MEEA Board Responsibilities

MEEA members are eligible to be elected to the Board of Directors, MEEA’s governing body. Board members serve two year terms, and serve on at least one committee. Once serving for a year, Board members are eligible to serve on the Executive Board (President, President-Elect/Secretary, and Treasurer). Additionally, MEEA recently added an Advisory Board to its structure to advise, assist, and advocate to the Board of Directors on behalf of matters that will strengthen opportunities for MEEA members and beneficiaries. Advisory Board members are selected and appointed by the MEEA Executive Board, and may be nominated by the MEEA Executive Board, the Advisory Board, or the Executive Director. MEEA is in the process of updating policies and practices to reflect Dynamic Governance, a method of governing that centers around consent-based decision-making, valuing all perspectives, and transparency.

Visit our Document Library for MEEA’s articles of incorporation, by-laws, policies/procedures and financial documents as well as past meeting minutes and our collection of downloadable resources.

The President’s responsibilities are 1) to set the agenda and run the meetings, and 2) to have and exercise general charge and supervision of the coporation (MEEA) including staff. This is a two year term, with the first year as president/elect secretary and the second as president. It is one of the shortest descriptions because this position is responsible for overseeing all of the activities listed below.

The President Elect/Secretary’s responsibilities are 1) to perform the duties and possess and exercise the powers of the President at their request or in their absence or disability, 2) to communicate with team leaders and staff monthly to check on progress, 3) to take minutes at the meetings (except when chairing them in which case they should designate a substitute secretary), 4) to serve as chief liaison with the North American Association for EE and 5) countersign all instruments executed by the President on behalf of the corporation as directed by the Executive Board. This is a two year term, with the first year as president/elect secretary and the second as president.

The Treasurer’s responsibilities are 1) to keep the records of the books of account of the Corporation and receive and disburse funds of the Corporation as directed by the board, 2) keep accurate accounts of all financial transactions, 3) make reports at the monthly meetings, 4) make all records available for audit as directed by the board, 5) submit an annual summary of transactions at the end of the year and 6) oversee the financial responsibilites of the organization. In practice, the treasurer oversees the work of the executive director who handles day to day management of resources and of the accountant who prepares quarterly financial statements and preparation of non-profit filing to the IRS (the 990 EZ). The treasurer is the convener of the Resources Team. This is a two year term.

The At-Large Board Members’ responsbilities are 1) to help set policy under the supervision of the President, and 2) to assist with developing plans for and implementing policy goals and objectives, including being part of a Team, assisting with the Conference and providing at least one monthly column for the newsletter.

The Director’s responsibility is to help implement board policies, goals and projects. 

People Team duties include : handling membership applications and renewals, newsletter, website, facebook posts, coordinating EE awards, working with other groups, and attending and tabling at conferences and workshop. 

Purpose Team duties include: managing the certification program, providing logistical support for the conference, coordinating EE grants. 

Resources Team duties include: tracking and managing income and expenses, working with the treasurer and board to develop the annual budget, working with the treasurer and accountant to prepare the annual 990 EZs, apply for grants and scholarships, and develop and implement fundraising strategies. 

Governance Team duties include: researching issues for the board to consider, assisting with strategic planning, and filing required paperwork.

Governance: Meet our Amazing Team!

 

Board of Directors

Sarah Holmes, Kansas City

Sarah Holmes, Kansas City

President

I am a science teacher at heart with a huge love of the outdoors. My love of nature was fostered by my father, who helped me flip over rocks to look at life below and showed me how garden spiders wrap their prey.

I currently teach 7th grade life science and AP Environmental Science at The Barstow School in Kansas City, MO. Our school has a vegetable garden, orchard and rain garden, all of which I had the great pleasure of helping students create. I believe that we cannot expect people to care about something that they haven’t experienced. Therefore, I work to ensure students are able to experience nature in the same ways that I did as a child.

(Mar 2020-Feb 2021 – then this person becomes President)

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Laurie Davis, Springfield

Laurie Davis, Springfield

Treasurer

I have had the privilege of working in a wide variety of education settings, both formal and informal, for over 30 years. I have always had a love for the outdoors and nature and can’t think of a better outlet for that enthusiasm than serving with MEEA.

