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We are currently in search of a new Executive Director as Alison Zajdel steps down after 15 years of working at Cope Environmental Center. If you are interested in the position, please read this job description and contact us.

(All pictures compliments of Greg Pyle Photography)

Alison Zajdel is the Executive Director at Cope Environmental Center and oversees operations and fund development. She has been a staff member since 2001 mostly recently serving as Development Director. Before coming to CEC she attended DePauw University majoring in Studio Arts. She has her certificate in Fund Raising Management from the Fund Raising School (Center on Philanthropy) and has completed training in planned giving, grant-seeking/writing, major gifts, and annual fund development. Alison contributes to our community by volunteering for a wide variety of organizations and sits on the Richmond Environmental Sustainability Commission. Alison received the prestigious Indiana Governor’s Award for Tomorrow’s Leaders in 2004 and has been an avid jump roper for 20 years!



Dana Risch is the office manager at Cope Environmental Center. She has a Bachelor degree in biology, with minors in Environmental Science, and in Anthropology from Indiana University East. Before returning to school Dana spent most of her life working in preschools and childcare, owning her own licensed daycare as well as working with several other programs. Dana sees opportunity at CEC to enable her to mesh both worlds together, passing on her knowledge of the natural world to children. Her face will usually be the first one that you see inside the door of Cope Environmental Center, and she is the go to person to get a message to any of us. When not at CEC, you will find Dana spending time with her family, reading, or gardening. She is very happy to be at CEC!




Aubrey Blue is the Program Director and focuses on writing curriculum and leading community, family, school and summer programs. Aubrey has a General Studies degree with a concentration in Natural Sciences and Mathematics from Indiana University East and oversees all programming at CEC. Aubrey became a Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) in 2005 and is also certified in other programs including, but not limited to: Project Learning Tree, Growing up WILD, Indiana Master Naturalist, Healthy Water, Healthy People, Hoosier Riverwatch, and Project Underground. She is on the Board of Directors, the steering committee for Wayne County Foundation’s Women’s Leadership Conference, and a past member of Cardinal Greenway’s Wayne County Steering Committee and the Family Earth Day Celebration planning committee (10 years). Aubrey has classroom teaching experience and truly excels in outdoor and environmental education. Her ability to connect with young students benefits CEC through all the program seasons.


 Traci Lewis is CEC’s Volunteer Coordinator.  We are thrilled to have her “back” as she worked at CEC roughly 10 years ago!  Traci has spent the last 26 years in the film industry directing actors and extras in films, commercials, and TV series.  She uses these skills to wrangle our volunteer corp- pairing each person with their skills and talents.  Traci lives on a farm in Centerville and enjoys farming, gardening and taking care of her animals.  “I’m excited to be back.  CEC gives me to chance to do the same type of work (coordinating the masses!), but while helping the environment and my community.  Wow- it’s great to be back at CEC!”




 Brent Evans is the Facilities and Grounds Coordinator. He received his Associate’s Degree in Conservation Law from Vincennes University and his Bachelor’s Degree in General Science from Indiana University East.  He has taken classes in forestry through Purdue Extension and is well-versed in the care and development of natural areas.  Before becoming a year-round employee, Brent served as a summer intern. His knowledge of natural resources and equipment maintenance makes him an invaluable addition to the team. Brent lives in Centerville with his wife Courtney.






Ruth Coffey is the Programming and Development Coordinator and works in both the planning and delivery of children’s programs and fund development. She obtained her degree from Ball State University majoring in Communications and Broadcast Journalism. With a diverse background working in both the commercial and non-profit sectors, she brings a skill-set for teaching, organization, and fundraising to CEC operations. She enjoys the challenge to nurture children’s innate passion for our outdoor home through creative activities. Living in Houston, Texas and native to Indiana, she chose Richmond as a vibrant community to come ‘home’ to. When not on land for her day job, she loves the water! Swimming and all things aquatic, theater, creative writing, hiking, cooking, herb gardening, travel or a good front-porch discussion are some of the activities she enjoys.


kaitlyn-website-pictureKaitlyn Blansett is the Community Outreach Coordinator. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and History from Indiana University in Bloomington. Kaitlyn has programming experience working with children in nature as a counselor at CEC in the summers of 2012-2014 and 2016. She spent the summer of 2015 vetting materials for the Living Building Challenge project that will open as the Sustainable Education Center in the fall 2016. She has a Certificate for the Project Learning Tree Program. Outside of CEC, Kaitlyn enjoys hiking, reading, knitting, and spending time with her cat, Harvey.



Cara Tegeler is our Visiting Naturalist whose position is funded by the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust. Cara is with us for 9 months to learn the environmental education world, complete a legacy project on the property (wetland restoration), help with programs, and spend time with other environmental organizations exploring the field. She has her Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnology from Indiana University East and a Certificate for the Project Learning Tree Program, she will also be attending the Indiana Watershed Leadership Academy in the Spring. Cara enjoys cooking, hiking, camping and fishing.




Board of Directors

Cope Environmental Center has an amazing volunteer Board of Directors! They work well with the staff and are passionate contributors to the community and the programs of CEC. All board members can be reached via email using the following address equation:

Cope Environmental Center’s Board of Directors meet on the 4th Tuesday of each month at 4:30pm. If the meeting falls on or near a holiday, the meeting time and date might be rearranged to accommodate schedules.

Karen Black
Ed Cope
Marianne Cope
Susie Ferrell
Robert Green
Teri Grossman

Susy Hasecoster
Pat Heiny
Cheri Jetmore
Kate Johnson
David Jose, Emeritus
Randy Kirk
Francie Klinge
John Kuhn
Marie Cope Nicholson

Ali Carter-Rivera
Neil Sabine
Tim Smock
Alan Spears
Jim Tanner
Gary Turner
Brad VanVleet