Angela has a long history with The Nature Institute. She grew up on a property adjacent to the Olin Nature Preserve in Godfrey, IL. She and her neighboring friends used the preserve as a playground of sorts by hiking trails, visiting the waterfalls, and playing flashlight tag in the woods. TNI holds a very special place in her heart.
Before becoming the executive director at TNI, Angela graduated Alton High in 1985. She attended the University of Mississippi where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Finance in 1989. Since then, she has worked in finance for such companies as Talbots, Reebok, and Fox Sports. Angela has a unique mix of professional leadership with business strategy. She has over 20 years of experience in managing a business.
Angela is dedicated to TNI and its members. She is devoted to growing the TNI experience and making it a better place. She believes in a sense of community and is an advocate for the nonprofit. Angela looks forward to continuing on and has several projects she is working towards completion. She is focused on a maintenance stewardship plan to better understand and control invasive species, starting a greenhouse program, working with the education team to increase opportunities in our community, and extending TNI outreach efforts in the Riverbend area.
Amy, an Alton native, received her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations through the Speech Communication department of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2011. Upon graduation, she began working for the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau to assist in promoting tourism to the Riverbend area. Employed with the bureau, she gained experience working with media outlets, municipalities, donors, and the community to promote local sites.
The Nature Institute hired Amy in 2013 to work as Outreach Coordinator to help communicate their mission of preservation and education and then given the new role of Director of Outreach in 2016. She leads efforts through in-print and social media, marketing and grant research, large outreach events such as the Riverbend Earth Day Festival, and inspiring member/donor gifts. Amy often spends her free time practicing yoga, biking, enjoying local music, and exploring the trails in TNI’s preserve. Environmental sustainability and preserving natural resources and ecosystems have always been a passion of Amy’s and she is honored to be advocating for a non-profit that is dedicated to these causes.
Eric was hired in the spring of 2018 and looks forward to maintaining and improving the land managed by The Nature Institute. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Lindenwood University and attended grad school at the University of Illinois. Eric has researched the fauna of ephemeral wetlands across the state of Illinois and in east-central Missouri and the effectiveness of the aerial application of herbicide to treat invasive bush honeysuckle. Eric has worked as a natural heritage resident with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and has held several positions with the Illinois Recreational Access Program.
Eric's passion is increasing native biodiversity by removing non-native invasive species, restoring ecological disturbances, and facilitating ecosystem resiliency and sustainability.
Ramona was hired in the summer of 2015 and is very excited to become a part the education team. She received a degree in Biology from McKendree University and has over four years of experience in environmental education. In 2014, she became a Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) through the National Association of Interpretations. Some places Ramona has interned include the Cincinnati Nature Center in Milford, OH, and the Dunes Learning Center in Chesterton, IN. She also served as a seasonal interpreter at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville, IL for two seasons.
Ramona loves working as an environmental educator and believes that the best way to save our planet is to instill a love and respect for nature in children and adults of all ages through firsthand experience and exploration.
In the Spring of 2017, Jacob graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. It was during his college years where he truly learned to appreciate the joy of teaching others. Jacob teaches martial arts at Grogan’s Academy of Martial Arts in Edwardsville, Ill. He grew an appreciation of helping others, particularly with expanding their knowledge and understanding of the world around them. This is what drove Jacob’s interest towards The Nature Institute. Having grown up in a rural environment and having a love for the outdoors, Jacob has always strived to have a career that combines outdoor recreation and learning. While at The Nature Institute Jacob plans to bring forth exciting and educational subjects/programs for members and visitors to enjoy.