Costa Rica
Baja California, Mexico
Queensland, Australia

Project Dragonfly Directors

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

... 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

...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.

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.

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.

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 ( 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

... 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 ( and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Urban Ecosystems Ecology section ( of the Ecological Society of America. He currently resides in Yellow Springs, Ohio with his wife and two young children.

Program Facilitators & Partners

Alicia Lamfers

Alicia Lamfers

... received her MAT from Miami University and her undergraduate degree in biology from Metropolitan State University in Denver Colorado. She worked as a paramedic for 6 years in Denver's inner city neighborhoods until switching direction and going into education. She has taught in both formal and informal classrooms. She is currently the Science Inquiry Programs Coordinator at the Denver Zoo.  Now she creates conservation education programming for middle and high school students, teachers, and other informal groups. She is interested in developing more and better ways to use inquiry to connect kids to nature and engaging underserved audiences in environmental education. Outside of work, Alicia lives with her husband and two kids and breaks up the chaos with camping trips, hiking, reading and small chunks of quiet time.

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.

Amy Foote-Wenz

... is a high school biology teacher from Washington State. As a child, she grew up wandering the woods, fishing and swimming the lakes and exploring the beaches of New Jersey. These early experiences fostered a deep connection with nature. Amy earned a BS degree in wildlife management and a certificate in teaching from Rutgers University and an MA degree in teaching from Miami University Global Field Program. She strongly believes in experiential learning and has led field courses to Hawaii and the Olympic peninsula for high school students. Solo traveling is her greatest passion and she loves to camp, hike, swim and explore nature with her family.

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.

Austin Leeds

Austin Leeds

... is a graduate research associate in the Department of Conservation & Science at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biology at Case Western Reserve University. As part of his undergraduate and master's work Austin studied at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute where he conducted research on chimpanzee social behavior and cognition. Currently, at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Austin is working on his dissertation, which is focused on behavioral and hormonal measures of social bonding in male gorillas, and he runs the Primate Touchscreen Cognition Program that evaluates the cognitive abilities of the Zoo's diverse primate collection. He is also a mentor for the Memoirs Program, a collaborative effort between CMZ and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, that provides University of Rwanda students the opportunity to conduct research at the Karisoke Research Center.

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.

Brittany Bankovich

Brittany Bankovich

... recently graduated with her M.Sc. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida, and is currently teaching Biology in the Age of Technology (BAT) for Dragonfly and Introductory Statistics for the Life Sciences at the University of Florida. She is also working for St. John's Water Management to update the Florida Agricultural Lands GIS database. Prior to attending the University of Florida, she worked in the Great Basin trapping small mammals and volunteered for Saguaro National Park and Arizona Game & Fish doing wildlife surveys. She earned her BS in Biology from the University of Akron where she was a member of the varsity swim team and volunteered in the lab of Dr. Ron Salisbury researching innate hypertension in SHR-Y rats.

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.

Corinne Kendall

Corinne Kendall

… is Associate Curator of Conservation and Research at North Carolina Zoo. She received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University where she studied African vulture biology and conservation. Her passion for conservation and education have taken her all over the world and she has worked with several different organizations including Columbia University, Bronx Zoo, American Museum of Natural History, and Houston Zoo in both teaching and research capacities. Her current position allows her to continue conservation work on vultures in Tanzania, oversee a conservation education program in Uganda, work with undergraduates conducting studies at the zoo, and to continue teaching with Project Dragonfly

Courtney Ryan

... knew, after teaching in Seoul, South Korea for six years, that it was time to reconnect with the things that were most important to her - informal education and the outdoors. Her experience in the Global Field Program gave her the opportunity to do just that. Now as the Program Operations Coordinator at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, she is able to use inquiry in her daily life, inspiring children and adults to become conservation leaders in their community. She is ready to take inquiry from a local to a global perspective as an online facilitator as well as leading Earth Expeditions for Project Dragonfly!

Craig Beals

... is a chemistry and Earth science teacher at Billings Senior High School in Billings, Montana. Craig grew up chasing fish and game in the mountains of Montana where he gained an appreciation for nature at a young age, and he continues to share his passion for the outdoors with young people. Recently he joined an expedition to the Summit of Greenland's Ice Sheet where he collected atmospheric samples and data for climate research. He received a B.S. in Biology and Broadfield Science as well as a teaching certificate from Montana State University. He has traveled to Mongolia, Namibia and Borneo with Earth Expeditions and recently completed his M.A. in Zoology from Miami University's Global Field Program.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

Fia Cifuentes

... has been in love with nature and studying the environment her entire life. This love brought her to Miami University where she studied Environmental Education and Special Education as a part of the Western College Program. Years of working with children, leading groups through the woods as a naturalist, and encountering new cultures while traveling in far off countries has taught Fia the importance of exploring, taking chances, and discovering the endless possibilities this world has to offer. Working as the Sustainability Coordinator at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has only strengthened her love of the environment and her desire to preserve and protect it. Working with the Zoo's aggressive green initiative program and engaging her urban community in Avondale, as well as working with community-based conservation programs throughout her master's work, has allowed Fia to weave sustainability into her personal, professional and educational careers. After graduating in December 2011 from the GFP, Fia is thrilled to continue to be a part of the Project Dragonfly family.

