2018 Board of Directors

Join the Board

Student Board Member Nomination


Nathan LarsonNathan Larson, 2018 Board Chairman of the Board

2016-18

Community GroundWorks, Madison

nathan@communitygroundworks.org

I have worked in EE for the past 16 years. In 2001, I helped to establish Community GroundWorks and began working with many extraordinary colleagues and community partners to build a robust farm- and garden-based education program in the Madison area. Over the past two years, I have directed the statewide Wisconsin School Garden Initiative and served as co-leader on the WAEE Consortium. I have a Master’s degree in Geography from UW-Madison. I believe that all children should have regular access to hands-on, inquiry-based EE in urban and rural areas where they can learn about nature through first-hand experiences and develop an enduring respect for the land.

 

Zaynab Baalbaki

2018-2020

Escuela Verde, Milwaukee

Zaynab Baalbaki is extremely passionate about social justice, especially in education. This passion stems from various personal experiences. She attended UW-Madison, where she majored in Elementary Education and Sociology and minored in Educational Policy Studies and Chican@ & Latin@ Studies. She attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and Marquette University in College Student Personnel Administration. She had opportunities to work abroad in England and Kuwait.

Currently, Zaynab is an advisor at Escuela Verde, located in Milwaukee, WI. Escuela Verde is a project-based public school that focuses on social justice, sustainability, and peace. Her four year tenure there has provided many opportunities to take students outside the walls of a school building. She loves going camping with students. Zaynab is involved with local organizations as the education chair for the Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals. Trying new restaurants and traveling are two of her favorite pastimes.

 

Gharis, LaurieLaurie Gharis

2017-19

Wis. Center for Environmental Education, Stevens Point

laurie.gharis@uwsp.edu

Dr. Laurie Gharis is Director and Assistant Professor for the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.  Before coming to the College of Natural Resources at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, she was an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas at Monticello in the School of Forestry and Natural Resources where she led the natural resource communication option.  Her experience includes teaching at the high school and college levels, coordinating state and regional natural resource partnerships, and overseeing programs and contracts for federal and state agencies.  She has published multiple articles on communicating and working with natural resource clients electronically.  Dr. Gharis received her undergraduate in Sociology from Texas A&M University, her Master of Public Administration from North Carolina State University, and her Doctorate in Forestry and Environmental Resources from North Carolina State University.

 

Justin Hougham – Chair Elect

2018-2020

Upham Woods, Wisconsin Dells

Dr. Justin Hougham is faculty at the University of Wisconsin- Extension where he supports the delivery of a wide range of science education topics to K-12 students, graduate students, and in-service teachers. Justin’s scholarship is in the areas of place-based pedagogies, STEM education, and education for sustainability. Justin has taught 17 different undergraduate and graduate courses as well as instructed over 1000 days in the field.He continues to teach courses, clinics, and trainings that develop pedagogies in experiential education. Justin is currently the Director for Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center, an environmental education facility 1 hour from Madison, WI.  Justin’s projects and research in the areas of energy literacy as well as in the use of technology in place-based environmental education can be found in journals and in conference presentations throughout the U.S.

 

Kelli Johnson – Student Board Member

2018-2019

UW-Stevens Point, Stevens Point

Kelli is a junior majoring in environmental education and interpretation at the UW-Stevens Point. She has already achieved a significant amount of experience related to the field of interpretation. A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Kelli jumped right into leadership roles at the university. As a sophomore, she served as President of the Environmental Educators and Naturalists Association (EENA) student organization, a student chapter of NAI. She continues an active role in other leadership positions with the organization. In addition, she is currently one of two student representatives serving on the Wisconsin Association of Environmental Education board. Kelli has been proactive about gaining valued professional development while attending school. In 2017 she attended the Heartland Region workshop in South Dakota and Nationals in Spokane. She received a scholarship to attend the NAAEE conference as well in 2016. 

 

Joey Montaine head shot

Joey Montaine – Student Board Member

2016-17

UW-Stevens Point, Stevens Point

Joseph.J.Montaine@uwsp.edu

Since I was a kid, I have always been in love with the natural world around me.  As an adult, I have found a way to be able to share that love of the natural world and help a love and respect of nature reach future generations, and help bridge the disconnect between the youth and the environment around them through Environmental Education.  In the spirit of this, I am an Environmental Education and Interpretation major at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and am currently a part of the Environmental Educators and Naturalists Association of UWSP.  In addition, I am also a volunteer at Riveredge Nature Center.

 

Betsy Parker, Past Chair, Advocacy & Networking Committee Chair

2017-19

Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Monona

Betsy.parker@waee.org

I am a long-term member of WAEE and past Board member (2004-09). I was awarded the WAEE Aldo Leopold Award for service to the organization in 2012 for advocating for Wisconsin Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights and piloting the Wisconsin “Master Naturalist” program. I was WAEE’s liaison to the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board and functioned as the project coordinator for Wisconsin’s Plan for Environmentally Literate and Sustainable Communities. I am a non-formal educator at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center (since 2000) and am currently inspiring parents and teachers at my children’s school to earn the Green & Healthy School Certificate. My philosophy on EE is multi-fold: hands-on teaching and learning with children, encouraging policy that supports this, and uniting EE agencies to reach these common goals.

 

Eleva Potter

2018-2020

Conserve School, Land O’ Lakes

eleva.potter@waee.org

I teach teenagers about Environmental Stewardship at Conserve School and couldn’t be more grateful for such a unique position! I especially enjoy delving into environmental ethics, eating local foods and sharing unique opportunities with the students. I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned a degree in Environmental Studies. After finishing school I traveled to the Pacific Northwest to explore sustainable living, organic farming and conservation work. I was brought back to the Mid-West to spend a year as a naturalist at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, Minnesota and earn a Master’s in Environmental Education from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. I’ve recently been working on injecting indigenous perspectives on the environment into our curricula. I love sharing spicy food, adventures, and books with all of the interesting people I meet that share my passion for outdoor and environmental education

 

Skylar Primm

2018-2020

High Marq Environmental Charter School, Montello

skylar.primm@waee.org

Once, I was a geologist. As an environmental educator, I now get to indulge my love of science and nature while preparing the next generation of leaders. Born and raised in New Orleans, I earned my BS in Geology there before moving to Madison, where I received my MS in Geology from the University of Wisconsin, followed by teacher certification from Edgewood College. The first time I set foot in a classroom as a student teacher, I knew that I had found my ideal career. Since that time, I have taught exclusively in project based learning schools, beginning at TAGOS Leadership Academy in Janesville before joining High Marq Environmental Charter School in 2011. In 2017, I received a Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Fellowship in recognition of my teaching, leadership, and service. I have a passion for writing, which is nourished by my ongoing involvement with the Greater Madison Writing Project. As a board member and part of our NAAEE ee360 team, I am excited to help further WAEE’s development as a diverse, resilient organization.

 

Chrystal Seeley-SchreckChrystal Seeley-Schreck, 2018 Winter Workshop Committee Chair, 2017 Fall Conference C0-Chair

2016-18

Wisconsin Technical College System, Madison

chrystal.seeleyschreck@waee.org

Since teaching my first environmental education program as a volunteer in high school, I have spent nearly two decades working in multiple facets of the environmental field. From Maine to California and a few spots in between, I’ve worked in scientific research, advocacy, policy development, communications and education. With a B.A. in Human Ecology and a M.A. in Culture, Ecology, and Sustainable Community, one of my goals is to help create a more just and sustainable world. Environmental education has helped me do this by inspiring and educating others, keeping EE as one of my strongest passions. I served for two years as Education Team Co-Lead at the WDNR’s MacKenzie Center in Poynette where I provided environmental education and outdoor skills programs for a diverse range of youth and adult audiences. I currently work for the Wisconsin Technical College System in Madison.

 

Joella Zocher

2018

Escuela Verde, Milwaukee 

joey.zocher@waee.org

With nearly twenty years of urban science teaching experience, Joey is a passionate teacher researcher with scholarly interests in eco-pedagogical praxis and scientific literacy with urban youth. Joey believes Escuela Verde’s student-centered, project-based learning approach to teaching and learning is the missing link to student success. Through integrating sustainability and restorative justice into a school-wide curriculum, students not only have the ability to make learning relevant to their lives, but are encouraged to take action for positive change in their communities. Drawing from her experience as the Urban Ecology Center’s Washington Park program director, she is passionate about including community voice and resources to provide authentic experiences for all students. 

************************************************************

We would like to extend a tremendous thank you to the 2017 outgoing Board members: Jessica Jens, Riveredge Nature Center; Michael Beeth, UW Oshkosh; Bruce Bessert, Concordia University; Amy Workman, Reedsburg School District; and Cathy Techtmann, UW Extension. Their outstanding dedication to strengthening environmental education for all in Wisconsin is greatly appreciated!

We would also like to thank our out-going Awards Committee Chair Emily Brown, and current Awards Committee Chair Molly McKay. You can join a committee here.

Want to become part of the Board of Directors? Take a look at the elections for board members.

See what our Board of Directors has been up to