Trainers Network

Volunteer facilitators lead two-thirds of Pop Ed workshops. We're always looking for passionate educators to join us!

Trainer Spotlight

Anita Lewis

Anita Lewis is a sixth grade social studies teacher at Westbrook Intermediate School in Friendswood, TX. She has been a Texas educator for over 25 years and is a current PhD candidate at the University of Houston in Professional Leadership. Anita found PopEd when she was in search of content and resources to support her new role as a middle school social studies teacher. She was so thrilled with the activities, information, and resources that she immediately signed up to be a trainer. Since joining the network in 2016, she has been an enthusiastic and passionate PopEd workshop facilitator.

Anita enjoys sharing PopEd resources with other educators at local, district, regional, state and national social studies conferences. Her ultimate goal is to actively engage the teachers the same way they should actively engage their students in developing an awareness of population issues and impact. Her favorite activities encourage movement and active discussion, including People on the Move, Eco-Ethics, and Take a Stand.

Augusto Macalalag

Dr. Augusto Macalalag is an Associate Professor of STEM Education at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA, where he is also the coordinator of general science, biology, chemistry, and mathematics teacher education programs. He is particularly interested in reform-based science and helping teachers integrate inquiry-based lesson design in their classrooms. In 2013, Augusto received the Steve Goldberg Faculty Development Award from the School of Education at Arcadia.

Augusto joined the PopEd trainer’s network in 2015 after attending a workshop at the Hershey Lodge in Pennsylvania. His favorite activity is Panther Hunt, because it “shows the complexity of human behaviors and intuitions, while imitating panthers, to get food in order to survive.” He also appreciates the way that the experiences of the panthers in their community can be mapped to the advantages and disadvantages that people face in their own communities.

Cathy Knoop

Cathy Knoop has been an Ohio educator for over 30 years, and a Trainer with PopEd since 2008. Now a retired elementary science teacher from central Ohio, Cathy continues to teach a Natural History course at Ashland University. She and her husband, Paul – both environmental educators – provide programs for adults and children on the natural world. Cathy has received a number of teaching awards including the Walt Disney Company’s American Teacher Award and National Conservation Teacher of the Year from the National Association of Conservation Districts.

Cathy is passionate about the issues of population growth and consumption, and believes they are important to address “if we want future generations to be able to enjoy our planet as we know it.” Cathy has found PopEd materials to be uniquely suited to addressing these issues: “Of any materials that I refer to when presenting workshops, Population Education’s are the most unique, and to me, the most relevant as we strive to prepare more global citizens.”

Cristina Valentino

Cristina Valentino has a broad teaching background, having served as a university professor, a K-12 teacher, and a principal in a K-12 school. She became part of the PopEd Trainer’s Network in 2007 and has since facilitated several workshops in the Florida area, including teacher pre-service classes at Jacksonville University as well as at a TEACH conference.

Cristina appreciates how the PopEd curriculum and workshops help participants think outside the box and incorporate new activities into their teaching. Equally important, the curriculum opens up the students’ mind to important issues concerning population: “It prepares our teachers with activities that make our students K-12 more critical thinkers about what is going on in the world right now.” Cristina’s favorite activities to facilitate include Earth: Apple of Our Eye and Panther Hunt.

Helen de la Maza

Helen de la Maza has been a trainer with PopEd for over 18 years, facilitating over 45 workshops throughout Southern California. Helen worked for many years at the Orange County Department of Education’s “Inside the Outdoors” program before working as a Curriculum & Instruction Consultant for a variety of nonprofit and governmental environmental and outdoor education agencies as well as teaching part-time.

Helen also facilitates workshops for Project WILD and Project Learning Tree, and when asked why she decided to add PopEd to that list, replied, “I was very interested in becoming more familiar with issues of overpopulation and sustainability…because that is the root of a lot of the problems humans, living things, and our planet face!” She loves the activity Take a Stand, where students indicate whether they agree or disagree with a statement read. Helen adds her own twist by sometimes having students take the stance that is opposite of their beliefs. “This helps the participants ‘take a walk in someone else’s moccasins’ and it brings them to a better and more thorough understanding of the complexity of the issues.”

Holli Gonzalez

Holli Gonzalez is the Science Instructional Specialist for the Bakersfield City School District in Bakersfield, CA and a 17-year veteran science teacher. She also works as an adjunct lecturer at California State University, Bakersfield, where she has conducted a number of Population Education workshops with her pre-service students since joining the trainer’s network in 2016. Holli is a NASA Solar System Ambassador and a current PhD candidate in Global STEM Education from Texas Tech University.

Holli’s favorite PopEd activities include Mining for Chocolate and Earth: The Apple of Our Eye, which she describes as a “big eye-opener” for her pre-service students. She conducts a PopEd workshop with her students every semester and appreciates the way her students are always excited about using PopEd resources in their own classrooms.

Howard Aprill

Howard Aprill is a Naturalist at Wehr Nature Center with Milwaukee County Parks in Wisconsin where he conducts environmental education and interpretation programs for all ages. Howard joined the Trainer’s Network in 2013 and has been enthusiastically presenting Population Education workshops ever since. In 2019, he was honored as Master Front-line Interpreter by the National Association for Interpretation (NAI).

After starting as a Fisheries and Wildlife Management major in college, Howard became “increasingly interested in the human dimensions of wildlife management and our relationships with natural resources.” Howard was inspired to join the PopEd Trainer’s Network after coming across the activity, Population Circle, while at work. He began using it in his nature center programming right away, and it continues to be his favorite PopEd lesson – he shares it at every workshop he presents! Howard has reflected, “When I started out world population was coming up on 6 billion. The lesson plan is now updated to reflect a global population of 8 billion.”

