Fifty Teens Chosen to Lead Youth Conservation Efforts

ODNR announces fourth class of Conservation Teen Advisory Council members

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) announced today that 50 students have been selected as members of the Conservation Teen Advisory Council (ConTAC) for this upcoming school year. ConTAC provides high school students from across Ohio with a unique opportunity to collaborate and contribute ideas to enhance ODNR’s youth outreach program efforts. 

“It’s inspiring for us to see a new group of intelligent young people that are passionate about nature join our ConTAC program,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “We love their perspectives and look forward to their work this year with our ODNR experts.”

ConTAC members serve at minimum one year on the council. They have an opportunity to meet monthly with fellow members and natural resource mentors (meetings are in-person March – November, and virtually December – February). This year’s kick-off meeting was August 11, 2022; it will be a stream quality monitoring event on the Grand River. An example of a recent meeting can be seen in this video.

Members of ConTAC are tasked with developing and implementing campaigns and strategies that positively impact their community and environment. Examples of past projects include stream quality monitoring, habitat restoration, educating youth on environmental issues, and fundraisers. Students are strongly encouraged to bring their new skills and knowledge back into their respective communities.

Twenty-one members of ConTAC are returning to the program for the 2022-2023 school year. With 71 students, the program represents 35 counties and 56 schools. A list of ConTAC members for the 2022-2023 program year can be found at the bottom of this release.  You can learn more about the group and its mission on the ODNR website.

ODNR ensures a wise balance between the use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at

ConTAC Members for the 2022-23 School Year 

Athens County:
•    Emma Hartman (Senior), Athens High School

Butler County: 
•    Christopher Bacu (Senior), Lakota West High School
•    Mela Lin (Junior), Ursuline Academy
•    Sarah Perkins (Senior), Monroe Senior High School

Brown County: 
•    Rylan Utter (Sophomore), Eastern High School

Clark County: 
•    Josie Jennings (Sophomore), Global Impact STEM Academy

Clermont County: 
•    Dylan Brown (Senior), Loveland High School

Columbiana County: 
•    Kendall Joing (Senior), South Range High School

Defiance County: 
•    Savanna Singer (Junior), Fairview High School

Delaware County: 
•    Daria Lesmerises (Sophomore), Westerville South High School
•    Divya Patria (Senior), Olentangy Orange High School
•    Kohen Wampler (Senior), Big Walnut High School
•    Maren Lawrence (Senior), Columbus Academy
•    Molly Shannon (Senior), Olentangy Orange High School

Fairfield County: 
•    Emma Bastian (Senior), Pickerington High School Central
•    Natasha Miller (Senior), Pickerington High School North
•    Spencer Phelps (Senior), Pickerington High School Central

Fayette County: 
•    Paul Madden (Freshman), Madison-Plains High School

Franklin County: 
•    Ainsley Jajack (Junior), Dublin Coffman High School
•    Andrew Wissman (Sophomore), Metro Early College High School
•    Ava Riley (Senior), Hilliard Bradley High School
•    Dana Stan (Sophomore), New Albany High School
•    Fama Seck (Junior), Hilliard Davidson High School
•    Jacob Miller (Freshman), Hilliard Davidson High School
•    Jules Samuel (Senior), St. Charles Preparatory
•    Lily McGraw (Junior), New Albany High School
•    Olivia Gonidakis (Sophomore), Hilliard Davidson High School
•    Pearl Harris (Junior), Westerville North High School
•    Eli Hitzhusen (Senior), Thomas Worthington High School
•    Elyse Crone (Freshman), Reynoldsburg High School

Fulton County: 
•    Madisy Felix (Sophomore), Wauseon High School
•    Tayanna Bagrowski (Junior), Archbold High School

Geauga County: 
•    Alyssa Duncan (Junior), Berkshire High School
•    Olivia Lewis (Junior), Notre Dame Cathedral Latin

Greene County: 
•    Harrison Panstingel (Junior), Bellbrook High School

Hamilton County: 
•    Anna Schlangen Mendez (Junior), Sycamore High School
•    Camila Esquivel Cerrillo (Junior), Sycamore High School
•    Molly Schmitt (Junior), Seton High School

Henry County: 
•    Brian Scherdt (Freshman), Patrick Henry High School

Hocking County: 
•    Weston Garey (Senior), Logan High School

Holmes County: 
•    Ethan Conway (Junior), Homeschooled

Jefferson County: 
•    Alayna Starr (Sophomore), Indian Creek High School

Knox County: 
•    Izzy Quinlivan (Sophomore), Mount Vernon High School

Licking County: 
•    Audrey Stankunas (Sophomore), Granville High School

Lucas County: 
•    Fred Muler (Freshman), Maumee Valley Country Day School
•    Olga Isailović (Junior), Ottawa Hills High School
•    Zoe McCarthy (Junior), Ottawa Hills High School
•    Caitlin McCarthy (Freshman), Ottawa Hills High School

Medina County: 
•    Edwin Ortiz (Junior), Buckeye Senior High School
•    Shaun Tabaka (Sophomore), Medina High School

Montgomery County: 
•    William Case (Junior), Oakwood High School

Portage County: 
•    Emily Vanas (Senior), Crestwood High School
•    Tessa Wood (Junior), Bio-Med Science Academy
•    Bryce Papp (Senior), Crestwood High School

Preble County: 
•    Jake Beneke (Senior), Miami Valley Career Technical School

Richland County: 
•    Starbella Cordrey (Senior), Crestview Ashland Local School

Seneca County: 
•    Madison Spiers (Senior), Mohawk High School

Stark County: 
•    Kaylyn Butler (Senior), Louisville High School

Summit County: 
•    Darelle Thornton (Junior), Firestone High School

Union County: 
•    Cannon Moser (Senior), Marysville Early College High School
•    Josephine Sims (Junior), Dublin Coffman High School
•    Olivia went (Senior), Dublin Jerome High School
•    Prisha Patel (Senior), Dublin Jerome High School
•    Varun Ramanujam (Sophomore), Dublin Jerome High School

Warren County: 
•    Manasi Kanna (Senior), William Mason High School
•    Maria Zacher (Senior), William Mason High School
•    Victoria Lambert (Junior), Homeschooled

Williams County: 
•    Baylee Willis (Junior), Ohio Connections Academy

Wyandot County: 
•    Carson Dunn (Junior), Upper Sandusky High School

Information courtesy of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources