Board of Directors
Mandy Pearson – EEAA President
Mandy is a naturalist with Cheaha State Park (Alabama State Parks). She holds a B.S. degree in Ecology and Forensics and a M.S. degree in Biology from Jacksonville State University. Mandy was a Zookeeper in the Children’s Zoo, where she cared for, trained, and presented programs with native, domestic and exotic animals for 6 years. She worked with the JSU Field Schools for 9 years. To learn more about conservation, she volunteered with the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and the U.S. Forest Service. Currently she is the Naturalist at Cheaha State Park. For the past 5 years she has been building an environmental education program while constructing campgrounds, trails, events, workshops, classes, campfire talks, and partnerships. It is her hope that environmental education will serve as a bridge for all visitors to reconnect with the beauty, harmony, balance, and tranquility of nature.
Christine Johnston - EEAA Secretary
Christine Johnston is the Programs Director for Ruffner Mountain in Birmingham where she manages educational programs to surrounding communities and schools as well as coordinates public programming and events at the preserve. She obtained a B.A. in Humanities, Science and Environment from Virginia Tech. Christine's experience in education in the Southeast ranges from serving as a counselor for at-risk youth in Florida to teaching as a naturalist at McDowell Environmental Center in Alabama and at a summer camp in Tennessee. Christine loves to educate and empower kids and adults to hike, play and discover. Some of her EEAA goals include to increase educational resources that are available for those in the EE field and to provide exposure and accessibility to EE in urban areas.
Shirley Farrell - EEAA Treasurer
Shirley Farrell has been teaching environmental education all of her life. As a gifted specialist, she was able to include environmental education into her classes and facilitated school gardens and outdoor classrooms, bird festivals, water festivals, and backpack teaching kits focused on different topics for teachers to use outdoors. She is an avid bird-watcher and loves to garden and hike. She has served on the EEAA board for almost 20 years and currently serves as the treasurer for EEAA.
Dr. Susan Caplow
Susan 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 UNC-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.
Susan teaches courses that explore the interface between humans and the environment, and she incorporates field-based activities and service learning into her courses as much as possible. She teaches the introductory environmental studies course as well as courses focusing on environmental sustainability, policy, education, and ethics.
Susan’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 or led educational trips in Tanzania, Belize, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, St. John (USVI), and Hungary.
Before graduate school, Susan worked in a variety of environmental education settings, including Carolina Raptor Center, Haw River State Park, Warner Nature Center, and Monteverde Butterfly Garden.
Janice is the Outreach Coordinator for Wild South, a non-profit forest protection organization with an office in Moulton, Alabama (Lawrence County). As part of Wild South’s Hikes and Education Program, Janice leads adults and children on hikes to the creeks and canyons in the Bankhead National Forest, introducing them to the wonders of nature on our public lands. She also implements Wild South’s Earth Month programs for the Lawrence County Indian Education students in Lawrence County public schools, works with co-staff to run Wild South’s Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Program in Sipsey, Cheaha and Dugger Mountain Wilderness Areas and the Helping Hands Volunteer Program in Bankhead National Forest. She is an artist, a Leave No Trace trainer, and she resides in her native Lawrence County.
Jennifer was born in Georgia, at Warner Robins AFB, to a family that loved to travel and camp and visit state and national parks. She graduated from Auburn University, with a degree in Biology. Jennifer has been married almost 32 years to her high school sweetheart, and has 3 children, 1 grandson, and a granddaughter on the way! Jennifer worked at Landmark Park in Dothan, Alabama, as a teacher naturalist, before becoming the administrator of Auburn University’s Kreher Preserve and Nature Center, in 2007, where she still works today.
