Fostering Healthy Communities
through Connection with Nature
Chiara D’Amore, Ph.D. (President) is a mother, educator, researcher, writer, community organizer, and environmental consultant. She lives in Columbia, Maryland where she serves as the founder and director of a family nature club and president of Trilogy Eco-Systems Solutions. Her work is focused on understanding the effects of time spent in nature on personal, social, and ecological well-being. She holds a M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering and a Ph.D. in Sustainability Education.
Julie Dunlap has a Ph.D. in social ecology from Yale University and teaches about environmental history and management at the University of Maryland University College. A freelance writer, her works range from natural history books for children to essays about climate change. As a volunteer, she is Education Chair for the Audubon Society of Central Maryland and Kids Team Leader for Interfaith Oceans. Julie’s writings, teachings, and outings with family and friends seek to nurture, explore, and celebrate intergenerational relationships with the natural world.
Alvin Findlay (Treasurer) has worked in the accounting industry for more than a decade. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and a background comprised of supervising, managing and participating in full cycle accounts payable, full cycle accounts receivable, invoicing, full cycle payroll, crate to grave contracts administration, internal auditing as well as innovative and resourceful reporting and procedural documentation, in large, medium, and small enterprises. He is an active participant in Columbia Families in Nature with his wife and son.
Dr. Ana Maldonado graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1999. She works in Baltimore, MD and specializes in Internal Medicine. Her practice includes a large population of refugees served by the International Refugee Center. She believes that health care is a basic human right not a privilege and she is focused on providing uninsured and underinsured patients with the best possible access to primary care. Her family has been actively participating in Columbia Families in Nature since its inception and Dr. Maldonado sees the clear links between time spent in nature and improved well-being for individuals and within communities.
Cynthia Marshall (Vice President) has been the Executive Director of non-profit organizations since 2009, and has trained multiple environmental non-profits on how to engage a broader and more diverse group of constituents. She has led successful campaigns in Maryland with the Industrial Areas Foundation, including creating a youth conservation corps. She earned a Master’s degree from Harvard’s Graduate School in Education, and her B.A. at Carleton College in Biology. She lives in Columbia, Maryland with her husband and two children.
Dave Morgan (Secretary) is attending law school at the University of Maryland where he is concentrating on Environmental Law. He has served as intern with the Choose Clean Water Coalition in Annapolis, which is a nonprofit advocacy group that serves as an umbrella organization for roughly 207 clean water-related organizations within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, assisting in the formulation and regulation of policy for cleaner waterways. His previous work as a paralegal provides insight into some of the legal elements of running a non-profit and he has a love for research.
Betsy Wier, Ph.D., has over fifteen years of experience as a senior manager in international development and humanitarian relief programs. Her work has included program development, project management, business development leadership & strategy, staff and partner capacity building. Her program development and field experience ranges from Fair Trade and ethical sourcing initiatives to immigration policy and child protection programs. Betsy holds a M.A. in International Development from the University of Denver and a Ph.D. in Sustainability Education.
Ashley Woodward has a M.S. in Environmental Management. She has completed environmental education internships with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Irvine Nature Center in their Urban Outreach Program. She spent two weeks in Belize with a summer learning project and developed and conducted the science section (with a focus on environment) for third through sixth graders. Ashley currently works as an environmental infrastructure management consultant.
The Community Ecology Institute