Brazil - Saving Golden Lion Tamarins
Hawai‘i: Saving Species
Galápagos: Islands of Change
Paraguay: Eco-Leadership
Baja California, Mexico: Field Methods
Costa Rica: Neotropical Ecology
Queensland, Australia: Great Barrier Reef
Mongolia: Steppe Ecology & Civic Media
India: Species, Deities, & Communities
Guyana: Local Wisdom & Conservation
Borneo: Primate Conservation
Amazon: Avian & Tropical Ecology
Thailand: Buddhism and Conservation
Namibia: Great Cat Conservation
Belize: Approaches to Environmental Stewardship
Kenya: Wildlife & People in Integrated Landscapes

Project Dragonfly Directors

Chris Myers

Chris Myers

...received his Ph.D. in ecology from Vanderbilt University and is now a professor of Zoology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Miami University. His research areas include community-based conservation, participatory science, and national education reform. Chris is the founding Director of Project Dragonfly and served as Editor-in-Chief of Dragonfly magazine--the first national magazine to feature the investigations of children. Project Dragonfly reaches millions of people through award-winning print media, graduate programs, public exhibits, and the Emmy-Award winning national PBS children’s television series, DragonflyTV. He has written more than 60 professional articles and has directed projects funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Organization for Tropical Studies, and other agencies. Chris directs Earth Expeditions, the Advanced Inquiry Program, and the Global Field Program; served as a Luce Scholar in East Malaysia, served as a Fulbright Scholar in Thailand, and taught environmental education at Yale University.


Lynne Born Myers

Lynne Born Myers

... is a founder and co-Director of Project Dragonfly, where she oversees national exhibits, participatory media, and learning programs. She served as the founding editor for Dragonfly magazine and now leads the development of national exhibits for Wild Research and iSaveSpecies. These two NSF-funded projects are designed to engage millions of families at zoos, aquariums, and other public learning institutions throughout the U.S.  Lynne also writes fiction and nonfiction books for children with her husband, Chris, including McCrephy's Field (Houghton Mifflin), Forest of the Clouded Leopard (Houghton Mifflin), and Galapagos: Islands of Change (Hyperion).  Lynne received her B. Phil. from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Miami University. She has developed conservation partnerships in many countries for Earth Expeditions and works on a variety of research and education projects addressing human relationships with nature.


Program Faculty (faculty are full-time at Miami with graduate standing and serve as instructors of record)

Chris Myers

Chris Myers

...received his Ph.D. in ecology from Vanderbilt University and is now a professor of Zoology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Miami University. His research areas include community-based conservation, participatory science, and national education reform. Chris is the founding Director of Project Dragonfly and served as Editor-in-Chief of Dragonfly magazine--the first national magazine to feature the investigations of children. Project Dragonfly reaches millions of people through award-winning print media, graduate programs, public exhibits, and the Emmy-Award winning national PBS children’s television series, DragonflyTV. He has written more than 60 professional articles and has directed projects funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Organization for Tropical Studies, and other agencies. Chris directs Earth Expeditions, the Advanced Inquiry Program, and the Global Field Program; served as a Luce Scholar in East Malaysia, served as a Fulbright Scholar in Thailand, and taught environmental education at Yale University.


Jamie Bercaw Anzano

Jamie Bercaw Anzano

... is Director of Communications and Research at Project Dragonfly at Miami University, where she instructs international and web-based graduate courses and serves as a graduate advisor. When Dragonfly began more than 17 years ago, Jamie served as an editor for Dragonfly children's magazine. She has since worked on a number of Dragonfly initiatives to implement inquiry-driven reform in formal and informal learning environments. Prior to her work at Dragonfly, Jamie wrote hundreds of articles as a newspaper reporter and magazine writer. She has a bachelor's degree from Southern Methodist University in journalism, a master's in environmental science with concentrations in environmental education and public policy from Miami's Institute of Environmental Sciences, and post-master’s work in pursuit of a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Miami. Her interests lie within the intersection of theory and practice and in helping educators and other professionals explore ways to use inquiry to improve human and ecological communities. Jamie has explored many countries throughout the world, but she particularly enjoys rediscovering her backyard with her husband and two sons.


Hays Cummins

Hays Cummins

... is a professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Miami University. Hays is a founding Co-Director of Project Dragonfly and served as the science editor for Dragonfly magazine. Hays received his Ph.D. in oceanography from Texas A&M University and has led international courses for years to the Bahamas and the Florida Keys, Curacao Island, and Costa Rica. His research focuses on the reconstruction of past ecological communities in marine systems and understanding ecological change. He also has a passion for weather and astronomy. Hays has authored many research papers and popular articles focusing on science and science education.


Jill Korach

Jill Korach

... is the Assistant Director of Field Programs for Project Dragonfly at Miami University where she instructs international and web-based courses and serves as a master's advisor. Jill is president of the board of Imago, a Cincinnati-based grassroots environmental organization focused on connecting communities to nature and sustainable living (http://imagoearth.org). Jill earned an undergraduate degree in biology from Washington University in St. Louis where she focused on tropical rainforest ecology, a master's from Miami University's Institute of Environmental Sciences concentrating in conservation biology, and is currently working toward her Ph.D. in biology. As a part of Miami’s Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology doctoral program, Jill is exploring the role important natural areas play in our lives and how ecological, cultural, and social values contribute to conservation. She credits her love of the natural world to the outdoor adventures she takes with her family and getting a chance to climb trees as a child.


