Register for CEED Nature Adventure Summer Camp 

Register for CEED Nature Adventure Summer Camp 

OUR STAFF

From the very beginning, CEED has benefitted from the skill and dedication of extraordinary people who believe in our mission to connect people and nature.  We’re so grateful for their hard work and commitment to our community.

Sally Wellinger, Executive Director

Sally Wellinger has lived on Long Island for almost 35 years, but spent the early part of her life in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. Having parents who are outdoor enthusiasts, hiking and being in nature has been a large part of her life. Sally has a degree from Stony Brook University in biology, psychology, and philosophy; and a masters in Elementary Education from Dowling College. She is New York state certified to teach Biology, General Science, and Elementary Education. Sally has taught many age groups and disciplines, including working as education and site director at the Outdoor Education Learning Lab of Western Suffolk Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES), located at Sunken Meadow State Park. She has served as a volunteer and on staff at several non-profits including the Long Island Explorium, OceansWide, Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, and the Riverhead Foundation. Sally has developed education programs, worked as program administrator, and provided professional development, including New York State Science Learning Standards and science professional development for educators. Sally co-produced the Eastern Long Island Mini-Maker Faire, helping it grow into a larger Maker Faire. All of these life experiences have prepared her for her dream position as Executive Director of the Center for Environmental Education and Discovery.

Ranger Eric Powers, Site & Program Director, Co-Founder

“Ranger Eric” is a wildlife biologist, outdoorsman, and conservationist. He started leading nature hikes in 1987 as a Park Ranger in Colorado before serving two years in the US Peace Corps as an Environmental Education Officer in the Kingdom of Tonga. After that, Eric ran nature centers in Colorado, Alabama, and New York. Eric also created “Your Connection To Nature” (YC2N), a mobile nature company doing environmental education programs, live animal shows, field trips and wildlife eco-tours worldwide.  He has also served as Adjunct Professor at Molloy College and developed a successful summer course for their Teaching Green Sustainability Institute for High School Teachers. In 2016, Eric reached another dream when he co-founded CEED with Rebecca Muellers. Shortly after, Eric folded YC2N into CEED. Eric is also active in conservation efforts including work on Eastern Box Turtles, The Bobwhite Quail Restoration Project, and installing Bat and Owl Boxes. You can find his award winning TV Series, “Off the trail…with Ranger Powers” on YouTube. Eric was named “2020 Environmentalist of the Year” by the Long Island Sierra Club, and 2021 Environmental Educator of the Year by The New York State Outdoor Education Association (NYSOEA).

Jessica DiCanio, Executive Administrative Assistant

Jessica DiCanio joined our CEED team as our Executive Administrative Assistant in March of 2023. Jessica has 18 years of administrative experience, in both the educational and medical fields. Her role at CEED is to oversee all clerical operations and communications while working closely with our Executive Director and Program Director. Jessica is committed to supporting our mission & growth while striving to reach the goals within our organization. –

Karrthik Pitchayan, Education Coordinator

Karrthik Pitchayan grew up in Nassau County, right along Jericho Turnpike. To escape the constant honking and whizzing of cars, he and his brothers would spend most of their days in their school’s woods. His earliest memories are of making tipis and creating foreign worlds in the woods. These experiences greatly shaped Karrthik’s stance as an environmentalist. He believes that environmentalism is reliant upon people having equal exposure to nature and the ability to be creative in it. During his undergraduate studies at Stony Brook University, Karrthik studied anthropology, philosophy, and environmental science. He started teaching environmental education to his fellow peers as a teaching assistant and resident assistant in large echoing lecture halls and cramped, damp dorm rooms. Karrthik even brought his love for teaching to his study abroad experience in Madagascar where he continued to teach environmental education. Having begun his work with CEED in college, Karrthik was extremely excited to take on a greater role upon graduation as the education coordinator. He is very excited to help CEED grow and looks forward to meeting the community!

Audrey Collins, Volunteer Coordinator

Audrey Collins was born and raised on the south shore of Long Island and began volunteering at CEED in late 2020, seeking to make a difference after leaving the legal industry. She is both a student and instructor of Kioto Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Oakdale where she resides with her husband and pets, advocating for peaceful self defense and the defense of our planet.

 

 

Lauren Wellinger, Digital Marketing Coordinator

Lauren Wellinger is originally from Virginia, and shortly after moving to Long Island, she found herself on the trails of Long Island and fell in love with what our local wildlife has to offer. She has a decade of experience in the marketing field working for both big brands and small startups and has been with CEED since October 2023.

Lauren Wellinger, Digital Marketing Coordinator

Lauren Wellinger 

Erich Dietterle, Educator
Leah Heymach, Educator
P.J. Jones, Educator
Emma Kramer, Educator
Sally Natoli, Aftercare Supervisor
Roy Silverstein, Educator

Anyone can volunteer. Even you!