Officers / Staff

Marc Fasanella • Founder, Education Director •
Dr. Marc Fasanella has been an educator at the University level for nearly three decades, most recently as a Visiting Professor of Ecological Architecture, and Design in the Sustainability Studies Program of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. He holds a PhD in Art & Art Education from New York University where he wrote his doctoral dissertation The Environmental Design of Jones Beach State Park, which delved into the aesthetic, economic, geologic, political and environmental aspects of the Park’s initial construction. His MA from NYU in Technology and Industrial Education concentrated on using industrial skill and passive solar architecture to produce socially responsible design. Marc holds permanent certification from the New York State Education Department in Art, Industrial Arts, and Technology Education. Throughout his undergraduate training he apprenticed himself to the trades of estate gardening, restoration carpentry and stone masonry. An exhibit curator and author of works on Art, Craft and Design, his recent book about his father Ralph Fasanella: Images of Optimism was published by Pomegranate Press in the Fall of 2017.

Rachel Stephens • Agro-Ecology Director •
Rachel was born and raised on the east end of Long Island where she currently owns and runs Sweet Woodland Farm in Hampton Bays.  At Sweet Woodland she grows organic produce in addition to raising chickens, rabbits, and sheep.  Her educational background in horticulture has been strengthened by professional work as an estate gardener, in wholesale plant nursery management and her time spent as a farmer. Rachel is a passionate teacher of homesteading skills such as knitting, gardening, home canning and animal husbandry. 

Jerome Lucani • Director of Community Development •
As an East End artist, Jerome's work focuses on “the fragile, alive beauty of Nature that exists as art all around us”. As an entrepreneur with an MBA from George Washington University, he founded “Carre Bleu Voyages”, a group of travel agencies based in Paris. His exploration of countries such as Costa-Rica, Ethiopia, French Polynesia, Kenya, Morocco, the Reunion Island, the Seychelles, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, and Uganda, opened his eyes to our humanist responsibilities in a deeply interconnected world. Think globally, and act locally. Be the change you want to see in the world. These two axioms have led Jerome to join the staff of ECI.

Jeff Schultz • Digital Media Director •
Jeff earned his B.S. in Atmospheric Sciences from Cornell University. He has worked as a Climatologist at Cornell University’s Northeast Regional Climate Center, and later moved to New York City to work in private weather consulting. Born and raised on the east end of Long Island, Jeff has a strong connection to its natural woodlands and waterways. He has served as head instructor for the Town of Southampton's windsurfing and stand-up paddleboarding program, as well as the Town of Southold's swimming program. Jeff exhibits his nature and surf photography in east end galleries, and windsurfs and stand-up paddle surfs at Ponquogue Beach.

Shannon Stimpson • Managing Director •
Shannon was born and raised in Hampton Bays. From his childhood home on Tiana Bay, he formed a deep connection with the marine environment, and the organisms that live in our local waterways. After receiving a Science Laboratory Technology degree from S.C.C.C., he interned at the Bimini Biological Field Station in the Bahamas under the direction of Dr. Samuel “Doc” Gruber, a world famous pioneer for shark research and preservation.  With a strong technology background, Shannon brings his experience with control system programming, electronic system integration, and project management to his role at ECI. His abiding interest in permaculture, marine ecosystems, and a plant-based lifestyle drew him to commit his technical expertise, energy, and enthusiasm to supporting ECI’s mission of education and community outreach.

Taylor Knoedl • Farm Intern Director •
Taylor is a recent graduate of the Sustainability Studies program of Stony Brook University with a B.A. in Environmental Humanities. Much of his academic career was spent outside of the classroom; serving as the Managing Editor of the Stony Brook Press, helping to found Stony Brook’s Greenhouse and Gardening Guild, and hosting a funk program on the University’s radio station. After graduating, Taylor embarked on a career in the photovoltaic solar industry which quickly revealed an ethos of corporate profit margin over sustainable business practice. Having spent the past season as a farm apprentice in the Hudson Valley, Taylor looks forward to working with ECI serving the people who inhabit the planet, instead of people who wish to profit from the planet.