Kevin Matteson

Kevin Matteson

... is the Assistant Director of Master's Programs for Project Dragonfly at Miami University. Since 2002, Kevin has researched ecology, pollinator conservation, and entomology in heavily developed urban landscapes in both Chicago and New York City. For his doctoral research, conducted at Fordham University, Kevin utilized high-resolution GIS datasets to evaluate landscape factors influencing the diversity of bees and butterflies in community gardens of East Harlem and the Bronx. In addition to teaching at the undergraduate- and graduate-level, Kevin has served as an educator in a variety non-traditional settings including bilingual art-based science education in the Bronx and student-led programming while at the Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Society. Kevin has also engaged in scientific outreach through work as a scientific consultant and blogger for an urban citizen science program (www.greatpollinatorproject.org) and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Urban Ecosystems Ecology section (www.esa.org/urbanecosystem/) of the Ecological Society of America. He currently resides in Yellow Springs, Ohio with his wife and two young children.


Program Facilitators & Partners

Datu Md Ahbam Bin Abulani

Datu Md Ahbam Bin Abulani

… began working in the field assisting with orang-utan research in the 1990s with HUTAN, a French NGO based in Malaysian Borneo. HUTAN has a strong focus on staff capacity building and Bam progressed to supervising all field research as well as heading HEAP, the HUTAN Environmental Awareness Program where programming focuses on local youth. Prior to his work at HUTAN and HEAP, Bam was a tourist guide in his wife's village of Sukau. From here, he joined the newly created Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Project which was initiated jointly by the Sabah Wildlife Department and NGO HUTAN. Bam has also worked in the timber processing industry and as a fisherman.


Marc Ancrenaz

Marc Ancrenaz

…is the Director of the "Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Project", in Sabah, Malaysia. A native of France but resident of Malaysia, his research focuses on a variety of topics including eco-ethological studies of orang-utan adaptation to disturbed habitats and the management of conflicts between orang-utans, elephants and human communities. Marc is also a trained veterinarian, who worked as the head of the Mammal and Veterinary Departments at the "National Wildlife Research Center," Taif, Saudi Arabia.


April Blakeslee

April Blakeslee

... is an Assistant Professor in Biology at East Carolina University and a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. She is interested in conservation biology in marine systems and has developed a diverse research program involving biodiversity, population genetics, parasite ecology, and biogeography, as well as the unique and integrative insight that can be gained from studying biological invasions. Recently, biological invasions have become recognized as a major contributor to the global (and often disjunct) distributions of many marine species as a result of their movement and establishment via human transport mechanisms. Invasion research is therefore important not only from a conservation perspective, but it can provide theoretical and practical understanding of population and community level influences of novel species and can also serve as an important teaching tool for students and the general public. She works with students and colleagues around the world to better understand this major conservation issue.


Shasta Bray

Shasta Bray

... grew up catching fireflies, reading Ranger Rick and falling in love with the animals at the zoo. Dedicated to wildlife conservation, she believes that personal encounters with nature and wildlife create emotional connections that inspire people to make a positive difference. As the Manager of Interpretive Exhibits, Visitor Research, Conservation Communications and Fun for the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Shasta develops and evaluates award-winning interpretive exhibits and programs that provide meaningful experiences and authentic opportunities to take action for the Zoo’s 1.5 million annual visitors. She also produces content for the Zoo’s website, blog and social media.  As a lifelong learner, Shasta loves to travel and experience different wild places and cultures. She has participated in field conservation in Namibia and the Philippines, and has also facilitated Earth Expeditions graduate courses for educators in Kenya, Costa Rica, Belize and Namibia. In 2015, Shasta was selected as a Grosvenor Teacher Fellow with National Geographic and sailed to the Galápagos Islands on a Lindblad Expedition. Her most meaningful international experience to date was traveling to Ethiopia in 2009 to bring home her daughter.  Shasta received a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Southern Illinois University and a Master of Science in Zoology from Miami University with a focus on animal behavior and ecology.


Linda Castaneda

Linda Castaneda

... is the Coordinator/Lead Trainer of the Cat Ambassador Program at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.  She spends her day caring for, training and presenting exotic cat species to zoo visitors in order to inspire conservation action.  Linda made her way to the Cincinnati Zoo after doing field research in eastern Oregon and the jungle of Cameroon, teaching informal and formal education and attending zoo college in southern California.  She has a B.A. in Biology from Lewis & Clark College, an A.S. in Exotic Animal Training and Management and an M.A. in Zoology from Miami University through Project Dragonfly’s Global Field Program.  Linda is passionate about insitu and exsitu cat conservation and is active on the Felid Taxonomy Advisory Group, which manages cat populations in zoos and works to support field conservation.  She also teaches undergraduate biology for the University of Cincinnati. 


Katie Corr

Katie Corr

... is all about Project Dragonfly. Aside from completing her own M.A. in Zoology through the Global Field Program, she also coordinates and leads Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's branch of Dragonfly's Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP). She loves helping students to discover the power (and fun!) of inquiry while exploring local environments. She strives to connect people to their surroundings and to help them discover their own voices for positive change. Katie loves traveling at home and abroad and is always up for a good road trip. In addition to her degree from Miami, she also holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Hiram College where she focused on environmental education and incorporating sustainability messaging into rural schools. She likes running and reading (though not at the same time) and is a soccer enthusiast.


Leah Crowe

Leah Crowe

... is a high school Spanish teacher who is enamored of animals and nature. She earned a B.A. in Spanish and Political Science from Wittenberg University where her love of travel was ignited while studying abroad in Spain and grew while working as a flight attendant and a Spanish teacher. Four years ago she decided to embark on a new adventure and was accepted into the Global Field Program. This program proved transformational for her as she traveled to Baja, Peru and Australia, and she could not imagine her life without Project Dragonfly. The amazing people that she met along the way inspired her to become a web-based facilitator and apply to be an Earth Expeditions course facilitator after graduation. In addition to teaching Spanish, she is working as the social media/tour development intern for SEETHEWILD. Her current vision focuses on encouraging other foreign language teachers to incorporate conservation and environmental issues into their classrooms with the hope of designing travel and study experiences where teachers can get first-hand knowledge of the problems faced by the countries about which they teach. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with her husband and four dogs, walking in the woods on her property, and, of course, traveling as much as possible. She is incredibly excited and humbled to be included among the remarkable people that make up Project Dragonfly and is excited to see what the future has in store.


