Eco-Art Festival Director: Molly Steinwald (Miami University)

Photography’s visual and interdisciplinary nature can make it an effective and attractive tool for both scientific research and teaching local to global “choir” and “non-choir” audiences about the environment, humanity’s relationship to it, and actions to take for it. As Director of the Eco-Photo Festival, I will encourage members to experiment with photographing their ecological work (whether it be research, teaching or outreach projects), provide members with hints for good picture-taking, assemble a panel of photography festival competition judges, and perform other related duties. My ultimate goal is to strengthen and increase the connections between the environmental photography, research and education disciplines and formal communities by promoting the use of photography in all aspects of nature-related work.

I am a current PhD candidate in Zoology at Miami University, co-advised by an interdisciplinary statistician and a cryobiologist-science educator. My work draws from the research fields of conservation, education, psychology and art. And my goal is to empirically measure the effect of photographic imagery on educator environmental connectedness, conservation attitudes, and science teaching confidence. Having grown up the third oldest of 12 children in a poor, strongly religious, liberal arts-oriented family that was both little interested in science and wary of environmentalism, I strive to diversify the ways by which science and conservation content teaching and messages are conveyed to the “non-choir”.

I grew up in NH; and earned my B.S. in Biology at the University of Dallas, where I studied both Western gull parental care behavior on Alcatraz Island and plant community composition in Texas woodlots. I earned my M.S. in Ecology at Purdue University, studying kangaroo rat behavior in Arizona by combining spool-and-line tracking, mark-recapture, and microsatellite methods. I also have ten years’ experience teaching majors and non-majors’ undergraduate courses and graduate professional development courses for preK-12 teachers, in subjects ranging from cellular biology to primate behavior, and in classroom, field and zoo settings. A self-taught photographer and recipient of several local to international photography recognitions, I also serve on the Affiliate Council of the International League of Conservation Photographers ( and the Environmental Committee of the North American Nature Photography Association ( I am also happily mother to two young nature-loving children. Learn more about me at:


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