Meet the Staff

John Shiels, Program Coordinator

  For the past 15 years, John has been an avid conservationist, working in the field of environmental conservation, promoting environmental stewardship through research and education. John earned a Bachelor of Science with a genetics concentration and a Master of Arts in teaching biology at SUNY Stony Brook. Since 2016, John has been working for the OEEP. During that time, he has accumulated many years of experience teaching and coordinating in-school and field science programs for K-12 students. Throughout his tenure with the OEEP, John has held roles such as special services educator, special services coordinator, and more recently, he moved into the position of program coordinator. Additionally, John is a United States Coast Guard licensed captain and a certified SCUBA diver. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, boating, and playing ice hockey.

Peggy UngerPeggy Unger, Exploratory Enrichment and Excursions Coordinator

Peggy has more than 36 years of experience coordinating, planning and implementing science based in-school and field-based programs for school districts on Long Island.  She also coordinates the Exploratory Enrichment Program which offers more than 600 programs beyond outdoor education. She is the Western Suffolk BOCES liaison between Long Island school districts and the New York State Science and Engineering Fair and SUNY Stony Brook Institute for STEM Education. Water-based activities, horticulture and travel fuel her passion for nature.

Jill LauJill Lau, Program Assistant
Prior to working at the Outdoor Environmental Education Program, Jill volunteered for 12 years with the Boy Scouts of America and as a PTA representative, bringing Western Suffolk BOCES Arts-in-Education and Exploratory Enrichment Programs to the Smithtown School District. As a Program Assistant, she is thrilled to support programs where students get outdoors to experience hands-on science and learn about their environment. She feels fortunate that she can continue to support the Exploratory Enrichment Program enhancing student’s learning experiences in and out of the classroom. In her spare time, she enjoys the out-of-doors, whether she is gardening, playing golf, traveling or just exploring the beautiful resources right here on Long Island.

Jennifer Cressy, Connequot River Outdoor Learning Lab Site Director

Jennifer joined the OEEP in 2001. She remains grateful for the opportunity to teach grades PreK through 12 about science and the natural world. She continues to be inspired by her students, scientific discovery, and a commitment to a sustainable planet.   Jennifer is a lifelong learner and she embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion in public education. The ocean continues to keep her anchored to her family, dogs, and home on Long Island.

Mary Peterle, Caleb Smith Outdoor Learning Lab Site Director

Since graduating from Roger Williams University with a degree in environmental studies and theater, Mary has dedicated much of her career to environmental education. As an AmeriCorps alumni, she shared her love of the ocean with underserved student communities in New England. She worked as a naturalist and educator at the Long Island Aquarium and has also conducted real-world science field work on the invasive Asian Long Horned Beetle Eradication Program. Through her work with the OEEP, she continues to encourage enthusiasm for the natural world in students grades K-12. In her spare time, Mary loves performing Shakespeare, birding, and traveling.

Noah Colamussi, Sunken Meadow Outdoor Learning Lab Site Director

Noah has dedicated more than 10 years to outdoor education, fueled by his passion for all things related to the natural world. His journey led him to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Humanities. Following his graduation, Noah continues to pursue his dual passions of education and the outdoors. His initial connection with nature presented itself while working as the lead educator on a local farm, where he supported the learning needs of the community and regional schools, while also caring for resident animals. In addition to his educational endeavors, Noah is an accomplished videographer. He has applied his unique skills to benefit various organizations, including the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, The Barefoot Gardener, The Hudson River Biological Monitoring Program, and Stony Brook University’s SOMAS. Noah specializes in shooting and editing videos focused on environmental justice and preservation. When not immersed in the natural world, Noah enjoys collecting memorabilia related to his favorite classic movie monsters.

Michael Langer, Special Services Coordinator

Mike’s journey in the field of environmental conservation began with childhood fascination, inspired by the captivating world around him and the charismatic educators who brought it to life, such as Steve Irwin and Sir David Attenborough. This early passion for the natural world evolved into a lifelong commitment, fueling Mike’s educational and professional endeavors. His hands-on experience as an educator at the Long Island Aquarium allowed him to share the wonders of the natural world with a diverse audience. Mike further refined his skills while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Stony Brook University. Eager to deepen his impact, he returned to academia, achieving a Master of Arts in Teaching Biology and a Science Teacher Certification in December of 2022. Beyond the classroom, Mike finds joy in hiking, fishing, caring for his animals, and exploring new horizons through travel. Today, his journey continues, driven by a profound love for the natural world and a dedication to inspiring others to appreciate its marvels.

Erin Kelly, Special Services Educator

While enrolled at Binghamton University, Erin spent her winter and summer breaks working at an elementary school in the Brentwood Union-Free School District. After graduating from Binghamton University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science and Biology, she began her post-college career as an Environmental Scientist at Walden Associates. A year later, Erin decided to change careers and revive her love of teaching by accepting the position of Special Services Educator with the OEEP. Now, she teaches K-12 students about various important topics related to Environmental Science, such as species identification, invasive species impacts, and human impacts on the environment. During her free time, Erin can be found hiking around Long Island, playing Dungeons and Dragons, or baking for friends and family.