Maureen Drinkard

Maureen Drinkard

... is better known her students as Dr. Mo, an assistant professor of environmental science and ecology and Brevard College near Asheville, North Carolina.  She fell in love with wetland ecology through a senior research project as an undergrad and followed that path through graduate school. Her dissertation focused on wetland ecology and wetland organisms in headwater riparian systems. She tirelessly braved swamps across northeastern Ohio investigating the impacts of flood pulsing on wetland communities while simultaneously testing these ideas in wetland mesocosm on the campus of Kent State University.  Dr. Mo quickly realized that her true passion was inspiring students in the fields of ecology, environmental science, and sustainability through experiential teaching methods. She teaches a variety of hands-on courses in these fields and classes in entomology, geographic information systems, and policy.  Her broad range of academic interests also translates into broad personal interests. When she isn’t off in the woods with college students or wrangling her own family, Dr. Mo can be found gardening, canning, and fermenting foods, brewing beer, wine and ginger beer, making art and jewelry, hiking and camping, and investigating natural building techniques and permaculture strategies.


Amy Fultz

Amy Fultz

... is a primatologist whose focus is on chimpanzee behavior. Amy is the Behavior and Education Program manager at Chimp Haven, Inc., a sanctuary for over 150 chimpanzees.  Amy’s love for the natural world started in her youth when she would help her father to clean up local streams and creeks in Michigan. Amy has lived in many states with beautiful natural features including North Carolina, Texas, and now Louisiana. Amy holds a degree in Biology from Hillsdale College in Michigan and recently graduated from the Global Field Program with an MA in Zoology. She has traveled to rain forests in Panama, Mexico and Uganda, as well as traveling to Belize, Borneo, and the Amazon with the GFP.  In Amy’s free time she enjoys reading, spending time exploring her two daughter’s interests, gardening and being outside with her dogs and cat. Amy looks forward to additional learning experiences and collaboration with interesting individuals all over the world.


Verónica Godoy

Verónica Godoy

... is from Argentina, where she graduated with a B.S. and a doctorate in biology from the National University of Mar del Plata. Verónica was always passionate about nature, so it was easy for her to choose biology as a field of study followed by an academic career in Plant Molecular Biology and Plant Pathology. During that time she had the opportunity to work for three years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, studying the molecular mechanisms of auxin in plant growth and development. Back in Argentina, Verónica was appointed as full time faculty at the National University of Mar del Plata. She participated in and led several research projects that allowed the identification and characterization of genes involved in plant defense mechanisms and plant development. At the same time, she coordinated and taught molecular and cellular biology and biochemistry laboratories and exercise classes for 11 years. In 2004, Verónica partnered with a group of colleagues who share her interest in science education and community service, co-founding “Laboratorios con Ciencia," a science education outreach program, which she had the privilege of directing for 10 years. “Laboratorios con Ciencia” built a community of educators who introduced inquiry-driven instruction and other innovative ways of teaching and learning science in K-12 public schools in the Mar del Plata district. Serving the community and investing in people’s future and dreams has been, so far, the most important and fulfilling part of her career. In March 2015, Verónica moved with her family to Austin, Texas, hoping to start a new and exciting chapter of her life. After a transitional year, she is very excited to join the Earth Expeditions team!


Ron Gray

Ron Gray

… is an assistant professor of science education at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. He received his Ph.D. from Oregon State University. While a middle school science teacher, he worked in the summer as the education coordinator of the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia. That experience led to work with Earth Expeditions, with which he has facilitated field courses in Namibia, Trinidad and Tobago, and, most recently, Borneo. His research focuses on providing science teachers the understandings and tools to engage students in the practices of science.


Matt Hallett

Matt Hallett

... is a Ph.D. student in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Florida where his research focuses on the impact of habitat, hunting, logging, and livestock on the abundance and distribution of large mammals in the Rupununi Region of Guyana.  He previously worked in public education at the zoos and aquariums in the U.S. and in research and community-based conservation in Kenya, South Africa, Malaysian Borneo and Guyana. Experiences in the field have inspired Matt to consistently pursue work that falls at the intersection of humans and nature with the challenge of developing creative solutions that maximize the benefits to both. Matt earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology with minors in Political Science and Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston and a Master of Arts in Zoology from Miami University/Project Dragonfly's Global Field Program.


Jeff Hegnauer

Jeff Hegnauer

... has spent the last dozen-ish years as an elementary school teacher at Cherry Tree Elementary School in Carmel, Indiana. Ten of those years were spent teaching and assisting in the development of a non-traditional, multi-age/multi-grade classroom program. He currently teaches fourth graders. In addition to his classroom responsibilities he serves as the school's lead science teacher, working to support and train teachers in implementing the district's science curriculum. Since 2010 he has also worked as a trainer and professional development planner with the Indiana Science Initiative, a program to train kindergarten through eighth grade teachers and administrators to incorporate a more participatory and inquiry-based approach to their school districts' science programs. Jeff's experiences through the Earth Expeditions programs in Baja, Belize, Costa Rica and Trinidad have helped to fuel his passion for getting teachers and students, figuratively and literally, outside the four walls of traditional elementary school learning experiences. He earned his B. A. in Elementary Education from Anderson University and completed his M.A.T. in the Biological Sciences through Miami University's Global Field Program in 2011. He likes to spend his free time teaching his own children how to get muddy, climb trees, and submerge kayaks.


