The Center for Learning with Nature began in 2013. Our work is a team effort, most especially relying on the educators we collaborate with, the teachers who make these efforts take root in the real world. We hope you’ll join us.

More about some of the individuals joining this effort:

Sam Stier

Sam Stier

Founding Director

Sam Stier is the Founding Director of The Center for Learning With Nature (the bigger person in the photo). A National Science Foundation Fellow in STEM curricula design, Sam was appointed to the NGSS review team by the State of Montana's Department of Education in 2012. An ecologist by training, Sam has been an environmental consultant for The Nature Conservancy, WWF, Monterrey Bay Aquarium, World Bank and others, and founded and directed the Youth and Public Education Programs at the Biomimicry Institute (started by author Janine Benyus). In addition to directing The Center for Learning with Nature, Sam also teaches bio-inspired design at Otis College.

Dr. Mariappan Jawaharlal

Dr. Mariappan Jawaharlal

Board Member

Dr. Mariappan Jawaharlal is a professor of mechanical engineering at California Polytechnic University. Jawa is a long-time K-12 educator working with teachers especially on robotics and biomimicry. He writes frequently on education for the Huffington Post, emphasizing the importance and value of guided discovery.

Dr. Tammy Mildenstein

Dr. Tammy Mildenstein

Board Member

Dr. Tammy Mildenstein is a wildlife ecologist and professor of biology at Cornell College. She has worked as a consultant to the IUCN and Bat Conservation International, and helps research and coordinate efforts to save flying foxes all over the world.

Mark Herrema

Mark Herrema

Board Member

Mark Herrema is President of Newlight Technologies and inventor of a process that turns greenhouse gases into biodegradable plastics, analogous to the way trees grow (www.newlight.com). Mark’s game-changing polymers won best biomaterial of the year and are cost competitive with oil-based plastics.

Norm Williamson

Norm Williamson

Board Member

Norm Williamson is a certified public accountant at Norm Williamson accounting firm in Missoula, Montana.

Elena Zlatnik, Esq.

Elena Zlatnik, Esq.

President of the Board of Directors

Elena Zlatnik, Esq., serves as President of the Board of Directors. Recently having joined the Foreign Service, Elena is headed with her family to a grueling government post… in Jamaica!