steering committee members

EEAC Officers

River DiLeo, Chairperson
Fran Agnone, Vice Chairperson & Program Chairperson
Isa Del Bello, Secretary
Bonnie Ralston, Membership Secretary/Treasurer

Steering Committee

Fran Agnone, ExpandED Schools
Isa Del Bello, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy
River DiLeo, NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation
Bethany Kogut, The Horticultural Society of New York
Mary Leou, New York University
Amanda Levy, NYC Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene
Shig Matsukawa, Food Waste Recycler
Bonnie McGuire, NYC Dept of Parks & Recreation
Sarah Pidgeon, Solar One
Ray Pultinas, James Baldwin Outdoor Learning Center at DeWitt Clinton HS
Bonnie Ralston, NYC Dept of Parks & Recreation
Robin Sanchez, NYC Dept of Environmental Protection
Robert Wallace, New York University
Ilana Weinstein, City Parks Foundation
Mike Zamm, EEPF/TEEP, a project of EEAC


Fran Agnone

Fran Agnone (she/her/hers) has been supporting informal science education for over a decade in New York City. Prior to her current position, she developed and led programming with The New York Botanical Garden, The National Wildlife Federation and the National Park Service. She currently works as the STEM Program Manager At ExpandED Schools, supporting a collaboration among school day science teachers and after school educators.


Isa Del Bello

Isa Del Bello (she/her/hers) has a background in elementary education, and moved from New Mexico to New York to pursue a master’s degree at Teachers College, Columbia University. Shortly thereafter she began teaching with Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy as an environmental educator, introducing numerous students to urban ecology and wild spaces found within and around the Brooklyn waterfront. Presently she leads the BBP education team as Director of Education. She holds a M.A. in cognitive and developmental psychology with a concentration in risk, resilience and prevention and a B.A. in elementary education with dual concentrations in science and literacy. 


River DiLeo

River DiLeo (they/them) has spent the past 11 years facilitating a connection to an understanding of nature in a variety of settings. In their current work as the NYC EnvironmentalEducator for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), River coordinates programs that connect youth and families to the nature that is in their neighborhood, often facilitating bird walks around city blocks and “fishing” trips in pocket parks. They also facilitate professional development workshops where educators learn how they can use the outdoors as a teaching tool. With A constant eye toward creating inclusive programs, River works with a number of community organizations to create engaging lessons that are relevant and accessible to all participants. 


Bethany Kogut

Bethany Kogut (she/her)is an Education Manager for the Hort where she works with people from 2-92 to connect with plants. Through schools, public programs, and teacher education Bethany brings passion to plants and helps individuals feel empowered to improve the planet through horticulture, nutrition, and ecosystems. She also has had the opportunity to work for the NYU Wallerstein Collaborative as a Garden Educator under an EPA Funded Grant called Bees Alive! to bring native plants and pollinators to the Greenpoint community through stewardship programs. Additionally, Bethany has worked as a Curriculum Writer and Educator with Newtown Creek Alliance developing a passion for NYC’s Waterways. She received her Bachelors in Elementary Education from Michigan State University where she founded a student run tea and honey company called Land Grant Goods, and a Masters from NYU in Environmental Education Conservation.  


Dr. Mary Leou

Dr. Mary Leou (she/her/hers) is a Clinical Professor of Environmental Conservation Education and founding Director of the Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education and Sustainability at New York University created in 2000. She is also the Director of the Environmental Conservation Education Graduate Program in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.  She earned her doctorate and masters degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Mary Leou has received numerous awards and over $5 million in grants for developing environmental education programs serving classroom teachers, K-12 schools, and environmental organizations. Currently she has been awarded a grant by the USA Environmental Protection Agency to promote environmental conservation through civic ecology. She is also the recipient of a grant from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to foster environmental stewardship in low income coastal communities in Staten Island that have been negatively impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Dr. Leou serves on numerous boards and state-wide committees, and is the former Chair of the Environmental Education Advisory Council of NYC. She has received two Environmental Quality Awards from the Environmental Protection Agency for her leadership in environmental education and in 2012 she was recognized by the National Audubon Society as a “Woman Greening the City” and co-chairs the New York State Environmental Literacy Committee.  Her courses and research focus on teacher education, place-based education, environmental literacy, experiential learning, and culturally responsive teaching. 


Amanda Levy (she/her/hers)

NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
Public Health Epidemiologist

Amanda Levy is a Research Scientist within the Bureau of Environmental Science and Engineering at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Under the Federal Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act of 2000 (BEACH Act) she is responsible for data analysis, regulatory oversight, risk communication and public notification for the New York City Beach Surveillance and Monitoring Program. She also works as an education specialist on environmental and aquatic health and works directly with several NYC agencies on the Making Waves program to advance swimming equity and drowning prevention through free water safety and swim instruction to young people ages 6-18 from low-income neighborhoods.  She received her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Trinity College, a Master of Science degree in Environmental Management from University of Maryland, a Master of Public Health in Environmental Health from the City University of New York and a Doctor of Education degree in Science Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her academic and professional research has focused on children’s environmental health, swimming equity, water ecology, systems thinking, elementary science and water engineering.


Shig Matsukawa

E. Shig Matsukawa (he/him)

Shig has been a volunteer educator on bokashi composting (recyclefoodwaste.org) since 2009. Based in NYC Shig provides workshops to community gardens and schools throughout the city. He is involved with El Sol Brillante community garden (522 E 12th St elsolbrillante.org), garden coordinator of Down to Earth Garden (546 E 12th St downtoearthgarden.org), steering committee member of Vamos A Sembrar community garden (198 Ave B vamosasembrar.org), member of the East Side Outside Community Garden (415 E 11th St eastsideoutsidegarden.org), advisor to Earth Matter NY (earthmatter.org), and recently, 4/5/2022, joined the board of LUNGS (Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens, lungsnyc.org). He has been studying bokashi and EM (Effective Microorganisms)—used in bokashi and other gardening and environmental applications—since 1993. 


