Sue E. Brown – Director of Programs, T.R.E.E. Founder
Sue Brown has been director of New Orleans’ Sunship Earth program since its inception in 1984. She has assembled a group of dedicated teachers, parents, and community members to develop, sustain, and expand the program into Teaching Responsible Earth Education (T.R.E.E.) a non-profit organization in 1995. As an Associate Staff member of the Institute for Earth Education (IEE), which created the Sunship Earth, Earthkeepers and Sunship III programs, Sue helps to write, revise and pilot the Institute’s programs. Sue hires and intensively trains all T.R.E.E. Earth Educators in both content and outdoor classroom management. She teaches at all programs and leads overnight sessions. Sue’s experience in education, teaching grades four through seven in St. Tammany and Orleans Parish Public Schools, and Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction provide the foundation for her work.
Heather Szapary – Executive Director
Heather Szapary became Executive Director of T.R.E.E. August 1, 2013 with a solid understanding of T.R.E.E. programming and how the organization fits in our educational and environmental communities. She has worked in the nonprofit sector for about 20 years focusing heavily on environmental education in metro New Orleans. Heather taught for T.R.E.E. from 1998-2000 with Founder, Sue Brown, and discovered how comprehensive and rewarding teaching can be working with elementary and middle school children. She continued her education and career receiving a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans, and practicing in the private sector. Her writing brought her back to T.R.E.E. in 2007, when she began managing the grant program. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and a Loyola University 2011 Institute for Environmental Communication Fellow.
Lauralee Buchanan – Earth Educator, Earthkeepers Coordinator
Lauralee Buchanan joined T.R.E.E. in September of 2016 as the Earthkeepers Program Coordinator. Having previously served as an intern for Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve’s Centennial year, she is excited to be able to continue working within the National Park’s boundaries in this new capacity, and to be directly involved in hands-on environmental education. After graduating from Florida State University with degrees in Environmental Studies and Geography, Lauralee worked as a primitive backpacking camp counselor in Southern Colorado, an after-school program coordinator at a middle school in Southern Maryland, and an ecotour guide in the Caribbean waters of the Virgin Islands. Proud to now call New Orleans home, Lauralee is grateful to be able to work with T.R.E.E. and share her love of the natural world with new Earthkeepers in training.
Arianne Carson – Office Manager
Arianne Carson started working for T.R.E.E. in September 2017. She has a B.A. in Drama from Hofstra University and is currently an MBA candidate at Auburn University. She serves as Treasurer for the Benjamin Franklin High School Alumni Association. After spending several years working in the for profit sector, she is excited to get back into the non-profit world. In her spare time she enjoys playing board games with her friends, riding her horse Wellie, and reading.
Elyria Grote – Earth Educator
Elyria Grote started working for T.R.E.E. in September 2015. She quickly became passionate about her work as an outdoor educator as she saw the great effect the programs have on the students. She received an MA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Kent in Canterbury, UK. Her studies focused on environmental perceptions, which made it apparent that environmental education is crucial to our communities. Her work with several non-profits in the New Orleans area helped broaden her perspectives and gave her further insights into the necessity of the programs offered by T.R.E.E.
As a native New Orleanian she is thrilled that these programs are being taught to the younger generations.
Chris Lee – Development
Chris Lee started assisting T.R.E.E. with its marketing and fundraising efforts in June 2016 and is excited about helping fulfill its mission. He received a B.A. in Drama & Communications from the University of New Orleans and brings a passion for science communication, thought provocation and environmental activism to his work. His diverse background includes producing his own stage productions and events in New Orleans and Austin and working in advertising as a copywriter, strategist and trend researcher in San Diego. In Virginia, he helped manufacturers reduce their waste and convert to 100% recycled packaging with a sustainable packaging and recycling company, and he conducted grassroots fundraising under the sunny skies of Pacific Beach and on the frozen streets of Manhattan. Chris loves science podcasts, nature walks, avocados and is happy to finally be back home in New Orleans.
Andrew Walker – Earth Educator
Andrew Walker began working with T.R.E.E. in the fall of 2015 as an Earth Educator for the Earthkeepers, Sunship Earth and Sunship III programs. He began working with students in 2004 as a summer camp counsellor and continued to teach as a tutor and naturalist. He was raised in New Jersey and attended St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. In his free time he enjoys gardening, backpacking and carpentry.