Skip to main content

Search NYU Steinhardt


Mary Leou

Clinical Professor of Environmental Education and Director of The Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education & Sustainability

Teaching and Learning

212 998 5474

Mary Leou is Clinical Professor of Environmental Conservation Education and founding Director of the Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education and Sustainability 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 23 years, she received over $2.2 million in grants and gifts for developing environmental education programs at NYU serving teachers, K-12 schools, and non-formal organizations. In 2019 she received a two-year grant from EPA to promote conservation through civic ecology. The program called "Bees Alive" provides environmental literacy opportunities for K-12 teachers and students as well as promotes habitat development in Greenpoint Brooklyn. Additionally she received a two year grant from the NYC Parks Department and NYS DEC to promote stewardship in the North Shore Parks of Staten Island negatively impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  Currently she was awarded a grant from the NYU Climate Change Initiative to study the impacts of flooding on Asian and Latino residents; Flooding Experiences in Sunset Park Through Stakeholder Interviews. 

In 2012 she received a $250,000 gift to launch the Jane Wallerstein Children and 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 opportunity 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 30 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 for several years she co-chaired the NYS Environmental Literacy Committee, a state-wide coalition of organizations engaged in developing an environmental literacy plan for the state of New York. 

Selected Publications

  • Leou, M., and Kalaitzidakis, M. (2017). Cities as classrooms. In: Russ A. and Krasny M. (Eds.). Urban environmental education review. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.
  • Franzen, R.L., Thomashow, C., Leou, M., and Songqwaru, N.Z. (2017). Educator professional development. In: Russ A. and Krasny M. (Eds.). Urban environmental education review. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.
  • Phamduy, P., Milne, C., Leou, M., Porfiri, M. (2015) Interactive robotic fish: A tool for informal science learning and environmental awareness. IEEE Control Systems Magazine: Focus on Education. (submission #14-0113) submitted for publication May 9, 2015
  • Krasny, M., Carey, J., Lewis, C., Fraser, J., Fulton, K., Spitzer, B., Leou, M., Braus, J., Ferguson. A., Marco-Iga, J., Price, A. (2014) EE and Climate Change Special Projects White Paper, EECapacity Report submitted to EPA.
  • 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.


Environmental Conservation Education

Our Environmental Conservation Education program prepares you for a career in formal or nonformal environmental education, environmental consulting, and nonprofit work.

Read More