Who We Are

Lyn Isaacson

  • BS Environmental Education - Western Washington University.
  • ACA Level 1 Certified Canoe Instructor 
  • RRCA Certified Running Coach


Over the last 20 years, I've taught elementary aged students, in various capacities, in Washington State, Florida, Hawaii, Virginia and Maryland.  (As a Navy family, we have been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit!)  I have worked in Outdoor Schools, Public Schools, Non-profit Organizations, and Community Co-ops.  My lesson plans have included math, science, language arts, outdoor adventure, gardening, nutrition, biology, ecology and more.  I am truly grateful for the opportunity to continue sharing my love of the natural world with the students in St. Mary's County!  



Running, swimming, hiking, kayaking, gardening, reading.  


Personal Message:  

Your focus creates your reality.

"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without any such gift from the fairies, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in"  -Rachel Carson

Lorie Brown

Environmental Educator



I teach the second grade environmental education program at Sotterley plantation.



I have taught first, second, fifth, and sixth grades in schools all over the United States! After moving to St. Mary's County, I taught fifth grade at Little Flower for two years; math and science only. I then began teaching second grade at Hollywood Elementary School and was able to stay there for five years until my husband accepted orders for Key West, Florida. Upon our return to southern Maryland, I began teaching the second grade environmental education program at Sotterley. It is my favorite grade to teach in one of the most beautiful locations in Southern Maryland!



swimming, running and skiing, reading, gardening


Personal Message

I cannot believe that I actually get paid to spend my days outside at Sotterley Plantation with awesome second graders!!! :)

Kathy Harvey

Environmental Educator




I have a B.A. in Business from Shippensburg University and have continued my education at CSM in the field of environmental science.  I hold ACA Level 1Tandom Canoe and American Red Cross Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor certifications.  In addition to working for the EEC,  I am Camp Director for Greenwell Foundation's summer camp program and teach PEP/Kayaking and swim lessons through CSM.


soccer, mountain biking, paddling, riding my motorcycle


Personal Message

A bad day canoeing beats a good day in the office.

"If I were meant to be like everyone else, I never would have been given the gift of thought, because to follow the crowd takes no thought at all."  Unknown

Kindness matters.






Margarita Rochow





  • BA International Relations, Johns Hopkins University
  • Concentration in Superpower/ Third World Relations, focus on Africa and the Middle East.
  • MBA Florida Institute of Technology, Concentration in Contracts
  • MAT College of Notre Dame of Maryland
  • Certifications in Elementary and Early Childhood Education



  • The Brain
  • Why I am here.
  • Cultures, landscapes, and individuals near and far.
  • The Truth.


Personal Message

Live with the consciousness that you may not be here in 10 minutes or 10 years. “We can do no great things. Only small things with great love.” – OK, actually one of Mother Theresa’s ‘personal messages’ : )

Kurt Reitz

Elms Program Assistant


Kurt Reitz










  • BA Philosophy/Geography - UMBC
  • Master Gardener



  • GIS/Geography
  • Entomology
  • Botany
  • Aquatic Ecology
  • Nature and Wildlife Photography
  • Boats


Personal Message

I am continually amazed that someone pays me to catch bugs with kids!


The Parable of Carpenter Shih

Chuang Tzu

Carpenter Shih went to Ch’I and, when he got to Crooked Shaft, he saw a serrate oak standing by the village shrine. It was broad enough to shelter several thousand oxen and measured a hundred spans around, towering above the hills. The lowest branches were eighty feet from the ground, and a dozen or so of them could have been made into boats. There were so many sightseers that the place looked like a fair, but the carpenter didn’t even glance around and went on his way without stopping. His apprentice stood staring for a long time and then ran after Carpenter Shih and said “Since I first took up my ax and followed you, Master, I have never seen timber as beautiful as this. But you don’t even bother to look, and go right on without stopping. Why is that?”

“Forget it — say no more!” said the carpenter. “It’s a worthless tree! Make boats out of it and they’d sink; make coffins and they’d rot in no time; make vessels and they’d break at once. Use if for doors and it would sweat sap like pine; use if for posts and the worms would eat them up. It’s not a timber tree – there’s nothing it can be used for. That’s how it got to be that old!”

After Carpenter Shih had returned home, the oak tree appeared to him in a dream and said, “What are you comparing me with? Are you comparing me with those useful trees? The cherry apple, the pear, the orange, the citron, the rest of those fructiferous trees and shrubs - -as soon as their fruit is ripe, they are torn apart and subjected to abuse. Their big limbs are broken off, their little limbs are yanked around. Their utility makes life miserable for them, and so they don’t get to finish out the years Heaven gave them, but are cut off in mid-journey. They bring it on themselves – the pulling and tearing of the common mob. And it’s the same with all other things.

“As for me, I’ve been trying a long time to be of no use, and though I almost died, I’ve finally got it. This is a great use to me. If I had been of some use, would I ever have grown this large? Moreover you and I are both of us things. What’s the point of this – things condemning things? You a worthless man about to die – how do you know I’m a worthless tree?”
When carpenter Shih woke up, he reported his dream. His apprentice said, “If it’s so intent on being of no use, what’s it doing there at the village shrine?”

“Shhh! Say no more! It’s only resting there. If we carp and criticize, it will merely conclude that we don’t understand it. Even if it weren’t at the shrine, do you suppose it would be cut down? It protects itself in a different way from ordinary people. If you try to judge it be conventional standards, you’ll be way off!”

(The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu, Burton Watson, 1968)


The key to living in harmony with the world around us is not to look at the usefullness of nature, but embrace and respect it as it is. All living things adapt or die. It is time we began to adapt our lives to the world and not the world to our lives.







Login Form


St. Mary's County Public Schools

Charting a Course to Excellence


Home  | For Students | For Parents | For Teachers | Nursery | smcps.org

The Elms Environmental Education Center is the home of Environmental Education for St. Mary's County Public Schools.

Unless otherwise indicated all original content on this site is free and in the public domain.