About The Morpho Institute

Amazon Conservation Through Education

The Morpho Institute is a 501(c)3 nonprofit created to support the key role of K-12 education in realizing the global goal of environmental conservation and sustainability.  To achieve this goal, The Morpho Institute provides professional development programs and curriculum resources which support local to global environmental stewardship in K-12 instruction.

In collaboration with US and international partners, The Morpho Institute provides US educators the opportunity to experience the Amazon rainforest as a compelling context for developing a global perspective on biological and cultural resources, participating in conservation, exploring sustainability, and inspiring environmental stewardship.  Our field workshops and resources apply key elements of inquiry, STEM, and placed-based learning to assist educators in making these critical local to global connections in their classrooms, instruction, and curricula.

Morpho Institute Board

The Morpho Institute Board

Contact:  board@morphoinstitute.org

Kelly Keena, PhD

Dr. Kelly Keena is the Director of Education and Outreach for Underwriters Laboratories, a global safety science not-for-profit organization. Previously, Kelly was co-founder and Principal Consultant for Blue Lotus Consulting & Evaluation, LLC. Her research focused on the quality of children’s experiences in green schoolyards and participant-generated data to understand the nature of learner experiences in environmental education. In addition to more than ten years as a non-formal educator and ten years of classroom work as a science teacher and instructional coach, she consulted for projects with the Children’s Museum of Denver, National Wildlife Federation, and international organization Living Literacies. She is currently the Chair of the National Environmental Education Advisory Council for the Environmental Protection Agency where she works on national Environmental Education priorities and partnerships, including evaluation. Kelly was recently awarded the Enos Mills’ Lifetime Achievement Award in environmental education by the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education (CAEE).

Nancy Trautman, PhD

Dr. Nancy Trautmann recently retired as Director of Education and currently serves as Visiting Fellow at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, focusing on teacher professional development and curriculum development related to biodiversity conservation. Her passion lies in introducing people to the wonders of the natural world and helping teachers go beyond textbooks and lectures to get their students involved in conservation-related investigations and projects. She has published 10 books in collaboration with teachers, on topics ranging from biodiversity to toxicology. Publications by NSTA Press include a manual on citizen science and four environmental science research manuals. A recent book, Birds Without Borders, won the top educational award from the Association of American Publishers for supplemental science curricula in 2016.

Christa Dillabaugh

Christa Dillabaugh is the Program Director for The Morpho Institute and coordinator of our flagship program, The Educator Academy in the Amazon.    Prior to founding the Morpho Institute, she launched Amazon Rainforest Workshops, LLC and has coordinated numerous student and university field programs in the Amazon.  Christa began her love of the Amazon and neotropical rainforests while leading expeditions for her own students from Bexley, Ohio.  She has also worked as a free-lance science consultant to Pearson Education and Discovery Communications, contributing to curriculum and activity guides as well as educator in-service workshops and training materials focusing on STEM and Understanding by Design in the science classroom.  Her current area of focus is community-based conservation and conservation education.

Program Intern

M. Robertson (2)

Madeline Robertson

Madeline Robertson is a recent graduate of DePaul University where she majored in Environmental Studies and minored in Spanish, Geography, and GIS, and was an active participant in DePaul’s Urban Farming Organization and Fair Trade Committee. Madeline also studied abroad in Madrid, Spain to study the Spanish language and traveled to Peru to learn about mining and deforestation. Madeline is proud to be a part of The Morpho Institute as she pursues her passions for environmental education and conservation.

2019-2020 Advisory Council

Laura Branch

Santa Maria School District, Santa Maria CA

HS/AP curriculum development, applied technology, and program outreach

Phil Kahler

Tualtin Academy, Hillsboro, OR

Amazon Binocular Project Coordinator, Citizen Science projects, eBird & iNaturalist

Megan McDaniel

Colorado Springs School District, Colorado Springs, CO

HS/AP curriculum and PD program development, student field studies program development

Janet Ort

Hoover City Schools, Birmingham, AL

HS/AP curriculum development and outreach, student field studies and research partnerships

Debby Prestridge

Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore, MD

Middle school curriculum development and outreach, funding and donations

Jo-Ann Sawyer

Marlborough School District, Marlborough, MA

HS/AP curriculum development and outreach, conference presentations, social media and fundraising

Rebecca Wingerden

Santa Maria School District, Santa Maria CA

HS/AP curriculum development, applied technology, and program outreach

Kirsten Franklin

Petaluma City Schools, Petaluma, CA

Elementary curriculum development and outreach, NGSS and STEM connections

Colleen McDaniel 

Vernier Software and Technology, Biology & Environmental Science Educational Technology Specialist

Chanda Jefferson

Fairfield County School District, Fairfield, SC

HS/AP curriculum development and outreach, PD program develpment, and STEM equity and access

Christi Paulson

Salt Lake City Schools, Salt Lake City, UT

Elementary curriculum development and outreach, nonprofit development & funding

Anne Marie Radke, PhD

Currituck County Schools, Moyock, NC

PD program development, stratigic planning, grant writing, social media and donor cultivation

Michelle Watkins

Beaver River Central School District, Beaver River, NY

HS/AP curriculum, New York State Master Teachers Liason, Camera Trap Project, and PD programming

Jordan Wolf

Flushing International High School, Flushing, NY

HS Biology/ENL education and curriculum development, grant writer, Internationals Network for Public Schools liason, Peer Group Connection advisor, Math for America Master Teacher.