” I love using the magic of the natural world and the power of hope as springboards to action.”
Location: Washington, D.C.
Roots & Shoots History: Joined the Roots & Shoots program in 2022
Position Title: Senior Director, Roots & Shoots USA
Mary Ford is the Senior Director of Roots & Shoots USA, youth program of the Jane Goodall Institute, where she works to support empowering young people to make a difference in their communities for people, other animals, and the environment we share. This work builds on over a decade of experience in the education division of the National Geographic Society, serving K-12 students and educators globally. She has a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and a master’s degree in environmental management, but her love of children, teaching, and learning led her quickly to a career focused on environmental education and youth empowerment. She has worked as Program Leader for Youth and Educators at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY, and Manager of Education at the national headquarters of the World Wildlife Fund and the National Audubon Society in Washington. Mary has served on advisory boards at the San Diego Natural History Museum, BSCS Science Learning, and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. She is the chair of the board of the North American Association for Environmental Education and co-chair of the Education Working Group of the Citizen Science Association. Mary is a proud longtime resident of the Capitol Hill neighborhood of DC and also loves to visit her hometown of Minneapolis, MN, where she spends as much time as possible playing in the snow.