2018 Feature Speaker

Sally McCracken

Sally served NYOSEA as President 1980-‘81, VP for Publications-1978-‘80, and received the Service Award 1978. She has spent 59 years in public education as an elementary school classroom teacher, curriculum coordinator, school principal and assistant superintendent in Carmel and North Syracuse NY, Bangor, ME and Woodland Park CO. Sally continues to work and volunteer for the Catamount Institute in Colorado Springs CO as a naturalist in after school programs in OE and EE and as a science educator for the E3 (Elevate Environmental Education) program in the Woodland Park Schools as part of their regular school curriculum.  She is a volunteer Interpretative Ranger at Florissant Fossil Beds NM. Sally was the recipient of the National Park Service Individual Volunteer of the Year Award in 2010.


  Carl Heitmuller

Carl Heitmuller has been an environmental educator for 25 years, 23 of which have been spent at the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum in Cornwall, New York (Orange County).  Carl loves an audience and will share the positive effects NYSOEA has had on him over that time, from his very first conference and beyond, and how simple and beneficial it is to become a part of this Association. 


  Cheryl Charles

Cheryl Charles, Ph.D., is an innovator, author, organizational executive and educator.  Cheryl is the Co-Founder, President and CEO Emerita of the Children & Nature Network (C&NN).  Cheryl is Adjunct Faculty and founding Executive Director of the Nature Based Leadership Institute at Antioch University New England (AUNE), serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Brandwein Institute and is the recipient of numerous awards for her leadership, and has served as founding National Director of the pioneering K-12, interdisciplinary environment education programs, Project Learning Tree and Project WILD.  She lives in Vermont near her son, daughter-in-law and two nature-loving grandchildren. Cheryl’s comments will address how we keep “Wild Hope: Embracing Change Through Nature”. 



  Dan Bisaccio

Dan Bisaccio’s 30-year career as a high school science teacher didn’t stop there. His experience included developing inquiry based and project-based art-science curriculum.  He went on to serve as the Faculty Director of Science Education and Teacher Education at Brown University, recently retired but still active as an Adjunct Assistant Professor/Research.  Dan conducts on-going research with the Smithsonian Institution’s Biodiversity & Monitoring Program involving secondary and college students with authentic field research opportunities at sites in Central and South America as well as the South Pacific. Dan will share his humorous reflections on why we “muck about” in nature. 



Dorothea Shuman

Dorothea Shuman (Dottie Kunz) attended her first NYSOEA conference in Lake Placid as an undergraduate student at Cortland.  She spent five summers as a National Park or National Forest Interpreter in Alaska, two of which were on board an Alaskan State Ferry, and three in Denali National Park.  In 1979 she became the Director of the Greenkill Outdoor Education and Retreat Center and is currently a Professor of Outdoor and Environmental Education at Montreat College in North Carolina where she has worked for 20 years.  There she developed a Masters program in EE and a summer Expeditionary Science camp program where high school students participate in STEM-focused, week-long outdoor experiences. Dorothea also serves on the Higher Education Review Panel for Accreditation through the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE).  As featured speaker for this year’s conference closing, Dorothea will lead us through a reflective and interactive dialogue to carry with us as we journey home.