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. 

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.

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!

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."

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.

Joe Harber

Joe Harber

... is the Director of Education Programs at the National Aquarium, Baltimore, where he directs the Aquarium’s programs for schools, teachers and youth. He received his B.A. in Environmental Biology from St. Mary’s University, Minnesota, and a Master of Arts in Environmental Studies from Montclair University. His passion is connecting young people to the natural world. He has worked on urban environmental education programs with rural and inner-city youth, as well as teacher professional development in California, South Dakota and New Jersey.

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.

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.

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.

Kathayoon Khalil 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.

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.

Kelly Frazee

... is the School Programs and Educator Professional Development Coordinator at Woodland Park Zoo, where she develops and oversees the implementation of inquiry-based programming for K-12 students and educators. She graduated from Colorado State University with a B.S. in Wildlife Biology, and completed her Master of Arts in Zoology through Project Dragonfly’s Global Field Program through which she traveled to Baja, Guyana, and Borneo. Kelly is an avid wildlife tracker, and for several years has used her skills to help determine movement patterns of animals along the I-90 corridor of Washington as part of a citizen science monitoring project. Fascinated by the aspects of inquiry and connections to place that involvement in citizen science projects foster, this became a major focus of Kelly’s work in the Global Field Program.

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.

Kristin Regan passionate about conscious living and the relationships that people have with society and the natural environment. Kristin is a recent graduate from the Global Field Program and traveled to Belize, Mongolia, and Guyana with Earth Expeditions. She has been an avid international traveler for over ten years, and enjoys learning about the many different aspects of culture and society. Kristin works in human services, coaching, and leadership in her home in Edmonton, Canada.

Laura Schetter

Laura Schetter

… is the environmental educator for grades K-12 at Wildwood Environmental Academy in Maumee, Ohio and a course facilitator for Project Dragonfly’s Earth Expeditions.  She is leads the school’s environmental education activities by implementing programs that reveal conservation messages.  Laura is a 2015 National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, which sent her on an expedition to the Arctic Svalbard.  Laura earned her M.A.T. from Miami University’s Global Field Program in 2011 and her B.S. in Education from Ohio University.  Laura strives to use her life experiences to motivate others to connect with nature.  In her spare time, she enjoys running, gardening, yoga, coaching, and camping.

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.

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.

Liana Vitali

... feels the most alive when getting winded climbing a mountain trail, diving deep into the sea until her ears pop, and sitting still in a quiet forest. She believes the next best thing to encountering nature first-hand is to relive those experiences through pictures and film. In her role as the Education & Outreach Manager at Wildscreen USA and ARKive, she strives to use the power of wildlife images and film to spark a connection between humans and nature. She received her Bachelor’s in Biology & Ecology at Penn State University and earned her Master’s in Zoology through the Global Field Program studying in Baja, Mongolia and Thailand.

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. 

Liz Dame

... teaches biology at the University of Cincinnati. She received her B.S. in marine science from the University of South Carolina, and her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati. She conducted her doctoral fieldwork in Curacao where her research focused on coral reef ecology, specifically factors affecting the resilience of reefs and the recovery of a keystone grazer. Liz is an avid scuba diver and is certified as a rescue diver.

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.

Matt Hallett

... is the iSaveSpecies Coordinator for Project Dragonfly at Miami University where he assists in the facilitation of a project that will engage millions of families in inquiry and conservation through a new generation of socially-networked exhibits at zoos, aquariums, and other public learning institutions throughout the U.S. He previously worked in public education in zoos and aquariums in the U.S. and in research and community-based conservation in Kenya, South Africa, Malaysian Borneo and Guyana. It has been experiences in the field that 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. He is currently working towards an additional advanced degree in Environmental Science at Miami University’s Institute for the Environment and Sustainability (IES). His research focus is on the abundance and spatial distribution of jaguars in the Kanuku Mountains of Guyana.

