Welcome Our New Executive Director

We are thrilled to introduce our new Executive Director, Elizabeth Schmitz. Her first official day on the job will be March 6th. Elizabeth is a native Oregonian, but until recently has been the driving force behind numerous environmental education initiatives in Kentucky.

Elizabeth brings to the position extensive experience in environmental education, sustainability, and connecting the public with their local environment. As the Executive Director of the Kentucky Environmental Education Council (KEEC), Elizabeth counted among her signature accomplishments leading the development and implementation of the Kentucky Environmental Literacy Plan, Kentucky’s 2015- 2020 Environmental Education Master Plan, and the 2014 survey of Kentuckian’s Environmental Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviors. Under Elizabeth’s leadership, KEEC successfully applied for and was the third state to receive accreditation for Kentucky’s Professional Environmental Educator Certification program through the North American Association of Environmental Education.

Schmitz, a Certified Master Environmental Educator, holds a Bachelor of  Science in Geography with a Minor in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon and a Master of Science from Western Kentucky University. She also holds a Permaculture Certificate from the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center in Sonoma County, California.

According to Elizabeth, her passion for agriculture began when she enrolled in an urban farm course at the University of Oregon in 1997. For Schmitz farming represents the intersection of her interest in science and the real-world need to feed and nurture people. Her graduate thesis research focus was a geospatial and cultural analysis of farmers’ markets in Kentucky. She was a founding Board Member of the Southern Kentucky Regional Farmers’ Market, a producer-only farmer’s market in Bowling Green, Kentucky and served as Board President of the Kentucky Association for Environmental Education.

Last year Elizabeth and her husband returned to Oregon, where they look forward to enjoying the scenic beauty of her home state. When she is not on the farm or out in nature, you’ll probably find Elizabeth tending to her own kitchen garden. She is thrilled to have been selected as the new Executive Director and looks forward to the challenge of stewarding the Sauvie Island Center to new heights.

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Elizabeth.