Sophie started with Friends of the Rainforest in 2019 as our Development Coordinator. At the end of 2021, she took on the role of Executive Director when Chelsea left. Sophie has worked with a variety of non-profits in St. Louis, and she is very excited for the opportunity to work full-time with Friends of the Rainforest. Her interest in documentary filmmaking and all things media led her to earn a degree in Media Communications at Webster University in the Netherlands. Having the opportunity to study in the Netherlands, as well as live in Ecuador prior to university, Sophie is passionate about creating and maintaining cross-cultural connections.
Education & Outreach Coordinator
Jamie is passionate about environmental justice and education. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Washington, and a M.A.Ed in Urban Environmental Education from Antioch University Seattle. In her early career in Seattle, she worked with several outdoor education programs and schools, working with students of all ages in the city, in the woods, and even on a historic schooner! In her free time, she does pottery, paints, and gardens. She is excited to bring her experiences to Friends of the Rainforest, and work to preserve and educate about this precious, vital ecosystem.
Maggie Eisenberger Board Chair/Travel Director
Maggie Eisenberger has a Master’s Degree in Tropical Ecology from the Whitney R Harris World Ecology Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (Her research was on the biotic and abiotic effects of opening a hiking trail in the rainforest. She spent 4 months in the Darien Region of Panama and managed the field research station at Cana.) She is a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm and looks forward to hiking, bird-spotting, and adventuring with fellow travelers. She has given dozens of talks on rainforests to a wide range of groups, including public and private schools (pre-K-12), senior citizen groups, church youth groups, the St. Louis Audubon Society, and many conferences. She served 6 years on the board of directors of Save The Rainforest and served 18 years on the steering committee of St. Louis Rainforest Advocates. She has 30 years of teaching experience (pre-K – 12th) and is retired teacher of high school science and math. She has received several teaching awards, including the St. Louis Zoo’s Teacher of the Year Award.
James (Jim) Crain is a retired engineer, inventor, and small business owner. He's an alumnus of the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana). He currently manages a small family real estate business. Jim's been impressed by the work that Friends of the Rainforest is doing to conserve rain forests because of the importance of those in maintaining bio-diversity and in regulating climate. And he particularly likes the citizen-action that's been the driving force for creating land trusts that protect rain forests.
Melissa received her Bachelor of Science in Biology through the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1995. Her passion for science and education led her to obtain a Master of Science in Education. She has over 10 years of experience teaching Biology and Anatomy at the High School and Community College levels. Visiting the rainforest in Costa Rica coupled with a passion for the environment, led Melissa to become the Development Coordinator with our organization. She is now working for Logan University and has continued to serve our mission by becoming a board member.
Chad spent time in Costa Rica and the rainforest in 1995 & 1998. Those trips provided a foundation of admiration and respect for the rainforest and sustainability. Throughout his career, he has championed recycling, sustainability, and eco-aware programs for both publicly traded and privately held companies. As a member of the board, he is able to combine his passion for the environment with the mission of the organization. He has a BS in Marketing and a MA in Education. Chad is a Financial Advisor at Edward Jones.
David Robnak joined the board in 2012. He has previously gone on ecotours with his family to the rainforest in Belize, Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands. He strongly feels that all rainforests need to be protected, and was glad to join the board to help the Rainforest. David received a Bachelor's degree from Indiana University in Business, with a minor in small business and entrepreneurship. He is president and owner of Central Paper Stock, a paper and plastics recycling company. Last year, Central Paper Stock recycled enough paper to save 1,263,000 trees and recycled over 3,000,000 pounds of scrap plastic. David lives in St. Louis with his family.
Alissa White was an econometrician at Southwestern Bell for 10 years before she began teaching elementary classes at Chesterfield Day School, a job she held for 22 years. Alissa holds an M.S. (Economics) from the University of Arizona. She currently works part-time, tutoring elementary students in mathematics. Having visited the Children's Eternal Rainforest, Alissa is passionate about helping preserve the forest and about educating others about the need to protect this special forest for the future.