Samantha James

Samantha James

... MLIS, is the Community Outreach Manager, Iwokrama. Samantha grew up in Toronto to Guyanese parents but for the past 12 years has been working with the wildlife clubs of the North Rupununi. She believes in learning though inquiry and the strength of local knowledge tempered with knowledge of "Western" science techniques for locally owned resource management. She is responsible for managing and developing Iworkama's support to the wildlife clubs of the North Rupununi and is currently working to evaluate the efficacy of Iwokrama' s work with clubs to determine if they have had an impact on development of club members into conservation leaders. She lives in the village of Kwatamang, North Rupununi with her partner, Lake, their two little girls and Ted the dog.


Dave Jenike

David Jenike

... is Chief Operating Officer at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. David has a magical way of involving his students, youngsters, and adults in his program presentations and interpretations of the natural world. David received his B. S. degree in Zoology and his M. S. degree in Environmental Education from Miami University. David completed the Environmental Institutional Management Course at Delaware University. He is the Education Liaison to the AZA’s Rhino Taxon Advisory Group. The Institute of Environmental Sciences at Miami presented David with an Award of Distinction in 1996. David is a Professional Fellow with the American Zoo & Aquarium Association. David grew up in Cincinnati as a member of a family of educators. He and his brother Mark wrote and photographed the children's book, Ituri – A Walk through the Rainforest, which chronicles the wildlife and people of the Ituri Forest.


Elizabeth Katoa

Elizabeth Katoa

... is a high school biology teacher for the North Ridgeville City Schools near Cleveland, Ohio. She completed her MA in Zoology from Miami University through the Global Field Program and traveled to Belize, the Amazon, and Baja. Elizabeth's teaching career began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Kingdom of Tonga, South Pacific where she taught secondary science and trained local counterparts in instructional methods to increase the use of laboratory experiences in their teaching. She earned her undergraduate degree in biology with an environmental emphasis from the University of Montana and a M.Ed. from Cleveland State University which focused on teaching in urban settings. Her love of travel, nature, and interest in conservation started as a child when she spent her summers camping and visiting national parks all over the United States. She enjoys traveling internationally and finding ways to incorporate the experiences into meaningful learning opportunities for her students and colleagues.


Kathayoon Khalil

Kathayoon Khalil

...is a fourth year doctoral candidate at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Kathayoon received her master's in environmental science from Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and her bachelor's from Claremont McKenna College in Biology and Literature. Kathayoon has spent 13 summers at the Oregon Zoo working in education and volunteer resources. In her "spare" time, Kathayoon provides consultation and trainings to zoos and aquariums on program evaluation. She also enjoys traveling, teaching and playing music, yoga, crafting, and being outdoors.


Genifer Lara

Genifer Lara

... currently teaches geology and geography at Mohave Community College in Kingman, Arizona. For the past several years, she has been a field instructor for Round River Conservation Studies, a study abroad program for undergraduates from the U.S. and Africa, majoring in life and environmental sciences. During her time with RRCS, she worked in Botswana and Namibia, and spent semesters living in primitive field camps, falling asleep to the sounds of lions, hippos, and hyenas. She has also traveled extensively for work, studying a variety of species in diverse locations such as the beach in Uruguay, the harsh Impenetrable Forest of Argentina, the tropical rain forests of Honduras and Costa Rica, and the savannas of Malawi. She received her BA in Environmental Studies and Wildlife Biology from Prescott College in 2008, her MS in Geosciences from Mississippi State University in 2011, and is currently finishing up a second MS in Entomology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She also has a certificate in Aquarium Science, and is a current Wilderness First Responder. She loves teaching and inspiring others to get out and be a part of nature. She has a passion for bats, reptiles, birds, and insects, among most other animals. In her spare time she enjoys birding, herping, photography, travelling, and spending time with her husband and their furkids.


Gail Lemiec

Gail Lemiec

... while originally from Cleveland, OH, has recently moved to the mountains of North Carolina and is working as the Education Coordinator for Highlands Nature Center. There she has the opportunity to connect families and students with nature and wildlife in this extremely diverse part of the Southern Appalachians, which is classified as a temperate rainforest. She earned her B.S. in Environmental Studies from Northland College, situated in the Wisconsin northwoods, before traveling to Romania with the Peace Corps to live for two years as an English and Environmental Education teacher. Upon returning to the States, she immersed herself in informal environmental education, marine conservation, and animal training, working with raptors, shorebirds, and small mammals. Her passion for conservation and travel was ignited once again with the enrollment in Project Dragonfly's Global Field Program. Gail traveled to Belize, Hawaii, and Baja before completing her M.A. in Zoology in 2014. She happily spends her free time with her husband and their pets, reading anything and everything, and communing with nature. 


Laurie Marker

Laurie Marker

... is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) based in Namibia, Africa. Having worked with cheetahs since 1974, Laurie set up the not-for profit CCF in 1990 and moved to Namibia to develop a permanent conservation research center for the wild cheetah. In 1988, in collaboration with these two institutions she became the Executive Director of the Center for New Opportunities in Animal Health Sciences, based at the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo. She continues to serve as a NOAHS Research Fellow. In 1996 she was made a vice-chair of the World Conservation Union's (IUCN) Species Survival Commission's (SSC) Cat Specialist Group. In 2000 Laurie was recognized as one of Time magazine's Heroes for the Planet and given the Burrow's Conservation Award from Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2001 Laurie was locally honored in Namibia, receiving the Paul Harris Fellowship from the Windhoek Rotary Club. And in 2002 she received a special award from the Sanveld Conservancy, signifying public acknowledgement of Laurie and CCF's contributions from Namibia's farming community.


