Ohio Office Staff
Lindsey Christ, Executive Director
I am no stranger to Forfar! I first visited Forfar as a high school student and then again in college to do the Christmas Bird count. My time on Andros was transformative and I am thrilled to work for IFS and continue to push forward our field study programs and reach new students and new audiences.
I have been working for non-profit organizations in the field of environmental education for the past 20 years. I have an undergraduate degree from UNC-Asheville in Environmental Studies and a Master's degree from the University of Florida in Interdisciplinary Ecology. I was the former Executive Director of Keep Franklin County Beautiful, Inc. and Camp Wyandot, Inc.
Becky Schmitthenner, Program Coordinator
I just recently completed a year of service in Washington, DC through the Lutheran Volunteer Corps. I worked as the Communications Assistant for a public charter school with a two-generation model of learning focused on educating immigrant families. Prior to my time in DC, I earned my bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University with a major in Sociology and a minor in Communications.
My passion for the outdoors stems from spending my childhood hiking and kayaking at my family’s cabin in Pennsylvania. I’m thrilled to be working at IFS and love supporting such an important mission.
Forfar Field Station Staff
Vivienne Main, Station Director
Hi I’m Vivienne the Director of Forfar Field Station. After graduating with an MSci in Marine and Freshwater Biology from the University of Glasgow Scotland, I completed an internship with the Clyde River Foundation. Then I left Scotland behind and moved to Dahab, Egypt where I managed the Open Ocean Science Centre, worked as a SCUBA diving instructor, developed EECAA (an environmental NGO) and promoted environmental community initiatives. I’m excited to share my passion for science, the ocean and environmental awareness with everyone here at Forfar.
Certifications: Wilderness First Aid, SSI Open Water Instructor, SSI React Right, PADI Equipment Specialist, International Training VIP Inspector
Anna Safryghin, Intern
Ever since I was a little kid I was obsessed with the sea. I used to spend all of my summers near the
beautiful emerald waters of Sardinia (Italy), swimming, snorkeling, sailing and exploring the underwater
world. My love for the sea brought me to complete a Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology degree at the
University of Plymouth (UK). During my studies I spent a year at the Cape Eleuthera Institute researching
juvenile green sea turtles. There I discovered a passion for environmental education and outreach, so I
spent my free time teaching local children how to swim and be comfortable in the water so they could
explore the amazing waters of their home country. After completing my studies, I decided to pursue my interest in sea turtles, this brought be to Costa Rica where I spent 3 months working as a Research Assistant trying to conserve and protect the local population of nesting female leatherback turtles.
I try to spend my free time as close as possible to the sea, whether it is exploring hidden beaches,
snorkeling, free diving or just enjoying and relaxing on the beach with a good book. Besides the ocean, my
other passion in life is sports and being active, so if there is any type of sports or game being played, I will
probably get involved.
Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, Boating License
Laura Woodlee, Intern
I’m from Greenville SC and have always loved the outdoors. In college, I pursed a
degree in Environmental Science to gain a better understanding of the world around
me. I’ve always been especially fascinated by the oceans and while in school,
explored opportunities that allowed me to learn about sea creatures, including a
summer as a sea turtle nest monitor and a semester abroad in Costa Rica. Through
an internship at a state park, I fell in love with teaching about the outdoors to
I’ve been working at environmental education camps for the last 3 years and have
taught students in Virginia, Alaska, Georgia, North Carolina, and California. Showing
kids the awesomeness of ocean and terrestrial ecosystems is both rewarding and
fun. I love sharing my passion for environmental and conservation issues with
others and can’t wait to start a new adventure on Andros!
Certifications: SSI Open Water Dive Certification, Red-Cross Lifeguard/First Aid/CPR Certification
Matthew Speegle, Intern
My devotion for the sea grew out of the days I spent exploring the California Oceans and Beaches. I am from the Bay Area in California and was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that loved the beach. Like most kids, I was constantly changing my mind about what I wanted to be when I grew up but I always came back to the Ocean.
I graduated from the University of Redlands with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Science and Public Policy. During my time there, I spent a semester abroad on the beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands where I was immersed in marine science and fell in love with the kaleidoscope of colors that made up the ocean floor. Since then, I have tried to find every opportunity to work as a Naturalist in every type of environment so that I can help others find their love for the natural world. When I am not spending my time on the beach, I am probably playing sports, fixing something or reading a good book.
Certifications: Red-Cross Lifeguard/First Aid/AED/CPR Certification, PADI Rescue Diver, PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider
Mike England , Intern
I am a Colorado native and spent most of my time growing up exploring the Rocky Mountains. While in college I assisted in sea turtle conservation in Panama. After graduating from the University of Colorado in 2013 with a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, I obtained a job on the coast of Georgia conducting sea turtle conservation and leading environmental tours. I returned to my home state and began to work at the Denver Zoo as a zoo educator participating in outreach and informal education programs. Conservation and educating local communities has become my passion and I am extremely excited about the opportunity to share this as an Environmental Education Intern on Andros.
Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, PADI Advanced Open Water Certification, Red-Cross Lifeguard/First Aid/CPR Certification
Sam Glew, Intern
I started out my college education as a mechanical engineering major at the University of Cincinnati. After a year and a half I decided that wasn't the path for me and I transferred to Hocking College. I recently graduated with a degree in Ecotourism and Adventure travel and was lucky enough to visit Forfar while studying at Hocking.
My work career has been largely dedicated to teaching. I've spent years as a tutor and directed a high-adventure summer camp program for teens. I recently spent the last six months working at a nature camp/outdoor education facility in West Virginia teaching campers about the outdoors. I specialized in birds, botany, and stream ecology. I even had the opportunity to work with a group of Bahamian students from the Island School on Eleuthera.
I feel called to educating and inspiring others so I'm super excited to return to Andros as an intern!
Certifications: NAI Certified Natural Interpretive Guide, Project Wet Certification, Project Wild and Aquatic Wild Certification, Project Learning Tree Certification, Level 4 Swift Water Rescue, Wilderness First Responder, PADI AOW Diver, PADI Equipment Specialist
Trinitti Leon, Intern
The moment I knew I was going to pursue a career in Marine Biology was the first time I went scuba diving at 12 years old. I couldn’t believe the beauty of a coral reef, all the bright colors, and the fish swimming around their vast underwater world. Growing up in Ohio, I had limited opportunities to explore and visit the ocean, so I watched movies, tv shows, and read books to feed my interests. In 2017, I graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Marine, Environmental, and Freshwater Biology. In college, I did field work in the Chesapeake Bay on Diamondback Terrapins and stayed at Forfar for a week for a study abroad trip.
For the last year and a half, I’ve been living in Seattle, Washington teaching marine science and conservation at a watersports and marine science summer camp and finally have the ocean at my fingertips. In my spare time, I love to do anything active outdoors, practice photography, hike, and enjoy the sunshine!
Certifications: PADI Advanced Open Water Certification, Red-Cross Lifeguard/First Aid/CPR Certification, Boating License
Aaron John, Intern
Hello I am from Nassau, Bahamas and graduated from the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute in 2018 where I obtained an Associate Degree in Agriculture Science. During my time at the Institute I was also a member of the BNT club under the name Eco-Warrriors. My love for the environment has increased by several folds and it just continues to fascinate me. In my free time I love to go crabbing, snorkeling, fishing and of course diving in blueholes. I plan to further my studies in the area of Agriculture and Marine Science.