The instructors complemented each other in style of teaching and personality. They worked collaboratively and were an example of "team teaching" at it's best."

Ruth Purdie-Dyer
WCAIS Magnet School, Danbury, CT

Check back for 2018 Presenters

2017 Keynote Presenters:

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin is the author of Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet and contributor to All-American: 45 American Men On Being Muslim. He is a former sustainability policy advisor to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and founder of the Brooklyn Academy for Science and the Environment. He blogs as the Brooklyn Bedouin and has been featured in many esteemed news forums. In 2013, Ibrahim was honored by NBC's as one of 100 African Americans Making history today. He currently serves as the Director of Community Affairs at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. He has experience in the civic, public, and private sectors, and with government, public administration, and media. 

Ibrahim earned a BA in history and political science from University of Rhode Island and a master's in public administration from Baruch College, City University of New York.

Stephen Danna

Dr. Stephen Danna is Dean of the SUNY Plattsburgh at Queensbury Branch Campus. Prior to his more than 20 years of teaching and administration, Dr. Danna worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office as an oceanographer. A middle school guest lecture to a group of students in Bay St. Louis, MS. led him to discover a hidden passion for education. A year later, he was teaching physics and chemistry to high school students in Glens Falls, N.Y.

A native of Long Island, Dr. Danna earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology in 1980 at Maryville College, Maryville, TN., and his Master’s in Oceanography in 1982 from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA. He earned a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration from SUNY Plattsburgh in 1997 and another CAS in Brain Research in Education in 2006 from the University of Washington. Dr. Danna received his Ed.D. in Education Leadership in 2011 from Sage Graduate School, Albany.

Steve Kaagan

Steve Kaagan is Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University, Senior Partner in the German-American firm, Homma Consulting, and Senior Associate with Climate Interactive.

Using Climate Interactive simulations, he has facilitated multiple sessions for university faculty, community and business leaders, teachers, and students. UNC Chapel Hill Institute for the Environment, Williams College Alumni Seminars, Burlington, VT and Seattle, WA have hosted recent engagements. 

Kaagan has written extensively on experiential approaches to leadership development. Prominent titles include Leadership Games, 30 Reflective Staff Development Exercises for Educators and Developing Teacher Leaders.

He has a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and a master’s and doctorate from Harvard University, and has been honored with several awards, including membership in the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, London, England and Honorary Doctorates from Williams College in Massachusetts and Green Mountain College in Vermont. 

Andrew Revkin

Andrew Revkin is the senior reporter for climate and related issues at ProPublica. He joined the newsroom in December 2016, after 21 years of writing for the New York Times, most recently through his Dot Earth blog for the Opinion section, and six years teaching at Pace University.

Revkin began writing on climate change in the 1980s. In the mid 2000s, he exposed political suppression of climate findings at NASA and editing of federal climate reports by political appointees with ties to the petroleum industry. He was the first Times reporter to file stories and photos from the sea ice around the North Pole.

Revkin has won most of the top awards in science journalism, along with a Guggenheim Fellowship, Columbia University’s John Chancellor Award for sustained journalistic excellence and an Investigative Reporters & Editors Award. He has written books on global warming, the changing Arctic and the assault on the Amazon rain forest, as well as three book chapters on science communication.

2017 CELF Facilitators:

Alan Cass

Alan has been on the Summer Institute faculty for five years and serves as the Director of Education for CELF, where he provides professional learning to 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.

Aimee Arandia Østensen

Aimee serves as the NYC Program Manager and she supports additional CELF professional development programs as a co-facilitator and co-developer with the director of education. Aimee is the Farm/School Coordinator for Special Projects at the Manhattan Country School and has taught both elementary and middle grades at MCS. 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.”

Lisa Mechaley

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. 

Chris DeMattia 

Chris DeMattia has been working with the CELF team since 2010. He holds degrees in biochemistry, science education, and educational leadership and draws on a broad range of experiences to encourage and model EfS. Chris is a high school science teacher and department coordinator at Fox Lane Middle and High School located in Bedford, NY. As a science educator, Chris has a history of designing and implementing forward-thinking strategies that integrate EfS within the classroom. He has developed an innovative curriculum for chemistry, as well as Take Action! Support a Sustainable Community, an online course that requires students to take community-linked action for sustainability. Chris is a dynamic speaker and facilitator who seeks to enhance learning by illuminating our connection to the natural world through addressing authentic, local problems. 

Katie Ginsberg

Katie Ginsberg, CELF Founder and Executive Director, oversees and manages organizational development and assures that program objectives are met. She established the CELF Summer Institute in 2005 and has continued to work with leading educators from across the world to bring the latest information 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 interdisciplinary education. She works with thought leaders in this emerging educational paradigm who are advising schools and educational systems worldwide.

Katie is a Founding Member of the Westchester Green Schools Coalition and serves on the Westchester County Climate Change Advisory Panel. 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.  Katie also serves on the Board of the Women's Climate Initiative and on the Advisory Board for Teatown Lake Reservation.

Complete List of 2017 Presenters