Angela Stimac-Lapeer Director of Cultural
Angela has spent the past three years working in retail design and management within ethical clothing manufacturing, directing the visuals and merchandising for American Apparel's Eastern Canada stores. Born and raised in a small, sustainable community in rural Ontario, she grew up in the garden, on the lakes, and in the woods. Angela studied art history at Concordia University and spent her first few years in Montreal working on the planning and execution of small and large scale culinary events, both in Montreal and Paris.  She is very interested in the culture of food driven by sustainability, an ethical and ecological farm-to-table supply chain, community building efforts, and protecting our natural waterways and habitats. 

Suzanne RugglesDirector of the Nature Lyceum
Suzanne "The Barefoot Gardener," is on a mission to dissuade people from using pesticides, insecticides, and other damaging elements on their land.  Through her work she educates them about the harm caused by lawns (which destroy wildlife habitat through the use of harmful chemicals and subdue native forest or grassland).  She focuses on the native ecosystem, removing invasive plants (including lawns) and “nativizing” landscapes to encourage biodiversity.  A speaker at The Nature Lyceum for more than15 years, she has led presentations to schools, civic, and environmental organizations, as well as appeared on TV and in film.  A published author on the effects of the suburban landscape, the dangers of overdevelopment, and the benefits of native plants, she sits on The Board of Directors for The L.I. Pine Barrens Society, and spent ten years on the Board of The Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons. She has seen, first hand, the tragedies that befall wildlife caused traditional landscape practice. She has been honored as a “Champion of the Wild” by the Rescue Center, and is the recipient of a “Source Water Protection Award”, sponsored by: The Nature Conservancy, The Neighborhood Network, the L.I. Pine Barrens Society, and the Suffolk County Water Authority. The property surrounding her home is certified by the National Wildlife Federation as an official Backyard Wildlife Habitat.

Anne Moyer • Treasurer, Wellness Director •
Anne received her Ph.D. in Social / Health Psychology from Yale University.  She is an Associate Professor in the Social and Health Area of the Psychology Department and Faculty Director of the Honors College at Stony Brook University. Her research focuses on psychosocial issues surrounding cancer, medical decision-making, the psychology of research participation, and meta-analysis. She is co-editor of a new book, The Psychology of Friendship, published by Oxford University Press. Anne’s personal path to wellness involves time spent with horses, dogs, and cats, as well as her human family enjoying cooking, yoga, and stand-up paddle boarding.

Debbie Johnson • Director of Accounting •
An unflappable keeper of accounts Deb has worked as a bookkeeper and office manager on the East End for more than 20 years.  A curious soul she studied Biomedical Photography at Rochester Institute of Technology, Environmental Biology at L.I.U. Southampton, and Accounting at Suffolk County Community College.  She was raised on Long Island, loves yoga, Standup Paddle Boarding, and Mother Earth, and is working on exercising her green thumb.  Her work with ECI draws upon her deep concern for the environment, strong commitment to her home community and keen knowledge of business management.

Sean Deery • Financial Associate, Research Assistant •
Sean earned his Associate's Degree in Business from Suffolk County Community College in Spring of 2017 and will be attending Stony Brook University this Fall pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and a minor in Environmental Design, Policy, and Planning. While at SCCC, Sean served as the Student Representative for Tree Campus USA, an active member of the Backyard Garden Group, interned for the SCCC Office of Sustainability, held office as the Vice President of the Western Region of New York for Phi Theta Kappa International Honors Society (PTK) and President of the Alpha Eta Psi Chapter of PTK. For his dedication to sustainability and campus activities, Sean was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award, the Phi Theta Kappa All-New York Academic Team, and the Coca Cola New Century Scholar Award. Sean is excited to work with ECI as he attends Stony Brook.

Mia Fasanella • Secretary, Community Outreach •
Mia is a senior anthropology major at SUNY College at Oswego. She received her Permaculture Design Certificate at Punta Mona Center for regenerative design and botanical studies in Costa Rica and later travelled to Benin, West Africa to study Permaculture at the Songhai Center. Mia has worked professionally as a Yoga Instructor, is an avid sailor, and brings her strengths as a scholar of food culture, health and well-being to her work at ECI.


