The DNALC's multi-disciplinary staff has experience in elementary, secondary, and collegiate instruction; biochemistry and molecular biological research; computer programming; design, photography, fine arts, and interior design; science journalism; public relations and development; and opinion research.

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Erin McKechnie

Middle School Educator

It was in the wilderness of the Champlain Valley, in Vermont, that I discovered a path to my future. Although I have always been concerned with the environment, it was an introduction course to botany that pushed me to enhance my scientific knowledge in the field. While living in Burlington and attending the University of Vermont, I began to explore nature preserves and became fond of hiking. Whether I was gathering specimens for plant collections, spending time on the trail of Mt. Mansfield, or in the library working, I was learning to appreciate the world around me.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Plant and Soil Science, I returned to New York and began working at the New York Botanical Garden. I worked with the species Bursera simaruba and devised suitable methods for seed scarification. I developed and carried out an experiment that examined the appropriate light intensity for proper regeneration of the species. I organized research and field guides for scientists to use while travelling through Micronesia. This information included species identification, as well as cultural history and ethnobotanical uses. In addition, I took part in a six-year experiment, known as the NYBG Soil Seed Bank Study, which examined the native and invasive species populations within the NYBG forest.

I am now interested in expanding my abilities and working with children. I believe there is a need for positive and passionate teachers in the educational system today. I find it rewarding to teach children about the world of science, and love how the information I share literally opens their eyes to the magnificent world that surrounds them. With literacy in the language of DNA, these young minds have already taken great steps towards a better future.

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