Center for Environmental Education

Dorna Schroeter
Program Coordinator


This year marks my 35th year as director and 36th year at BOCES. I am very proud of how the program has grown from serving 6,000 students in my first year to a high of 50,000 in recent years. It makes me feel old me when I meet parent chaperones and teachers who tell me they came to Madden as a child and had me as their instructor! How can that be, I still feel 23!

I grew up in the Catskills, but before coming here I lived in Colorado for a year and a half where I did my graduate work. I loved living in Colorado and had many adventures hiking and camping in the Rocky Mountains!

I have had some wonderful experiences while here at BOCES including working with wolves, swimming with dolphins and manatees, working on 2 whale rescues and traveling to Belize where I learned more about the rainforest, slept on a beach and dove on some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world.

My most favorite part of my job is the Marine Ecology Program I run in Key Largo twice a year. In the fall I take middle school students and in the spring, high school students.  Part of the program includes swimming with the dolphins and sea lions, camping on a mangrove island and spending time in an undersea habitat.

My most memorable experience however, is still the two weeks I served as an official for the sport of biathlon in the 1980 Winter Olympics.  While there I was chosen to march in the opening ceremonies, I cross country skied with the King and Queen of Sweden, hung out with the famous “miracle” hockey champions and met athletes from around the world.

We have a wonderful staff, incredible programs and an amazing facility so enjoy your experience with us!

Catherine Leist
Program Assistant

I am originally from Kent Lakes, New York and grew up with the Madden Center right in my back yard. I am also a proud graduate of Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES New Visions Environmental Science and Sustainability. During my time with New Visions, I attended class at TeaTown Lake Reservation in Ossining, NY where I volunteered time helping to create "Wildflower Woods" a native plant meadow within the reservation.

After realizing my passion for the environment and community outreach, I attended Paul Smith's College of Liberal Arts and Science located in the Northern Region of the Adirondack State Park of New York. During my time at Paul Smith's I acquired a B.S. in Natural Resource Management and Policy with a minor in Natural Resource Sustainability and spent my summers working for Summer Camps, NYS Parks and Recreation, as well as in Cold Spring, NY as an Organic Vegetable Farming apprentice. Prior to becoming Program Assistant, I worked in Scarsdale, NY in Marketing/Sustainability Education. In my spare time I am an avid hiker and constant explorer of New York!

Rachel Wade
Program Assistant

Hello, my name is Rachel. The past five years working for the Center for Environmental Education has been an extraordinary experience! Working with all the different school districts and children in our community has further deepened my love for educating our youth about the environment.

I was born and lived in Massachusetts until second grade. This was one of my favorite places to live because I could always find a fun place to play outside.This home was probably the source of my love for the outdoors.Having also lived in Florida and upstate New York, I have had the opportunity to continue to explore and further enhance my love for the outdoors . I went to college at Russell Sage and earned my degree in biology, environmental science and education. During college I worked at a country club in Garrison New York where I created my own summer camp program with an environmental twist. I also spent two summers working for the NYSDEC at their summer camp in the Catskills. I recently completed my master’s degree in business administration to strengthen my ability to assist the BOCES program.

I am looking forward to working and learning with you and having another exciting and fun filled year here at Madden.

Colin Remick

Hello my name is Colin Remick and I had the pleasure of joining the Center For Environmental Education in early 2016 as an Assistant Naturalist.  In May of 2015 I graduated from The University of Kansas with a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in Comparative Geography. Being in Kansas gave me a chance to study and explore the prairie lands of the Midwest.

Following my graduation I had the pleasure of working as an Outdoor Education Instructor at a camp on Cape Cod, allowing me to explore a whole new environment, but most importantly work with students of a variety of ages and levels of experience in the great outdoors.  Many of these students never had the chance to take their classroom teachings out into the real world to do hands-on interact with nature.

As a kid myself I grew up in Scouting, receiving my Eagle Scout rank in 2010. Scouting instilled in me a lifelong dedication to conservation, outdoorsman ship, respect for animals and a desire to foster a more mature understanding of nature in myself and my peers.  Having grown up camping and spending a lot of time outdoors I look forward to continuing to investigate the many different parts of the natural world and sharing these experiences with young people in both our school programs and summer camp. I look forward to the opportunity to bring the lessons and materials available in this position to the classroom and beyond to help bridge the gap between students and the natural world.

Lauren Barbieri

Hello! My name is Lauren Barbieri. I've been with the Center for Environmental Education since March 2015 and have had a wonderful time meeting the children of the Hudson Valley and helping them understand the natural world around them.

I spent my childhood exploring the woods of Massachusetts before heading to the University of New England in Maine to study Marine Biology. After some time working on a fisheries monitoring project in Long Island Sound, I went back to school for a Master's degree at the University of Connecticut in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology. While working on my master's, I took an internship as an educator at the Cape Cod National Seashore and fell in love with environmental education and interpretation. This led me to an educator position at a state park in Delaware and eventually, to New York!

I'm excited to be part of the CEE team and to be able to provide science and environmental based educational experiences to children all over the region. I consider such experiences crucial to a child's understanding of the world, as well as their personal health and happiness. I hope to inspire children to see the connections between themselves and the world around them, to help build an environmentally-literate world.

Kathleen Fish

Hello! My name is Kathleen Fish and I joined the Center For Environmental Education team in early 2017. I am so excited to be here and share what I know. I grew up in Southern Virginia mostly, I've also spent time in England, Tennessee, and Montana. I was home-schooled growing up and went to college at George Mason University, outside of Washington D.C. I graduated in 2015 with a degree in Environmental Science.

I first fell in love with nature in Eastern Tennessee where I blazed trials, built tree houses, and explored the land behind my yard. I was a Girl Scout for most of my life, earning the Gold Award in 2010. I spent 2016 serving with AmeriCorps in Montana where I made many trips to visit Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons National Parks. I love being on the water; kayaking, canoeing, or just hiking around a lake, by the water is my favorite place to be. I also love to read and do hand crafts, including knitting, crocheting, sewing, and needle felting. 

Iris Niwinsky
Senior Office Assistant

Hi, my name is Iris Niwinsky. This is my sixth year with BOCES and I am thrilled to be a member of the Environmental Education team. Before coming to BOCES, I worked for 8 years as an office assistant and a Kindergarten Teacher Aide at Grafflin Elementary School in Chappaqua.

I am based at our Yorktown campus and am available to answer any questions you may have regarding the many programs offered by the Center for Environmental Education. I process all state aid reimbursement for environmental field

trips and in-school consultants, so please call me with any questions regarding the aid process and filling out the forms.

I have lived in Amawalk for the past 30 years with my husband, George, and my children, Elana and Paul. My children think it is appropriate that I’m working in environmental education since I was always sending them outside to explore.

I am excited to be a part of this quality program that provides an important service to children of our region. I look forward to the upcoming school year and to working with our great team!