Mary Leou

Clinical Associate Professor of Environmental Conservation Education and Director of The Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education

Phone: 212 998 5474

Mary Leou is Clinical Associate Professor of Environmental Conservation Education and founding Director of the Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education established in 2000 with a generous gift from the Johanette Wallerstein Institute.  She is also the  Director of the Environmental Conservation Education Graduate Program in the Department of Teaching and Learning.

Over the past 13 years, she received over $1.5 million in grants and gifts for developing environmental education programs at NYU serving teachers, K-12 schools, and non-formal organizations.  In 2012 she received a $250,000 gift to launch the Jane Wallerstein Children & Nature Project.  Formerly the Director of Education of City Parks Foundation, she worked on one of the largest urban forest restoration projects in New York City, affording her the opportuntiy to educate people of all ages about New York City's natural areas.  She serves on numerous boards and state-wide committees and is the former Chair of the Environmental Education Advisory Council of NYC.   She has over 27 years of experience in urban environmental education developing programs for teachers, K-12 students, and curricula for formal and non-formal education settings.  She has received numerous awards for her work including two Environmental Quality Awards from the Environmental Protection Agency for leadership in environmental education.  In 2012 she was recognized by the National Audubon Society as a "Woman Greening the City" and at present co-chairs the NYS Environmental Literacy Committee; a state-wide coaliton of organizations engaged in developing an environmental literacy plan for the State of New York. 




  • 1986 : Rudin Fellowship, American Museum of Natural History
  • 1996 : NYS Outdoor Education & Conservation Program of the Year Award
  • 1997 : Fay & Henry L. Sobel Award for Distinguished Dissertation
  • 1998 : EPA Environmental Quality Award
  • 2007 : EPA Environmental Quality Award
  • 2011 : Environmental Leadership Award, NYS Outdoor Education Association
  • 2012 : Audubon's "Women Greening The City" Award

Degrees Held

  • B.A. Columbia University
  • M.Ed. Columbia University, Teachers College
  • Ed.D. Columbia University, Teachers College


  • Inquiries into Teaching and Learning II
  • Using New York City's Non-Formal Resources to Teach Science
  • Internship in Environmental Conservation Education
  • Environmental Education:Theory and Practice
  • Final Seminar in Environmental Conservation Education

Selected Publications

  • Leou, M., (2005) Readings in Environmental Education: An Urban Model. Kendall Hunt. Iowa
  • Leou, M., Abder, P., Riordan, M., Zoller, U., (2006) Using "HOCS-Centered Learning" as a Pathway to Promote Science Teachers' Metacognitive Development, Research in Science Education, Springer 36:69-84.
  • Milne C., Kirch,S., Basu,J., Leou, M., Abder, P. (2008) Understanding conceptual change: connecting and questioning, Cultural Studies of Science Education, 3: 417-434.

Research Interests

  • Experiential Learning
  • Environmental EducationCurriculum
  • Non-formal education
  • Place-based education
  • School reform
  • Sustainability Education
  • Teacher Development (pre-service and inservice)
  • Urban environmental education