Who We Are

Our Staff

Laurie Seeman

Laurie Seeman

Founder/Director, Lead Artist/Educator

Laurie is an artist, nature educator and water advocate who founded Strawtown Studio in 2002.  As an artist she creates art with natural materials from the places she explores. Her artwork demonstrates a way of seeing and relating with the world around us.  She is inspired by exploring nature with children, and it was when she led a family hiking group called Little Feet that she first saw the possibility for bringing children, community, nature and art together. She founded Strawtown to expand on the ideas.  Since then her art form has been dedicated to the creative development of programming concepts, and playfully meeting children where they are at, in the world of wonder and possibility. Sparked by her work outdoors with children, in 2007, Laurie began to give a voice to the environment and became a water advocate to speak for the children’s future. She is the founder of the Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance, Co-leader of the Rockland Water Coalition, and a member of the Rockland County Task Force on Water Resources Management.

More about Laurie

Laurie has trained in citizen science aquatic study with the NYS Hudson River Estuary Program;  Studied natural science with The Nature Institute, Ghent NY;  Has a certificate in Biodynamic Agriculture from the Pfeiffer Center, Spring Valley NY;  Holds a certificate in managing Non-profits from Cornell Cooperative Institute for Non-Profits.  She is a Communication studies graduate from FIT in New York City, and worked as creative director on independent films. In her prior profession Laurie was a contemporary art dealer and curator in NYC.  Through art and environmental education, she aims to reach more children, teachers, parents and community members, and to continue to learn meaningful ways to learn and be in the world together. Awards and Recognitions: Rockland County Distinguished Citizen, 2014, 2011;  Nyack Center, Women of Leadership and Vision, Honor, 2012;  Clarkstown, Environmental Excellence Award, 201l Awards/Recognitions for organizations she leads: EPA, Environmental Champion, to Rockland Water Coalition 2015;  NYS Assembly Citation of Excellence, to Rockland Water Coalition, 2015;  Hudson Riverkeeper, Clean Water Champion, to Rockland Water Coalition 2013;  Hudson River Watershed Alliance (HRWA), Hudson River Stewardship Award, to Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance 2011

Laurie Seeman

Founder/Director, Lead Artist/Educator


Laurie is an artist, nature educator and water advocate who founded Strawtown Studio in 2002.  As an artist she creates art with natural materials from the places she explores. Her artwork demonstrates a way of seeing and relating with the world around us.  She is inspired by exploring nature with children, and it was when she led a family hiking group called Little Feet that she first saw the possibility for bringing children, community, nature and art together. She founded Strawtown to expand on the ideas.  Since then her art form has been dedicated to the creative development of programming concepts, and playfully meeting children where they are at, in the world of wonder and possibility. Sparked by her work outdoors with children, in 2007, Laurie began to give a voice to the environment and became a water advocate to speak for the children’s future. She is the founder of the Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance, Co-leader of the Rockland Water Coalition, and a member of the Rockland County Task Force on Water Resources Management.

More about Laurie

Laurie has trained in citizen science aquatic study with the NYS Hudson River Estuary Program;  Studied natural science with The Nature Institute, Ghent NY;  Has a certificate in Biodynamic Agriculture from the Pfeiffer Center, Spring Valley NY;  Holds a certificate in managing Non-profits from Cornell Cooperative Institute for Non-Profits.  She is a Communication studies graduate from FIT in New York City, and worked as creative director on independent films. In her prior profession Laurie was a contemporary art dealer and curator in NYC.  Through art and environmental education, she aims to reach more children, teachers, parents and community members, and to continue to learn meaningful ways to learn and be in the world together. Awards and Recognitions: Rockland County Distinguished Citizen, 2014, 2011;  Nyack Center, Women of Leadership and Vision, Honor, 2012;  Clarkstown, Environmental Excellence Award, 201l Awards/Recognitions for organizations she leads: EPA, Environmental Champion, to Rockland Water Coalition 2015;  NYS Assembly Citation of Excellence, to Rockland Water Coalition, 2015;  Hudson Riverkeeper, Clean Water Champion, to Rockland Water Coalition 2013;  Hudson River Watershed Alliance (HRWA), Hudson River Stewardship Award, to Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance 2011
Joanna Dickey

