Meet the Leaders

2020 Leaders

Dr. Drew Lanham, Keynote Speaker

Clemson University

Keynote Speaker Alison Hawthorne Deming

J. Drew Lanham (B.A. Zoology 1988; M.S. Zoology 1990; PhD Forest Resources 1997) is a native of Edgefield and Aiken, South Carolina. In his twenty years as Clemson University faculty he's worked to understand how forest management impacts wildlife and how human beings think about nature. Dr. Lanham holds an endowed chair as an Alumni Distinguished Professor and was named an Alumni Master Teacher in 2012. In his teaching, research, and outreach roles, Drew seeks to translate conservation science to make it relevant to others in ways that are evocative and understandable. As a Black American he's intrigued with how culture and ethnic prisms can bend perceptions of nature and its care. His "connecting the conservation dots" and "coloring the conservation conversation" messages have been delivered internationally.

Drew strongly believes that conservation must be a blending of head and heart; rigorous science and evocative art. He is active on a number of conservation boards including the SC Wildlife Federation. South Carolina Audubon, Aldo Leopold Foundation, BirdNote and the American Birding Association. He is an inaugural Fellow of the Audubon-Toyota Together Green initiative and is a member of the advisory board for the North American Association of Environmental Education. Drew is a Fellow of the Clemson University Institute for Parks and was most recently named a 2016 Brandwein Fellow for his work in Environmental Education.

Dr. Lanham is a widely published author and award-nominated poet, writing about his experiences as a birder, hunter and wild, wandering soul. His first solo work, The Home Place-Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature (Milkweed Editions, Minneapolis MN) will be published in 2016-17.


Dr. Renee Lertzman, Workshop Leader, Master Teacher

Dr. Renee Lertzman marries the worlds of academia and practice by translating psychological and social science research insights into clear, applied and profound tools for organizations around the world, seeking to engage diverse populations, communities and individuals. 

Dr.  Renee Lertzman, psychologist and founder of Project InsideOut, will share highlights from the emerging field of climate psychology, and key insights to apply as we confront the realities of climate change

Jason BreMiller, Institute Director

Phillips Exeter Academy

Institute Director Jason BreMiller

Jason BreMiller teaches English and serves as the Sustainability Education Coordinator at Phillips Exeter Academy. He has taught extensively within the scope of field-based environmental humanities courses, including courses in Environmental Literature, Adventure Literature, and The Philosophy and Literature of The Hunt.  As Sustainability Coordinator, Jason supports the ten student environmental groups on campus, develops sustainability curriculum, and teaches a project-based design thinking class. A former NOLS Instructor (National Outdoor Leadership School) , Jason continues to develop curriculum for and lead place-based field excursion, most recently to Iceland.  He has presented and written on the intersection of Harkness pedagogy and experiential education, and his primary professional and intellectual interests involve the relationship between indoor and outdoor classrooms and orienting his students to the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change. His essays have appeared in NAIS, The Leader, and (forthcoming). Jason lives in McConnell Hall with his wife Molly and their two children Rosie and Alden.

Stephen Siperstein, ELI Co-Leader

Choate Rosemary Hall

ELI Co-Leader Stephen Siperstein

Dr. Stephen Siperstein has been teaching English and Environmental Studies for over a decade at various secondary and higher education institutions, including the University of Oregon, Stonehill College, and Vail Valley Academy. He currently lives and teaches at the Environmental Immersion Program at Choate Rosemary Hall, where he designs place-based curricula in the environmental humanities, co-teaches courses with educators from other disciplines, and organizes extra-curricular environmental programming. He also teaches in the English Department and directs the school’s Writing Center. His research and publications focus on developing effective strategies for interdisciplinary climate change education, and he is co-editor of the 2016 volume Teaching Climate Change in the Humanities. Stephen is also a poet and photographer, and his work has appeared in publications such as The Hopper, Saltfront, Poecology, and Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. A central goal across Stephen’s writing, teaching, and advocacy work is to bring attention to the personal and emotional dimensions of climate change and to empower young people to take action in their communities. His current joys include tagging monarch butterflies and exploring the forests and coastlines of New England with his family.

Susee Witt, ELI Co-Leader

ELI Co-Leader Mark Long

Susee Witt has been a teacher and teacher coach for more than fifteen years in independent high schools and universities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Trained in Art History and American Studies at Stanford University and Middlebury College, her particular expertise lies in American art of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and in the connections among American Transcendentalism, landscape painting, race and gender in 19th Century American culture, and environmentalism. She currently serves as English Department Chair at San Francisco University High School, where for the past three years she has been facilitating the redesign of the writing program and developing interdisciplinary courses on the environment and climate change with colleagues in science. Prior to UHS, she spent almost a decade at The Branson School in Marin County, California, where she delighted in using the proximate redwoods of the Mount Tamalpais watershed to inspire students’ writing and love of the natural world. She finds joy in coaching both new and veteran teachers, and partnering with educators looking to find ways to include climate and environmental topics and materials in their courses. Susee was a participant in the very first ELI, and is eager to help this year’s participants discover the shared sense of purpose, critical knowledge, and comradery that she has found there.

Previous Leaders

Jennifer Pharr Davis, Presenter, ELI 2016

Presenter Jennifer Pharr Davis

John Elder, Author, 2016 ELI Workshop Leader, Middlebury College

Author and 2016 ELI workshop leader John Elder

Scott Russell Sanders, Author, Indiana University, 2016 ELI Keynote Address

Author and 2016 ELI keynote speaker Scott Russell Sanders

Clare Walker Leslie, author and artist, 2016 and 2017 ELI Workshop Leader

Author, artist and 2016 and 2017 ELI workshop leader Claire Walker Leslie

Patrick Thomas, 2016 Workshop Leader, Milkweed Editions Publishers

2016 ELI workshop leader Patrick Thomas

Robin Wall Kimmerer, SUNY ESF, 2017 ELI Keynote Speaker and Workshop Leader

2017 keynote speaker Robin Wall Kimmerer

Linda Hogan, 2018 ELI Keynote Speaker

2018 keynote speaker Linda Hogan

Dr. Laird Christensen, ELI Master Teacher in Residence, Green Mountain College, VT

ELI Master Teacher in Residence. Laird Christensen

Allison Hawthorne Deming, 2019 Keynote Speaker

Mark Long, ELI Co-Leader

Rochelle Johnson, ELI Master Teacher in Residence

Annie Merrill, ELI Master Teacher in Residence