MEET OUR SPEAKERS
Andrea Faber Taylor, Ph.D.
Andrea Faber Taylor, Ph.D., is a Teaching Assistant Professor and Children’s Environments & Behavior Researcher at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Faber Taylor is recognized internationally for her research on the health benefits of green spaces for children. Her research evaluates the relationships between children’s exposure to green space, in a variety of settings, and children’s functioning, to discover how to design spaces and communities to be more supportive of healthy development. Her diverse published findings include such benefits to children as more creative play, greater concentration, and greater self-discipline. Those findings along with her groundbreaking research on the benefits of nature for children with ADHD have resulted in extensive coverage in the media, including Science News, the British Medical Journal, Prevention Magazine, Psychology Today, Globe and Mail, Parents Magazine, Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Wildlife World Edition, Polityka.PL Spoleczenstwo, Kashmir Monitor, Parenting Circle India, Bebe Magazine Brazil, and several radio interviews. She has been invited to present her research findings and their potential applications to a variety of national and international audiences including landscape architects, urban planners, early and middle childhood educators, horticulturists, natural resources managers, and parks and recreation program directors, and families.
Mark Dale is the Education Director at Winding Trails in Farmington, Connecticut. Winding Trails is a non-profit organization dedicated to recreation and education with 380 acres of woodlands and waterways and hosts 100,000 visitors per year. He holds degrees in business, secondary education and a master’s degree in environmental education. Mark develops, organizes and teaches outdoor environmental education and coordinates conservation projects. Mark Dale loves building fairy houses with children because it’s all about placed based interaction with the natural world using your imagination and creativity.
Diane Merrion is the Agriculture Literacy Coordinator for the Cook County Farm Bureau, a non-profit membership organization whose mission is to serve all our members of the Cook County Farm Bureau® with meaningful and beneficial programs that reflect our agricultural heritage. In 2014, Diane received the Perry Schneider Special Award for contributions improving and expanding Illinois agriculture education from the Illinois Leadership Council. She is a graduate of the IL Farm Bureau ALOT (Ag Leaders of Tomorrow) Program in 2015 and holds an Honorary FFA Degree that was awarded by the Chicago High School for Ag Sciences. Our Ag Literacy Mission is to expand students’ awareness and appreciation for the importance of agriculture everywhere.
Manager of Studio Programs at Chicago Architecture Foundation
Ms. Esposito manages a branch of the Education Department with the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Her focus is Pre-K – 8th-grade informal education. She has a passion in advancing girls and people of color in STEM education and careers. Ms. Esposito graduated from the University of Nebraska with a degree in Business and Technology, with an emphasis in Interior Architecture & Design. Currently, Ms. Esposito is pursuing graduate studies in Gender Diversity/Women’s Studies as well as Non-Profit Leadership from the University of Notre Dame.