Category Archives: YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

Lisa Alexander

Lisa Alexander - Audubon Naturalist Society Executive Director


Areas of Expertise:
Environmental Education
Environmental Policy
Environmental Restoration


Lisa Alexander has served as ANS’s Executive Director since 2013. As Executive Director, she has created a visionary Master Plan that will transform ANS’s iconic headquarters at Woodend Nature Sanctuary Headquarters into a living laboratory for the study of restoration and ecological balance in our increasingly urbanized region.

Lisa plays a leading role in setting diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion goals for environmental organizations throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Prior to stepping into the role of Executive Director, she served as both Deputy Director and Director of Environmental Education at ANS. Lisa launched the ANS GreenKids Program, an environmental education partnership with public schools that has served more than 30,000 school children in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia since its inception in 2005.

Ms. Alexander previously worked on numerous, nationally-based educational programs and outreach efforts. She served as an Educational Resource Specialist in the National Digital Library of the Library of Congress, the Director of Product Development for Delta Education, the Science Product Manager for the School Division of Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, and as National Science Consultant for Scott, Foresman and Company.

Lisa is the 2008 recipient of the Montgomery County “Outdoor Educator of the Year” award and was honored by The Washingtonian magazine as a 2009 recipient of their Green Award for her work with GreenKids. She serves on the steering committee of the Choose Clean Water Coalition and was a member of the 2015 Rock Creek Park Green Ribbon Panel.

She has two sons and lives with her husband just steps from Rock Creek Park where she enjoys frequent hikes.


Schedule a visit to either of our beautiful nature sanctuaries by calling (301) 652-9188 Ext. 23 or sending an email message to



Gina Ghertner

Areas of Expertise:
Environmental Education
Water Quality
Youth Education

Gina Ghertner has been an expert-in-the-making most of her life. Growing up in the lush forested lands of Peru, she bore witness to the destruction over time of some of Peru’s magnificent rainforests by various entities, some of them illegal mining companies; others, hunting groups. Ghertner was so affected by the destruction of her rainforests that she dedicated her life to helping prevent harm to nature.

Her love for the rainforest drove her to earn her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Forest Sciences from La Molina National Agricultural University in Lima, Peru. Ghertner has since worked on indigenous rights and sustainable environment programs with the Rainforest Foundation; was a volunteer for Tree Steward in Arlington and Montgomery Counties, and is a citizen scientist for ANS’s Water Quality Monitoring Program. In spring 2016, she created for ANS Vamos al Bosque –meaning in Spanish, Let’s go to the woods. Lately, Ghertner has devoted more time to her new ANS initiative, Testing the Waters, a program that both educates and empowers high school students to evaluate the health of local streams.

Ghertner believes that “everyone has the power to teach others how easy it is to protect the environment.” The more we do, “ day we could all become, in some way, experts on the natural world.”

Frank Sanford

Areas of Expertise:
Creek Critters
Outdoor Learning
Pond Study
Water Quality

Frank Sanford is an expert teacher. More than 400,000 hours of living as a teacher over the past 46 years has allowed him to impart knowledge to every age group from preschoolers to adults in their golden years. And Sanford has a grand old time doing it. Which is why some around here call him the Pied Piper of the Natural World. Before joining ANS four years ago, Sanford taught science in Montgomery County Public Schools and at the DC-based Sheridan School. His passion for teaching about science and the environment flows from a lifetime of outdoor learning and experimenting. From fishing to hiking, Sanford’s childhood in St. Louis, MO was flooded with wild adventures in the great outdoors. Working at ANS combines nature and education, two of Sanford’s favorite things. Every first Saturday, he leads our monthly, themed, family hikes, such as Change of Seasons and How Animals Use Color, and has co-taught summer camps on Pond Study, Exploration Hikes, and Ethnobotany (plants and their uses for making dyes and paints, for instance).

Sanford completed the ANS Master Naturalist Program four years ago, and continues taking new courses to build his environmental expertise. “I think my ability to transfer my enthusiasm about the natural world to kids (and adults, too, I hope) is my strength,” Sanford said.