Dan Marsh

Dan Marsh

... is the Director of Education at the Cincinnati Zoo, where he manages the departments’ educational programs for the general public and schools. Dan received his B. A. in Biology from the University of Louisville and an M. Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Cincinnati. He spent a year in Japan on an academic scholarship, which sparked his interest in international travel. He has escorted trips for the zoo to Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Peru, and the Galapagos Islands, in addition to traveling extensively on his own. Dan is a Professional Fellow with the American Zoo and Aquarium Association and is an education liaison to the Felid Taxon Advisory Group. He is also a member of the National Association for Interpretation and the Environmental Education Council of Ohio. Dan grew up near Louisville, Kentucky, where his parents allowed him the freedom to roam and develop his interest in wildlife and conservation.


Sharon Matola

Sharon Matola

... is a wild woman. Never, ever taking no for an answer, she has built the Belize Zoo & Tropical Education Center into one of the world’s most effective zoos and conservation organizations. Starting with 20 captive animals left behind more than twenty years ago by a natural history film crew, Sharon has dedicated her life’s work to engaging the Belizean people with their wildlife. First with education programs in schools throughout the country, and later by establishing the zoo, Sharon has shared her love and the need for wildlife and wild areas. From its humble beginnings, and against all odds, Sharon charmed, cajoled, and worked until the Belize Zoo finally opened its gates at its new home in 1991. Today’s Belize Zoo employs a staff of 25, all Belizeans. It is a conservation and education center run by and for Belizeans.


Thane Maynard

Thane Maynard

... is Chief Executive Officer of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Thane is best known as a writer and host of numerous wildlife programs, including the daily public radio series The 90Second Naturalist, which airs on stations across North America. He has been featured on Good Morning America, Today, and CBS This Morning, has been a regular wildlife expert on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, and has authored 13 books on wildlife. From his youth exploring the swamps of central Florida, Thane went on to earn his M. S. degree from the University of Michigan and is a graduate of the Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management program at the Harvard Business School, as well as the first National Education Leadership Institute sponsored by World Wildlife Fund and Disney.


Allen McConnell

Allen McConnell

... received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Indiana University and is now a Professor of Psychology at Miami University. He has published over 60 research papers on topics including how people construct social relationships with families and pets, the health-related implications of how people construe their self-concepts, and how to measure people's attitudes to predict their behavior. Allen is currently Editor in Chief of Social Psychological and Personality Science, and he has previously served as Associate Editor for two other research journals and as a National Science Foundation grant panel member for four years. In the classroom, he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on social psychology, the psychology of conservation, the self, attitudes, and intergroup relations. In his spare time he loves traveling, photography, astronomy, architecture, hiking, and running.


Meghann McDonald

Meghann McDonald

... has been an ocean-based creature from the very start. She grew up on the Sea of Cortez, snorkeling, dissecting marine creatures, and listening to her father lecture his college students on the magic of upwelling since she could crawl. Meghann went on to earn a B.S. in Marine and Coastal Ecology at California State University Monterey Bay. It was there in the Monterey Bay, at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, that she found her true loves: scientific research diving and ichthyology. Meghann is a graduate of the Global Field Program with a Masters in Zoology and is the Vice President of the Vermilion Sea Institute, a non-profit dedicated to education and field studies. As such, she gets to introduce students of all ages to the terrestrial and marine worlds of Baja California. Here, she fuses scientific field methods with first-hand experience to show students that they can overcome any obstacle from plunging into the world of fish to conquering the really scary stuff: statistics.


Jenny Mears

Jenny Mears

... is the Community Engagement Coordinator at Woodland Park Zoo, where she facilitates the Advanced Inquiry Program master's degree as well as stewardship opportunities for the greater community. She graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S. in Urban Horticulture and a B.A. in Art. She also earned her Master of Arts in Zoology from Project Dragonfly's Global Field Program, through which she discovered a love of participatory education and community mapping. Jenny spends her time paddleboarding, lawn bowling (it's a sport, really!), having barbecues with friends and family, and taking tiny adventures around beautiful Washington state. She looks forward to connecting with her fellow travelers as they explore Mongolia's amazing ecology, conservation, and culture!


Judith Metcalf

Judith Metcalf

... received her doctorate from the University of Louisville and her master's degree from Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Her research interests include human impacts on populations and communities. Her master's work explored the impact of beach driving on overwintering shorebirds on the Texas Gulf oast, and her doctorate work evaluated the impact of the invasive grass Microstegium vimineum on insect and spider communities in a Kentucky temperate forest. She has been teaching anatomy and physiology as well as conservation and biodiversity courses at Ohio University Southern. Judy has also been a competitive power lifter since 2010 and a strength coach since 2012. She enjoys spending her spare time at the gym getting stronger or in the field camping and hiking.


Javier Miguelena

Javier Miguelena

... is a Visiting Assistant Professor with Project Dragonfly. He has a B.S. in biology from the Universidad de las Americas in Puebla, Mexico. He also holds a Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Arizona. Javier’s research has looked at the effects of human-induced habitat change on ant communities. For his Ph.D. dissertation, he considered the impact of urbanization on ant diversity in the arid urban environment of Tucson, Arizona. In particular, he looked at irrigated parks which are a new and extraneous habitat in that environment. He has also done research on the behavior of the exotic dark rover ant and the pest management of termites. While in Arizona, Javier was part of science outreach efforts with the Urban Entomology Laboratory, the Arizona Insect Festival, and the Insect Discovery Program. As a result, he has spoken about insects and science to audiences of all ages, frequently while holding a live insect specimen.


