Our Staff

Our staff brings incredible passion, skill, and expertise to the field of environmental education. Each plays an important role in successfully fulfilling the Hitchcock Center’s mission. With a shared sense of purpose and a commitment to excellence, we work collaboratively both within and outside the organization to offer a comprehensive environmental education program with wide-reaching impacts.

Our Administrative Team

Billy Spitzer, Executive Director (he/him) Billy has more than 30 years of experience as a non-profit leader and innovator in science and environmental education, climate communication, and network building to accelerate collective impact. He is currently a member of the coordinating team for the US Action for Climate Empowerment Coalition (www.aceframework.us), as well as a member of the leadership board for the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (www.cleanet.org). He is former Vice President for Learning and Community at the New England Aquarium, where he was responsible for applying learning and social science research across education programs, exhibits, visitor experience, and community outreach for more than 20 years. He has been recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change for Engaging the Next Generation of Conservation Leaders, and has received a Visionary Award from the Gulf of Maine Council for innovation, creativity, and commitment to marine protection. He has a Ph.D. in Oceanography from MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and an undergraduate degree in Physics and Chemistry from Harvard University. Billy loves to spend time outdoors hiking, paddling, running, biking and backcountry skiing. email

Kim Snyder, Development & Communications Director (she/her) Kim has more than 25 years experience in the nonprofit sector, mainly in development, marketing, and communications. Most recently she worked at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center and Historic Deerfield. She has also worked at Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the American Red Cross, and others, over many years and various states across the US. Kim worked at a nature-based summer camp for many years in her youth and particularly loved leading teens on five day canoe and hike trips and cooking meals over an open fire. She loves baking and getting out into nature with her teenage daughter, Maggie, and elderly dog Annie. email

Jennifer Unkles, Financial Manager (she/her) Jennifer has been with the Hitchcock Center for over 25 years, half the time on the program side, creating programs, teaching at schools and directing summer camp. For the last 12 years, she has been supporting the staff with budgeting, bookkeeping and managing all the accounts receivables and payables. Over the years, nature has been a source of great inspiration and she is grateful for any time spent outside with others and her family, and for gardening and biking in this beautiful valley. email

Shelly Kahan, Development & Database Coordinator (she/her) Shelly provides daily oversight and management of the Center’s development and database support systems. email

Allie Martineau, Communications & Marketing Coordinator (they/she) Allie holds a Master’s Degree in Writing for Children from Simmons University and has worked all over the Connecticut River Valley in marketing, communications, and development roles with a focus on boosting the visibility of nonprofits and local businesses. Allie is the editor and coordinator of Hitchcock Center’s column Earth Matters: Notes on the Nature of the Valley in the Daily Hampshire Gazette which just reached its  14th year. They are also a writer, artist, and illustrator who loves going on long walks to find secret gardens. email

Barb Gilbert, Office Manager & Volunteer Coordinator (she/her) Prior to working at Hitchcock, Barb was the director of the Reads Lab; a research unit at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is originally from the Pacific Northwest and began her career as a middle school language arts teacher on San Juan Island. She taught there for eight years and became a director in Teaching and Learning for Spokane Public Schools. Barb’s interest in educational leadership helped focus her doctoral research on individual and organizational resilience and connections to eastern philosophy. In her spare time, Barb loves to garden, kayak, and weave on an eight harness American Jack loom. Currently, Barb is enjoying exploring western Massachusetts with her golden lab, Harper. email

Our Education Team

Casey Beebe, Operations Manager (she/her) Casey holds a Master of Science in Environmental Education from Antioch University New England and a Bachelor of Arts in Natural History and Place-based Education from The Evergreen State College. She has over 18 years of experience developing and implementing innovative environmental education programs for people of all ages and has been with the Hitchcock center for over a decade. Her current responsibilities include annually coordinating up to 50 workshops, lectures, courses, and presentations aimed at fostering greater environmental awareness, literacy and action. This includes a program series focused on education for sustainability, environmental justice and climate change as well as equipping people with new knowledge and ways of thinking to achieve responsible citizenship and the restoration of healthy living systems upon which our lives depend. She also has significant educational gardening experience and is in charge of the development of the pesticide free native gardens and Nature Play and Learning Spaces Master Plan at the Hitchcock Center’s newly certified Living Building. email

Dan Butterworth, Education Program Manager (he/him) Dan joined the Hitchcock Center during the fall of 2021.  He has a degree in Science Education from Penn State University with a focus on Science, Technology and Society.   He started his environmental education career working with the Massachusetts Audubon at Drumlin Farm, then spent some time teaching science at Dover-Sherborn Middle school, before returning to his passion for informal environmental education when he became the animal caretaker/educator at the wildlife sanctuary at West Hartford’s Children’s Museum.  After 17 years sharing STEM education and animal ambassadors from the sanctuary all over the region he was eventually serving the museum as the education program manager.  He is happy to join the Hitchcock education team to spend more time serving the communities more local to his home in South Hadley.  In his free time he enjoys finding time to get his camera out into nature and spending time with his family and many pets.  email

