Board of Directors

The Arkansas Environmental Education Association is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the membership. Directors serve for a tenure of two years. Any member of AEEA can seek election as a member of the board. The current Board of Directors is listed below.

AEEA Board of Directors 2017

Leah Saffian, President | Washington County Environmental  Affairs and Recycling | 2016-2017

Leah Saffian is the Education Coordinator & Deputy zero-waste-fairyDirector for Washington County Environmental Affairs.   Leah received her BA from the University of Texas at Dallas before relocating to Fayetteville, Arkansas to become a member of the 2012 Energy Corps, and was subsequently offered a full-time position.  Leah enjoys providing hands-on education programming & presentations to classrooms, civic groups, and the general public in Northwest Arkansas.  Her artwork was featured in the NWA Upstream Art contest as part of an effort to educate citizens about storm water best management practices.  She is also currently serving as President on the AEEA Board of Directors.  Leah enjoys being outdoors, cooking, playing piano, and making art in her free time.


Rob Beadel,  Vice President | Project Learning Tree | 2016-2017

Rob Beadel is in his 8th year as the Director of Forestry Education for the Arkansas Forestry Association Education Foundation (AFAEF). In this position he serves as the state coordinator for Project Learning Tree (PLT) and also coordinates landowner education programs throughout the state. In 1995, Rob graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Arkansas Tech University. He has been involved in Environmental Education since 1995 having worked for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, and the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. Rob had served on several environmental education boards at both the state and national levels. He has served on the Arkansas Environmental Education Association board of directors completing two terms as the Board President and on the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Affiliate Steering Committee. He recently completed a three-year appointment as the PLT Coordinator Representative on the Education Operating Committee for National PLT. Rob resides in Benton.


Liz Philpott, Secretary | Keep Arkansas Beautiful | 2016-2017

Liz Philpott grew up in Russellville, AR and obtained her B.A. in Public Relations from the ard-lizUniversity of Central Arkansas, and her M.A. in Communications from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock (UALR). Liz joined Keep Arkansas Beautiful (KAB) in August 2012, and serves as their Volunteer Program Manager. In this role, Liz plans, directs, and manages KAB’s state-wide volunteer program, which engages thousands of citizens to voluntarily involve themselves in community improvement programs. Liz earned the Keep America Beautiful Community Environmental Professional certification, and was honored with their Young Professional Award. She is also a Certified Volunteer Manager. In the fall of 2015, Liz taught Volunteer Management, an upper-division elective in the Nonprofit Leadership Studies Program, at UALR. Liz enjoys volunteering her time to help advance environmental practices across The Natural State. She regularly volunteers with community cleanups, and serves on several local and national committees. She also serves as the President for the Central Chapter of the Arkansas Volunteer Coordinator’s Association. Liz currently lives in North Little Rock and enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending time with her dog, Moose.


Teresa Sidwell, Treasurer | Benton County Environmental Division | 2016-2017

“I have been with the Benton County Environmental Division for 6 years. I am a proud member of the Arkansas Recycling Coalition, the Arkansas Environmental Education Association board of directors and the steering committee for Northwest Arkansas Stormwater Education. I am a licensed Illegal Dumps Control Officer and certified Hazardous Materials Operator.

I oversee educational and recycling programs as well as manage the activities of a successful team of Environmental Enforcement Officers. I have made it my mission to make Benton County a model for environmental sustainability in Arkansas by successfully managing recycling events and developing other environmental programs such as Green Team Benton County, Environmental Education for Adults and School-aged Children, Adopt-A-Road, Waste Not Want Not Business Recycling and Rain Garden Installations and Education.”


Kristina Root Carranza | Mississippi River State Park | 2016-2017

Kristina Root Carranza is the Park Superintendent of Mississippi River State Park.  She developed her love of nature and the great outdoors from growing up in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains.   She received her Environmental Science degree from the University of Central Arkansas.   Her career has allowed her the opportunity to share her passion of Arkansas’ great natural resources with a large audience. She has worked with State Parks at several different parks including Pinnacle Mountain State Park and Daisy State Park.  Even when she is not working, she is volunteering to try to pass on a ‘spark’ of inspiration for the natural world.  She is a Cubmaster for the Marianna Boy Scouts of America unit and serves on many other delta regional boards.


Sarah DeVries | Arkansas Highway and Transportation Dept. | 2016-2017

Sarah DeVries is an Environmental Analyst III for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) section of the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) Environmental Division. As part of her work, Sarah assists AHTD central office and district personnel plan with public participation, pollution prevention measures, appropriate BMP selection and application, and compliance with environmental regulations for the NPDES MS4 permit and statewide General permit. Previously, Sarah worked on watershed protection efforts at the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and Arkansas Rural Water Association. Sarah earned her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, AR and her Masters degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts . Sarah’s passion for environmental protection began as a child when her family became ill from drinking contaminated well water. This early experience inspired her to focus on addressing water quality and involving stakeholders in pollution prevention measures.


Tiffany Dunn | Recycle Saline | 2017-2018

Tiffany Dunn has been with Recycle Saline: A Solid Waste District since 2012 and serves as Tiffany Bio Pic 3the Marketing and Education Coordinator.  In this position, she oversees the award winning, YEA! Team program working with teachers and students on their recycling programs in their schools.  She developed and annually produces Re-Fashion Bash “Where Green Is The New Black” a recycling fashion show where students create designs out of recycled and reusable material for the runway.

