Our People

 

Leadership

Drew Dumsch President & CEO

Drew Dumsch, President & CEO

(Saco, ME) – MA (1993) University of Tennessee, BA (1990) Kalamazoo College (both degrees in English).

Drew worked as a naturalist in California and Chicago and since 1991 has been an ecologist, naturalist and educator at Ferry Beach. He founded The Ecology School in 1998 and is an active member of the Maine Environmental Education Association (MEEA) and the New England Environmental Education Alliance (NEEEA). Drew is also an affiliate representative to the North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE). When not working to advance the cause of ecology, systems and sustainability education, Drew spends his time with his wife, Lisa, and two daughters, Nia and Sophie, on the Nonesuch River behind their house.

Connect with Drew - drew@theecologyschool.org

Leanna Bonds Development Manager

Leanna Bonds, Development Manager

(Portland, ME) MS (2016) Ecological Teaching and Learning from Lesley University. BA (2014) in Integrated Educational Studies from Chapman University.

Growing up in the Rocky Mountains, hiking, backpacking, and camping have fueled Leanna’s passion for the outdoors. Leanna has worked with a variety of kids in many different learning environments including on horses, in classrooms, and at the Museum of Science in Boston, MA. When she’s not traveling or exploring mountains she is often chatting with good friends over coffee.

Connect with Leanna - leanna@theecologyschool.org

The Ecology School, at its heart, is a community that encourages each life long learner to reach their own vast potential. I am incredibly lucky to work at an organization that takes this rare opportunity for students and learners to increase their ecological awareness, learning just as much about themselves as they do about caring for the world around them.

Caitlin Brooke Marketing Manager

Caitlin Brooke, Marketing Manager

(Palermo, ME) - BA in Communications and BA in Art History, MBA in Business/Marketing from the University of New Hampshire.

Caitlin has spent the past 10 years in marketing and communications roles in a variety of industries including investment management, healthcare, non-profits, and municipal government. Most recently she managed External Affairs for the Northern Maine region of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

Connect with Caitlin - caitlin@theecologyschool.org

The Ecology School gives program participants the place to realize and the space to wonder about the connections that exist between people to people and people to nature. I’m grateful to be part of a community that encourages curiosity and sees it as an integral part of learning, conservation, and stewardship.

Meg Edstrom Jones Director of Education and Curriculum Design

Meg Edstrom Jones, Director of Education and Curriculum Design

(Portland, ME) – MEd (2004) in Elementary Education from the University of Maine. BA (2001) in Philosophy and Religion from Colgate University.

Meg has taught in many settings; on mountains, along rivers, in the classroom and at the beach. When not enjoying The Nature, Meg can be found touching her toes, training to be Wonder Woman, or adventuring with her husband, Clay, and their two avid explorers Evan and Clayton Vee. Starting her Ecology School career as an educator in the spring of 2007 she quickly joined the administrative team, coordinating our multi-year curriculum, in addition to summer and vacation camps. Meg can also be found dashing around, presenting workshops at regional and national conferences.

Connect with Meg - meg@theecologyschool.org

Mallory Durkee Program Assistant

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(Saco, ME) - BS (2014) in Natural Resources Conservation from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Mallory’s passion for outdoor education was solidified through her years teaching in a nonprofit land trust and four terms as an educator at The Ecology School. For Mallory, an adventurous day is spent discovering and exploring the many small towns of New England and searching for any hidden place to swim. At home Mallory enjoys cooking, embroidery, and getting spooked by Stephen King novels.

Alex Grindle Director of Programs

Alex Grindle, Director of Programs

(South Portland, ME) – BA (2001) in Environmental Studies & Politics from Oberlin College.

Alex began her career at The Ecology School in the spring of 2002 as an educator and stepped into an administrative position in January of 2004. At The Ecology School, she is responsible for coordinating all aspects of The Ecology School program. She and her husband Peter spend most of their non-work time enjoying the antics of their twin boys. When not totally wrapped up in the day to day of caring for their boys , some of the other things she finds herself doing include: enjoying being outside in just about any capacity (beekeeping and gardening), reading (especially if it is young adult literature or parenting books), or being a sous chef as her husband Peter cooks scrumptious meals.

