(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 through the Women’s Fund of the Wayne County Foundation, the Wayne County Alternative Gift Fair, and the Treehouse Children’s Museum as well as volunteering for many other community not-for-profits. 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. Dana is a biology student at Indiana University East and will complete her Bachelor degree, with minors in both Environmental Science and Anthropology in June 2014. Before coming to CEC Dana spent many years working in childcare, owning her own licensed daycare as well as working with other programs. Hers is usually the first face you will meet inside our door, and the go to person when you want to get a message to any of us. When not at CEC you will find Dana spending time with her family, gardening, hiking through the woods, working with her animals, or reading a book. She is very excited to be at CEC!


Aubrey Blue is the Program Director at Cope Environmental Center. Aubrey has a Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University East and oversees all programming at CEC. Aubrey became a Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) in 2005, and has attended numerous other workshops and programs adding to her experience. Five summers prior to becoming full-time, Aubrey was an integral part of the summer program staff working with pre-K through high school students. Most of Aubrey’s work at CEC is to write curriculum and lead community, family, school and summer programs.  She also is involved with other community organizations.  She is a planning committee member of Family Earth Day Celebration, on the Board of Directors, part of the Cardinal Greenways Wayne County steering committee, and on the steering committee for Wayne County Foundation’s Women’s Leadership Conference.  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 the new CEC 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!”


Mary Jones is CEC’s Program and Development Coordinator. A recent Environmental Studies graduate from Earlham College, Mary brings her experience in environmental education and passion for community sustainability as she assists with programming and coordinating annual fundraising efforts. In her spare time, Mary can be found biking around the area and exploring new soup recipes to make with fresh, local veggies.


Brent Evans is the Facilities and Grounds Assistant. 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.


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
Adam Forrest
Robert Green
Teri Grossman
Pat Heiny
Cheri Jetmore
Kate Johnson-Keep
David Jose, Emeritus
Randy Kirk
Francie Klinge
John Kuhn
Marie Cope Nicholson

Ali Carter-Rivera

Neil Sabine

Tim Smock

Alan Spears
Tom Swinford
Jim Tanner
Bill Thistlethwaite
Brad VanVleet