Tiffany received her B.A. in Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.   She is very committed to her community, actively serving on the Board of Directors for Keep Bryant Beautiful, Benton Matters, and recently AEEA.  She is also a member of the Arkansas Recycling Coalition and SWANA.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her daughter visiting park, hiking, and traveling.


Christian Garcia | PLANIT NOW and GIS/IT Technician, City of Springdale | 2017-2018

Christian Garcia currently works for the City of Springdale, Arkansas, where he is part of thelink  Information Systems department working as a GIS and IT Technician providing IT support and completing GIS projects for the city. He also works for the non-profit PLANIT NOW, where he is responsible for the Young Meteorologist WeatherFest held annually at the Fayetteville Public Library based on the free online game The Young Meteorologist Program. The festival’s goal is to promote STEM education and careers, severe weather preparedness, and environmental education. He also serves on the PLANIT NOW Board of Directors. Christian holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Earth Science and Geography from the University of Arkansas, specializing in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and cartography with a minor in Geology. Christian is also a member of the Benton County Green Team and a volunteer for the Youth Mappers organization. Christian looks forwarding to bringing his expertise with technology, earth science, and GIS to the AEEA Board and put it to use. Christian lives in Springdale and enjoys sports, being outdoors, and is an avid weather enthusiast. Feel free to contact Christian by email at christian.garcia@planitnow.org


Shannon Joyce | SWEPCO Energy Efficiency Program | 2016-2017

Shannon Joyce is a CLEAResult Program Consultant for AEP SWEPCO Arkansas’ Commercial & Industrial Energy Efficiency Program. She assists businesses by reducing their peak demand on their electric bill through energy efficiency projects. Prior to joining CLEAResult in 2013, she served a two year term as an EnergyCorps Outreach Coordinator at the Applied Sustainability Center at the University of Arkansas. Shannon previously served on the Executive Committee for the Ozark Headwaters Sierra Club and has been active in the Green Economy Group in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Currently, Shannon is a member of CLEAResult’s Sustainability Committee and the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce’s Green Jobs & Urban Ag and Construction & Developers Committee. She graduated from the University of Arkansas – Little Rock in 2002 with a BA in Liberal Arts. Shannon lives in Fayetteville and has two kids, Aspen and Ivy.


Becky Olthof | Ozark Natural Science Center | 2016-2017

Becky Olthof is the Program Manager at the Ozark Natural Science Center (ONSC) where she’s enjoying the opportunity to show guests what’s right here in our Ozark big backyard. Her passion for inspiring environmental education began at an early age – she rallied up the neighborhood kids to inform them of ways to protect and enjoy nature. She received a degree in Zoo Animal Technology in Gainesville Florida and coupled this with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. Her first “real” environmental teaching experience was as a summer camp instructor and AmeriCorps member at The Cincinnati Zoo. Since then, she has been the head of several zoo Education Departments including The Jackson Zoo in Mississippi and The Chattanooga Zoo in Tennessee. She also served as President for Directors of Volunteers in Agencies (DOVIA). From earthworms to elephants, there isn’t an animal she doesn’t care for and can’t speak passionately about.


Trish Ouei | Benton County Extension Office | 2017-2018

Trish Ouei is an urban stormwater educator at the Benton County Cooperative Extension Service under the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. Trish has a BS degree in Health Education and a Master’s in Educational Technologies.  She has served as treasurer, VP, and President for AEEA and is re-joining the BOD after taking a couple of years off.  Her career experience allows her to not only look at environmental education from the water quality side, but also with a public health eye and a solid waste management perspective. She has conducted and coordinated local, state, and regional trainings, multi-day conferences, and community education programming.  Trish enjoys the hustle and bustle of Northwest Arkansas but still loves getting to roam thru the country side like she did growing up in the Arkansas River Valley.


AEEA Staff Member

Kim Lovely | AEEA, Program and Membership Manager | 2016 – Present

It is my pleasure to work alongside the AEEA Board of Directors to help increase environmental literacy in the beautiful state of Arkansas. I hold a B.S. degree in Environmental Chemistry from Northern Arizona University. Aside from being a stay at home parent, I have been employed in industry and government as a laboratory analytical chemist. I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana where I taught chemistry, biology and general science at the secondary level. In my free time while a PCV, I traveled throughout parts of West Africa as much as possible, and also worked to establish a school library that was easily accessible to students. Upon observing firsthand the effects of deforestation and erosion, I worked with an NGO to establish a community tree nursery. Stateside, I enjoy volunteering in my community especially sharing hands on lessons on minerals and fossils at local schools upon invitation. I also offer a short Ghanaian culture program as part of the Peace Corps third goal. Having journeyed through nearly all of the US and backpacked on a shoestring around more than 30% of the world, I sincerely believe education is the key to conservation and preservation.

As the Program and Membership Manager of AEEA, I am committed to the growth of the organization and the environmental movement. AEEA truly provides excellent opportunities to network with professionals, become more informed, volunteer with talented people, and to share educational resources. If you or even your affiliate are looking to collaborate with an association dedicated to informing the public about our remarkable environment, contact me at ArkansasEE@gmail.com about obtaining a membership today. We can do this together.