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 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 the College of Engineering at Texas Tech University and at Otis College of Art and Design.
Dr. Mariappan Jawaharlal
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.
Diana serves as an adviser to The Center for Learning with Nature on staying financially healthy. She has enjoyed working in the nonprofit sector, raising funds to support the work of organizations including Earthjustice, Greenpeace, and the Biomimicry Institute.
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!
Dr. Tammy Mildenstein
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.
Megan Schuknecht is a senior educator with The Center for Learning With Nature. A biologist by training and an interdisciplinary generalist in practice, Megan has taught intensive biomimicry workshops around the world, from Montana to Costa Rica, Scotland, and South Africa, and many places in-between. She helps learners understand the practice of biomimicry through the deep exploration of nature and has developed biomimicry curriculum and tools for all age levels. In her many years with the Biomimicry Institute, Megan also worked with dozens of companies to bring biomimicry into their work, including Unilever, Ford, P&G, Patagonia, VF, Autodesk, and others. Most recently, she collaborated with the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry on Wild Creativity, a traveling biomimicry exhibit currently showing at OMSI.
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 is a certified public accountant at Norm Williamson accounting firm in Missoula, Montana.