Connect with Alex - alex@theecologyschool.org

I feel so lucky to have landed at The Ecology School and to have been able to make a career here as part of this very special organization. Being part of an organization that places a high value on community, collaboration and joyful learning as well as getting to work day in and day out with inspiring leaders, teachers and students continues to be a really rewarding part of my life.

Bryan Matluk Development Director

Bryan Matluk, Development Director

(Saco, ME) – Fellow John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2009), BA (2004) from the University of Maine.

Originally intending to either be a tweed-wearing literature professor or a tights-wearing classical ballet dancer (danseur), Bryan has spent the past decade managing and fundraising a variety of dance companies and performing arts institutions primarily in the D.C.- New York corridor. Returning to his home state of Maine in 2013 to be closer to his family and the beautiful Maine coast, Bryan most recently worked as Director of Development for York County Community College. When not involving people in the programs of The Ecology School, he spends his extra time teaching the art of classical ballet at his studio in Portland: exchangestreetstudio.wordpress.com, reading to his nieces and nephew or living the way life should be.

Connect with Bryan - bryan@theecologyschool.org

Informing students about how they connect with and are responsible for the natural world is more necessary today than at any other time. With our commitment to excellence and use of innovative pedagogical techniques, we are extremely effective at this. This is why I work for The Ecology School—because I believe in what we do.

Rich O'Brien Head Chef & Owner, Pangea Food Service

Rich O’Brian, Head Chef

(Gardiner, ME)

Pangea Food Service Management was established by Richard O’Brien in 1998 to assist camps in managing their seasonal kitchens. Rich had been working seasonally as a kitchen manager and chef since 1991 and knew that he could offer organizations a complete service that would eliminate the need for them to deal with kitchen administration, organization and staffing. Through Rich's leadership, Pangea's food is handmade, homemade, kid and adult friendly, and delicious. In partnership with Pangea, The Ecology School is able to provide a holistic food experience, sharing the story of food with our participants, and highlighting the connections between food, humans and the environment.

Connect with Rich - rich@theecologyschool.org

Amalie Sonneborn Program Manager

Amalie Sonneborn, Program Assistant

(Syracuse, NY) BS (2016) Biology and Environmental Studies from St. Lawrence University.

A strong upbringing in outdoor recreation has led Amalie on the path to Environmental Education and instilled a passion for the outdoors. She loves spending time in and around the water as much as possible and especially loves to canoe and sail. Throughout college she was drawn to teaching and found herself searching for opportunities to communicate the wonders of the natural world to others. After thoroughly enjoying her role as an educator, she is excited for the opportunity to expand her responsibilities at The Ecology School as the Program Assistant.

Connect with Amalie - amalie@theecologyschool.org

As someone who struggled with the confines of the traditional classroom, I find value in the programming that The Ecology School provides to students of all ages and learning styles. I believe The Ecology School makes learning fun, magical, goofy and informative. We work hard to allow our students to make observations and come to conclusions on their own in a hands-on and immersive environment, using the natural world as a teacher, not just a teaching tool.
 

2019 Educators - Fall Term

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Caroline Clapp (CC)

South Berwick, Maine | B.A. (2019) in Environmental Studies from Dickinson College

CC grew up exploring the woods of southern Maine at summer camp and family vacations. She fell in love with the outdoors and nature through hiking and canoeing with family and friends. CC has also studied Spanish, Music and Psychology, but decided on Educational Studies because of the wonderful education opportunities at Dickinson. She has spent several summers as a camp counselor and wilderness trip leader, teaching ecology, outdoor living skills and challenge course activities. She also enjoys doing yoga, singing, playing guitar, spending time with friends, and laughing until she cries.

