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About Us:

Sophie Arp
Executive Director

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. 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. 

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Tori Green
Education and Outreach Director

Tori joined Friends of the Rainforest in March 2023. Her lifelong passion for wildlife and global conservation drove her to obtain a degree in a B.A. in Conservation Biology and Ecology with a minor in Geography. Prior to FOTR, Tori's background includes a mixture of fieldwork, education, and wildlife research. Outside of work, Tori cares for her rescue ranch of animals and plants, goes hiking and kayaking, and dabbles in art and wildlife rehabilitation

Board Members:

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.

Marilyn Chandler

Marilyn has had a lifelong love of books and travel, and she has travelled extensively throughout the world.  Due to her love of travel, she became a travel agent for Best Way Travel. She met Maggie in the Amazon Rainforest and has since travelled with her to Cuba and South Korea. She graduated summa cum laude with a history degree (minor in Psychology) from Maryville University. She has established several businesses including APR Advertising, Epic Video, Midwest 4 Wheel Drive and BIGFOOT 4x4 INC - which has been in business since 1975. She is excited to be a part of Friends of the Rainforest and is dedicated to preserving our beautiful world.

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Sandy Laurie

Sandy's concern for the environment began years ago when she learned that everything on the planet is connected and everything we do daily matters. In 2006, she was introduced to Rachel Crandell and toured her classroom - in awe of the Rainforest created within the school walls. In 2008, she was privileged to join Rachel on a rainforest trip - assisted by Maggie Eisenberger.  It was life-changing to learn about the rainforest through immersion, which included some community service projects. She deeply appreciates Friends of the Rainforest’s continued direct support of the rainforest through patrols, protection, expansion, and education.  A recent trip to Costa Rica included hiking in the Children's Eternal Rainforest (El Bosque Eterno de los Niños), confirming the importance of protecting it for future generations.

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Jeanne Norris

Jeanne Norris is a Medical Advancement Writer at Washington University in St. Louis. Since 2009, Jeanne has served as a high school teacher, curriculum writer, designer of professional learning for teachers, and program developer. Most of her work outside of the classroom has involved research-practice partnerships, where she developed close connections with teachers, administrators, and scientists.  She provided teachers with tangible, approachable resources and support to teach challenging science topics in complex systems. As a Lead Instructional Specialist at the Institute for School Partnership at Washington University, she co-designed a nationally recognized K-8 science curriculum program with a local phenomena focus. At the University of Washington Institute of Science + Math Education, she developed research-practice briefs, facilitated virtual professional learning, co-authored climate education tools, and coordinated regional projects with state science supervisors. Jeanne received her Bachelor’s in Secondary Education from UM-St. Louis and her Master’s in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis.

David Robnak

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

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.

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