Jim Miller

Jim Miller

... is in his 9th year of teaching Biology and Environmental Science at Cleveland Heights High School and also has been the head swim coach there for the past 12 years. Jim received his bachelor's degree in environmental studies through Allegheny College and his teaching certificate through Ashland University. He was honored as part of the first group to receive their master's degree through the Global Field Program at Miami University in 2011! For the GFP he participated in the Earth Expeditions in Costa Rica, Belize, and Namibia. Some of his favorite experiences in the natural world include: seeing an ocelot on a night hike while at Monteverde in Costa Rica; getting his head licked by a jaguar at the Belize Zoo; snorkeling with sharks, sea turtles, and sting rays in Belize; swimming with the great white sharks in South Africa; sandboarding down the sand dunes in Namibia; and watching 25 elephants frolic and drink at a waterhole in Namibia. Since graduation, Jim has also participated in the Earth Expeditions programs in the Amazon, Mongolia and Borneo. In 2011, he was selected as one of only twelve teachers in the country to participate in PolarTREC, an educational research experience in which K-12 teachers engage in polar research, working closely with scientists from Cornell University as a pathway to improving science education.


Bariushaa Munkhtsog

Bariushaa Munkhtsog

... Dr. Bariushaa Munkhtsog has been working with snow leopards since 1993 and was active in the reintroduction of Przewalski's horse at Hustain Nuruu National Park, Mongolia. He currently serves as senior wildlife biologist at Institute of Biology, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Board director of Irbis (snow leopard in Mongolian) Mongolian Center, Board director of Gobi bear conservation NGO, and is co-founder of the Pallas' Cat Conservation Project in Mongolia, started in June 2000. Dr. Munkhtsog also teaches biology and ecology at colleges and has supervised Bachelor's, Master's and PhD’s students on snow leopard, Pallas' cat, wild cat, and wild camel ecology and is a member of IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group and Snow Leopard Network.


Lynne Born Myers

Lynne Born Myers

... is a founder and co-Director of Project Dragonfly, where she oversees national exhibits, participatory media, and learning programs. She served as the founding editor for Dragonfly magazine and now leads the development of national exhibits for Wild Research and iSaveSpecies. These two NSF-funded projects are designed to engage millions of families at zoos, aquariums, and other public learning institutions throughout the U.S.  Lynne also writes fiction and nonfiction books for children with her husband, Chris, including McCrephy's Field (Houghton Mifflin), Forest of the Clouded Leopard (Houghton Mifflin), and Galapagos: Islands of Change (Hyperion).  Lynne received her B. Phil. from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Miami University. She has developed conservation partnerships in many countries for Earth Expeditions and works on a variety of research and education projects addressing human relationships with nature.


Sarah Navarro

Sarah F. Navarro

… grew up in Michigan where her parents fostered her love of nature with frequent camping trips and encouragement to explore the wildlife all around her (as long as she didn’t bring it inside!). Sarah earned both her B.S. (1999) and M.S. (2001) in Zoology from Michigan State University. It was in graduate school that she had her first exotic, educational opportunity, traveling to Kenya to study the ecology of African wildlife. Experiencing such a hands-on, culturally and naturally immersive opportunity left her forever changed and inspired to make a career out of facilitating connections between people, wildlife, and wild places. She joined the Education Department of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in November of 2001 and is now the Education Curriculum Development Manager, a job that allows her to create curriculum and learning opportunities for participants of all ages and work closely with the Education Department's animal ambassadors. The Cincinnati Zoo’s partnership with Earth Expeditions has also allowed her the opportunity to instruct both zoo and field courses with Earth Expeditions throughout the years.  When she is not training human and non-human animals, writing curriculum, or teaching, she is playing in and exploring nature with her husband and children.


Kate Nordyke

Kate Nordyke

... currently serves as co-director at Evergreen Holistic Learning Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, a non-profit organization that she and her family established in 2009 with the mission of offering unique, hands-on learning opportunities that promote environmental awareness, holistic health, and personal and professional development. She is an avid supporter and practitioner of sustainable urban agriculture and actually has the great good fortune of living on an 8.5 acre farm in the middle of the city. Kate holds a B.S. in Environmental Studies/Education from Union Institute and University, and an M.A. in Biology through Miami University’s Global Field Program. When she’s not working in the garden or tending to her 2 horses, 4 rescue cats, and 2 rescue dogs, Kate also really enjoys hiking, dance, yoga, and traveling.


Jerran Orwig

Jerran Orwig

... is the Advanced Inquiry Program Manager in the Education Department at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in Cincinnati, Ohio.  She oversees the graduate program at the Zoo and supports AIP students as they change their communities and grow in their personal and professional lives.  She also is currently a facilitator for the National Network of Ocean & Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI) workshop series, working with climate science communicators across the country to get the word out to the general public about climate change impacts. She has a B.S. in Biology from Calvin College and completed her M.A. in Zoology with the Global Field Program at Miami University in 2011. Since graduation, she's remained in the Dragonfly family by being a facilitator for both web-based and Earth Expedition courses, and she cherishes the adventures and experiential learning it brings. Jerran loves travel, photography, reading good books, delving into a bowl of ice cream, and will forever say "Go Blue."


Martha Parker

Martha Parker

... is the Conservation Impact Manager at the Houston Zoo. Her role at the Zoo involves creating and fostering partnerships with more than thirty conservation projects worldwide to ensure the Zoo saves the wild counterparts of our animal ambassadors. In addition, she help ensure that houston Zoo's wildlife-saving efforts are successful by facilitating meaningful evaluation activities. Some of the conservation projects she works closely with include mountain gorillas in Rwanda, sea turtles in Texas, and Galápagos tortoises in Ecuador.  She graduated from the Global Field Program in May 2015, and she is looking forward to working with more passionate and enthusiastic conservationists through Miami University!