I am currently the Education Outreach Coordinator for City of Springfield’s Dept. of Environmental Services. In that role, I have the opportunity to work with formal and informal educators, students from throughout the region, and community organizations to learn how to work together to protect the wealth of natural resources found throughout our state. I am looking forward to contributing to MEEA’s ability to impact the next generation of citizens of our state!

(Mar 2020-Feb 2022)

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Jeff Birchler, Springfield

Jeff Birchler, Springfield

President-Elect/Secretary

I am currently the Center Coordinator for the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks where I facilitate education and outreach activities for groups of all ages and backgrounds.

I was fortunate to grow up in an environment where we were encouraged to explore the outdoors, spending countless hours camping, hiking, fishing, and hunting. There is no substitute for directly experiencing nature. I am fortunate in my new position to be able to introduce area youth to the thrill of catching their first crayfish, wading in an Ozarks’ stream, or even hiking a trail for the first time. I look forward to working with the MEEA community to ensure that every Missouri student has these opportunities to learn more about their environment through place-based experiential education.

(Mar 2020-Feb 2022)

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Erin Graves, Herculaneum

Erin Graves, Herculaneum

I am a science teacher with a love of everything outdoors in nature and doing my part in helping to “save the world”. I teach high school Biology in Jefferson County, Missouri. I sponsor the Ecology club there and am proud to say the students have done so much to reduce the carbon footprint of everyone at our school.

I love to get my students outdoors to explore and experience and develop an appreciation for our amazing world and all the living things in it. Improving and providing opportunities for environmental education has always been a passion for me, so I am very excited to participate in MEEA in this new role.

(Mar 2020-Feb 2022)

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Jill Hollowell, Rolla

Jill Hollowell, Rolla

My life path has provided phenomenal experiences as a formal and informal educator. My work with students ranges from “waders on” river excursions for water quality studies to developing environmental afterschool programming.

 With this focus on environmental education, my desire has been supporting youth in finding their “spark” through connections with the natural world. An ecologist from the start, I was blessed with a love of water and wildlife while exploring the Sleeping Bear Dunes shoreline on Lake Michigan.

My employment with Meramec Regional Planning Commission allows me to engage with MEEA and Missouri Green Schools with the goal of engaging rural schools in mid-Missouri. I’m elated to join MEEA in advocating for greater awareness of living sustainably and supporting an understanding of how we all must own our impact.

(Mar 2021-Feb 2023)

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Christine Jie Li, Columbia

Christine Jie Li, Columbia

I am an Assistant Professor with the University of Missouri Columbia’s School of Natural Resources, specializes in environmental education and outreach. I teach undergraduate and graduate students majoring in Parks, Recreation, Sport, and Tourism, Environmental Science, and Human Dimension of Natural Resources Management. My research focuses on using community-based deliberative forums and gardening to cultivate underrepresented youth and family’s environmental awareness, hope and action competence.

 One of the research projects is supported by the Environmental Issues Forums with North American Association for Environmental Education and Kettering Foundation.

I collaborate with Prairie Fork Conservation Area to promote Missouri Department of Conservation’s Discover Nature and Natural Resources Careers Academy summer programs. In 2021, I started a new program to engage urban youth and families with support mostly from MU Extension’s Community Gardening Toolkit. My hope is to engage first and second-generations of Asian immigrants and underrepresented groups to learn about sustainability and become environmental stewards. I volunteer at a local Chinese Christian Church to lead a children and family group through experiential learning and community events. I published peer-reviewed journal articles in Environmental Education Research and Environment and Behavior (https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=7l2XDQoAAAAJ&hl=en). My husband and I live in Columbia, with our two children and a dog named Frank. We love outdoor activities, such as gardening, hiking and fishing.

(Mar 2021-Feb 2023)

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Joan Ruppert, St. Louis

Joan Ruppert, St. Louis

I have been a nurse for 47 years and am recently retired as faculty from University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Nursing. When taking classes for my doctoral degree, I learned about schools that frame curriculum around nature and the natural curiosity of children.

   There is such a school in Southern Boone County, Missouri, near property owned by my husband and me. I have been intrigued by this school that encourages children to learn about nature and the environment. This has inspired me to support an organization like MEEA, whose mission is to encourage all Missourians to “care about, understand, and act for their environment.” I look forward to offering my experience as an educator, meeting planner and previous involvement in professional certification as an at-large board member. 