Affiliated Faculty

Dr. Scott Carlin
Associate Professor

Dr. Scott Carlin is an associate professor of geography, faculty member of LIU Post’s new master’s program in environmental sustainability, and Director of the LIU Post Center for Sustainability. He recently served as Co-Chair of the 66th United Nations Department of Public Information / Non-Governmental Organization Conference held in the city of Gyeongju, Republic of Korea from May 30 – June 1, 2016, the first UN DPI/NGO Conference held in Asia. The Conference aimed to end poverty, protect the global ecosystem, ensure human rights as well as prosperous and fulfilling lives for all, as part of a new sustainable development agenda to be achieved by 2030. According to Dr. Carlin “we have reached a critical threshold, where global citizenship has transitioned from something we might do as individuals to something that we must do as individuals. In this new era of climate change what happens to one, happens to all”.

Dr. Carlin, a member of Southampton Town’s Sustainability Advisory Committee, has worked on a variety of sustainable development projects on Long Island, including environmental mapping of breast cancer, green buildings, wastewater management, as well as climate issues and renewable energy.  He is also co-author of Ecology Worldview, published in the International Handbook of Emotional Healing: Rituals and Practices for Resilience After Mass Trauma.

Jennifer Keller
Science Educator

A science educator for more than 15 years, Jennifer currently teaches AP Environmental Science and Earth Science at Southampton High School, as well as serving as secondary level Science Department coordinator for the Southampton Public Schools.  With an academic background in marine science and decades of field work in the Long Island Bioregion’s natural, social and political environment, she creates multiple touch points for her students as they learn about how they integrate with the local natural environment, and the interconnectedness of all systems that sustain life. In 2016, Jennifer was recognized as a New York State Master Teacher and is engaged in a four-year term as an expert STEM teacher working to develop teacher expertise in the areas of content, pedagogy, and students’ social milieu.  Jennifer also serves on the Southampton Town’s Sustainability Committee, ensuring that Southampton Town integrates climate change based resiliency, groundwater protection, and use of appropriate technology / best practice land use as the community evolves.  Passionate about empowering students, teachers, and community members through knowledge and support, she is also a mindfulness instructor and certified permaculture designer.

Dr. Sharon Pochron

Dr. Sharon Pochron teaches Ecotoxicology, Ecology, and Conservation Genetics for the Sustainability Studies Program of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. At SBU she created the Earthworm Lab where her students investigate the role of environmental toxins, like acid rain, Roundup, and fertilizer on earthworm health. Based in the Life Sciences Greenhouse at SBU, this research involves undergraduates at every level: from planning, to data collection and analysis, cumulating in publication. Dr. Pochron received her Bachelors degree from Franklin and Marshall College in both anthropology and biology and her Doctorate from the University of New Mexico in anthropology and biology. She specialized in baboon foraging behavior and statistics, publishing more than 20 peer-reviewed papers involving the behavioral ecology of lemurs, tarsiers, and baboons. She has also studied the levels of heavy metal concentrations in local sea life.  Dr. Pochron writes about science and animals for Highlights, Student Science, and Muse Magazine.

Martha Weller
Garden Environments

Martha holds a BA in Environmental Design, Policy, and Planning from Stony Brook University as well as a Certificate in Landscape Design from the New York Botanical Garden.  Creative expression through problem solving is at the heart of Martha’s being, and transfers into her work as a landscape designer and project coordinator.  She has supervised large-scale municipal landscape projects working with the New York City Parks Department and the Army Corp of Engineers on the development of storm-water management and wetland restoration plantings. Her landscape design work specializes in formal native and perennial gardens, blended native landscapes, revegetation, wetland, grassland, meadow, and woodland planting design. Martha works locally through her estate gardening and landscape design company Garden Environments.


Advisory Board

Richard Casabianca
Historian, Preservationist

Jennifer Garvey
Development Manager for Long Island, Deepwater Wind

Dan Gulizio
Former Executive Director, Peconic Baykeeper

Laura Luciano
Graphic Designer, Slow Food Advocate

Alfred L. Scherzer, MD, EdD, FAAP
Clinical Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, Weill Cornell Medical College



Michael Fasanella
Restoration Carpentry Apprentice