Jonathan Turer (Education Director) is a Brooklyn based tour guide who received his MFA from Goldsmiths College, London. He has been fascinated with the city's water supply ever since he went to summer camp in the Catskill Mountains. He began talking to kids about nature while at Connecticut College, leading tours of the school's arboretum. He studied photography at School of Visual Arts (NYC). He is excited to combine his interest in NYC's infrastructure and history with inspiring children about the natural world.
Born and raised on the mean streets of Greenwich Village (with summers in the beautiful Catskill Mountains), Mike Morgenthal has always been fascinated by the blending of urban and natural landscapes that can only be found in a place like New York City. A professional tour guide in New York and Washington DC, Mike loves educating his groups about the continual evolution of the urban environment, emphasizing how people can minimize their impact on the ecosystem and help promote a greener way of life. Mike graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Newspaper Journalism and History, and worked for 15 years as a professional journalist.
Gnaomi Siemens (guide) has a BA in poetry from Columbia University, and is an MFA candidate in poetry and literary translation at Columbia University’s School of The Arts. Her work, which explores the materiality of language, life in the anthropocene, and climate migration in a post technological world, can be found in Slice Magazine, Asymptote Journal, and Words Without Borders. She is also a field guide for NYC H2O.
Amelia Zaino (guide) is a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analyst and educator. She has interned at the NYC Department of City Planning and Westchester County GIS, and has taught GIS at LaGuardia Community College. She now teaches environmental science at Wave Hill, Bronx, the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, Bronx, and leads Water Ecology and Engineering field trips for NYC H2O. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Fordham University and a Master of Science in Geographic Information Science from Lehman College.
Ken Chaya is an avid urban naturalist, and educator who over the past two decades has focused his time and study on the natural flora and fauna found in Central Park. A Manhattan-based Art Director and graphic designer by profession, Ken is the designer and co-creator of the tree map of Central Park, "Central Park Entire." He is currently involved in two nature-related publishing projects, and the continuing development and modification of the interactive app version of the "Central Park Entire" map, as well as a scientific field survey of the flora of Central Park.
David Chuchuca is a former microbiology graduate student turned photographer who works to communicate scientific research with the public. He received his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Binghamton University and continued into graduate school to investigate microbial biofilms. After two years of research into biofilm dispersion, David left the lab bench to highlight the journeys and accomplishments of the scientists in our communities. Field trips offer a unique opportunity to directly interact with our communities in fun and memorable ways. He draws inspiration from the curiosity of our young citizen scientists.
Julián Mesri is an educator, theater maker and composer. He is dedicated to using art and education to bring people together and in multiple languages. He works as a Senior Educator at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, where he brings past and present together in the story of immigrant families in New York. He is also an adjunct professor at Pace University of Performing Arts and runs a bilingual theater company called Sans Comedia. Having grown up in New York since he emigrated from Argentina at age 6, he is delighted to share his passion for the city's history and its beautiful parks with students.
Gloria Garcia is a native New Yorker with a passion for photography and the environment. Her work incorporates spirituality, feminism and environmentalism and has been featured at the Queens Museum, and the Greenpoint Gallery. She recently graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in Urban Sustainability and a concentration in Environmental Science. She draws inspiration for her work from Water Ecology & Engineering Field Trips because of the nature that abounds in the parks where they take place.
Michael Stevens Originally from Texas, he earned his Bachelor of Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and Master of Education in School Counseling from Texas A&M-Commerce. Additionally, he studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, focusing on Argentine culture. Being bilingual, Michael taught bilingual fourth and second grades before becoming a school counselor. He specializes in English Language Learner instruction, special needs and accessibility, history and science education. In his free time, Michael travels and explores the city and nature.
Stalin Espinal is a Brooklyn native with a background in Graphic Design and a passion for the environment. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Sustainability and Environmental Science from Brooklyn College. As an undergraduate, he worked on a project; which involved collaboration between organizations to develop and design maps and logo for an after school STEM program funded by the National Ocean Atmospheric Administration. He has a strong interest in green infrastructure, water ecology and environmental design, and he enjoys shaping young minds and sharing his passion for the environment.
Ben Kolber is a native Brooklynite and wildlife enthusiast who got his start in conservation at the New York Aquarium and The Prospect Park Zoo, where he volunteered throughout high school as an educational docent. After graduating from University of Rochester with a degree in Linguistics and Psychology, Ben worked his way into the tabletop games industry and now tests board games professionally. He would like to one day design nature-focused games with scientific integrity. When he isn't leading tours or testing games, Ben enjoys riding his bicycle around the outer boroughs. He insists that Ridgewood Reservoir is the perfect park for a bike ride.