Tedor Whitman became Executive Director of the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary October, 2014. He has over 25 years of experience teaching and leading conservation programs across a wide range of U.S. ecosystems. Tedor’s strong record as an advocate and leader in environmental education focuses on building collaborations between conservation organizations and education institutions focusing particularly on integrated biology and increasing participatory means of connecting science and environmental issues with people’s everyday lives. Before joining the Arboretum Tedor was among other things the director of education for Zoo Miami and Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, a high school biology teacher at the TERRA Environmental Research Center, and the director of Biological Stewardship at a large nature center in Westchester, NY. Tedor was also, for seven years, the director of education for the Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor, NJ and is thrilled at being able to return to the Garden State. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and holds a bachelor’s in biology and a master’s in conservation biology. He and his wife, Marguerite, like to spend their free time outside arguing about bird watching strategies.
As a child Melissa would lay under a tree in her front yard wondering how a seed could turn in to such a magnificent plant. Her wonder for the natural world is what led her to pursue an undergraduate degree in environmental science and a Masters in ecology and evolution at the Rutgers University. After graduate school, Melissa became an educator at Turtle Back Zoo and an adjunct ecology professor at Kean University. Melissa is excited to be able to educate and encourage others to appreciate animals and the environment. Melissa hopes to someday overcome her SRC (Salad Re-flux Condition) but in the meantime promises to minimize accidental lettuce and cabbage shrapnel.
A native New Jerseyan with a BS in Biology from Seton Hall, Jackie is a veteran of the pharmaceutical research industry. After retiring, Jackie decided to look for volunteer opportunities that would satisfy her long standing desire to be involved with animals, environmental awareness and/or sustaining some of New Jersey’s dwindling natural spaces. Jackie stumbled upon the Arboretum in 2007 and fell instantly in love. An environmental center – with critters! Since then Jackie has participated in a variety of tasks ranging from assisting with environmental education classes, boat building with an outreach group, and caring for the Arboretum’s resident animals, as well as providing administrative support to the staff. Eventually it was decided Jackie should become a staff member since she obviously wasn’t going away. A avid tennis player, Jackie lives in Chatham with her best two- and four-legged buddies, Rick and Zeus.
Growing up in the more urbanized areas of New Jersey, Eric’s only real exposure to nature was his own backyard. Yet that did not stop him. He spent most of his childhood digging up beetle grubs, watching nature documentaries, and trying to catch butterflies with his bare hands. This love of nature guided him towards obtaining a BS in Biology from Kean University and upon graduating, becoming an Environmental Educator for YMCA camps. Since then he has worked as a Spider Exhibit Assistant at the American Museum of Natural History and now as an Environmental Educator at Cora Hartshorn Arboretum. His obsession with all things creepy crawly has made him the in-house “Bug Guy” and he is always willing to share his knowledge and passion of little creatures to those who come through the Arboretum’s doors.
Wendi joins the CHA after a decade working as a substitute teacher, mainly with preK through first grade students. Prior to that, she was a humane educator at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center. Wendi learned a love for all creatures great and small from her grandparents. As a kid, Wendi read everything she could get her hands on about all kinds of animals and never missed an episode of Wild Kingdom. Now that she’s all grown up, she is proud to be a mom of 2 wonderful daughters; a 10 year volunteer educator/animal handler at Turtle Back Zoo; and an enthusiastic nature nerd at all times.