Co-Founder /Executive Director
After completing a graduate fellowship with the National Science Foundation’s GK12 program, Ms. Cray earned a Master’s degree in Environmental Management and Risk Assessment from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. With her education and a decade of teaching experience both nationally and internationally, Lindsay has built a unique skill set for effectively working with underserved youth and families in the outdoors. Having spent nearly 14 years traveling throughout the US, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Panama and Colombia, she has taught children from every walk of life, helping to build resiliency and advocating for equity and sustainability.
Lindsay is a wilderness survival instructor, a NYS Hiking and Camping Guide and certified in wilderness first aid. She has incorporated her cross-cultural experiences and environmental knowledge into designing programs at venues such as Golden State YMCA in California and the Gandhi Institute for Non Violence in Rochester. Her teaching experience includes leading programs in earth science, environmental science, outdoor education and wilderness survival. Lindsay’s own research focused on environmental management and has received funding from sources such as the National Science Foundation, Research Foundation and the Melinda Ardia Grey Foundation. She has co-authored two publications on integrating science into high-school classrooms.
Most recently Mrs. Cray held the position of Education Director for a non-profit land trust in central California where she was tasked with bridging the education gap for non-English-speaking youth of migrant farmworker families. In this capacity, she created education programs for over 2,000 underprivileged youth and developed Mentored to Mastered, a youth alternative education program for juveniles with criminal backgrounds, connecting them with professionals who provided mentoring. Mrs. Cray does spend time teaching in the classroom, however she would much rather see herself and her students outdoors, immersed in a world of sensory and experiential education. Her goal in developing the Earthworks Institute is to make simple but long-lasting, positive impacts on those with whom she works.
Nick Brown holds a B.A in Business Administration from Keystone College and a graduate degree from the College of Environmental Science & Forestry in Natural Resource Management. He is a conservationist by trade, and his focus has been on public land use management. With over 9 years of experience in landscaping, habitat restoration, land use planning, plant nursery operations, and plant propagation – as well as 6 years of business administration experience – he brings a dynamic skill set that allows for sound finance and budget management when planning and implementing conservation and land management projects.
Mr. Brown is passionate and knowledgeable about native plants, sustainable land use, wild edible identification, and environmental stewardship. He endeavors to take an innovative approach to all of his projects and ideas. His goal in developing the Earthworks Institute is to empower people of all ages to be proactive in making the world around them better for themselves and their neighbors.
Wilderness Skills Instructor
Michael began as a volunteer with Earthworks Institute after attending two classes; Into to Wilderness Survival and Intro to Primitive Tools. He loves the concept of drawing people outside and away from electricity, so he decided to get more involved. In his professional life as a landscape architect, his focus has always been on protection of the natural environment and on projects that encourage people to spend more time out of doors. Michael’s professional work includes ecological restoration projects and the design of parks, trails, kids camps and even a nature play area for kids at a nature center.
After having cut back on his “work” hours in the last couple of years, he had the chance to spend more time working with non-profits that focus on the outdoor environment, including several stints as a volunteer park ranger for the National Park Service at several parks in the Southwest. Michael is now excited to work with Earthworks to encourage the people of the Rochester eco-region, especially the kids, to spend more time outside getting familiar with their natural environment.
Forest PreSchool Lead
Suzanne is a NYS certified elementary teacher, currently homeschooling her two children and raising chickens and kale in her backyard. She holds a Master’s degree in education from Nazareth College and a Bachelor’s in psychology from SUNY Geneseo. She has taught children and teens in many different settings, from pre-kindergarten in the Rochester City School District through teaching Swing and Lindy Hop in various community centers. Although a city resident for over 25 years, Suzanne is a country girl at heart and spends as much time as possible gardening, enjoying nearby parks, and camping with her family.
In addition to teaching her own two daughters, Suzanne is a teacher at Lilac Children’s Garden, a Waldorf-inspired homeschool program. She is excited to be sharing her love of the natural world with children and their families in forest preschool!