Karen Plucinski

Karen Plucinski

... is a professor at Missouri Southern State University in the Department of Biology and Environmental Health, teaching general ecology, mammalogy and, conservation biology.  Karen received her Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology (University of Maine) as part of the Holt Forest research team, studying the effect of forest management on tree seed predation by small mammals.  She also holds a M.S. in Zoology (University of Montana) and B.S. in Zoology (University of New Hampshire).  Hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire at an early age stimulated her interest in the natural world. She has also worked as a Wildlife Biologist teaching ecology and natural resources management for Great Plains Wildlife Institute (Jackson, Wyoming).  She loves to teach specialized topics courses with field components (Ecology of the Sonoran Desert, Ecology of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and Natural History Contributions of the Lewis and Clark Expedition).  She resides in southwest Missouri with her husband Mark and four children (three fur and one feather).  She enjoys any outdoor activity, but especially running, cycling, hiking, and wildlife watching, preferable in the high desert of central Oregon.


Celso Poot

Celso Poot

Celso Poót started working with the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center in 1994. From 1997 to 1999, he worked in the Ministry of Agriculture’s Vampire Bat Education, Control and Research Program and with the Forest Planning and Management Project. However, because of his passion for the environment and his drive to educate younger generations about the country’s ecology and wildlife conservation, he returned to the Belize Zoo and has been heading the Education Department ever since. Celso is responsible for both onsite and outreach school programs and works with more than 15,000 school children and teachers each academic year. Celso also coordinates foreign school groups offering ecological field courses in Belize. His various jobs have allowed him to travel the entire country and provides a stimulus to continue his work with the Belizean environment.


Sorrayut (Asia) Ratanapojnard

Sorrayut (Asia) Ratanapojnard

... Dr. Sorrayut received his PhD in Environmental Education from the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University. He is a professor at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand. He has ordained as a Buddhist monk and was the director of Thailand's Project Local Science and the Spiritual Health Program. He writes weekly newspaper columns on spirituality and health.


Maggie Reinbold

Maggie Reinbold

... is a founding member of the Conservation Education Division at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research and serves as its Director, where she oversees and supports the work of both the in-house and community-based conservation teams as they design and implement programs that connect communities to conservation for the benefit of wildlife and habitats. Her work focuses on strengthening efforts to enlist local and global community members in the fight against extinction. She works to connect teachers and their students with the science of saving species through Summer Teacher Workshops in Conservation Science and through the programs of the Conservation Education Lab and Outdoor Learning Lab. She also works to connect community members to conservation by course design and instruction in the Advanced Inquiry Program and through support of innovative projects that address the human dimensions of conservation at field sites around the world. Maggie also fosters partnerships with key collaborators at foundations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations to build capacity for high-quality, accessible conservation science education. She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees in biology at San Diego State University, where her graduate research focused on the population genetics of desert aquatic insects across the Baja California Peninsula.  She has taught science in a number of formal and informal settings including the San Diego Natural History Museum, Cardiff Elementary School, and San Diego State University. As an NSF science fellow, she co-taught hands-on science with classroom teachers across San Diego County and also spent several seasons in Arctic Alaska, bringing hands-on science education to unique and underserved communities on the North Slope. Since early childhood, she has cherished her time spent in nature and looks forward to instilling that same love of wildlife and wild places in her two young daughters.


Kirstie Ruppert

Kirstie Ruppert

... is a Senior Research Associate in the Conservation Education Division at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. She earned a B.S. in Environmental Science from UCLA, and then joined San Diego Zoo Global as a research fellow, where she worked to measure the long-term outcomes of a professional development program for teachers. After spending time traveling, she was thrilled to rejoin the Conservation Education Division, where she could unite her passions for nature and education, all in support of SDZG’s work to save species worldwide. Kirstie is completing her M.A. in Zoology through the Global Field Program and Earth Expeditions to Baja, Guyana, and Kenya, and she has loved the opportunity to explore the intersection of participatory research with photography as a tool to engage communities in conservation.


Samantha Russell

Samantha Russell

... is a doctoral candidate in Conservation Ecology. Closely affiliated with the African Conservation Centre, she lives and works in the South Rift Valley in Kenya where her work involves establishing a practical ecological monitoring program for the Magadi region. Alongside this she is helping the local Maasai community to establish community-based research for conservation. This involves helping to establish a South Rift Resource Centre and train local community youths in resource assessment and data collection. Having been born and raised in Kenya, Samantha has always held a passion for wildlife and as she grew up developed a keen interest in working with the people who live alongside it, and has worked with Dr. David Western on learning about the relationship between wildlife and people since she graduated from Bristol University in 2002 with an undergraduate degree in Zoology and Psychology. She has also been involved with Dr Western in conducting the first major audit of Kenya’s wildlife and presented this information at a recent Wildlife Policy Review workshop.


Laura Sennet Houston

Laura Sennet Houston

…is a high school chemistry teacher who received her B.S. in Education and B.A. in Chemistry from Miami University in 2004. She obtained her M.S. in Chemistry from Wright State University in 2006 focusing her work on kinetically controlled polycondensation polymerization reactions. In 2011 she was honored to be part of the first graduating class of the Global Field Program receiving her M.A.T. in Biological Sciences. Laura is also a registered yoga teacher and loves to use the practice of yoga to connect with people and introduce them to a more mindful and peaceful way of life. When not teaching she loves to travel and spend time outdoors backpacking and hiking with her husband.


