About the Author

Shari L. Wilson, Ed.D.


Shari L. Wilson is a teaching ecologist and environmental educator.  She is the Founder and President of Project Central, which designs and implements environmental curriculum and projects in schools and communities.  Her passion is connecting science and nature with kids and communities in ways that promote critical thinking, creativity and art, problem solving, environmental knowledge, and fun.  She has worked with organizations such as government agencies, school districts, universities, and NGOs to support community empowerment in the United States and abroad to protect and restore the environment. Shari has shared her projects and research with international organizations at conferences and in publications. A list can be found here.


In her work with teachers, Shari emphasizes interactive pedagogies including project-based learning, place-based learning, outdoor learning, hands-on activities, group discussions, and civic engagement. Her work incorporates the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and is currently focused on the U.N. Decade of Ecosystem Restoration (#generationrestoration). She has worked internationally with learners from preK-University as well as their instructors through classroom teaching, training workshops, and implementation of projects such as waste reduction, air and water quality, recycling, food waste composting, gardening, green schoolyards, biocultural diversity, and civic ecology. Her work with teachers and students has taken her to various locations in the United States, Ukraine, Kenya, Vietnam, Laos, and Sweden. Shari is a speaker on topics that include U.S. environmental policy, food and agriculture policy, green schools, ecological schoolyards, climate change, biodiversity, biocultural diversity, waste management, civic engagement, youth as change agents, educational sustainability, and the importance of teaching art for innovation. She was recruited to the U.S. State Department’s Speaker Program and has delivered programming in Germany, Republic of Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine, China, Belarus, and Kenya. Shari is a Sustainability Adjunct Faculty member with Southern New Hampshire University, teaching courses on global perspectives in sustainability and STEM.


Shari spent 14 years working for a statewide environmental education non-profit organization in Kansas, serving as its Statewide Planning and Partnerships Director. In this position, she was responsible for managing the Kansas Green Schools Program and Kansas School Gardens Program, the annual conference, and planning initiatives such as the Kansas Children in Nature Plan and Environmental Literacy Plan for Kansas. She also led regional planning efforts in areas such as capacity building for environmental education. Shari has also worked for an engineering firm, where she created solid waste management plans for Kansas counties and performed wetlands and historic site assessments on landfills. She staffed a U.S. Congressman for two years and worked for a political party in Kansas helping candidates with messaging, voter registration, voter turnout, fundraising, and campaign strategy. She also co-owns real estate property with her husband including an 1898 school building they renovated into apartments for senior citizens.


Shari has been involved in extensive civic engagement activities including leading a task force to develop a blighted riverside area in Kansas City, Kansas, into a historic park with river access. In 2019 and 2021, she served in three international election observation missions to Ukraine, Belarus, and Uzbekistan through the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).


Shari’s current board positions include the National Environmental Education Advisory Council (appointed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator in 2016), International School Grounds Alliance Founding Member, and Owen/Cox Dance Group Advisory Board Member. She is a member of the Ecological Society of America, Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences, National Science Teaching Association, and Green Business Network.


Shari grew up in the rural town of Claflin, Kansas, and spent many summers with her grandparents on their family farm in Jewell County, Kansas, where she still owns farmland. Her love for the environment comes from those years of playing outside, accompanying her grandfather on his farm activities, and learning to garden and take care of chickens from her grandmother. She has a B.A. in History and Philosophy from Washburn University of Topeka and an M.A. in Biological Sciences – Systematics, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Kansas, as well as an Ed.D. in Educational Sustainability from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Her doctoral dissertation project was the development of Schoobio, an innovative international curriculum focused on student empowerment to increase ecological and culturally diverse school grounds (www.schoobio.earth). Shari enjoys gardening, the arts, traveling, and following professional tennis, baseball, and futbol. She lives in Kansas City, Kansas, USA with her two mischievous cats, Florence and Verona.