Mark Stuart, ’89, Helps Bring San Diego Zoo Teacher Workshop to Albion

July 26, 2018

By Chuck Carlson

Rolanda Matthews, ’92, cares desperately about the environment and the world being left to future generations.

Detroit Public Schools math and science teacher Rolanda Matthews, ’92, will be in Albion participating in San Diego Zoo Global’s teacher workshop in conservation science.

So when she heard about a conservation science workshop for Michigan educators sponsored by the world-renowned San Diego Zoo Global, she knew she had to be part of it.

“I thought, ‘I’ve got to be there,’” she said.

The trouble was that the Zoo’s Teacher Workshops in Conservation Science program, open to 32 educators, was already full and Matthews found herself on a waiting list. But through the summer she kept trying and, eventually, a spot opened.

“I am super excited because students need to understand that humans really are the ones on the endangered species list,” said Matthews, who teaches fifth-grade anatomy and physiology and fifth- and sixth-grade math and science in the Detroit Public Schools Community District. “As we kill off animals, we’re destroying the Earth and we don’t have the resources to heal it. I’m very passionate about this.”

Matthews joins sixth through 12th-grade educators from around the state for a workshop July 30-Aug. 2 created by the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. The workshop will include a traditional curriculum in addition to some new content specific to Michigan and which will be applicable to students. For example, the Whitehouse Nature Center will be the location for a project and Next Generation Science Standards-based conservation will be explored.

Mark Stuart, ’89, is president of the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

San Diego Zoo Global has held these workshops at its facilities for several years but this will be the first offered in Michigan. San Diego Zoo Global has scheduled two other conservation workshops at the same time—one on Hawaii and one in Kenya.

Educators will stay on the Albion College campus, all expenses paid, thanks to sponsorship from the United Auto Workers, Mike and Lenore Hammes, Friends of the San Diego, Ken Blanchard (author of The One Minute Manager and other books) and with a major effort from Mark Stuart, ’89, president of the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global and chief development and membership officer.

“As a Michigan native and Albion graduate, I am very excited to bring our talented educators and their wildlife-centered curricula to benefit teachers from all over the state,” he said.

In all, a group of 12 Albion College donors—including eight alumni—made the workshop possible. The list includes Rick Going, ’77; Mark Lewry, ’80; Matt Lewry, ’88; Katy Neumann, ’96; Elizabeth Pixley, ’62; William and Barb Rafaill, ’70 ’72; Jim and Tamara Royle, ’63 ’63; and Leigh Willis, ’97. Doug Goering, professor of art emeritus and a member of the College’s Board of Trustees, and his wife, Sue, also contributed.

Mark Lewry said committing to the project was important.

San Diego Zoo Global’s conservation science workshop for sixth- to 12th-grade teachers visits Michigan for the first time.

“We asked, ‘What else do you need and how can we help?’” said Lewry, who graduated with a degree in management and economics and is chief operating officer of Oil-Dri Corporation of America in Chicago. “This is a cool initiative and a unique opportunity for Albion College to get its name out in a leadership position. That’s what we hope it will accomplish.”

Matt Lewry, who also earned his degree in management and economics, runs TGR Partners, an executive search firm in San Diego, and coordinated closely with Stuart on bringing the workshop to Albion.

“It’s exciting to get Albion out in the forefront,” Mark Lewry said.

And, as a workshop participant, Matthews sees the event as a valuable and necessary step forward for students.

“I hope to get some resources for my students and connect them, maybe online, and visit the San Diego Zoo and their resources,” she said. “Students have a lot of things that can link them to conservation, and I want to spark a fire and a passion in them.”