Matti Nghikembua

... is the Senior Research Assistant and Education Officer of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) where he assists with ongoing ecological research and the bush encroachment program. Matti is responsible for training student interns from Namibian universities and coordinates environmental education and outreach programs at CCF. Matti has seven years' experience in field surveys, conducting interviews, baseline vegetation surveys, and holds a National Diploma in Natural Resource Management. In 2006, Matti was named a Conservation Hero by the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund for his outstanding commitment to environmental education in Namibia and the important contributions he has made researching cheetahs and their habitats. To top it all off, Matti is fluent in five Namibian languages, and is a joy to work with and know.

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.

Melinda Voss

… is the Education Program Manager at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. She manages the operational and programmatic aspects of the Zoo’s public education programs and Nocturnal Adventure overnights. In 2005 Melinda received her BA from DePauw University with a major in Political Science and minor in Biology. She is currently earning her MA in Zoology through GFP . She has co-facilitated Earth Expeditions in Baja and Kenya. Since childhood growing up on her family's farm, Melinda has always had a passion for wildlife and wild places and strives to foster the same passion in others. In her free time she and her husband love to camp and hike. For a laugh ask her why they didn’t make it to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

Mollie O'Neil

Mollie O'Neil

... earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Cincinnati and worked in project management for a global Clinical Research Organization until she realized her lifelong passion for nature and nature education was her true path. An avid gardener and plant lover, she began volunteering with the Horticulture Department at the Zoo working in the gardens. Mollie also volunteered with the Education Department at the Wild Discover Zones using inquiry to engage Zoo guests with science and nature in a fun, informal setting. These experiences inspired her to investigate a new career path, which led her to Miami University and the Project Dragonfly Advanced Inquiry Program. She earned her Master of Arts in Zoology in December 2013 and is now the Volunteer Coordinator at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

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.”

Robin Keith the Conservation Program Specialist in the Conservation Education Division at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Robin holds a B.S and M.S. in Biology from San Diego State University, where she studied the evolutionary biology of arachnids. Since joining the San Diego Zoo Global in 2007, Robin has focused on community engagement in conservation. She has helped develop a national teacher workshop in conservation research, and is excited to partner with Project Dragonfly to grow San Diego Zoo Global’s (SDZG) professional development programs. Robin manages SDZG’s Advanced Inquiry Program Master’s degree and assist in coordinating and instructing the new Hawai`i Earth Expedition. Robin also works closely with the Institute’s field conservation programs, and is currently developing a community-based conservation education plan for the Hawai`i Endangered Bird Conservation Program. She feels very lucky to be able to share her passion for biodiversity and conservation with students, teachers and community members, both locally and worldwide.

Robyn Charlton

… is Assistant Director of Education for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), where she oversees Education activities at all five WCS NYC-based zoos and aquariums (including the flagship Bronx Zoo). In addition to this she collaborates for the development of field-based education projects supporting WCS’s global conservation programs. In addition to her work with WCS, Robyn is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium (AZA) Conservation Education Committee for which she is Champion of the ‘Connecting to Nature’ Initiative. Early in her career, Robyn spent eight years teaching science to students ranging from kindergarten to tenth grade and, more recently, taught graduate courses for Fordham University, New York Institute of Technology and The City College of New York. Robyn earned her B.S. in Education and M.Ed. at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. She also completed extensive graduate studies at Miami University, including Earth Expedition’s first Namibia course in 2004. But, it’s not all work and no play! Robyn spends the rest of her time exploring the world with her husband, two young children and two Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

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.

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.

Scott Wingate

... is the School and Graduate Program Manager at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, where he manages the Zoo's youth public programs. He received his B.S. in Biology from The Ohio State University with an emphasis on Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology and a Master of Arts in Zoology through Project Dragonfly's Global Field Program. After graduating he found himself sharing the joys of the natural world with others as a naturalist. Working at the Wilds really piqued his interest in global conservation and how important education is in its success!

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.

Sorrayut Ratanapojnard (Asia)

... 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.

Susan Caplow

Susan Caplow

... is an assistant professor of environmental studies at University of Montevallo. She also coordinates the environmental studies program and sustainability initiatives at UM. She received her Ph.D. in Environment and Ecology from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, her M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Central European University and her B.A. in Public Policy Analysis/Biology from Pomona College. Caplow’s research focuses on how people interact with conservation interventions (including policies, projects, or education) and how those interactions can lead to environmental/social change that supports conservation efforts. She has conducted research in the U.S., Tanzania, Belize, Sri Lanka, and Hungary. Her most recent research project examines how environmental values, beliefs and norms are communicated in animal-themed education programs in North Carolina.

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.

Ursula Valdez 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 ( 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.