Meet the Master Naturalists

Kim Eierman

Congratulations to Kim Eierman who completed 32 hours of course work and 320 hours of volunteer work to become a Master Naturalist!

Kim focused her volunteer time on promoting the principles of an ecosystem approach to landscaping and gardening, with a focus on native plants. Specifically, Kim planned and executed an educational plant sale and fundraiser for Lasdon Park and Arboretum in Katonah, NY. Highlights included nine educational, interactive stations with experts who educated more than 300 attendees. The nine stations included:  plants for “Good Bugs” (beneficial insects), plants which attract and support birds, plants which attract and support butterflies,  plants to utilize in rain gardens, drought tolerant plants, and more. Kim also included a children’s activity where children learned about native wildflowers and planted their own seeds to take home and grow.  The event attracted 300+ attendees, and featured a communications campaign resulting in more than 2 dozen features in local media touting “The Sustainable Garden” with an ecosystem approach to landscaping and gardening.

Cody Mendoza


Cody recently completed the education and volunteer hours required to become a “Master Naturalist.” In all, Cody completed 38 hours of course work and 36 hours of volunteer work!

Cody volunteered with the Genesee Land Trust, in the Greater Rochester area. He conducted plant and tree inventories, researched emerald ash borer control methods, and made management recommendations to the land trust. In addition, Cody identified trail erosion issues and suggested improvements, and monitored various preserves and conservation easements.

Tim Stanley


Tim Stanley recently completed 31 hours of coursework and 35 hours of volunteer work. Tim’s volunteer efforts included hands-on conservation monitoring, habitat enhancement, and creation and delivery of several outreach presentations. As part of an ongoing volunteer monitoring program with the NYSDEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program, Tim monitored eel nets, counting glass eels that were captured in nets. He also prepared eel grass plugs that would be planted in Long Island Sound.  A few hundred plugs were prepared for planting by scuba divers.

Tim developed and delivered two outreach presentations. The first, entitled “Beaver: Meet the Neighbors”, focused on understanding the beaver with emphasis placed on their value as ecosystem engineers.  Tim’s goal was to shed light on the important ecological role beavers play in the Great Swamp while also giving participants information on reducing human/beaver conflicts. The second presentation called “Beekeeping…What is all the Buzz About,” was co-presented with Susan Hereth of Scenic Hudson (another Naturalist Trainee from 2012!).  The workshop focused on the benefits of backyard beekeeping and the perspective of beekeeping in a semi-urban setting, with an emphasis on the life of the honey bee and the ecosystem services they provide.

Michelle Vanstrom

Back Camera

Congratulations to Michelle Vanstrom, who has completed the educational and volunteer hour requirements to become a “Master Naturalist.” In all, Michelle completed 56.5 hours of course work and 485 hours of volunteer work since beginning the program in 2010!

Michelle is passionate about the use of native plants and the ecological restoration of the Niagara Gorge Rim, and much of her volunteer time is focused on these topics. For example, Michelle designs, creates, and manages pollinator habitats in Niagara County, specifically in Niagara Falls and at her home in Youngstown. Her yard is certified as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation and as a Monarch Way Station by Monarch Watch. As Beautification Chair for Main Street in Niagara Falls, she planted and maintained 16 annual pollinator container gardens, and won numerous awards for her work. Michelle also created and maintains a Niagara County Native Plant website at (check it out!).  She has spent time monitoring and controlling invasive species (hemlock wooly adelgid, knotweed, garlic mustard, buckthorn), and participates in various citizen science monitoring programs including Project Bud Burst and Project Bud Break, Celebrate Urban Birds, pollinator monitoring for the Xerces Society, and the Museum of Science’s FireFly Watch.

Here are links to some of the programs mentioned above in case you are thinking “that sounds like fun” and would like to get involved: