EcoBlitz Team

Kimi Waite

Educator

Kimi Waite is a social justice educator and is passionate about inspiring and leading PK-12 students and teachers to take local action for global change. She's a 2019 Environmental Education 30 Under 30, awarded by the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), and is the 2021 California Council for the Social Studies Outstanding Elementary Educator of the Year.

An early career fellow in the UCLA Center for Diverse Leadership in Science in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, she is also involved with statewide policy initiatives as a steering committee for the University of California-California State University Environmental and Climate Literacy Projects. Kimi is a Civics Environmental Education Fellow with the NAAEE, and as the EcoBlitz team leader, is spearheading the expansion and scaling of EcoBlitz for her fellowship project. She taught the EcoBlitz microcredential course through Teachers College of San Joaquin in Spring 2022, which was co-designed with EcoBlitz teammember Jessica Lura. She is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sustainability Education.

Fields of Study & Technical Disciplines

Social Justice Education, Environmental Education, Culturally Responsive & Sustaining Pedagogy, Critical Pedagogy, Interdisciplinary Learning

Jessica Lura

Educator

Jessica Lura, a National Board Certified teacher, works with K-8 students, parents, and teachers so that teachers are supported and empowered as leaders and professionals and students develop the skills, attitudes, and knowledge necessary to be successful in today's global society. She leads professional learning around project-based learning and design thinking methodologies, how to integrate of technology and digital citizenship into the core curriculum, and how to design learning experiences that provide opportunities for problem-defining, problem-solving, and real world interactions. She helped co-design the EcoBlitz microcredential online course. An explorer at heart, she is a National Geographic Educator Certification Mentor.

Fields of Study & Technical Disciplines

Elementary Education, Environmental Education, Global Education, Professional Learning, and Curriculum Design

Rebecca Tarvin

Evolutionary Biologist, National Geographic Explorer

Dr. Rebecca Tarvin is an evolutionary biologist, a National Geographic Explorer, and an Assistant Professor / Assistant Curator of Herpetology in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. She studies the evolution of animals that acquire chemical defenses from their environment, including poison frogs, nudibranchs, and snakes. As a young girl she was known to fill kiddie pools with frogs so she could learn how to swim like them. Dr. Tarvin helped design the first EcoBlitz and was the Project Leader for EcoBlitz 2.

Scientific Disciplines

Biologist, Ecologist

Technical Disciplines

Adventurer, Computer Scientist, Educator, Researcher

Fields of Study

Poisonous Animals, Adaptations, Evolution, Genomics, Frogs

Anna S. Antoniou

Anthropological Archaeologist

Anthropological archaeologist Dr. Anna S. Antoniou draws on a mix of storytelling and archaeological methods to help communities across the globe regain crucial parts of their cultural heritage. She believes that understanding our trash can help us to make the world a better place. Her dissertation research uses evidence of prehistoric fishing and shellfish harvesting practices from ancient trash piles to help indigenous communities regain their legal fishing rights and revive traditional foodways. As a Cypriot-American, Antoniou's National Geographic Society grant-funded project brought her academic interests home. Antoniou conducted a 400-mile walking expedition around the island of Cyprus to gather narratives and images that pertain to the 40+ year-long segregation of the island and to explore the cultural and political dynamics of the division. Antoniou earned a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and is a 2016 National Geographic Young Explorer grantee.

Scientific Disciplines

Archaeologist, Anthropologist (Cultural)

Technical Disciplines

Educator, Researcher, Adventurer

Fields of Study

Expeditions, Political Geography, Indigenous Rights

Joe Cutler

Ichthyologist, Freshwater Conservationist

Dr. Joe Cutler is an ichthyologist and conservationist based in central Africa. He currently works with the Nature Conservancy in Gabon and over the past four years, has conducted seven fish sampling expeditions, collecting hundreds of fish species — including dozens new to science. Using this data, coupled with museum records, Cutler provides guidance to central African governments and conservation NGOs on balancing development and freshwater conservation. Cutler earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and currently serves as the president of the pilot National Geographic Explorers Chapter — a group based out of the San Francisco Bay Area. Cutler’s stories, writing and photographs have appeared in National Geographic’s Explorer magazine, National Geographic Learning, and on National Geographic Adventure's website.

Scientific Disciplines

Biologist, Ecologist

Technical Disciplines

Adventurer, Diver, Photographer, Researcher

Fields of Study

Lakes, Genetics, Evolution, Cichlids

Jim Bentley

2018 National Geographic Fellow, Educator

Jim Bentley is a lifelong student and educator who empowers kids to make the world a better place by integrating environmental literacy, civic education, and filmmaking with project-based learning. Currently, Bentley teaches 5th grade in Elk Grove, California. His students compose Curiosity Films, a studio making short educational films about things that matter. They have tackled a variety of topics ranging from landscape blight to light pollution, and from household hazardous waste disposal to improving middle school literacy rates. Bentley serves as a KQED Media LIteracy Innovator and is a National Faculty member for PBLWorks. He's contributed to books on teacher effectiveness and prosocial education and blogs for and consults with numerous edtech organizations and nonprofits. In 2017, he co-created the National Geographic Geo-Inquiry Process and was selected to serve as a National Geographic Fellow in 2018. Bentley has spent the past two decades exploring big ideas with young people—sometimes leading, sometimes following, yet always recognizing there’s more to learn.

Scientific Disciplines

Geographer

Technical Disciplines

Filmmaker, Elementary and Middle School Educator

David McGuire

Marine Biologist

David McGuire is a National Geographic Explorer, an Adjunct Professor at the University of San Francisco, and a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences. David is the founder and director of the Ocean Health and Shark Conservation non profit Shark Stewards. He is also a documentarian, notably producing the Emmy Award winning Reefs to Rainforest. For the first EcoBlitz, McGuire paired with schools in Los Angeles and contributed in the design of the trash survey.

Scientific Disciplines

Marine Biology, Environmental Health

Technical Disciplines

Sailing Captain, Dive Master, Filmmaker

Fields of Study

Ocean Health, Shark Conservation, Education, Public Health