Joan Hart Ruppert, RN, MSN, EdD

(March 2021-Feb 2023)

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Jennifer Schamber, St. Louis

Jennifer Schamber, St. Louis

I am the general manager of a family-owned garden center, Greenscape Gardens in west St. Louis County, Missouri. Greenscape was the 2015 national winner of Today’s Garden Center Magazine’s Revolutionary 100 for their work in the promotion of native plants.

 I have served as the committee chair for strategic planning for Grow Native!, a professional organization that promotes native plants, and have represented the green industry at the National Pollinator Garden Network meetings in Washington, D.C.  I have served as a mentor for the U.S. Green Building Council-St. Louis Chapter Green Schools Quest, as well as a consultant for U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools projects and Habitat for Humanity’s LEED certification design team. I’ve served as President of the Western Nursery & the Landscape Association and the Landscape & Nursery Association of Greater St. Louis. I’m the current co-chair for Keysor Elementary’s Project I.D.E.A. and reside on a mini homestead in Kirkwood, Missouri with my husband, two daughters, a dog, five chickens and a worm farm in the basement.      

(March 2021-Feb 2023)

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Tonia Scherer, St. Louis

Tonia Scherer, St. Louis

I’ve always had a passion for education, beginning my career as an English teacher. Eventually, however, I found myself feeling limited teaching in an indoor classroom setting and wanted to foster stronger connections between my students and the natural world around them.

After obtaining my Missouri Master Naturalist certification, I decided to explore environmental education. Today I work at Gateway Greening, partnering with local schools to support and strengthen students’ environmental literacy. Through Gateway Greening, I have found that giving a child the responsibility to nurture living things cultivates a sense of relevance in one’s life, while having the potential to boost the overall health of the community. I’m thrilled to help advance MEEA’s mission and work to make environmental education accessible to all.

(July 2020-Feb 2022)

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Laura Seger

Laura Seger

Immediate Past President

I have worked as both an educator and a manager of EE programs, for infants to adults. I am passionate about the field and have strong networks that are accessible as resources.
I value the organization and mission and want to help provide support, and appreciate the networking opportunities with others in the field.

(Mar 2020-Feb 2021)

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Advisory Board

Leah Clyburn

Leah Clyburn

I currently work as a community organizer for the Sierra Club’s Missouri Beyond Coal campaign. Throughout my career, I have mobilized various communities across Missouri

 around social justice, labor, education, advocacy for individuals with disabilities, rights for women of color and the LGBTQ community, and Women’s Leadership. I’m passionate about ensuring that all Missouri kids have access to clean air, clean water, and joyful natural areas in which to learn and play. I see tremendous potential for the Missouri Green Schools program to advance these values, and am looking forward to helping MEEA prioritize equity and justice as we promote and expand that program.

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Nikki Lemley

Nikki Lemley

The concept of experiential education entered my life when I was living in Germany as a young adult where I participated in a program that changed my lens of learning forever. 

 Upon returning to the US, I became a facilitator with STREAM (St. Louis Regional Experiential Adventure Movement) and witnessed the positive impact this unique way of teaching had on our participants.   As a member of MEEA’s incredible team, I am thrilled to be part of a powerful initiative to share the value of experiential education with our youth and educators across Missouri.

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Wilford Pinkney

Wilford Pinkney

I am current serving as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Children, Youth, and Families for the City of St. Louis.
  The office has the singular purpose of making sure St. Louis’ children have the support and resources needed to lead productive and successful lives. I have also worked in various educational settings where I focused on ensuring that young people especially those from marginalized communities have equitable and successful educational opportunities. While I grew up in New York City, I was fortunate as a child to spend my summers on a farm in rural North Carolina where my grandmother grew up. The experience instilled in me an appreciation of the outdoors and nature. I am looking forward to being a part of the MEEA family and helping to advance its mission.
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Bill Ruppert

Bill Ruppert

I own and manage the St. Louis office of National Nursery Products, a horticultural sales, marketing and consulting company representing wholesale growers of a diverse variety of ornamental and environmental landscape plants.

I graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1980 with a B.S. in Agriculture and an emphasis in Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design. I’m actively involved in leadership roles for a variety of professional green industry and community service organizations including the Landscape and Nursery Association of Greater St. Louis, Missouri Green Industry Alliance, Gateway Greening, Grow Native!, and Mizzou Botanic Garden. I’m passionate about land stewardship and community betterment, and I enjoy connecting people and organizations in support of that!

(July 2020-Feb 2022) 

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Jennifer Schamber, St. Louis

Jennifer Schamber, St. Louis

I am the general manager of a family-owned garden center, Greenscape Gardens in west St. Louis County, Missouri. Greenscape was the 2015 national winner of Today’s Garden Center Magazine’s Revolutionary 100 for their work in the promotion of native plants.

 I have served as the committee chair for strategic planning for Grow Native!, a professional organization that promotes native plants, and have represented the green industry at the National Pollinator Garden Network meetings in Washington, D.C.  I have served as a mentor for the U.S. Green Building Council-St. Louis Chapter Green Schools Quest, as well as a consultant for U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools projects and Habitat for Humanity’s LEED certification design team. I’ve served as President of the Western Nursery & the Landscape Association and the Landscape & Nursery Association of Greater St. Louis. I’m the current co-chair for Keysor Elementary’s Project I.D.E.A. and reside on a mini homestead in Kirkwood, Missouri with my husband, two daughters, a dog, five chickens and a worm farm in the basement.      

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Staff

Lesli Moylan

Lesli Moylan

Executive Director

I have been a longtime youth gardening and outdoor education advocate, providing direct gardening and nutrition education to students as well as professional development opportunities for educators.
My goal is to increase MEEA’s visibility throughout Missouri so that more people can access this organization’s many and varied resources. I fully buy into MEEA’s tagline “Care, Understand, Act” and that’s exactly what I want to help people do!
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Nick Speed

Nick Speed

Outreach Coordinator

I have a passion for urban agriculture, youth empowerment, and gained a lot of EE experience from my time as a Gateway Greening educator.

In addition to my role with MEEA, I’m also the Founder of Ujima, a nonprofit service provider that creates equitable access to food, education, and employment. I’m excited to see help youth throughout our state in my role as MEEA’s Outreach Coordinator. 

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AmeriCorps VISTA’s

Alaina Morin

Alaina Morin

I got my start in EE at the St. Louis Zoo in 2017. Originally graduating with a bachelors in Secondary Education with a focus in History and Anthropology, I originally assumed Archaeology was the career for me. 

After one very hot Virginia summer and three long days in a lab, I discovered that my favorite part of the day was educating visitors and descendents of the site on their lost connection to their space. Combining my newfound knowledge of EE and place based education, I spent the last  two years in the Normandy Schools Collaborative as an American History teacher, where I rewrote the curriculum into a project-based, place-based course. Deciding to leave the bones for others to follow, I am excited to work on larger structural change for Environmental Education in all schools, and to spread the love of place, environment, and history to all Missouri Students.

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Stacey Parker “Parker”

Stacey Parker “Parker”

I returned to my hometown of St. Louis after 20 years of working as a clinical assistant professor and in residential education at universities across the country. The AmeriCorps VISTA opportunity is a dream come true, as I was seeking a way to be a positive force in the environmental justice movement.

I earned a bachelors degree in Art History, Business (Finance and Management), Cultural Studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia, a Masters in Cultural Foundations of Education and a Certificate of Advanced Study at Syracuse University, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Educational Psychology at the University of Southern California.

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Malaya Siy

Malaya Siy

I am a fresh graduate from Saint Louis University with a degree in Anthropology and minors in Mandarin, Global and Local Social Justice, and Visual Communication. I’m so happy to start my career journey with Missouri Green Schools and AmeriCorps VISTA, and so grateful for a chance to put service and storytelling together in a way that supports teachers and students as they work hard to make their school more and more sustainable and equitable.

MEEA Members

MEEA’s members are the lifeblood of our organization, they’re why we exist and you drive our priorities. MEEA members include classroom teachers, informal educators, community members, parents, youth, and even organizations like schools, nonprofits, agencies, and businesses. We want everyone to have not only a seat at the table but a voice, which is why all membership levels include voting privileges and eligibility to serve on the Board of Directors. We have over 600 members to date, and we welcome you to join this community as well!

MEEA Organizational Members

Missouri Lake