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Executive Leadership

Dr Lenore Tedesco

Executive Director

As the Executive Director, Lenore is responsible for leadership of The Wetlands Institute. She is developing an expanded vision of the Institute and implementing its mission with the staff and board.  Lenore is responsible for the development of research, conservation and education programs, Institute public relations and fundraising.  She works with the board, staff, and community to sustain a group of year-round volunteers, and promoting special events.  Dr. Tedesco will continue to announce new initiatives and partnerships as the Wetlands Institute enters its next phase of growth and development.

Information on Dr. Tedesco

Dr. Tedesco’s vision statement 

One Page Bio


Dr Lisa Ferguson

Director of Research and Conservation

As the Director of Research and Conservation, Lisa oversees a diverse coastal and wetlands research program that supports the vision of The Wetlands Institute. Lisa collaborates with visiting scientists, university students, and numerous partners in the development of conservation-focused research, and works closely with the Institute’s Education Program. Her research explores the habitat use, health, and behavior of coastal birds to address management and conservation issues.

Samantha Collins

Research Scientist 

Sam joined The Wetlands Institute as a research scientist in April 2019 to assist with ongoing efforts to monitor sensitive nesting species and assist in the development of conservation-focused research. Her research focus involves avian habitat use, nesting ecology, behavior and response to habitat restoration and enhancement efforts. Sam received her Bachelor’s degree from University of Vermont and earned her Master’s degree from Clemson University.


Brian Williamson

Research Scientist

Brian was hired in October 2013 to oversee Diamondback Terrapin research and conservation projects at The Wetlands Institute.  Brian graduated with a Master’s degree in Biology from Marshall University and has studied Diamondback Terrapins and Eastern Box Turtles.

Environmental Education

Brooke Knapick

Director of Educational Program Development

As Director of Educational Program Development, Brooke is responsible for expansion of environmental education programs for children, youth and the general public at The Wetlands Institute and throughout southern New Jersey. Her primary responsibilities include developing unique place-based environmental education curriculum and content across all ages, assessing program impact and seeking new opportunities to consistently strive for excellence as the Institute develops nationally competitive educational programs.

Danielle Meeker

Aquarist / Environmental Educator

Danielle is responsible for taking care of the aquarium exhibits and marine animals. All animals are well-fed, safe, happy, healthy and fun to watch thanks to her weekly maintenance and supervision. Danielle also assists with educational programs both at the Institute and on Traveling Environmental Education and Group Outreach Programs.

Erin Rawls

Outreach Coordinator

As Outreach Coordinator, Erin brings live animals and interactive Traveling Environmental Education and Group Outreach Programs to schools, libraries, campgrounds and other organizations throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Erin is also responsible for the coordination and management of the Science Education at Sea (SEAS) Program in Wildwood Crest, NJ and assists with all educational programs at The Wetlands Institute.

Development & Communications

Julie Karavan

Director of Development

Julie joined us as Director of Development in March 2022. She is a certified fundraising executive (CFRE) with a Master’s in nonprofit management. Julie’s extensive fundraising experience includes service to federated nonprofits including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity and Covenant House. A longtime resident of the Jersey shore, Julie focused her extension teaching and practice on marine science and environmental education programs during her tenure with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension – 4-H Youth Development Program. She looks forward to generating support for our infrastructure projects, experiential learning programs, research, and conservation initiatives.

Devin Griffiths

Marketing and Communications Specialist

Devin joined The Wetlands Institute in May 2019, jumping with both feet into the role of Marketing and Communications Specialist. In this capacity, he’s responsible for managing the Institute’s communications–highlighting the Institute’s work in research, conservation, and education, keeping the public up-to-date on news and events, and helping ensure that its message and mission are widely received and enthusiastically supported.

Rae Griffiths

Office Assistant

Rae Griffiths started at the Institute in the summer of 2020, welcoming visitors as part of the front desk team. She began supporting office operations shortly after and now works closely with the Director of Development assisting with donor database maintenance, maintaining memberships, and communicating with all of the Institute’s friends and supporters.


Bonnie Girard

Director of Finance and Administration, retiring 7/2022

As Director of Finance, Bonnie manages the accounting / bookkeeping activities of the Institute and ensures that we are adhering to all Governmental Laws and Regulations and Accounting Standards.  Bonnie’s various other responsibilities include:  HR and payroll related issues, insurance coverage for both the employees and for the institute, technology updates/training support and other administrative requests from the Executive Director.

Michelle Ruggeri

Director of Finance

Michelle joined us in March 2022 as Director of Finance. Michelle brings over 15 years of experience in non-profit finance, with an extensive background in creating and implementing non-profit financial system infrastructure, including grant reporting systems. She spent several years at Habitat for Humanity on the Operational Excellence Team, as a financial specialist helping over 200 local Habitat affiliates strengthen their internal financial processes. While focusing most of her career in the Camden and Philadelphia nonprofit industry, Michelle has lived at the Jersey Shore for her entire life and is excited to be bringing her financial skills back to South Jersey at The Wetlands Institute.

Terrie Campbell

Financial Administrative Assistant

Terrie assists the Director of Finance and Administration with Accounting / Bookkeeping duties for daily, weekly and, monthly posting as well as reviewing, reporting, and reconciling accounts receivable and accounts payable. Terrie also assists with HR, insurance & administrative needs for the Institute. She works with the Administrative Assistant overseeing facility operations and Admissions & Front Desk activities as well as with the maintenance technician for facility needs. Terrie has also been known to jump in as a maintenance tech when needed. 


Anne Brickley

Director of Administration

Anne Brickley joined The Wetlands Institute as Director of Administration in March 2022. Anne has 10 years of Human Resources and Operational Management experience, including over five years in the nonprofit sector. Anne has numerous community interests including working part-time as a lighthouse keeper for Cape May MAC and several years prior having worked with the Disabled American Veterans in Del Haven. Anne is now looking forward to supporting The Wetlands Institute in her new role and working with the community who so graciously support TWI.

Jeff Dix

Maintenance Technician

Jeff Dix, a South Jersey native, joined The Wetlands Institute as our Maintenance Technician in February 2020. Growing up along – and often in – South Jersey’s bays and tidal creeks, he quickly developed a great love of the outdoors – a love that he’s never lost. Having over 30 years of experience in carpentry (he recently retired from the carpenters’ union), as well as in property maintenance, construction, landscaping, plumbing and electrical, Jeff brings a wealth of knowledge that will keep The Wetlands Institute’s buildings and property in tip-top shape for all our visitors.

Kimberly Dmytro

Tidepool Shop Manager

Kimberly works part-time in the Institute’s Tidepool Shop. She joined us in 2017.  She and her staff keep shop’s shelves stocked with fantastic books, art, toys, apparel, games and guides that appeal to any age group.

Barbara Parks

Administrative Assistant

Barabara joined The Wetlands Institute staff in June, 2021 and got right to work. She is responsible for providing administrative support to Institute operations and managing visitor services and front desk staffing. She also coordinates the Institute’s volunteer programs and assists with special event planning and facilities rentals.

Stephanie Stroble

Front Desk Receptionist / Admissions Coordinator

Stephanie works part-time at our front desk. In addition to greeting and admitting visitors, she answers phone calls and provides information about our programs.