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Clayton Coleman

Los Angeles, California and Kalamazoo, Michigan | B.S. (2019) in Political Science from University of California, Los Angeles

Clayton grew up hiking in the mountains of California and fell in love with kayaking, fishing and swimming when he moved to Michigan. Clayton spent his last term of college researching piranha and aquatic snails in the Amazon rainforest of Peru. He enjoys running, reading and anything that lets him spend time in nature. Clayton plans to spend the winter months backpacking through New Zealand.

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Alyson DeMerchant

Kingston, Ontario, Canada | B.A. (2018) in Biology from Houghton College

Aly is a friendly Canadian who loves exploring tide pools, peaking mountains, and waking up in a tent to the sounds of birds. She has chased new adventures that took her all around the globe! Before finally landing here in New England, she made a stop down in New Zealand to learn more about sustainable living and to volunteer with a marine research institute which included helping to collect data on her very favorite animal, the little penguin. She is very excited to continue to laugh and learn in the outdoors this fall!

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Hazel Edwards

Acton, Massachusetts | B.A. (2019) in Environmental Science and Policy with a concentration in Sustainable Food from Smith College

Hazel was born in Alaska but spent most of her childhood playing in fields and forests around New England. Some of her favorite outdoor activities are climbing trees, catching frogs, picking berries, cross country skiing, harvesting veggies, biking, tidepooling, and making fairy houses (the list goes on…). Her favorite indoor activities are cooking tasty meals, petting cats, and contra dancing.

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Jacob Endres

Maple Grove, Minnesota | B.A. (2018) in Biology from Gustavus Adolphus College

Jake grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis but feels most at home in the wilderness waterways of Ontario and Manitoba. He is known to enjoy singing and dancing (not well, mind you,) tennis, learning new musical instruments, cooking and eating food, reading, and board games. After realizing that life is too short to spend inside, Jake now loves to spend his time canoeing, climbing, backpacking, and unraveling the mystery of human evolution and sustainable living.

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Nicole Harper

Norwell, Massachusetts | B.S. (2015) in Environmental and Natural Resources from Clemson University

Nicole grew up on the South Shore of Massachusetts, where she spent summers at the beach and on the ocean. In search of warm weather and southern hospitality, she attended Clemson University in upstate South Carolina. Since then, she has worked in the mountains of Shenandoah National Park, with the humpback whales of Stellwagen Bank, on a 5-acre island in the Florida Keys, and at a coastal center with rescued sea turtles and nurse sharks!

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Sharlow Hitchcock

Methuen, Massachusetts | B.A. (2019) in Anthropology and a Teacher Licensure from Mount Holyoke College

Sharlow’s favorite outdoor experience is finding colorful mushrooms in the woods. She loves night swimming, reading fiction/fantasy, making music with friends and family, and sharing stories. She believes that the more time people spend outside, the happier they will be. She is SO excited to start her teaching career with a semester at The Ecology School!

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Abby Michels

Silver Bay, Minnesota | B.A. (2018) in Geology from Gustavus Adolphus College

Abby grew up on the shores of Lake Superior spending time on the beach hunting for rocks and other beach treasures. She loves hiking, bouldering, board games, peanut butter, and sharing her rock collection with vaguely interested friends. Her love of rock hunting is taken much more seriously since contributing to different research projects and studying geology at Gustavus Adolphus College. Abby is very excited to share what she knows about the natural world through instructing at The Ecology School!

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Josh Miller

Milford, Michigan | B.A. (2018) in Biology and Psychology from Kalamazoo College

Josh grew up running around local parks with friends and family, looking for anything cool he could find under rocks and logs. He studied biology in college because of the memories he had of the critter he found. He has been a restaurant worker since high school and he loves cooking for himself and others. When he’s not outside or in the kitchen he can be found reading, playing games of all kinds with his friends, listening to music, or watching movies.

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Jennifer Rose Moore

Hopedale, Massachusetts | B.F.A. (2019) from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Jennifer really loves long walks, especially with dogs. She loves exploring mountains, forests, rivers, and beaches by foot and surrounding towns by bike. Jennifer has worked at camps for 7 years and loves learning about the environment and participating in campfire songs, skits and stories. When Jennifer isn’t outside, she can be found watching birds at the feeders through her kitchen window, sewing crazy pants, making art with a ton of different materials or watching cheesy romantic comedy movies.

