Environmental Education Program coordinator for her school. She is also the 4-H/Environmental Club leader with the fourth and fifth grade students at Endeavor. She has served on the education committee with the Huntsville Landtrust for three years. and she volunteers with a master falconer with educational and raptor programs. For fun, she enjoys spending time with her daughters, hiking, drawing, and going to any beach!! In the future, she hopes to help with more environmental education outreach and global programs.
Janice Barrett is the Outreach Coordinator for Wild South, a non-profit forest protection organization with an office in Moulton, Alabama (Lawrence County). As part of Wild South’s Hikes and Education Program, Janice leads adults and children on hikes to the creeks and canyons in the Bankhead National Forest, introducing them to the wonders of nature on our public lands. She also implements Wild South’s Earth Month programs for the Lawrence County Indian Education students in Lawrence County public schools, works with co-staff to run Wild South’s Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Program in Sipsey, Cheaha and Dugger Mountain Wilderness Areas and the Helping Hands Volunteer Program in Bankhead National Forest. She is an artist, a Leave No Trace trainer and resides in her native Lawrence County.
Pat Byington is the Executive Director of Wild South, and he has been involved with EEAA for 10 years. He served as Executive Director of the Alabama Conservancy from 1989 to 1997. He was on the Board of Trustees for Forever Wild from 1996 to 2002, a member of the Alabama Environmental Management Commission from 2001 to 2010, and served as the Southeast Associate Director of the Wilderness Society from 2005-2010. He studied Environmental Studies at the University of Alabama. He has worked closely with environmental educators for more than 26 years in Alabama through his non-profit work. Last year, he organized with Sara Bright and Paulette Ogard the distribution of the “Butterflies of Alabama” book to every public school in the state. His goals for EEAA are to increase EEAA membership, educate state “decisionmakers” about the importance of environmental education, and to promote Alabama’s environmental education centers.
Susan Caplow is an assistant professor of environmental studies at University of Montevallo. She also coordinates the environmental studies program and sustainability initiatives at UM. She received her Ph.D. in Environment and Ecology from UNC-Chapel Hill, her M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Central European University and her B.A. in Public Policy Analysis/Biology from Pomona College. She teaches courses that explore the interface between humans and the environment, and she incorporates field-based activities and service learning into her courses as much as possible. Her research focuses on how people interact with conservation interventions (including policies, projects, or education) and how those interactions can lead to environmental/social change that supports conservation efforts.
Schelly Corry is the Executive Director of the Cook Museum of Natural Science in Decatur, Alabama. She has been a member of EEAA for one year since moving from Texas. While in Texas, she was a seven-year board member with the Informal Science Education Association (ISEA) of Texas. She holds a Graduate Certificate in Free Choice Learning & Natural Resources from Oregon State University, a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Interdisciplinary Studies, Biology Major & Education Minor from Dallas Baptist University, as well as Baccalaureate Degrees in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from the Montessori Teachers Institute. Her passion is natural science, environmental education and science education in general. Her goals for EEAA include contributing to growing the organization, increasing its reach and influence with regard to informal and formal science teachers, and building strong relationships between public schools and the resources available at informal organizations. She feel that it is important to mentor the next generation of informal science and environmental educators that will be taking our places someday.
Mandy Pearson is a naturalist with Cheaha State Park (Alabama State Parks). She has been a member of EEAA for 4 years. She holds a B.S. degree in Ecology and Forensics from Jacksonville State University and has recently completed her M.S. degree in Biology from Jacksonville State University. Mandy was a Zoo Keeper in the Children’s Zoo, where she cared for, trained and presented programs with native, domestic and exotic animals for 6 years. She worked with the JSU Field Schools for 8 years. To learn more about conservation, she volunteered with the National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife, and the US Forest Service. Currently she is the Naturalist at Cheaha State Park. For the past 2 years she has been building an environmental education program through constructing campgrounds, trails, events, workshops, classes, campfire talks, and partnerships. It is her hope that environmental education will serve as a bridge for all visitors to reconnect with the beauty, harmony, balance, and tranquility of nature. Her goals for EEAA are to promote environmental education to a wider audience
Margaret Sedlecky has recently retired from the position of Education Coordinator/Science Resource Teacher with the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Baldwin Co. Board of Education. She has been a member of EEAA “Since the mid to late 80’s I think; so many years I cannot remember.” She holds a B.S. degree in Biology and Health Education from Auburn University and a M.S. degree in Biology Education (emphasis in Marine Biology) from the University of South Alabama. In addition to teaching middle school and high school science throughout Baldwin County, she has developed an implemented the K-12 environmental curriculum currently in use at the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Reserve.
Helena Uber-Wamble Helena was recently the Education Director of the Birmingham Audobon Society and has been a member of EEAA for 6 years. She attended Mount Union College which is now called the University of Mount Union where she studied Biology and English as double majors with a minor in secondary education. She holds certifications in First Aid/CPR, National Police Working Dog Association Tracking – Trailing, Scuba Instructing, as well as Project WILD, WET, and Flying WILD facilitator certification. She has been an outdoor educator/naturalist since 1991. Her goals for EEAA are to see environmental education expand into households around the state and to ensure that each person can connect in some, helping to guide people to see the bigger picture of how we are all connected through nature and how we can work together to protect our environment.
Christine Harlan Christine Harlan is the Programs Director for Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve in Birmingham where she manages educational outreach programs to surrounding communities and schools as well as coordinating public programming and events at the preserve. Her love for the great outdoors began early and was influenced by family camping trips across the Southeast, where she continuously flipped over logs and jumped in waterfalls. She graduated from Virginia Tech, receiving a B.A. in Humanities, Science and Environment. After graduation, Christine served as a counselor for at-risk youth at the outdoor, residential facility Eckerd Youth Alternatives in Florida. From there she moved to Alabama and worked as an instructor at McDowell Environmental Center. She also built several summer camp programs in Alabama and Tennessee and taught after-school programs in Fairfield and Adamsville, AL. Christine loves to educate and empower kids and adults to hike, play and discover. Some of her EEAA goals include to increase educational resources that are available for those in the EE field and to provide exposure and accessibility to EE in urban areas.