Meet Our Science Educators

Hannah Gelroth


Director, School Programs
& Teacher Professional Development

Hannah grew up in nearby Orford, New Hampshire, and spent her childhood exploring the woods, fields, and wetlands of her home. Since then, she has explored the tide pools and sandy beaches of Maine, watched the moon rise over the canyons in New Mexico, hiked sections of the Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota, and kayaked the San Juan River in Utah. Hannah continues to explore the world around her, whether she’s teaching kids about local habitats, collaborating with inspiring classroom teachers, working on her family’s farm, or going for a walk on the many trails around her home in Plymouth.

Hannah has experience teaching a wide range of programs to audiences of all ages and brings her enthusiasm and love of the outdoors to her work. Hannah received a Master of Education through Antioch University New England, a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Education from the University of Minnesota – Duluth, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Earlham College. Hannah is a Highly Qualified Teacher and is a certified teacher in both New Hampshire and Vermont. She has been part of the VINS team since 2007. Prior to that, she was an Environmental Educator at both Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Minnesota and Ferry Beach Ecology School in Maine.

Michelle Amato


Science Educator

Michelle is a nature fanatic and loves to share her enthusiasm with everyone in her life. While growing up near Cleveland, Ohio, you could find her playing in creeks or camping with her family. Throughout her life she has found that traveling around the world and exploring with native people is the way to truly immerse yourself in something amazing. From studying whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez, to conducting reef assessments on the Great Barrier Reef or working with the Amerindians in wildlife clubs in Guyana, Michelle finds that stepping out of her comfort zone, exploring a new ecosystem and sharing her newly gained knowledge with others is a great way to excite people to discover and investigate the natural world on their own.

Michelle has been a middle school science teacher for 11 years in North Carolina and has moved up to Vermont to start a new career at VINS. Her passion and desire to work with teachers and students and connect them to the natural world through inquiry led her to this wonderful place. Michelle earned her Master’s in Education from Miami University of Oxford, Ohio through Project Dragonfly. Michelle also was an adjunct professor for Miami University teaching online graduate school courses. Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science in Middle Childhood Education from Kent State University in Ohio. Michelle is a Highly Qualified and certified teacher and cannot wait to continue to educate teachers and students about the natural world through inquiry-based learning. While she is not in a classroom, you can find her exploring her new home in Vermont, running trail marathons, hiking, skiing or engaged in nature photography.

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Science Outreach Educator

Marie grew up on the coast of Santa Monica, CA, where she found great joy in the outdoors. She spent her time exploring and building forts in the canyons with her family and friends and searching for creatures in the tide pools on the coast. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology & Sociology from Lake Forest College, her infatuation with the outdoors and the unfamiliar took her on many journeys. In Tanzania, she discovered her love of birds which brought her  to Yosemite National Park to study the effects of fire on spotted owl and great grey owl populations, to American Samoa to study songbirds, New Mexico to work on a hawk migration project, and Idaho to conduct nesting surveys of northern goshawks. With these projects came the opportunity to teach the public about the work being done, and thus blossomed Marie’s love for sharing her knowledge about the natural world with others. 


Marie has spent the last three years bringing her enthusiasm for nature into and outside the classroom. She worked at schools in Santa Cruz, CA, teaching students about nature journaling through studying bird populations in their schoolyard, and at an outdoor school in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. Her most recent adventure brought her to Vermont to work as an Environmental Educator at VINS. Marie is thrilled to work closely with students and teachers engaging them in the natural world. In her downtime, she enjoys exploring the sights and sounds of the woods, settling in with a good book, or cooking up a tasty meal!