Perky Smith-Hagadone

Perky Smith-Hagadone

... is currently wearing multiple hats as a principal of an elementary school and as an upper quartile math and science teacher. She is passionate about conservation and strives to incorporate environmental education into all aspects of her life. While enrolled as a graduate student, she was published in the NSTA publication: Science and Children, outlining the conservation work being accomplished at her school. During her summer “breaks," she has facilitated environmental expeditions with groups of middle school students to Costa Rica for approximately seven years through a company called EcoTeach. In addition to the master's she earned in Educational Administration, she is proud to say she is a graduate of Miami University's Global Field Program with a M.A.T. in the Biological Sciences.  She is looking forward to “paying it forward.”


Jongdee To-im

Jongdee To-im

... is a Thai woman who graduated with her Ph.D. in Science and Technology Education from Mahidol University, Thailand in 2009 and Master Degree of Arts in Teaching from Miami University as Global Field Program in 2012. Her dissertation focused on the development of learning packages on local ecosystems to promote conceptual understanding, to develop a more caring/positive attitude toward ecosystems, and to improve the behaviors of lower secondary school students. She has participated in Earth Expeditions courses in Thailand and Costa Rica. Currently, she is an assistant professor of Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies, Mahidol University. Her interests include transformative learning, the inquiry approach, Buddhism and conservation, and applying indigenous knowledge into formal educational systems.


Ursula Valdez

Ursula Valdez

...is a tropical biologist, ornithologist and conservationist. She obtained a biology degree from the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina in Peru and a master's degree in Zoology and Animal Behavior from North Carolina State University. Recently, she finished her PhD at the University of Washington studying Forest-falcon ecology in the Peruvian Amazon. Currently, she is a lecturer at the Biology Department at UW where she teaches Conservation Biology, Ornithology and tropical biology. Ursula is a passionate field biologist who has conducted ecological and ornithological work in Peru, as well as in Ecuador, Panama, USA and Spain. She worked in Peru and Panama as a raptor biologist and was the Director of the Neotropical Environmental Education Program of The Peregrine Fund. She has been an instructor in tropical ecology courses in Peru and Costa Rica. She has also run field courses in ornithology for Latin American students and field biology and conservation courses for UW undergraduate students. Ursula started a conservation center in Peru (www.ceccot.org) dedicated to raising awareness among local communities of the importance of the rainforest ecology and conservation but integrated in the local human context. At the Center she and her colleagues conduct research on birds and other taxonomical groups, work on public outreach and offer training in sustainable living. She is a committed conservationist and active in finding ways to lower humans’ ecological footprint.


Liana Vitali

Liana Vitali

... believes wholeheartedly in the power of science inquiry to not only discover the natural world but to also discover ourselves. Through inspiring and meaningful outdoor learning experiences, she believes you can never be too old or too young to find excitement and purpose in nature. After five wonderful years dedicated to conservation education on a global level as Education & Outreach Officer for Wildscreen and the Arkive project, Liana has returned to her local Maryland community roots to lead educational programs and conservation research projects as the Naturalist & Education Coordinator at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary. She received her bachelor’s in biology and ecology at Penn State University and earned her master’s in zoology through the Global Field Program studying in Baja, Mongolia and Thailand.


David Western

David Western

... is chairman of the African Conservation Centre. A Kenya citizen, he was raised and educated in Tanzania, obtained a B.Sc. (Hons.) from Leicester University and a Ph.D. from the University of Nairobi. He began research into the savannas at Amboseli in 1967, looking at the interactions of humans and wildlife aimed at developing conservation policies applicable at an ecosystem scale. His work in Amboseli has continued unbroken since then, serving as a barometer of changes in the savannas and a tested of new conservation solutions. He has a particular interest in pastoralism and community participation in conservation. Western has been active in many areas of conservation, including field research, community-based conservation, international programs, ecotourism, conservation planning, directing government and non-government agencies, training, creation of conservation institutions and public education. He directed Wildlife Conservation Society programs in East Africa for many years. He established the Wildlife Planning Unit in Kenya in 1978, was the chairman of the African Elephant and Rhino Specialist Group in the 1980s, was founding president of The International Ecotourism Society, chairman of the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya, director of Wildlife Conservation Society (International), director of Kenya Wildlife Service and founder of the African Conservation Centre in Nairobi. He is an adjunct professor in Biology at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Minnesota. Western’s publications include Conservation for the Twenty-first Century (OUP, 1989), Natural Connections: Perspectives in Community-based Conservation (Island Press, 1994) and In the Dust of Kilimanjaro (Shearwater, 1997).


Mary Yoder

Mary Yoder

... is fortunate to work as the Primate Manager at the Phoenix Zoo where she leads a team of keepers and works with the primate collection.  She has an amazing black lab named Casey and loves exploring her home state.  She is outside in nature as much as possible, and if she is not at home she is out traveling the world.  As a graduate of the Global Field Program, she is excited to inspire students as she knows from first-hand experience the impact that the program has on a person's life.


Joshua York

Joshua York

... is currently an Education Supervisor and Naturalist for Five Rivers MetroParks, protecting 15,000 acres of forests, prairies, and river corridors in and around Dayton, Ohio, USA. There, he builds a Culture of Conservation through immersing diverse groups of people in local habitats. From exploring a creek to bird watching, his visitors engage with nature, realize they are a part of it, and get involved with conservation efforts. Joshua understands that conservation knows no age boundaries, and has a passion for inspiring preschoolers to take action for healing natural areas. Joshua holds an Associates Degree concentrating in nature interpretation from Hocking College, a B.S. in Biology from Ashland University, and is a graduate of Miami University's Global Field Program, visiting Baja, Namibia, and Australia.