Dr. Heather Spence
Dr. Heather Spence is Director of Marine and Bioacoustics Programs for Michelle's
Earth Foundation. A marine biologist and musician, Heather is on a mission to
harmonize our interaction with the environment using science and art. She and
Michelle played cello together in the HB Woodlawn orchestra and shared interests
in global sustainability. Heather works on behalf of MEF as a tribute to the vision
she and Michelle shared for promoting world peace through appreciation for music
and the wonders of the natural world.
Heather's research expertise and problem solving have extended to many areas
including reducing noise pollution in dolphin habitats, predicting invasive species
dispersal, assisting New England shellfish aquaculture, documenting co-selection of
communicatory traits, and developing new methods for studying decapod crustacea.
Her work has attracted international attention and invitations to speak at major
conferences. Outreach is also very important to her and she has designed and taught
courses on animal behavior, behavioral neuroendocrinology, sensation and
perception, personality, and motivation, and currently serves as a science consultant
for a video games company.
Honoring Michelle's interest in Latin America, Heather is conducting marine
conservation research and outreach projects in the Yucatan peninsula. Her research
focuses on learning by listening, combining music and science to monitor the
MesoAmerican reef by recording sounds made by fish, shrimp, lobsters and
dolphins. Her outreach projects include creation of a children's activity book about
marine life of the Mexican Caribbean, presentations in the local schools, and
workshops for students to create and share songs and videos supporting marine
Heather is excited to work with the MEF board to carry forward Michelle's passions
for sustainability and music through collaborative, multidisciplinary projects.
As a native of Arlington, VA, Stephanie Lewis grew up with Michelle Gardner-Quinn, playing select soccer, Yorktown field hockey, and lifeguarding at Donaldson Run swimming pool together. She has always appreciated the importance of a childhood connection with nature, having spent most of her life living across the street from Potomac Overlook Regional Park, where there is a nature center and many wooded paths she's explored over the decades.
Since MEF's inception, Stephanie has supported it through a variety of activities, including periodic article contributions to the newsletter and helping to organize MEF-sponsored events. While finishing her last year at the University of Virginia in 2007, just months after Michelle's passing, she put together an MEF invasive species removal event, having recruited a dozen volunteers. In 2009, Stephanie worked as a liaison with another friend of MEF, Catherine Salzinger, who was living in Beirut at the time, to put on a tree planting event through the American University of Beirut. Thirty volunteers came together to plant 3,000 trees, and as a result, the promise of a new green space was born for a Lebanese community.
Stephanie is currently living in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she enjoys volunteering with Ian Willson's urban farming company, Southbound Gardens, and attending Lead Safe Louisiana events organized by Gail Fendley. A longtime lover of education outreach and youth development, Stephanie is thrilled at the prospect of joining MEF's Board of Directors. She would love to help MEF continue to educate
communities on their environmental impact, and specifically to continue to involve youth in MEF-sponsored events and workshops. Having worked both as an English teacher in Spain, and as a project manager in the fast-paced environment of healthcare software implementation, Stephanie has strong oral and written communication and mediation skills, and has worked with a wide variety of people
from all walks of life. She is passionate about bringing people together to find solutions with the most far-reaching benefits. Stephanie welcomes the opportunity to work collaboratively with the MEF Board to create and implement these kinds of solutions for MEF as it moves into the future.