Colin Waite
Cooper Center for Environmental Learning

The 2023-24 program year marks Colin’s 20th year at the Cooper Center. His love of nature started during his childhood in Upstate New York, exploring the fields, forests, and creeks near his home. His high school biology teacher, Mr. Coaster, sparked his interest in environmental science and a family trip west in 1994 carried him to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff in 1996.

Colin graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Science in 2000 and decided to focus on communicating environmental issues and concepts to the public at large. This began with work on grassroots campaigns with the Fund For Public Interest Research as a Field Manager in Oregon and later Canvass Director in North Carolina, building membership and political support for such groups like Sierra Club, Human Rights Campaign, and the State Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGS). In 2001, Colin’s love of the West brought him to Tucson, AZ, where he worked briefly for Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange before joining the staff of the Cooper Center in 2003. He received his Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from NAU in 2005. Colin has served the Cooper Center as an Environmental Education Specialist, Program Coordinator, Assistant Director, and Director, building strong relationships with teachers across Southern Arizona and with the community at large. He can’t imagine working anywhere else.

Colin is married to University High School math teacher Leiba Schuneman and together they have 2 sons, Gavin and Sawyer, and 2 cats, Angie, and Rusty. In addition to his duties at the Cooper Center, Colin officiates high school and youth football. He also enjoys cooking, reading, hiking, video games, music, and movies.

Some scenes from our May 17 meeting.