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 next year for our 2020 line-up!

2019 Keynote Speakers

James Yap

James Yap was appointed the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for Warwick Valley in 2014.  Since that time, Warwick Valley has won a Green Ribbon for each school in the district.  In 2011, he was named one of the nation’s top Education Innovators by Converge Magazine. 

Lynne Cherry

Producer/director Young Voices for the Planet film series. Author, illustrator, lecturer on climate change messaging and environmental education. Author/illustrator of 30 award-winning children’s books including best-sellers The Great Kapok Tree and A River Ran Wild. Lynne received her BA from Tyler School of Art; a Masters in History at Yale University. She has had artist-in-residencies at Princeton University, the Smithsonian Institution and Cornell University and science-writing fellowships from the Marine Biological Lab and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She was a winner of a Metcalf Fellowship and the Brandwein Prize. Her academic writings include a chapter in “Written in Water” published by National Geographic Books, a chapter “Kids Can Save Forests” in “Treetops At Risk” edited by Dr. Margaret Lowman (Springer) and a chapter “Teaching Climate Change With Hope and Solutions: Lessons from a Film Project” in the book “Education in Times of Environmental Crisis.” (Routledge, 2016)

Laughlin Artz

Laughlin Artz is a leader and innovator in the fields of cultural transformation and contextual activism. As executive director of 2020 or Bust, his mission is to empower humanity to end the climate crisis, to mobilize 500 million people in the next 2 years to get on track to having that happen.

2019 Presenters

Jennifer Bruno

I have been an elementary school teacher for 11 years and have been teaching 3rd grade at Putnam Valley Elementary School for the past 6 years.  I am also a JV girl's volleyball and lacrosse coach at the high school, as well as a co-chair for our district's sustainability committee.

Elisa Caref

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 Clare

An ocean lover, I live along the south shore of Long Island in Long Beach, New York with my partner, Halley, and our two cats. I am an active member of a local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and interested in local environmental policy. I am also an avid gardener and in my time off have been converting a cargo van into a solar and biodiesel powered RV. I enjoy backcountry camping and hope to visit all of America’s national parks.

Lindsay Cohen

Lindsay is the Sustainability Leader at Greenburgh Nature Center located in Scarsdale, New York. She oversees the implementation of various sustainability education programs in local schools including Zero Waste Schools, Garden Scholars, Climate Change and Renewable Energy. Lindsay received her BS in Environmental Science and Sociology from Union College and is currently studying at Columbia University towards an MS in Sustainability Management. 

Lisa Davidson

In 2013, Lisa began 3 years of Leadership training through the BSCS/NABT AP Biology Leadership Academy, along with HHMI.  For the next few summers, she facilitated Regional Biology Teacher Academies. When the NYSSLs were drafted, her district created the position of Instructional Specialist for Science K-12. Since accepting that position, she has spent the last 3 years immersing herself in all things NGSS/NYSSLS. She now facilitates Professional Development for her district and teachers locally in WNY.  

Robin Farrell

Robin teaches STEAM (K-4) at Hillside Elementary School in Hastings-on-Hudson. Previously she had been an elementary classroom teacher. She has her M.A.T. in Childhood Education and her Ms. Ed. in Literacy and Special Education. When she is not in school, she enjoys spending time with her family and foster dogs. 


Cara Forray

Cara Forray 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.

Anna McDonald

Anna McDonald is a ninth grader at Mamaroneck High School. She received a grant with Bedford 2020 in Fall 2018 to promote waste free lunches at her elementary school. She educated the students on how and why to compost and reduce their packaging waste and by March 2019, Chatsworth Elementary School was routinely composting food waste and had initiated Waste Free Wednesdays. Since then, she has spoken on the Rye Y's Green Schools panel, the Garrison Youth Climate Summit and has promoted composting at local environmental events in Larchmont.

Anthony Patierno

Forward thinking educator focused on making meaningful connections with students, changing education systems, and improving my ability to help individual students, fellow educators, and local communities through carefully crafted lessons in the classroom and on the soccer field. 

Joy Rifkin

Joy Rifkin graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a dual degree in Biology and Environmental Studies.  After, she spent three years teaching middle school science in Chicago Public Schools.  Now, she is proud to be working for the Department of Education, Office of Sustainability on the Zero Waste Schools Program.

Amanda Sackey

Amanda Sackey has been an environmental educator for over twenty years. She worked as an environmental specialist for the Virgin Islands government, taught environmental science in St. Croix, and currently teaches life science at Rye Country Day School. In the summer, Amanda teaches STEM classes and works in community gardens.

Jennifer Sloan

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.

David Spittal

David Spittal has been the Director of Facilities and Transportation for the Putnam Valley Central School District since 2018. He co-founded the Putnam Valley Energy Sustainability Committee and has served as a Trustee on the Board of Education for seven years. Prior to work for the School District, he founded two companies producing organic mattresses. 

Elyse Tenzer

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.