Bonnie McGuire

Bonnie McGuire (she/her/hers) is interested in connecting people to nature through informal education.  She has spent the past 18 years in NYC Parks providing a variety of environmental education and interpretation programs to park patrons across the city and is passionate about helping New Yorkers have a better understanding of their green spaces. Bonnie has a Master of Science in Entomology and is very interested in what ‘bugs’ people. 


Sarah Pidgeon

Sarah Pidgeon (she/her/hers) is the K-12 Education Director at Solar One. Prior to joining Solar One, Sarah worked as an educator for several years at the Center for the Urban Environment in Brooklyn, where she taught classes in Urban Design and Ecology. Sarah is currently pursuing her MBA in nonprofit management and sustainability at Marlboro College in Vermont. When She is not busy teaching about all things sustainable, Sarah enjoys riding her bike, cooking, and drawing.


Ray Pultinas (he/him) taught English at DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx for 25 years and served as the school’s Sustainability Coordinator. He continues to consult and work part-time gardening, farming, maintaining fruit trees, school-wide recycling, healthy school food programs,composting, student internships, community partnerships, youth markets, and curriculum design. Ray is presently collaborating with a team of designers, architects, environmentalists, and artists on the James Baldwin Outdoor Learning Center and starting a nonprofit that will strive for project based solutions at the juncture of food-, environmental-, and social justice through community engagement and sustainable practices. He blogs on sustainability in schools [wittseminar.blogspot.com] and has presented to both local and national audiences.


Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston (she/her/hers) serves as the Director of Programming & Development for NYC Parks. Her team facilitates the creation of programming, resources, and partnerships that foster public understanding of the value of urban parks. Prior to joining Parks in 2017, Ralston worked in environmental education for Audubon New York, Central Park Conservancy, GrowNYC, The Horticultural Society of New York, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 

Bonnie holds an MS in Ecological Teaching and Learning from Lesley University, and a BFA from Hartford Art School. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Mark. If she’s not out birding, biking, or backpacking, you will find her in the sculpture studio.


Robin Sanchez (she/her/hers)

Director of Education at New York City Department of Environmental Protection

Robin first joined DEP as a graduate student intern while studying at NYU. She was later hired as Deputy Director in 2014 and then promoted to Director of Education in January 2020. As Director of Education, Robin leads DEP’s Education Office in developing, facilitating, and evaluating environmental education programs and resources for pre-Kindergarten through college students and educators in NYC and the NYC watershed. Prior to DEP, Robin completed a year of service with NYC Civic Corps and worked for Appalachian Mountain Club’s Youth Opportunities Program. She has a BA in Environmental Planning from Binghamton University and a MA in Environmental Conservation Education from New York University. Born and raised in Westchester County, Robin now resides in Queens, NY.


Robert Wallace

Robert Wallace (he/him) is currently the head of the science education program at New York University. He is a marine biologist who has created and led an environmental research center for teachers and their students in East Hampton. In addition, he is founder and former administrator of an NYCDOE environmental education themed K-8 school. He is excited to serve on EEAC’s Steering Committee.


Ilana Weinstein

Ilana Weinstein (she/her/hers)

City Parks Foundation
Program Manager, Seeds to Trees & Coastal Classroom

Ilana Weinstein is the Program Manager for the Seeds to Trees & Coastal Classroom middle school programs at City Parks Foundation. Ilana leads a middle-school inquiry-based ecology program in under-resourced communities in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. In this role, she leads, evaluates and adjusts the curriculum to fit students needs and diverse learning backgrounds.  She also leads semi-annual professional development workshops for partnering teachers so that they can incorporate hands-on environmental education into their regular curriculum. Prior to working for City Parks Foundation, Ilana was an Urban Park Ranger for the NYC Parks Department, serving her local community in the Bronx by providing free public programming and school programming in parks. She received her bachelor’s degree in Conservation Biology from State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF), and her master’s degree in Environmental Conservation Education from New York University (NYU).  Her academic and professional work has focused on urban ecology, urban environmental education, and culturally relevant education practices. Born and raised in the Bronx, she continues to serve her community as well as the larger NYC community.


Mike Zamm

Mike Zamm (he/him)

Mike earned a Bachelors Degree from City College with a major in psychology and a minor in sociology and social work and was later granted a Masters Degree in Public Administration with a major in urban and regional planning from New York University.

In 1975 he began what became a 41 year tenure as Director of Environmental Education at the Council on the Environment of NYC, now GrowNYC. In that role he created a number of urban environmental education programs including, “Walking: A Realistic Approach to Environmental Education”, “Energy Conservation Education: An Action Approach” and the “Training Student Organizers (TSO) Program, which grew into the primary environmental education effort at the organization for four decades.

Mike is the principal author of the concept paper which convinced the then NYC Board of Education to create the High School for Environmental Studies in 1992. He played a significant role in the development of the school’s curriculum.

He has been a member of EEAC since 1976 and has been on the steering committee for 43 years. In that role he led the campaign to work with the State Education Department to infuse environmental concepts into the New York State Syllabus and Curriculum in most subject areas.

In 1998, Mike was given a lifetime achievement award by the Christadora Community in recognition of his “outstanding service and dedication to the children and environment of New York City”.

Since 1999, he has coordinated EEAC’s Teacher Environmental Education Preparation (TEEP), a project to motivate colleges of education to incorporate environmental education into their teacher preparation programs. TEEP has evolved into the Environmental Education Projects Forum, a forum for the discussion and generation of projects to grow environmental education in NYC and the surrounding region. 

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