Colleen Kelley, Education Director (she/her) Colleen loves children and loves to play both indoors and outdoors! The joy of working with children and families at the Hitchcock Center for over 35 years continues to be a constant source of inspiration and discovery, and Colleen is grateful to have this opportunity to keep growing and learning with the wonderful Hitchcock Center community. Recently Colleen helped design fundraise for, and build a Nature Discovery Play Yard at the Hitchcock Center.  As the Education Director at the Center, Colleen has developed a variety of programs ranging from Nature preschool, camps, afterschool programs, school field trips, school residencies, and homeschools to college courses and teacher professional development workshops. Colleen credits her love of the outdoors and environmental education to her parents who explored the woods backpacking with her as a child, to Rachel Carson’s wise words about developing one’s sense of wonder, and to her two wonder-filled grandchildren who keep her moving and exploring at all times!! email

Katie Koerten, Environmental Educator (she/her) Katie Koerten started out at the Hitchcock Center as a summer camp counselor in 2007, and she’s been working here there ever since! Katie has taught and directed Hitchcock programs such as Nature Play Afterschool, Girls into the Wild, Nature Summer Camp, Winter and Spring Vacation Camp, Girl Scout programs, school engineering residencies and more. Before joining the Hitchcock staff full time, Katie worked as an avian rehabilitation intern at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, where she helped diagnose and treat injured birds and release them back into the wild. Katie’s professional passions are creating spaces where girls can feel at home outdoors and in STEM and making the outdoors safer for Black and Indigenous People of Color. She is a lifelong student of bird songs and plants native to New England.  Katie’s favorite colors in nature are a toss-up between the electric red of a scarlet tanager and the periwinkle blue of chicory flowers. email

Jeffrey Mazur, Environmental Educator (he/him) Jeff is answering the call of the wild — to inspire others to be better stewards of our planet through helping children and adults more deeply connect to the natural world. Jeff is entering his sixth year at Hitchcock Educator and also serves as co-camp director at the Hitchcock Center. During the school year, Jeff teaches our Homeschool II Program, Nature Play Afterschool Program, and classes that visit the Hitchcock Center on field trips. When not at the Hitchcock Center, Jeff can be found spending time with his wife and children, in the woods keeping a keen lookout for mushrooms, swimming at Puffer’s Pond, biking or tending his garden. email

Monya Relles, Environmental Educator (they/them). Monya loves backpacking, farming, and writing poetry in trees, and they have been getting their clothes muddy for as long as they can remember. Monya has nine years of summer camp counselor experience but their favorite summer camp by far has been the Hitchcock Center where they started working in 2019. Monya is especially interested in integrating environmental justice and climate change education into their lessons. You can almost always find them dancing or in the woods. email

Lauren Dausch, Environmental Educator (she/her). Lauren started at the Hitchcock Center as a Chickadee Camp counselor in the summer of ‘22, and loved it so much that she wanted to stay year round! She graduated with her Master’s of Science in Environmental Education from Antioch University NE in spring 2023, and has previously worked in the mental health field with kids and adults of all ages. She is passionate about the magic of early childhood, the wonder of the natural world, and creating a loving safe space where all children can thrive. Inclusion and accessibility are incredibly important to her, and she hopes to make the world more accepting of all types of disabilities and differences, whether that’s through her writing, fundraising projects, or presentations. In her free time, Lauren can be found philosophizing with her partner, taking care of her many plants and animals, crafting, playing music, or writing poetry and children’s stories. email

Alanna Johnston-Rutledge, Environmental Educator (she/her or they/them) Alanna began working at The Hitchcock Center as a camp counselor in the summer of 2022. Growing up in Western Mass, she had a love of nature from a young age. She studied art and education and has spent the past eight years working in childcare as an educator, nanny, and as a behavioral therapist in California public schools. She is also a landscape painter and especially loves sharing art with the children she works with. Alanna also loves writing, travel, swimming, reading, and spending time with animals of all sizes and shapes. email

Rachel Quimby, Environmental Educator (she/her) Rachel started at Hitchcock in the fall of 2023, but her career in education started 35 years ago with a roomful of stuffed animals and a hand-me-down chalkboard. She worked for many years in public radio before turning her efforts to teaching full time. After graduating from George Washington University’s Museum Education Program, she taught science and oversaw the planetarium at the EcoTarium in Worcester. She’s constantly inspired by her colleagues to know and do more to protect and appreciate the natural world. email

Micky McKinley, Resource Center Coordinator & Environmental Educator (she/her) Micky has been at the Hitchcock Center for over 30 years. She has been an educator for children and teachers. Being outdoors with children is one of her favorite activities. But she also is passionate about teaching about climate change through the curriculum she helped develop on Energy Literacy. Currently, she manages the library and teaching materials and does a little teaching just for fun. email

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Hitchcock Center for the Environment