My interests lie in engaging recreational audiences around the natural world through hands-on exploration, self-discovery, and observations. This free-choice learning environment is ideal to connect learners with nature and the outdoors, and it is found in parks, zoos, nature centers, aquariums, arboretums, museums, and visitor centers. Students gain insights into nature environmental program development, implementation, and evaluation. They learn how the natural world works, is ever-changing, and how to teach this to others as outdoor educators or environmental interpreters. I teach undergraduate and graduate classes in Environmental Interpretation, Environmental Issues in New Zealand, and Tourism and Environmental Education.
My Extension work focuses on program delivery with the MN Master Naturalist Program and Citizen Science. I develop advanced environmental classes throughout the state on topics such as phenology, water quality, natural resources, and environmental ethics, to name a few. I provide oversight to the White Earth Reservation K-12 science, math, and outdoor programs. I lead national efforts in evaluation around MN Master Naturalist, “Best Practices for Environmental Field Days”, After School Science programs, and NASA CYCLES grant programs.
I have published papers on Best Practice for Environmental Field Day, program evaluations, and the delivery of STEM programs on the White Earth Indian Reservation. I have developed environmental education curriculum and advanced classes for the MN Master Naturalist program. Additionally, I work as an evaluator for Federal grants.
I am a Certified Interpretive Trainer for the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) and Sanctioned Trainer of Certified Interpretive Guides (October 2015). I have received state recognition by the Minnesota Community and Natural Resources Association: Excellence in Natural Resources for my research in Best Practices for Field Days (2009). In addition, I received national recognition: the USDA-CSREES Certificate of Appreciation for my work on the White Earth Reservation’s Science and Math Summer School Program (2001).