Meet Your Instructors
Byrnside, Education Director
(216) 321-5935 ext. 243
Raja (pronounced RYE-ah) has been with the Nature Center for six years and in the environmental education field for 13 years. She recieved her bachelor's degree in marine science from the University of South Carolina. Over the past six years she has served the organization in increasing order of capacity and leadership. Highlights include a successful Science in the Circle outreach afterschool program sponsored by the National Science Foundation and managing the Nature Center's sought-after Summer Outdoor Adventure Camp. She has worked at and with a variety of respected educational institutions and school districts, including Sea World of Ohio, North Coast Education Services, and the Cleveland Botanical Garden.
Rana Bottino, Environmental Educator/Camps/Special Programs
(216) 321-5935, ext. 226
Rana is originally from New Jersey and received her B.S. and M.S. in Environmental Science from Rutgers University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, respectively. While working in the environmental field for 7 years, Rana enjoyed playing dress up in HazMat suits and managing soil and groundwater remediation projects. However she discovered her real passion was educating children about nature and the environment. She was the Nature Instructor at a 4-H camp in Beemerville, NJ and also worked at a small science-based children's museum. Rana has been the Seasonal Naturalist at the Nature Center and has recently taken on the role of Outdoor Adventure Camp Coordinator.
A. Evans, Early Childhood Environmental Educator
(216) 321-5935 ext.225
Justin, a Cleveland native who grew up in Berea, Ohio, has been with the Nature Center for over four years serving as the Early Childhood Environmental Educator after earning his B.A. degree from Hiram College and completing a 10 credit graduate internship with the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center and Akron University. Using his enthusiasm and expertise, Justin has been able to grow the early childhood program into the success it is today. Using his experience in land management and love for vernal pools, he is leading a vernal pool restoration project with the Montessori High School of University Circle and Ruffing Montessori to improve a degraded vernal pool on the property. Other places where he has worked are the James H. Barrow Field Station, OSU’s Stone Laboratory, the Black Swamp Conservancy and the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center.
Michelle La Nasa, Environmental Educator, Program Specialist
(216) 321-5935, ext. 224
Michelle has been a resident of Northeastern Ohio all her life, and is truly excited to join the team at the Nature Center. Ever since she received her degree in Art Education at the University of Akron, she has never known a season where she has not been adventuring and working with children outdoors. Her love of teaching has taken her many places, including two years interning at the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center, six years of helping lead and design summer camp at Camp Carl, and substitute teaching for many schools in Summit County. She enjoys inventing new ways to explore the world and to reuse materials, and loves being part of the beautiful alchemy when art, the outdoors, and young people are brought together.