New Educator Joins Friends of Rogers Staff

Friends of Rogers welcomes Ellen Rathbone as their new naturalist/educator!

Ellen grew up in Hamilton, NY, and visiting Rogers was something her family did often. It helped her forge a strong connection with the natural world, to the point that she went to SUNY ESF for both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, in forestry, forest biology, and environmental interpretation.

Ellen has worked as a naturalist/environmental educator for most of her career, which has taken her to New Jersey, Vermont, the Adirondacks, Michigan, Illinois, and now, finally, back to Central New York!

While all aspects of Rogers’ programs will be under her purview, much of Ellen’s focus will be on creating more programs for adults. “It is common for nature centers to concentrate on children’s programs, because children are our future, so we need to get them connected to the natural world early. And Rogers already does this beautifully with its school programs, summer camps, and Nature’s Nursery. But we shouldn’t forget that adults need, and desire, to be outdoors and learn about nature, too! I have often heard from visitors comments like “Oh, I used to come here all the time when we had kids.” Well, the good news is that kids are not a requirement to enjoy the natural world.”

Ellen considers herself a “Jack-of-all-Trades” when it comes to the natural world. “I started out as an animal person (as many of us do), but a college professor once told me that I was actually a plant person. I didn’t believe him at the time, but it turns out he was right! I am especially fascinated with ethnobotany – how people use plants. Recently, though, I’ve become an insect and spider person! The truth is, it is all fascinating, and the more I learn about each living thing (even soil), the more amazing it all becomes.”

Ellen’s outdoor interests also include primitive skills, canoeing, macrophotography and nature journaling.

We invite you to come on out and say hello.

Ellen and rehabbed orphan opossum,

the Dahlem Center, Jackson, MI