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Victoria Nash

Burlington, Vermont | B.A. (2019) in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont

Victoria grew up in Fairfield, CT, and just graduated from the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources with a focus in environmental education. This past summer she led high school students on a 35-day expedition backpacking and rafting all over the Pacific Northwest. Victoria finds meaning when working with other people, especially in educational settings, and can’t wait to take what she learned from these experiences to The Ecology School this fall!

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Katlyn Schulz

Omaha, Nebraska | B.S. (2019) in Environmental Science from Drake University

Katie has a passion for nature that is equally matched to her passion for eating waffles and making bad puns. When she is not wandering around the forest looking for plants and butterflies to identify, you can find her playing the fiddle, whistling a tune, or tripping while walking on a flat surface.

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Catherine Wessel

Lenox, Massachusetts | B.S. (2019) in Environmental Studies and a minor in Anthropology from Kenyon College

Catherine loves hiking, gardening, and kayaking. When not doing these you can find her reading or trying to solve a New York Times crossword. As a lifelong lover of nature, she is excited to have the opportunities to explore it with everyone that comes to The Ecology School.

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Kirsten Zitkus

Illinois | M.S. (2019) in Tropical Biology and Conservation from James Cook University and a B.S. (2016) in Marine Science from Eckerd College

Kirsten has studied the art of sustainable living and permaculture in conscious communities in the United States, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, Australia, and New Zealand. She has a passion for working with young people and communities, helping them to cultivate a sense of belonging within our planet earth. She often finds herself lost in National Parks, forests, islands, and anywhere the landscape is vast and biodiversity is thriving.

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Dawn Allison, RN

Fort Valley, Georgia | B.A. & R.N. (1990) University of Miami & Palm Beach State College in Florida

Nurse Dawn has been exploring nature most of her life from scuba diving and snorkeling in the Florida Keys, to horseback trail riding in Texas, Wyoming, and the Southwestern states. These days she tries for as many day hikes as she can wherever she goes. A camp nurse in Maine since 2012 she loves to travel, is a voracious reader, enjoys photography and crafts - especially cross-stitch, and absolutely loves a good joke or funny story. (If you have one, please tell her!) She has a grown daughter who lives in Wisconsin, and shares her year-round home in Georgia with her husband Dave, and son Zach. Two loopy Lab Retrievers and two crazy but cuddly cats (all rescue animals) round out the general mayhem there.

 
 

Board of Directors

Mary Martin Board Chair

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As School Board Chair for RSU16, Mary has a strong background in curriculum development, problem solving, and building collaboration. Before retiring Mary was principal for Minot and Mechanic Falls elementary schools. RSU 16 K-5 participate in the EcosySTEM program and sixth graders attend the residential program as a capstone experience. She attended The Ecology School from 2005-2010 with students from her school and experienced first-hand the benefits of the organization’s programming.

As an educator and a board member The Ecology School’s commitment to a sustainable future continues to astound me. The dedication to helping youth and adults understand their relationship with the environment and with each other is deeply embedded in their mission and their actions.

John Rooks Vice Chair

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John is the founder of The SOAP Group, a sustainability consulting firm, and Rapport, a a technology company working to democratize sustainability for millions of Small and Midsized Businesses. His kids, Jane and Charlie, were both students of The Ecology School, and he has seen first hand its lasting impression it had on them.

Municipalities, Corporations, and a new generation of citizens need a model of sustainability. They need to be shown what is possible. The Ecology School is uniquely positioned to be that model community.

Steve Grindle Treasurer

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Steve currently practices law as a partner at Grindle Robinson, LLP in Wellesley, Massachusetts. He has been a lawyer for over 40 years and was previously engaged in family law matters, providing legal services for low income families on Cape Cod. Presently he provides legal advice regarding family law, estate planning, and to a landlord of commercial real estate. During his formative years, Steve acted as a Peace Corp volunteer in the Dominican Republic, organizing an agricultural and credit co-op for coconut and cacao farmers.

