Herring Gut Learning Center Staff

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TOM MULLIN

Executive Director

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Herring Gut Learning Center announces Tom Mullin as their new Executive Director.

Tom’s career has been working in the environmental education/natural resource management and open spaces arena.  Whether it was in the non-profit environmental education, land trust community, municipal, regional, state, or federal agency, land management and protection, or teaching environmental education/interpretation and resource management/ administration, his professional life has revolved around education and how to make it relevant and a vital role in people’s lives.  Truly the intersection of natural sciences and education at the core of it.  Herring Gut will benefit from his broad educational background and extensive national environmental education/interpretive services nonprofit management experience.

Mullin is former Associate Professor of Parks and Forest Resources at Unity College; Fellow of the National Association for Interpretation & Vice President for Administration; President of the Maine Woods Forever Board of Directors.

“Organizations like Herring Gut Learning Center with its diverse programs and projects along with its national, regional, state, and local partners, plays a vital role in educating the public on marine   ecosystems.   All the while protecting and ensuring the ecological and cultural resources surrounding the human interface are sustainable for the future” 

Tom’s experience and background lend itself perfectly for assisting Herring Gut to its next level of collaborative partnership reaching new audiences for its educational/outreach efforts. This background is ideal to help take the organization to its next level of educational outreach success all the while protecting the long-established successes and operations of the past.   

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SALLY BYRNE CRUSAN

Development and Marketing Coordinator

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Sally is originally from the Boston area and has been living in Port Clyde full-time since 2016 with her husband Ron. Sally is a lifestyle enthusiast and enjoys all that Port Clyde and mid-coast Maine has to offer. Her background includes providing administrative support in a variety of educational and non-profit settings. Additionally, she has extensive experience in the fields of development, relationship building and special event planning. Sally was a founding board member of the Rowan County Community Care Clinic, President of the Framingham Creative Arts Council and has volunteered countless hours for a variety of non-profit and community organizations. With a passion for lifelong learning, Sally is excited to bring her networking and development skills and experience to Herring Gut Learning Center.

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PATRICK BURNHAM

Educational Programs Coordinator

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Patrick returns to his Maine roots after spending several years on the west coast.  He is a graduate of the University of New England with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science.  His experience includes teaching science at a private school in Redlands, CA where he developed and taught STEM curriculum compliant with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) using Discovery Education program resources to 4th through 8th grade as the only science teacher in the school.  He was prior Assistant Program Director at Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI) in Fox Landing, Catalina Island, CA.  During his tenure at CIMI he led students on educational snorkels, kayaks, hikes, and tide pool excursions. He taught classes on marine mammals, deep-sea, fisheries, marine debris, oceanography, plankton, islands ecology, and astronomy as well as labs on fish, sharks, and invertebrates, and algae using touch tank organisms and dissections. Patrick aims to motivate all of his students through their challenges, even if that challenge is a s simple as putting on a wetsuit and making a jump into cold, dark water for a night snorkel.  He is skilled in accommodating a variety of learning styles, physical, mental, and behavioral disabilities, and experience levels.  At CIMI is was also an aquarist, auspice diver and company captain.  He was responsible for the collection and care of aquarium and touch tank organisms. Patrick teaches primarily using hands-on, immersive approaches that follow the fives E’s: engage, explore, explain, elaborate , and evaluate.  His lessons often include interactive labs that enforce an understanding of the scientific method. He has skillfully tailored his teaching style to accommodate our current global situation, transitional teaching to online platforms.

National Institute for STEM Education Micro-certification in “Establishing the Virtual Classroom” recognized Patrick in August of 2020 and he was awarded a “Bringing STEM to Life” Grant from Azusa Pacific University in March 2019.  Patrick is certified as a rescue diver and is experienced in waterfront lifeguard skills, first aid, CPR, AED and oxygen administration through the American Red Cross.  Patrick is excited to be back in Maine and is excited to explore the St. George peninsula.

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ALAINA ZYHOWSKI

Aquatic Science / Aquaculture Educator

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Alaina is an enthusiastic educator with 14 years of experience in diverse settings with a focus on grades 3-8. Her favorite positions include teaching aquatic studies at YMCA Camp Willson, general science at public elementary schools, and teaching earth science, biology, and chemistry at a private middle school in Buffalo, New York.

She earned her B.S. degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in water quality management from the Ohio State University and her M.S. degree in Childhood Education from Canisius College. She has a love for getting people excited about and involved in the outdoors. While in college, she planned a whitewater rafting trip to the Youghiogheny River that also included a river clean up.

Alaina’s international experience spans England, Costa Rica, Poland, and France. In Costa Rica, she was thrilled to explore neo-tropical wet, dry, and cloud forests and research on Pollinators of Begonias and Microclimates. A highlight of Alaina’s natural resources trip to Poland was learning about horizontal planting of willow tree branches to extract pollutants from the ground water and keep the nearby watershed clean.

Alaina visited Maine in the summer of 2021 and was hooked ever since she spent time kayaking on the Kennebec River and learned about its two tide cycles as it nears the Atlantic Ocean. She can’t wait to ‘dive in’ to the biodiversity of Maine’s aquatic ecosystems and help design the new Fresh to Salt curriculum focusing on the Kennebec River.

Alaina feels energized when she finds students’ individual motivators, helps them reach their learning goals, and inspires youth to explore potential career paths. Her personal mission is to educate children and adults about the environment and the importance of protecting its watersheds and wildlife. She hopes to inspire students to grow as proactive stewards of the earth.

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KERIANNE GWINNELL

Aquatic Science / Aquaculture Educator

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Kerianne graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Marine Biology. She previously worked as a marine science instructor near Charleston, South Carolina. Here she found that she was able to combine her two passions, marine science and teaching. She became the director of the Clemson University Marine Science Camp which provided hands on school and summer camp programs. During her time with Clemson’s Youth Learning Institute, Kerianne also worked with environmental education programs that focused on freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems.  She returned to New England in 2020 to work for Mass Audubon. She then created and implemented a STEM-based, maritime camp program on Lewis Bay for the Cape Cod Maritime Museum.  Kerianne enjoys sharing her understanding of the natural world with others and making environmental education accessible to everyone. When she is not teaching, you can find her birdwatching and hiking with her husband and their two dogs.  Kerianne is excited to be a part of Herring Gut Learning Center and to share all that Maine’s Midcoast has to offer.