Meet Our Science Educators

Hannah Gelroth


Director of Environmental Education

Hannah grew up in nearby Orford, New Hampshire, and spent her childhood exploring the woods, fields, and wetlands of her home. Since then, she has explored the tide pools and sandy beaches of Maine, watched the moon rise over the canyons in New Mexico, hiked sections of the Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota, and kayaked the San Juan River in Utah. Hannah continues to explore the world around her, whether she’s teaching kids about local habitats, collaborating with inspiring classroom teachers, working on her family’s farm, or going for a walk on the many trails around her home in Plymouth.

Hannah has experience teaching a wide range of programs to audiences of all ages and brings her enthusiasm and love of the outdoors to her work. Hannah received a Master of Education through Antioch University New England, a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Education from the University of Minnesota – Duluth, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Earlham College. Hannah is a Highly Qualified Teacher and is a certified teacher in both New Hampshire and Vermont. She has been part of the VINS team since 2007. Prior to that, she was an Environmental Educator at both Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Minnesota and Ferry Beach Ecology School in Maine.

Michelle Amato


Science Educator

Michelle is a nature fanatic and loves to share her enthusiasm with everyone in her life. While growing up near Cleveland, Ohio, you could find her playing in creeks or camping with her family. Throughout her life she has found that traveling around the world and exploring with native people is the way to truly immerse yourself in something amazing. From studying whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez, to conducting reef assessments on the Great Barrier Reef or working with the Amerindians in wildlife clubs in Guyana, Michelle finds that stepping out of her comfort zone, exploring a new ecosystem and sharing her newly gained knowledge with others is a great way to excite people to discover and investigate the natural world on their own.

Michelle has been a middle school science teacher for 11 years in North Carolina and has moved up to Vermont to start a new career at VINS. Her passion and desire to work with teachers and students and connect them to the natural world through inquiry led her to this wonderful place. Michelle earned her Master’s in Education from Miami University of Oxford, Ohio through Project Dragonfly. Michelle also was an adjunct professor for Miami University teaching online graduate school courses. Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science in Middle Childhood Education from Kent State University in Ohio. Michelle is a Highly Qualified and certified teacher and cannot wait to continue to educate teachers and students about the natural world through inquiry-based learning. While she is not in a classroom, you can find her exploring her new home in Vermont, running trail marathons, hiking, skiing or engaged in nature photography.

Emily Johnson


Science Outreach Educator

​Emily lives in the Lake Sunapee Region of New Hampshire and enjoys the beauty that surrounds her. Spending most of her free time identifying and photographing birds, Emily loves to explore the many habitats that surround her home in New London, NH. Summers spent kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding are followed by falls spent hiking, and exploring. The winter provides Emily’s favorite outdoor pastime – skiing – and is surely followed by migrant songbird watching in the spring. Exploring most of the continental United States in her early 20’s yielded amazing experiences – volunteering on a wolf reservation in Colorado, WWOOFing (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) in West Virginia, participating in Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans, and rafting down the Deschutes River in Oregon – but Emily has a love for New England that will always bring her back home.

Emily graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2014 with a B.S. in Wildlife and Conservation Biology. While at UNH, Emily worked on multiple projects measuring the success of varying species of neotropical migrant songbirds which is where her love of birds began. Upon graduating, she began working for NH Audubon where she engaged with and educated the public as well as worked directly in classrooms to teach school children the importance and beauty of wildlife and the world around us. Emily is truly excited to be working at VINS and to bring her experiences to her role as the Science Outreach Educator.