“I became and remain honored to be elected to the Board because The Ecology School has provided and continues to provide children from a wide socio-economic demographic with valuable and entertaining life lessons on sustainability and ecological stewardship. And now we are embarking on the most exciting expansion of our campus and capacity to reach many more children as well as adults.”

Linda Boudreau Secretary

Linda Boudreau has had a distinguished career in municipal politics in South Portland having spent over 35 years serving the city as a six-term City Councilor and three-term Mayor. She has sat on the city’s School Board, currently sits on the Planning Board, and is a founding member of ecomaine, a non-profit waste management organization that serves 400,000+ Maine residents and is dedicated to recycling and environmental protection.

I love that The Ecology School works with students to remove distractions so they are immersed in their surroundings and can fully appreciate what nature provides.

Robert Adkins Director

Prior to his retirement in 2010, Robert was a practicing attorney for 40 years in the Boston office of the national law firm Nixon Peabody LLP, specializing in all aspects of commercial real estate, including the acquisition, disposition, development, and financing of retail, office, and apartment properties. In particular, he focused on structuring investments in the development of new affordable housing properties throughout New England and other parts of the country.

As our planet continues to suffer from innumerable man-made activities, The Ecology School raises the knowledge and awareness of young people who will hopefully become part of solutions instead of part of the problem.

Cathy Goodwin Director

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Cathy Goodwin spent 15 years as the President/CEO of the Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce. During that time, she was elected to serve as President of the Maine Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, as well as President of the New England Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. In 2011, she was selected by US Senator Susan Collins to serve as the Senator's State Office Representative, managing her York County office in Biddeford. Earlier in her career, she founded Kid Care of Eliot, one of the first before and after school child care programs in the State of Maine, serving as the director for 10 years. She was elected to serve three terms on the MSAD 35 School Board, three years as a Selectman in York, and 11 years as a Trustee on the Board of the Foundation for Seacoast Health.

Having been a proponent of life-long learning, experiential learning, and community well-being, the philosophy of The Ecology School is a natural fit for many of my skill sets developed over many years of working with children and families. The act of playing, the need to be outdoors discovering nature, and the wholesome environment that the school provides all bring such important, and sometimes life-changing experiences for children and adults. It’s exciting to be a part of the school’s growth!

Mike Hansen Director

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Mike is a retired science and environmental educator. He worked with public schools and non-profit organizations for many decades in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. Mike started his relationship with The Ecology School as an Educator in 2003.

Corey Hascall Director

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Corey currently serves as the Vice President of Alumni & Public Engagement at the USM Foundation in Portland, Maine. In addition to her work in a variety of public relations, social and economic advocacy, and communications strategy roles, she is also the co-founder of A Rising Tide, a grassroots political leadership institute for Maine's young people. Corey is a graduate of the Maine Development Foundation’s Leadership Maine program.

The Ecology School has a unique and memorable way of making the natural world come alive for students. I love how this team dreams big about what the future could look like and how we can connect even more people to innovative ecology education. The Ecology School is pure magic.

Abigail Humphrey Director

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Abby is passionate about many areas and thrives off being involved in many facets of life. Currently she is an entrepreneur, prevention scientist, yoga teacher, and community builder. Abby and her sister are Co-Founders of Morning at the Market, an eco-friendly business selling linen pants that are hand-crafted in the USA and inspired by the world. She enjoys teaching yoga and meditation as a way of guiding others back to their breath and ultimately back to themselves. Abby connects the Boston community by facilitating women’s circles and supporting women during labor and childbirth as a Doula. She grew up in Virginia and has been drawn to the beauty of Maine for many years, even marrying her ‘Maine man’, Charlie, in 2018. Abby holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Boston College, a Master’s of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and yoga teacher training certificates from YogPeeth in Rishikesh, India and the LoveYourBrain Foundation.

