Director of Education: PreK-12 Programs
Candace is a scientist, science outreach specialist, and an educator; she has served as Blandy’s Director of Education since 2006. As the Director of Education, she melds her science research and science education experiences to create and administer environmental science education programs for preK-12 teachers and students. Candace’s responsibilities include leading the Blandy education team, developing and leading professional development programs for preK-12 teachers and science communication programs for student and professional scientists, and forming and nurturing partnerships with other education institutions (such as local schools and school divisions; state, federal and national agencies; and colleges and universities).
Candace earned B.A. and M.S. degrees in botanical science from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and an ABD in Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation Biology from the University of Hawai`i-Manoa. Prior to joining the Blandy faculty, Candace researched botanical folklore and medicinal practices in the U.S. Virgin Islands, southern Illinois, and Hawai`i; and analyzed botanical materials from prehistoric and historic archaeological sites in the Midwest and Hawaiian Islands. While studying at the University of Hawai’i, Candace expanded her research focus to include conservation biology because she recognized that conservation was key to preserving Earth’s biological and human cultural diversity. Her knowledge of plants and the process of science, in general, have offered Candace the opportunity to work as:
a hydrologist examining groundwater capacity in the Virgin Islands,
a succession ecologist in southern Illinois exploring suitable trees to reclaim strip-mined lands,
a laboratory chemist testing the impacts of mining activity on freshwater resources,
a horticulturalist and landscape designer (because she loves to get dirty), and as
an archaeologist specializing in the identification of plant remains.
During her doctoral studies, Candace received a fellowship from the National Science Foundation to participate in a program designed to train scientists to share their knowledge and expertise with the K-12 education community. This fellowship changed the trajectory of Candace’s career leading her to become the first Director of Education at Blandy Experimental Farm. Candace draws on her diverse experience to incorporate scientific research knowledge and skills into Blandy’s environmental science programs for preschool through 12th grade students and their teachers.
As Blandy’s Director of Education, Candace also is actively involved in environmental education leadership at the local, regional, and national levels. She has served on the board National Science Teachers’ Association (2012-2015), is the current Chair of the Virginia Resource-Used Education Council (2020-2022), and Vice-President of the Virginia Science Education Leaders’ Association (2020-2022). In 2018, Candace was appointed to the Chesapeake Bay Program Education Workgroup; this group sets goals for all the jurisdictions in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (six states and Washington, D.C.) to advance the education outcomes that are part of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement signed by the state Governors and the Mayor of D.C.
Candace loves to explore and expand her perspective on our natural world by climbing trees (and sometimes reading while there), hiking and kayaking, and collecting and examining found natural items. Another passion of hers is learning about other cultures through their cuisines; she is an avid cook and enjoys sharing what she learns about international food culture.