BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Tom Pelletier, Chair
Tom Pelletier is a writer, naturalist, and fundraiser who has helped create fundraising campaigns for more than 250 organizations from food pantries to international conservation organizations. He served as an interim Director of the Hitchcock Center for the Environment, and been on the boards of several non-profit organizations. Tom holds a Masters Degree in biology and shares his fascination with nature through the website Ask a Naturalist®. There are few things he loves more than looking under rocks and logs and in tide pools to show his grandchildren new creatures, and he hopes all children – and adults – get a chance to be comfortable in the natural world. He is excited to be part of a new organization dedicated to fostering a love of nature, and he looks forward to helping CEED thrive.
Lisa Anderson, Vice Chair
Lisa Anderson grew up in Brookhaven, a three-minute bicycle ride from the Washington Lodge, and graduated from Bellport High School. Her father, a chemist, grew wine grapes for a New York State agricultural extension service experiment in the 1950s (the air is too salty here, which is why most of the Long Island vineyards are on the North Shore) and her mother taught science in the local Middle School. She believes that CEED is a natural extension of the community’s longstanding commitment to environmental discovery, appreciation and preservation.
Having spent her professional life as a university professor and administrator, she brings wide experience working with both established and start-up not-for-profit boards to CEED today. She now lives in New York and Bellport, and teaches international affairs and public policy at Columbia University.
Swazi Clarity, Treasurer
Swazi Clarity recently moved to Bellport from the US Virgin Islands and England where she had careers in banking and real estate development and a longtime commitment to wildlife preservation and environmental learning. In England, she grew fruit and vegetables organically in rural Dorset for her London restaurant, and in doing so learned to cherish and protect the surrounding wildlife and wild places. She supported and worked with local non- profits for wilderness preservation and as a Girl Scout leader organized camping trips and nature hikes.
Swazi holds a BS from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and an M.A. from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She hopes to help CEED give the Bellport- Brookhaven community the chance to experience the irreplaceable benefits of enjoying and preserving the natural world around us.
Patrice Dlhopolsky, Secretary
Patrice Dlhopolsky retired from her position as Director of the Suffolk County Probation Department in 2017 after having spent over 40 years in community supervision in Suffolk County. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in French from St. John’s University and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from New York Institute of Technology. Patrice retired in order to spend additional time with her young grandchildren, to travel, and to free up more time enjoying the natural world through gardening & other worthwhile and enjoyable activities.
CEED provides the opportunity to enjoy and help protect that natural environment so that it can be enjoyed by her grandchildren and future generations. The Bellport-Brookhaven community is the perfect place to develop and grow our program.
Weeks earned her BA in Sociology from the University of Arizona and her MS in Elementary Education from Dowling College. She is currently in her 24th year of teaching fifth grade at Bretton Woods Elementary School and is a NYS Master Teacher. Mrs. Weeks has a passion for Citizen Science projects, which include Trout in the Classroom, CERCOM Horseshoe Crab Project, Bobwhite Quail Hatch and Release Program, Invasive Fish DNA Project, and her classroom is filled with class pets. As an alumnus of the Greentree Teacher Ecology Workshop, she is committed to inspiring her students through outside nature instruction. Mrs. Weeks is an advisor for the Environmental Science Club at her school and is a judge for the Brookhaven National Lab Science Fair. Mrs. Weeks looks forward to working alongside members of CEED, who are passionate about mature, the environment, and outdoor experiences for all. Her motto is, “No Child Left Inside!”
Jeanne Compitello is a life-long environmentalist and retired environmental attorney from Setauket. She hopes to use her decades of experience working for government, in particular the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Town of Brookhaven, to assist CEED in bringing the Washington Lodge back to productive use as a nature and retreat center. Jeanne realizes the need to connect children and adults with nature in order for people to feel passionate about our environment and natural spaces. She loves to travel and has spent the last several years doing volunteer work including, among other things, working with organizations assisting endangered species such as orangutans in Borneo, elephants in Sri Lanka and sea turtles in Panama. She currently operates a business with her husband in Setauket and believes that her 20 years as a business owner in addition to her extensive government experience will allow her to assist CEED in achieving its worthwhile goals.
Patricia Paladines is a naturalist, environmentalist, photographer, and an educator who has taught science and nature to students of every age from elementary school to college. She has served many organizations including the Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments, Ward Melville Heritage Organization, and Stony Brook University. As a native Spanish speaker Patricia initiated, developed and delivered bilingual environmental experiential programs for the National Audubon Society, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and Blue Ocean Institute. She has traveled the world visiting natural wonders from Alaska to Antarctica. Patricia has a special interest in helping CEED reach out to communities that are traditionally underserved by environmental organizations and nature centers.
Lori Zaikowski is a Professor of Chemistry, and Department Chair of Chemistry and Physics, at SUNY College at Old Westbury. She is also a guest research collaborator at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Lori is an expert on the chemistry of natural bodies of water with dozens of scientific publications to her credit, and has organized and led multiple symposia, conferences, and workshops on chemistry, science, and education. She is the Topic Editor for Environmental Chemistry for National Council for Science and the Environment Encyclopedia of Earth, holds permanent teaching certification in New York State for Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and General Science, and has long served as a mentor to high school and college science students.
Brian brings to CEED’s Board nearly 30 years of experience in the business world at Pall Corporation, including executive leadership of R&D. From 2000 to 2003, Brian was the Nassau County Legislator for the 18th District representing the north shore communities of Glen Cove and Oyster Bay. He was lead sponsor of the Clean Indoor Air Act that protected workers from second hand smoke and sponsor of the law creating the Open Space and Parks Advisory Committee. Brian chaired the Nassau Environmental Bond Act Advisory Committee charged with making recommendations for $250 million in environmental bond funds and preserving hundreds of acres of open space. Brian holds a BS in Biology from SUNY Albany and MS and PhD degrees in Chemistry from Polytechnic University. He is excited to combine his business experience with his commitment to environmental issues to further our mission.
Rebecca Muellers, Executive Director
Rebecca Muellers co-founded the Art & Nature Group, Inc. and CEED with Eric Powers. She currently serves as volunteer Executive Director for CEED. Rebecca is also a Wilderness Skills Instructor, trained by Primitive Pursuits of Ithaca, NY, an experiential environmental education and nature awareness program that uses an all-outdoor curriculum centered on wilderness skills and nature mentoring. Rebecca aims to establish Primitive Pursuits programming at CEED, hoping to ignite a spark in individuals and communities that lead to life-long relationships with the natural world and foster our children’s ability to care for themselves, their community and the environment. Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Public Relations, and her professional experience has been in the marketing, public relations and special event fields, including corporate, not-for-profit and small firms. Additionally, Rebecca has served on several non-profit Boards, including three cooperative preschools and with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County. Rebecca is passionate about helping build CEED into a thriving resource that both connects people with nature and serves as a collaborative community center.
Anyone can volunteer. Even you!