Amanda Magee Director

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Amanda has over 20 years of broad experience in entrepreneurial companies managing finance, directing and managing operational improvements, setting strategic direction, and managing strategic execution. She is currently the CFO of Curtis Industries, LLC, one of the most innovative designers and manufacturers of compact vehicle enclosure systems, attachments and related accessories. In her spare time Amanda enjoys growing vegetables, cooking, hiking and running.

 

Richard "Mers" Mersereau Board Advisor

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Mers is known to nearly every living generation of Bowdoin alumni, trustees, and to many current faculty, staff and students. A 1969 graduate of Bowdoin, Mers returned to work in admissions at his alma mater in 1971 when it became coeducational. He retired in 2015 as Secretary of the College Emeritus. In between, he established the women’s basketball program in 1975 and served in a variety of roles — directing the summer program, professional school counseling in career services, and communications; managing the president’s office and board of trustee operations; and serving as a senior leadership gifts officer in the development office.

He currently serves on the board of Brunswick Topsham Land Trust and Broadway Housing Communities (West Harlem, NYC) and is a former director of Curtis Memorial Library (Brunswick).

From day one, I was captivated by Drew’s vision for The Ecology School. The project to create a residential campus at River Bend Farm transports that unique vision into a stunning reality worthy of my support and that of others who care about inspiring future generations of environmental leaders.

Tom Merrill Director

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Tom was born and raised in the Boston area, and spent most of his summers on Little Cranberry Island off Mount Desert Island, where his grandparents built a house that is still owned by the family. Tom went to college at the University of Pennsylvania, and law school at the University of Virginia. He practiced law in Boston for 30 years, specializing in tax-exempt financing with a focus on non-profit entities such as schools, colleges, hospitals and nursing homes throughout New England. Tom and his wife, Polly, have married for 42 years (2018), have three grown children and five grandchildren. Tom and Polly are the previous owners of River Bend Farm.

When we learned more about The Ecology School, what it was about, and what it hoped to do at the Farm, it quickly became clear. This was not only a good and suitable use of the land, it was something exciting and important. All that we loved about the Farm would be preserved and shared not just with a few, but with a whole community… We cannot imagine a more perfect use for this beautiful place!

Amy Ouellette Director

Prior to her recent retirement from medicine, Amy was a practicing psychiatrist for 18 years where she emphasized the importance of whole-body wellness through education, connection, and collaboration. Amy was born and raised in Augusta, Maine where as a young girl she and her friends would disappear into the woods for hours. Years later, Saco's beauty captured her and her husband's imagination. After their medical training in Hawaii they knew they had to settle in Maine.

It was my observation, during my time practicing psychiatry, that most people wished for meaning in their lives, not simply the absence of suffering or the experience of pleasure. The connection between wellness and meaning is not simply a philosophy, but a well-established practice at The Ecology School; I witnessed this first hand when my daughter, Laura, attended the program.

Susan Swanton Director

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Susan Swanton began her career at Rumery's Boat Yard in Biddeford in 1979 and recently retired as Executive Director of the Maine Marine Trades Association (MMTA). She was instrumental in the creation of the Marine Systems Training Center, an MMTA program that provided high quality, high demand training for incumbent workers. She co-chaired Maine's North Star Alliance Initiative, a $14.4 million US DOL grant. Her work has been recognized regionally by US EPA Region 1 and nationally by the American Boat Builders & Repairers Association, which honored her most recently with the Dennis Snow President's Award. She currently serves as Vice Chair of The Landing School’s Board of Trustees and is a member of her home town’s Downtown Development Commission.

Accepting the invitation to join The Ecology School’s Board of Directors was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made. Given my strong belief in the value of experiential education I love the School’s mission. I am in awe of Drew’s visionary leadership, our dedicated staff and my fellow Board members whose passion and enthusiasm for the School makes my service an honor and a pleasure!
 

The Ecology School is a non-profit and governed by the Ecology Education, Inc. Board of Directors. 

Ecology Education, Inc. (EEI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit established in 1998 which operates The Ecology School in Saco, Maine, and publishes Ecology curriculum.