Confirmed Presenters (check back for updates)
Eli Caref, Director of Education at the Center for the Urban River at Beczak (CURB). BA in History, DePaul University, MA in Environmental Conservation Education, New York University. A Brooklyn native and avid non-formal educator for over a decade, she was previously the educator and then Director of Education at The River Project, teaching New York City students and teachers about Hudson River ecology, biology, and chemistry. She has also been an adjunct Ecology professor at Yeshiva University, as well as a gardening instructor at Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.
Tim teaches middle and upper school environmental science at the Hewitt School in New York City where he also serves as the school's Sustainability Coordinator and leads the Middle School Sustainability Committee, comprised of 5th-8th grade students, who spread sustainability initiatives and awareness throughout Hewitt School. Tim is passionate about developing ecological literate students through field work within our urban environment and connections to local environmental issues. Tim holds an M.S. in Geosciences and is currently enrolled in the Columbia University Earth Institute's executive education program in environmental sustainability. Tim resides Long Beach, NY where he is active in local environmental work concerning the health of the local waterways and marine life.
Joanna joined Strawtown as Summer Art Staff in 2003 and has been co-developing and leading programs ever since. As an artist and naturalist she loves guiding children to explore the natural world in creative ways. Joanna has a degree in Fine Art, with concentrations in painting and printmaking. She formerly apprenticed with a master painter, where she collaborated on fine art, murals, and decorative paintings. She has studied nature and wilderness skills with Tom Brown Jr’s Tracker School, Practical Primitive, the Nature Institute, and NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program. Joanna is passionate about native plants and wildflowers, photographing them and learning about their edible and medicinal properties. She also enjoys hiking, kayaking, cooking and reading in her hammock. In 2009 Joanna received the “40 Under 40 Award” from the Rockland Economic Development Corporation. She is a member of the Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance.
Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley
The Reverend Doctor Gerald Durley is a legendary civil rights advocate who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King. As an original Peace Corps Volunteer he served in Africa. After completing four degrees in psychology and theology he assumed positions with the U.S. Department of Education; Deanships at Clark Atlanta University and the Morehouse School of Medicine. He was a Pulpit associate at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist and is the Pastor Emeritus of Providence Church. As Chair of Interfaith Power and Light he combines the disciplines of faith and science with the lessons learned during the civil rights movement. Dr. Durley asserts that for the environment to be sustained with scientific, political, business and educational professions must collaborate with faith communities to establish a “moral decision-making foundation.” He is a White House Champion of Change recipient whose mottos is “ORGANIZE, STRATEGIZE and MOBILZE.”
Maggie's Depression-era design-minded parents created a world full of age-appropriate authentic responsibilities, problem-solving, making things, and love of learning. Her first civic role? Accompanying Dad while delivering eggs to the old people and receiving stories in exchange. A Yale BA (BA) in History of Art/History and a Middlebury MA in English provided theoretical and practical foundations for critical and analytical thinking. Maggie designs multi-disciplinary courses in History and Public Policy, which engage students in the real world and challenge them with authentic choices and opportunities to think and learn deeply. A catalyst for positive change, Maggie founded the Sustainable Garden Project, Students for Refugees, and City 2.0, teaches courses for colleagues and adults in design thinking and its applications, and creates design challenges and partnerships for students and adults in order to improve schools and build community resilience.
Aimee is an educator who has been dedicated to facilitating the learning of elementary-aged children at Jefferson Elementary School in New Rochelle, New York. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Childhood Education, holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education and Literacy and recently completed her Advanced Certificate in Education for Sustainability from Manhattanville College. Aimee values integrating hands-on applications into lessons and sets out to make her students ask questions about the world and develop curiosity in concepts related to sustainability. As an outgrowth of her work in the classroom she plays an active role in the school community, by supporting and spear-heading activities that promote cohesiveness. Some of these activities involve the school garden, shared by all. Among the highlights of her professional career have been traveling to Japan to study science and completing the Wipro Science Education fellowship. In addition Aimee is a music enthusiast.
Cara is a certified Health Education Teacher at Scarsdale Middle School. Cara was part of the first CELF summer institute and has been an active participant throughout the years. She continues to introduce the big ideas of sustainability through her curriculum and helps support the many sustainability efforts at the building and district level. Cara also oversees the middle school garden and works with students to help organize the beds, plant seeds and seedlings, harvest, and also offers opportunities to prepare and taste the foods that are grown. She is also a member of the district sustainability committee.
Erin is the Climate & Communities Coordinator at The Wild Center. She works to empower students throughout New York State to take climate action and supports Youth Climate Summits in many locations. Erin has worked in the environmental education field for over 10 years throughout the United States, and is thrilled to be living and working back in the Adirondacks.
Luz is the bilingual Project Coordinator for The Community Engagement Core at the Mount Sinai Transdiscliplinary Center on Early Environmental Exposures. Her mission is to foster communication and collaboration among environmental health scientists and stakeholders (CBOs, clinicians, advocacy groups, education groups, policymakers) on the role of environmental exposures in children’s health, and strategies to build healthier environments, particularly in East Harlem and the South Bronx. Topics of focus include environmental asthma, chemical exposures, environmental justice, indoor air quality, and water and air pollution. Programs target high-risk communities in an effort to reduce health disparities and promote equity. Prior to this role, Luz led environmental monitoring and education programs for NYC Parks and Recreation, Assateague National Park Service, Alaska Forest Service, Honduras Operation Wallacea, and Vermont Fish and Wildlife.
Patricia Lockhart is a Science Teacher at PS 57 in Staten Island. She serves as Volunteer Staten Island and NYC Soap Box Derby Director and as Volunteer President of Eibs Pond Education Restoration Program.
Lockhart also serves as the Science Coordinator for teachers in pre-K-5. Under her leadership, PS 57 has engaged in the following STEAM and environmental programs: Trout in the Classroom, Catskills Watershed, Eibs Pond studies, Vermont Dairy Farm, Robotics and Soap Box Derby. During her tenure, PS 57 has been the recipient of countless awards such as US Presidential Green Ribbon School, NWF Green Flag School, Sanitation Golden Shovel and Apple, Parks Volunteer Golden Trowel, and EPA Environmental Educator. Pat began working CELF by enrolling PS 57 in the Leadership Training in Sustainability Curriculum project and in its second year, served as a mentor school.
Aimee Arandia Østensen
Aimee is a Founding Teacher at the Hudson Lab School in New York and was formerly an integral part of CELF's Educator Team as well as the Farm/School Coordinator for Special Projects at the Manhattan Country School where she taught both elementary and middle grades. Aimee firmly believes that learning is a life-long process and that our experiences along the natural path of life can be our best teachers. Her own path to teaching is a spiral of explorations into art, nature, movement and community. Aimee’s early experiences in dance created a foundation in aesthetic and kinesthetic awareness, as well as an understanding of creative and collective processes.
Aimee earned a BS in Early Childhood and Elementary Education at New York University, and a master’s degree in Educating for Sustainability at Antioch University New England. Whether in the forest, the city, at the farm, or traveling in another country, she seeks out the connections and dynamics within and between things, and strives to embody Kirkegaard’s notion that we are not merely human beings, but “human becomings.”
Anthony earned a B.S. in Biology and Health Sciences, as well as an MAT in Secondary Education from Quinnipiac University. Currently he teaches the Living Environment Regents course at Sleepy Hollow Middle School. He believes that good teachers are lifelong learners that pursue knowledge continuously in order to find ways to improve the minds and lives of their students. He spends time as a youth soccer coach; hosts engineering and culinary science programs at the school; and coaches the girls varsity soccer program. Currently, he lives in Tarrytown, NY and is pursuing post graduate credits in behavioral science and engineering.
Rose is a Science educator with the New York City Department of Education. In this role, she instructs students from grades 2-5 in science and technology. Rose is a big believer in caring for the environment and educating students about their surroundings. She has been a teacher for approximately 15 years. She has a dual degree in Special Education and General education from Touro College School of Education. Currently, Rose is pursuing her Administration degree through CITE College of St. Rose.
Oren Pizmony-Levy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology and the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Indiana University in 2013. Dr. Pizmony-Levy grew up in Eilat, Israel and received his BA (Political Science and Educational Policy and Organization) and MA degrees (Sociology of Education) from Tel-Aviv University.
His research interests center on socio-political analysis of educational policy movements such as: accountability (i.e., international assessment of student achievement), environmental and sustainability education, and sexuality education. His work in environmental and sustainability education (ESE) focuses on the role of schools of education in the face of global environmental challenges. Dr. Pizmony-Levy co-founded the Environmental and Sustainability Working Group at Teachers College, which assists the Department of Education Office of Sustainability in ESE initiatives. In particular, he helped form the Zankel Fellowship for Teachers College graduate students to assist NYC sustainability coordinators with their school Green Teams.
Laurie is an artist, nature educator and water advocate who founded Strawtown Studio in 2002. As an artist she creates art with natural materials from the places she explores. Her artwork demonstrates a way of seeing and relating with the world around us. She is inspired by exploring nature with children, and it was when she led a family hiking group called Little Feet that she first saw the possibility for bringing children, community, nature and art together. She founded Strawtown to expand on the ideas. Since then her art form has been dedicated to the creative development of programming concepts, and playfully meeting children where they are at, in the world of wonder and possibility. Sparked by her work outdoors with children, in 2007, Laurie began to give a voice to the environment and became a water advocate to speak for the children’s future. She is the founder of the Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance, Co-leader of the Rockland Water Coalition, and a member of the Rockland County Task Force on Water Resources Management.
Jennifer Sloan has been the Director of Sustainability Education for Groundwork Hudson Valley since 2012. Additionally, she curates both the public science exhibits and the living collection in the hydroponic greenhouses on the Science Barge: a floating farm on the Hudson River that generates its own clean energy. Through her leadership, Groundwork was recognized for its sustainability education by the Omega Center in 2014 and received a prestigious grant to teach Yonkers' youth about climate change resiliency on the Science Barge and EcoHouse from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2015. With a Bachelor's Degree in Animal Behavior from Bucknell University, Jennifer Sloan has been an environmental educator for nearly 15 years, working with many wild and domesticated animals at both her alma mater and during her tenure at Greenburgh Nature Center. She transitioned to a career sustainable agriculture education after preparing an exhibit on industrial farming for Greenburgh in 2008 and has since apprenticed on several organic vegetable farms.
Silas Swanson is a rising sophomore at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he is studying Earth and Environmental Engineering. Originally from Saranac Lake NY, he has been heavily involved in the Wild Center’s Youth Climate Initiative, helping to plan several, Youth Climate Summits, serving on the Youth Climate Advisory Board and as a representative of the program for numerous conferences, municipal boards, and partner summits. Silas has also worked with the National Green Schools Alliance as a Student Mentor and is trained through Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project.
Elyse Tenzer is a certified Family and Consumer Science Teacher at Scarsdale Middle School. Her experience as a teacher along with her culinary skills and ingredient knowledge have allowed her to become an expert in working with children and teens in the kitchen. Using natural and plant-based ingredients, Elyse enjoys introducing her students to a "farm to table" experience while focusing on our food system, nutrition, cooking, and life skills. Students are also introduced to alternative growing methods, like hydroponics. Elyse helps to oversee the school garden and is a member of the district sustainability committee.
Ian has taught fifth grade at South Street School in Danbury, CT for the past 7 years. In the fall of 2018, he will begin a new journey at Park Ave school in Danbury and is very excited to bring the principles of sustainability to a new group of staff and students. Ian attended the CELF conference in 2016 and fell in love with the idea of integrating sustainability concepts and values into his classroom. Over the past 2 years, he has worked hard to expose students to the ever-changing climate in hopes of giving them a sense of ownership and responsibility to the world around them. When Ian is not teaching he spends his time running obstacle course races and going out of his way to get covered in dirt whenever possible.
Alan has been on the Summer Institute faculty for five years. He is the former Director of Education for CELF, during which time he provided professional learning in EfS for K-12 teachers in public and private schools. During his classroom teaching career, Alan was both an elementary and middle school classroom teacher at several grade levels and in different subject areas as well an Assistant Principal. His belief in an interdisciplinary approach to learning is reflected throughout his work. While teaching middle school science and math, Alan spent two summers as a participant in NASA’s Educator in Space program where he created a Young Astronauts Program for grades 5-6. His work as a mathematics teacher led him to create several interdisciplinary programs such as Mall Math and the Math Chef, which he has presented at numerous National Council of Teaching Mathematics conferences.
Alan holds a BS degree in Elementary Education from Buffalo State College, an MS degree in Education from the State University at Buffalo, an MS in Educational Leadership from Pace University and he completed his Advanced Certificate in Education for Sustainability at Manhattanville College.
As Director of Education, Vicky is responsible for guiding CELF's educator team in the planning and implementing all professional development programs. Prior to joining CELF, Vicky spent 12 years at the Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Beczak (CURB) in Yonkers. There she designed, implemented and oversaw all K-12 environmental education programs focused on the Hudson River. She provided outreach to connect school districts, community groups and Hudson River organizations to develop partnerships with CURB.
Vicky holds a BS in Psychobiology from Long Island University's Southampton College and a Master of Science in the Art of Teaching from Sarah Lawrence College. She is the subject area representative for environmental science through the Science Teachers Association of New York State (STANYS) and serves on the advisory board for the Regional Environmental Educators Forum. She also enjoys being a mentor to graduate students in the field of science and education.
Katie Ginsberg, CELF Founder and Executive Director, oversees program development, partnerships, fund development and operations. She established the CELF Summer Institute in 2005 and has continued to work with leading educators from across the world to provide best practices in Education for Sustainability to K-12 educators and organizations.
Katie has conducted and participated in a broad range of seminars, conferences and courses on sustainability and on re-orienting education through global and place-based education. She works with thought leaders in this emerging educational paradigm who are advising schools and educational systems worldwide.
She was a featured presenter at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting and has presented at national conferences such as AREDAY 2018, the EPA P3 Sustainable Design Expo and the Swedish Consulate. She served as Chair of the County Executive’s Westchester Global Warming Task Force for the Education Sector, which developed a blueprint to integrate sustainability across the campuses, curriculum and communities of Westchester, NY schools. Ginsberg graduated from Northwestern University with honors and BA in Psychology.
As the CELF California Program Manager and Educator, Ann works with teachers and administrators to incorporate sustainability principles into their schools’ curriculum and school cultures; provides professional development programs; and supports CELF’S expanding presence in California.
Before joining CELF, Ann worked with Western Washington University’s Facing the Future program as lead author of their sustainability text and activity guide series, Big World, Small Planet. The series provides high school students with a semester’s worth of sustainability principles, thinking strategies, real-world activities and nature connection reflections.
Ann has a Masters of Education in Educating for Sustainability from Antioch University, NewEngland and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, Long Beach.
Dr. Sherie McClam is an Associate Professor of Science Education and Education for Sustainability in Manhattanville College's School of Education in Purchase New York. With an extensive background in social and ecological justice, she created and directs an advanced certificate program in education for sustainability that is designed to generate educational leaders for a sustainable future. In 2004, Sherie took an appointment with the University of Melbourne in Australia where she served as a Deputy Director for their Office for Environmental Programs, and coordinated the Education Steam of their internationally recognized Graduate Environmental Program. Since returning to the United States she has served a founding co-chair of the Education for Sustainability Special Studies Group within the Association of American Colleges for Teacher Education, and as a member of the K-12 & Teacher Education Sector Steering Committee for the US Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development. As an active scholar, she has published articles on the promises and challenges of Education for Sustainability (EfS), and she leads an international research group that is exploring the effects of EfS in teacher education, professional development and community engagement.
As a CELF educator, Lisa collaborates with other education staff on the design, implementation and delivery of professional development programs. Prior to joining CELF, Lisa spent more than fifteen years teaching middle school science, served as education director for the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, worked as a staff developer through Bank Street College, and developed and conducted environmental programs for Hudson Valley conservation and educational organizations.
Most recently, Lisa worked for the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, developing and presenting the River of Words program -- mixing poetry, art and watershed science -- in the region’s schools. Through personal experience, she has come to appreciate how creative writing and drawing have deepened her connection with the natural world.
Lisa holds a B.A. in Biology with an Environmental Specialization from Central Connecticut State University and an M.S. from Southern Connecticut State University in Elementary Science Education. She is on the education advisory board of Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary and a board member of the Putnam Highlands Audubon Society.