Jerry Zinner

Dr. Jerry Zinner became a PopEd Trainer in 2011 after hosting a workshop in his class and discovering the program. He has since completed over 40 Population Education workshops. Jerry is an adjunct professor in the Watson School of Education at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. He’s been in the educational field for over 50 years, starting as an elementary teacher in Pennsylvania.

Jerry’s favorite PopEd lesson is Who Polluted the Potomac? because it gets the biggest participant reaction, especially when he modifies the activity to make it local to the Cape Fear River. He states that in his workshops, “wherever possible, I strive to keep it local. If teachers can relate the lesson to anything local, it helps engage students and further the lesson.” He enjoys the hands-on and minds-on facilitations and stresses that the content in PopEd lesson plans and activities is so important – maybe now more important than ever.

Kate Silvis headshot, smiling, black background

Kate Silvis

Dr. Kate Silvis is a Professor and Chair of Education at La Roche University in Pittsburgh, where she has taught since 2006. Prior to working in higher education, Kate taught K-8 grades in Ohio and Pennsylvania public schools. Kate has been a key figure in facilitating PopEd’s Act48 programming in Pennsylvania. (Act 48 is a Pennsylvania law requiring teachers to earn professional development credits every five years). She has served both as a facilitator of PopEd’s Act 48 workshops and helped PopEd strategize how to expand Act 48 programming throughout the state.

Kate first connected with PopEd when staff offered to facilitate a workshop in her Social Studies and Science methods class. She reflects, “I had seen other people do these interactive activities and it looked like fun – I wanted to do it myself.” Kate also appreciates that PopEd lessons have a connection to children’s literature, knowing that elementary teachers enjoy using children’s books in the classroom.

Khodi Kaviani

Dr. Khodi Kaviani is an Associate Professor of Education at Central Washington University. He is particularly interested in how ideology and education intersect, Middle Eastern politics, and ancient Iranian culture. Khodi first joined the trainer’s network in 2014 after attending a three-day workshop on Bainbridge Island in Washington State; he was impressed by the way PopEd’s activities raise awareness about how people impact the environment.

Khodi has facilitated a wide variety of workshops for PopEd and has worked with pre-service and in-service teachers across a breadth of subject areas. His favorite lessons include Earth: The Apple of Our Eye, Mining for Chocolate, and Eco-Ethics. One of his favorite moments as a trainer was doing the lesson Waste A-Weigh, where food scraps are collected and weighed after each day’s lunch. By the third day, the group’s food waste had been reduced to the bare minimum. Khodi recalls the activity as a fond memory: “What a beautiful lesson!”

Lynda Deschambault headshot, smiling, trees in background

Lynda Deschambault

Lynda Deschambault is currently the Executive Director of the Contra Costa County Climate Leaders, a program she founded in 2007 that provides outreach tools and assistance to local government decision-makers to address climate change. She has more than 37 years of experience as an Environmental Scientist and Educator, and has worked on environmental analysis, community outreach, inspections, enforcement, pollution prevention and environmental cleanup. Lynda often focuses her efforts on working with schools, tribes and environmental justice communities.

Lynda is a veteran PopEd trainer, having joined the Trainers Network in 2001. Some of her favorite lessons include Earth: The Apple of Our Eye and People on the Move. She also likes Mining for Chocolate, saying “that one really hits home for me. Can you do it without damaging the cookie and what’s around it? Can you put the cookie back together again? I worked for the EPA for 20 years managing mountain top removal mining sites. We can’t mine the resources this way without it crumbling away, and in the lesson, you can’t take resources out without the cookie crumbling.”

Michael Jabot

Dr. Michael Jabot is a Professor of Science Education at SUNY Fredonia, where he has taught since 2001. Mike is involved in a number of science education initiatives, serving on the New York State Science Advisory Committee and the Lead Team for the Next Generation of Science Standards (NGSS). He has received the Chancellor’s Excellence Award in research and in 2019, was appointed a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor. Michael joined the PopEd trainer’s network in 2015 and has presented nearly 20 workshops!

Mike says that as a science educator, he has always sought to link science to its real-world impacts on people and the way people shape scientific issues. His favorite activities to frame these issues are People and Climate Change: The Data is In and Every Picture Tells a Story, because they are “INCREDIBLE opportunities to confront head on what we think we understand about the world around us by investigating the interaction between the Human Journey and the Changing Planet.” He enjoys seeing the way his pre-service students take PopEd activities into their own classrooms and expand even further on what they’ve learned.

Tawn Hauptli

Dr. Tawn Hauptli is a faculty member in the Education Studies Department at Mesa Community College in Mesa, AZ. She transitioned to working in higher education in 2001 after years working as both a preschool teacher and high school English teacher. She is a strong advocate of multicultural education and diversity, serving as the inaugural chair of the Human Relations Commission from 2001 to 2003 and earning the Mesa Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Spirit of Unity Educator of the Year Award in 2014.

Tawn joined the trainer’s network in 2017 after attending a workshop and appreciating the learning opportunities that it provided. Since then, she has facilitated workshops at many different college campuses and conferences. Her favorite activity to present is Panther Hunt, which she says participants always enjoy, and recently enjoyed facilitating Take A Stand for the first time, saying it “generated a lot of discussion, and allowed the attendees to process ways they might encounter issues with the topic.” Her most memorable moment as a PopEd facilitator was presenting a workshop at Arizona State University, West and discovering that the host professor was an old colleague of Tawn’s husband. The workshop went well, and “it was so much fun to share the content with a friend of many years.”