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Board OF Directors

Thank you to our dedicated Board of Directors!

Emily Kaplita, Interim Chair

Audubon Vermont 


Emily a Teacher/Naturalist and Administrator with Audubon Vermont in Huntington VT. Emily spends most of her days rain or shine, running around the woods of the Green Mountain Audubon Center with adults and children connecting them to their natural world. Prior to her current position Emily was Audubon Vermont’s AmeriCorps Environmental and Outreach Educator through the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.  Emily is originally from Connecticut, but Vermont has always held a special place in her heart since she was young, and she is happy to now call Vermont home.  She has a Bachelor's of Science degree in Biology from Dickinson College and a Master in early Childhood Education from Champlain College. Emily has multiple years of experience in environmental education and research experience with amphibians, mostly the American Toad, and will enhance our education programs more with this knowledge. She enjoys hiking, biking, swimming in fresh water, skiing (both Nordic and downhill), and spending time with family and friends. 

Core Knowledge Areas: birding, phenology, Environmental Education, Early Childhood Education, Place-based Education, Event planning, Teacher trainings, Outdoor learning/education

Meg Lyons

Northfield Middle High School

Meg Lyons is a high school science teacher at Northfield Middle High School, in Northfield, Vermont. Meg earned a BS in Environmental Science and Policy at Clarkson University. Prior to entering the classroom, she served as Outreach Intern at a Nature Conservancy ranch in northwest Colorado, taught elementary students about the ecology of Lake Champlain through the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, and spent 2 years in southwest Colorado interning with the Four Corners School of Outdoor Education (Bioregional Outdoor Education Project) and working as a naturalist with Durango Nature Studies. Meg began her formal teaching career in high school science in a small k-12 public school for 5 years on an island in Maine. Then she returned to Vermont and taught 5 more years at a ski academy, and now has been 6 years back in public school. She completed graduate studies through Lesley University, earning a Masters in Ecological Teaching and Learning. Meg's teaching practice has been informed by her love of the environment, and countless experiences supporting environmental education, project based learning, and experiential learning opportunities. Born and raised in Vermont, Meg currently lives in the Mad River Valley with her partner and their toddler son, where they spend every moment they can exploring the outdoors - hiking, biking, skiing, gardening, jumping in puddles, and romping in mud. 

Core Knowledge Areas: high school science teaching, environmental education, project-based & experiential learning

Alison Thomas- Interim Chair

VT Fish and Wildlife 


Alison has been with the Fish & Wildlife Department since 2011. She holds a master's degree in natural resource management, with a concentration in environmental education, from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. As education programs coordinator, Alison is responsible for supervising the department's two Green Mountain Conservation Camps (Buck Lake and Kehoe). She is also responsible for managing the let's go fishing program and hunter education program, serving as the statewide coordinator for the Project WILD program, leading the wildlife management for educators course, providing assistance at department outreach events, and helping to develop and support environmental education initiatives within the Agency.

Core Knowledge Areas: Environmental education, professional development, nature interpretation, wildlife education 

Nicole Conte 


Nicole Conte, AB psychology with learning concentration (Dartmouth College), MS environmental studies/education (Antioch New England), has been part of New England's environmental education community since 1991. Nicole served on the SWEEP board as secretary while working for the Vermont Institute of Natural Science and has appreciated the opportunity to be on the board again during the transition to the Network name and our Commitment to Change. Nicole previously served as a farm-to-school and parent leader at Barnard Academy. She now enjoys working as a math & literacy tutor at Randolph Elementary and creating interdisciplinary, outdoor learning experiences for all ages. She volunteers on the Pollinator Working Group of the UVM Extension Master Gardener Program. Nicole performs with Upper Valley dance groups and appreciates making environmental, cultural and social connections through dance.

Core Knowledge Areas: environmental education, farm to school

Harmony Lanen Roll


Harmony Lanen Roll is the Enrichment Program teacher at Richmond Elementary and teaches a student teacher practicum class for UVM. She has a BA in art history from the University of Maine Orono, and a MEd in curriculum and instruction with a focus on place-based and multicultural education from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She is currently working on her doctorate in education leadership and policy at UVM. She grew up in New England, and lived in Alaska for 15 years, much of that time in a dry cabin without running water. There she taught elementary school, met her husband and had two children. Her family moved around AK for her husband’s work. In each of the communities they lived she founded and ran outdoor family networks. Her expertise lies in curriculum design, networking and event planning. She has taught every grade level K-6, in both independent and public schools in Alaska, Rhode Island, Washington and has now put down roots in Vermont. She lives in Huntington with her family and hound dog.

Core Knowledge Areas: environmental education, place-based education, multicultural education, education leadership, curriculum design, event planning

Keri Hess

Four Winds Nature Institute Naturalist/Educator

Keri (she/her) found her love of nature canoeing the spring fed rivers and exploring the woods in Southern Missouri. She relished time spent listening to the male cicada’s “songs”, the bullfrog’s low calls, and the glow of numerous fireflies that added magic to summer nights. This connection to nature, and the sense of wonder it provided, led her to a career path focused on inspiring others to conserve and protect our natural resources.  After earning her degree in Environmental Studies, she taught environmental education at Cal-Wood Education Center, outside Boulder Colorado.  Eventually landing in Vermont, Keri earned her Master’s degree in Natural Resources Planning at UVM. A large portion of her career was spent at Rainforest Alliance, where she worked with corporations on sustainable sourcing policies to eliminate materials tied to deforestation.  In this role, she facilitated trips to forest locations around the world for buyers to see where they source raw materials. She strongly believes that getting people out in nature, to connect to it and be humbled by it, is the best way to foster conservation, no matter the age.  Keri completed the Vermont Master Naturalist Program in 2019 and has been working with Four Winds Nature Institute as a Naturalist/Educator since 2022. 

Lauren Traister


Lauren Traister is the statewide 4-H Teen & Leadership Specialist at the University of Vermont Extension. She has worked for Vermont 4-H for 19 years and has worked in the field of community outreach and education for more than 25 years. Lauren received a B.A. in Political Science with extensive coursework in Environmental Studies from Brown University and a M.S. in Natural Resources Planning from the University of Vermont and uses this background to design and implement programs for Vermont teens. A few noteworthy programs are the Teens Reaching Youth (TRY) for the Environment, Youth Environmental Summit, and the Natural Resources Management Academy. In her free time, Lauren is an avid skier, hiker, stand up paddler and dog lover. She lives in Hyde Park, VT with her husband Steve and dog Marshall.

Core Knowledge Areas: youth leadership, positive youth development, experiential learning, teen programming, teens as teachers, program development and implementation 

Morgan LaPointe

Peoples Academy Middle Level

As a middle schooler Morgan's favorite subject was history and her dream job was to be a lighthouse keeper. Today she teaches middle-school science at Peoples Academy Middle Level, plays in the woods and waters of Vermont, volunteers for the local ambulance service, and usually remembers to water her plants once a week. She has a Bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Montana. As a biologist she studied bird nesting behavior and alpine plant distribution. She also has a Master's degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Vermont. Her science classes are rooted in students’ curiosity about their world. This leads to many place-based and project-based investigations In the fields and forests around our classroom.

Core Knowledge Areas: middle level education, interdisciplinary and placed-based learning, emergency medicine

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