Chiara D’Amore, Ph.D. is the founder of the Community Ecology Institute and of our Columbia Families in Nature and Roots & Wings Learning Community programs. She holds a M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering and a Ph.D. in Sustainability Education and teaches graduate courses in environmental sustainability, civic ecology, and climate action. Her overarching work is focused on understanding the effects of time spent in nature on personal, social, and ecological well-being. She is dedicated to helping create a healthy, beautiful and abundant future where people and nature thrive together.
Community Outreach Coordinator
Veronica Adler is an Atholton High School graduate who is now finishing her psychology degree at the University of Maryland College Park. She previously worked as a coordinator for the children’s program Special Friends at CEI's neighbor, Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center. She is also bilingual and worked as the Lab Coordinator/Supervisor for the program Juntos en Pareja, which provides support services for Latinx couples. Her passion for nature bloomed when she started scuba diving at 10 years old. Veronica is an artist, musician, and environmentalist who is excited to be a part of the team bringing nature, sustainability, and art to her hometown.
Roots & Wings Program Director
Lindsay Kreisher - Roots & Wings Learning Community Director - is an experienced educator with a BA in Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution from Salisbury University. She is dedicated to serving the community through children’s programming that promotes independent learning, creativity and environmental civility. She utilizes her mediation and restorative justice trainings to support her in community work with young people, including programs for at risk youth populations, acting as a volunteer mediator and teaching Conflict Resolution at Howard Community College.
Meet our wonderful Roots & Wings Teachers!
Nourishing Gardens Program Director
Theresa Taylor has spent the last 15 years of her career in the human services field. Her primary passion has been advocating for and upholding human rights both domestically and internationally. She sees environmental sustainability and food security as a natural extension of that work, and as a resident of Columbia is looking forward to focusing her work in the local community. Her career has included the design and management of a variety of programs including community-based youth education programs. She oversaw training and technical assistance projects for state and federal programs supporting migrant and refugee families and families with limited incomes. Theresa has Master’s Degrees in Social Work and Criminal Justice and a Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology.
Chesapeake Conservation Corps Members
Christy Ferguson has joined the CEI team through the Chesapeake Conservation Corps. This past December she graduated from UMBC with her bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and Geography and has since interned with the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Maryland Coastal Bays Program. This year she is especially excited to learn to care for and identify plants, meet and work with volunteers, support the Nourishing Gardens Initiative, and hold the many chickens of Freetown Farm.
Lucy Burnam, originally from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, just recently graduated with her master's in journalism with an emphasis on photography & editing from The University of Mississippi. During the summer, she spent several months living outside in rural Hawaii working on a five-acre coffee farm. She harvested fresh lilikoi, jackfruit, and all the other tropical, island fruit you can imagine. She’s extremely excited about becoming involved with the local community, meeting the regulars at the farm, and learning about Maryland as a whole.