Joanna Dickey

Co-Director, Lead Artist / Educator

Joanna joined Strawtown as Summer Art Staff in 2003 and has been co-developing and leading programs ever since. As an artist and naturalist she loves guiding children to explore the natural world in creative ways. Joanna has a degree in Fine Art, with concentrations in painting and printmaking. She formerly apprenticed with a master painter, where she collaborated on fine art, murals, and decorative paintings. She has studied nature and wilderness skills with Tom Brown Jr’s Tracker School, Practical Primitive, the Nature Institute, and NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program. Joanna is passionate about native plants and wildflowers, photographing them and learning about their edible and medicinal properties. She also enjoys hiking, kayaking, cooking and reading in her hammock. In 2009 Joanna received the “40 Under 40 Award” from the Rockland Economic Development Corporation. She is a member of the Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance.

Joanna Dickey

Co-Director, Lead Artist / Educator


Joanna joined Strawtown as Summer Art Staff in 2003 and has been co-developing and leading programs ever since. As an artist and naturalist she loves guiding children to explore the natural world in creative ways. Joanna has a degree in Fine Art, with concentrations in painting and printmaking. She formerly apprenticed with a master painter, where she collaborated on fine art, murals, and decorative paintings. She has studied nature and wilderness skills with Tom Brown Jr’s Tracker School, Practical Primitive, the Nature Institute, and NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program. Joanna is passionate about native plants and wildflowers, photographing them and learning about their edible and medicinal properties. She also enjoys hiking, kayaking, cooking and reading in her hammock. In 2009 Joanna received the “40 Under 40 Award” from the Rockland Economic Development Corporation. She is a member of the Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance.

Ali Davis

Ali Davis

Artist/Educator, Media Content Manager

Ali came to Strawtown in 2013 as an intern and is now developing and leading programs. She has a Master’s degree in Applied Community Change focused on Conservation, along with a Bachelor’s degree from Amherst College in Psychology, with minors in Art and Education. Ali’s experience in the field includes working as a teaching assistant with children at Earthwork Wilderness Program in Massachusetts, and many years of experience trekking around the world, working on community service projects. She is currently a board member of the Peabody Preserve Outdoor Classroom in Sleepy Hollow, NY.

Ali Davis

Artist/Educator, Media Content Manager


Ali came to Strawtown in 2013 as an intern and is now developing and leading programs. She has a Master’s degree in Applied Community Change focused on Conservation, along with a Bachelor’s degree from Amherst College in Psychology, with minors in Art and Education. Ali’s experience in the field includes working as a teaching assistant with children at Earthwork Wilderness Program in Massachusetts, and many years of experience trekking around the world, working on community service projects. She is currently a board member of the Peabody Preserve Outdoor Classroom in Sleepy Hollow, NY.

Lorraine Marden

Lorraine Marden

Artist/Educator

Growing up in Vermont, Lorraine has always felt a deep connection to the natural world. She is a lifelong art maker and loves to work with children in deepening their connection to nature through art and science.  It was through the experience of helping Laurie to launch a hiking club that she began to understand the urgency and importance in helping to connect all ages with the natural world. Lorraine has her undergraduate degree in Communications with a concentration in art, and a masters degree in Special education.  During the school year she is a teacher at a small private progressive school.  If asked of her favorite way to spend a day, doing art with children in nature would be her answer any season of the year.

Lorraine Marden

Artist/Educator


Growing up in Vermont, Lorraine has always felt a deep connection to the natural world. She is a lifelong art maker and loves to work with children in deepening their connection to nature through art and science.  It was through the experience of helping Laurie to launch a hiking club that she began to understand the urgency and importance in helping to connect all ages with the natural world. Lorraine has her undergraduate degree in Communications with a concentration in art, and a masters degree in Special education.  During the school year she is a teacher at a small private progressive school.  If asked of her favorite way to spend a day, doing art with children in nature would be her answer any season of the year.

Our Board

Bari Lewart, Executive Administrator, VCS Inc.
Lawrence B. McCarron, Esq., Lawrence B. McCarron Law
Matt Shook, Development Director, Palisades Interstate Parks Commission
Sylvia Welch, Ph.D., Development/Grant-writer

Advisory Board

Kara Cressman, Homeopath, Strawtown Parent
Diana Cutt, Geologist, Environmental Protection Agency, Strawtown Parent
Butch Rosenfeld, Aquatic Taxonomist, (formerly with NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection)
Marjan Perry, Elementary School Educator

 

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of Strawtown over the years.  You have helped to shape who we are!

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