Claire Datnow was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her family originated from Linkuva, Lithuania. Claire taught creative writing to gifted and talented students in the Birmingham Public Schools. She earned an MA in education of the gifted and talented, and a second MA in public history. Her books for middle schoolers include The Adventures of the Sizzling Six, eco mystery series, and Edwin Hubble Discoverer of Galaxies. Her books for adults include a memoir, Behind the Walled Garden of Apartheid, and The Nine Inheritors. Claire has received numerous scholarships and awards, including a Samford Writing Project Fellowship, a Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Scholarship to Japan, and Birmingham Public School Teacher of the Year. She particularly enjoys visiting schools to share her stories and to inspire teachers and students to research and write their own eco mysteries, to action in their own communities, and to become wise stewards of the Earth.
Gabrielle (Gabbie) Ehinger
Gabbie is an instructor of biology at Huntingdon College in Montgomery. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science from Auburn University and a Master’s Degree in Biology from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Her primary teaching responsibilities at Huntingdon are environmental science/studies courses, including a course she developed on critical perspectives in environmental studies. In addition to teaching, she is the Tree Campus USA coordinator for Huntingdon and has been working to increase the urban canopy and environmental awareness on campus over the last five years. Her research interests include plant and disturbance ecology, urban forestry, GIS, natural resources management, endangered species management, and urban planning. She is also a Member at Large with Montgomery Trees, Montgomery’s only conservation organization. Before working at Huntingdon, Gabbie was the Staff Ecologist at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, where her primary duties included endangered species management, wetland management, and environmental education outreach. When she’s not at work, Gabbie likes camping, hiking and boating with her husband and three sons.
Marijean has always loved taking care of the environment due to the fact that her dad was a Game Warden for many years. She taught elementary school in Limestone County for 14 years, and 12 of those years were spent teaching 6th grade science. Marijean implemented activities from Project Wild, Project Learning Tree, Legacy, and other curricula, while teaching. She left the classroom to take the position of Education Manager with Legacy - Partners in Environmental Education. While with Legacy, she became involved with EEAA, and was on the Board of Directors, for a few years. Marijean eventually left Legacy and the EEAA Board. She continued to attend conferences because of her interest in Environmental Education. Marijean currently volunteers at Wind Creek State Park, in Alexander City, as the naturalist and event planner. EEAA is important to Marijean because she knows that this organization keeps up with the trends in environmental education and helps teachers implement EE in their classrooms.
Toni served for 13 years as the Educational Programs Coordinator for Legacy - Partners in Environmental Education. In the past few years, Toni has worked as the Education Manager at the Cook Museum of Natural Science, as they developed their new state of the art museum, soon to offer education and outreach opportunities for communities throughout Alabama. Toni holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Science, from Troy University. Toni’s passion is helping others. She volunteers for the Red Cross and the Montgomery Therapeutic Center. Toni serves as the DAT team leader for the Montgomery American Red Cross. In 2005 her team was awarded, Irma Bently Moore Volunteer of the Year for their efforts opening and operating shelters for Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Toni’s continued dedication to helping her community was acknowledged when she received the Distinguished Volunteer of the Year award, in 2011, for her work during the Super outbreak tornadoes. In her spare time, Toni enjoys spending as much time as possible outdoors and most of all, underground. Toni is a member of the Southeast Cave Conservancy and National Speleological Society. Toni is the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Auburn University Museum of Natural History.
Kimberly Murray is enjoying her 15th year at Munford Schools. She received her Wildlife Management degree from Ohio State University and her Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Jacksonville State University. She has a passion for teaching conservation education and has taught at summer camps, nonprofit centers, and residential centers in New England, Alabama, and Ohio. She married Robert Murray from Jacksonville, Al in 1997, has a 26 year-old step son, a 14 year old daughter named Rio, and four amazing grandchildren. She has been teaching environmental education for over twenty three years and continues to attend workshops, conferences, in-service meetings, college classes, and seminars. She reads professional journals and stays up-to-date in her professional knowledge. As a Science Resource Teacher at Munford Schools she has the opportunity to work with her fellow teachers in K-12th grade. She enjoys being an EEAA board member and looks forward to continuing to work with EEAA members throughout Alabama