Forest School Nature Explorers Lead
Jennifer earned a Masters of Art Education degree at Nazareth College, where she was awarded the Excellence in Art Education Award. Currently, she is working toward a PhD in Teaching and Curriculum at the University of Rochester. She is focusing on self-directed learning, which she has presented about at several conferences. Previously, Jennifer was the Assistant Head of School at the Montessori School of Rochester.
Ms. Green launched the children’s art program Creative Roots, and she taught classes to children 6 years old and younger for several years. Her immense love for nature is the stimulus behind her gardening business, which was established in 2003. She is an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast, holds a NYS Hiking and Camping Guide certification and enjoys being in the woods with her two young children.
Farm-to-School Educator and Program Design Lead
Lisa Barker has loved working in and contributing to her hometown of Rochester, NY for her entire adult life. She graduated from RIT with a degree in photojournalism in 2008. Her time at RIT also introduced her to meaningful work in community development, and led her to develop a passion for urban agriculture as a tool for youth engagement. Since graduating from RIT, she has worked with a number of community organizations, including RIT’s University-Community Partnership, the Horizons Program, the Southwest Area Neighborhood Association, ProsperRochester, Inc, and the City of Rochester, to develop and lead programming focused on youth development and urban gardening. In 2014, she co-founded Seedfolk City Farm, which is a non-profit multi-site urban farm that provides educational employment opportunities for Rochester teens. Currently she serves as its director and youth program manager, and has worked with over 50 teens in summer and after-school jobs since it began. She loves actively contributing to her hometown and deeply values the opportunities for connections that her work creates.
Wilderness Skills Instructor
Dan Ruede earned a B.S. in Expeditionary Studies and a minor in Environmental Studies at SUNY Plattsburgh. He received his Associates Degree at SUNY Adirondack, where he studied Experiential Education. In the past, he has worked with SUNY Adirondack, leading backpacking trips in the Adirondacks, as well as New York State Parks, as an Environmental Educator. Most recently he was part of Primitive Pursuits Wilderness Skill Instructor Certification Program, and is currently working with the West Irondequoit Central School district at the Helmer Nature Center, as a Naturalist Educator.
In his free time he likes to discover the mysteries of nature, go backpacking, backcountry skiing, and find out ways he can give back to the earth and local communities.
Rose is a recent biology graduate from the University of Rochester where she was a recipient of the Dekiewiet Research Fellowship. She conducted research in molecular genetics focusing on the transfer of bacterial genes to invasive pest insects. In the summers, she worked at a nature center in her home state of NJ, serving as an environmental educator and introducing students to natural history. Through these experiences, she has developed a substantial scientific understanding of the environment and a passion for environmental education. Additionally, Rose is passionate about living sustainably, and has lived in several sustainable living communities and coops, serving as President. More recently she has developed an interest in environmental humanities and is excited by this new perspective of using art and literature as a lens to understand our world, our environment, the interactions between the two. She hopes to further pursue this interest through a graduate degree in the future, though in the meantime shares her interests in and knowledge of the natural world with children in Earthworks programs.
Merry Coburn (LMHC)
Nature Therapist with the Earthworks Dadirri Initiative
Merry is a holistic psychotherapist with a PhD. in psychotherapy from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA. and a Master of Science in Counselor Education from Alfred University. Her work focuses on promoting growth and healing through the facilitation of awareness of the mind/body/spirit connection which, has taken place in a variety of settings: through graduate student teaching, in workshops, and in individual psychotherapy. Until retirement Merry served as a Global faculty member at Sofia University (formerly The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology) in the Spiritual Psychology Masters specialization. Today her workshops and work with Earthworks Institute focuses on self-awareness through creative expression/movement and mindfulness in nature. Her individual client and volunteer work encompasses nature therapy, talk therapy and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy (for which she is also a certified instructor), a mind/body approach to wellness and wholeness. Aside from her work in therapy, Merry is also a lifelong hiker- member of ADK, has a deep spiritual connection to nature and has joined Earthworks to “help others fall in love with our amazing earth and let it help heal them.”