Environmental educator comes home to CNY to enliven programs
Environmental educator and Hamilton native Ellen Rathbone wanted to return to Central New York, and Rogers Center in Sherburne needed someone exactly like her.
Rogers Center featured prominently in Rathbone’s early years on school field trips and as a family destination. At that time, Rogers was operated by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
“I have great memories of visiting Rogers,” she said. “I remember making anemometers out of ping-pong balls and toothpicks and a memorable overnight field trip with my sixth-grade class.”
Rathbone went on to a lifetime of experience in the field of environmental and outdoor education. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse and worked in New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Michigan and Illinois; then Friends of Rogers, the non-profit that now operates Rogers Center, advertised for an experienced senior educator.
“It had been my dream to move back to Central New York, but I never thought it would be possible, Rathbone said. “My career path is highly specific. When the position at Rogers opened this summer, I had to apply; and I am delighted to have been selected for the job.”
Ellen describes herself as a “Jack of all Trades” when it comes to the outdoors.
“My interests are widely varied,” she said. “I was the mammal person until I became the plant person. These days a lot of my focus is on insects, especially bees and wasps. I love spiders and snakes, and I have developed a deep respect for soils and their role in planetary health.”
Canoeing, photography, archery and nature journaling round out some of Ellen’s outdoor skills.
“We are so excited to have Ellen back at Rogers as our Environmental Educator” said Rogers Board of Directors President John Pumilio. “Ellen’s deep knowledge of natural history, along with her warm and welcoming smile, will add great value to our programming and to the Central New York community.”
Rathbone is developing and leading programs for area schools, as well as a variety of programs for families and adults visiting Rogers Center.
The environmental educator position is supported with funding from the state Park and Trail Partnership Grants and New York’s Environmental Protection Fund. The Park and Trail Partnership Grants are administered by Parks & Trails New York, in partnership with the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Friends of Rogers is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization operating Rogers Environmental Education Center under contract with the state Department of Environmental Conservation at 2721 State Hwy-80, Sherburne.