Marijke Hecht is an Assistant Professor of Recreation Park and Tourism Management at Penn State Greater Allegheny. She received her PhD in Learning Sciences and Policy from the University of Pittsburgh. She brings an interdisciplinary approach to her teaching & research, weaving together environmental education, community-based ecological design, learning sciences, and naturalist practices. She is particularly interested in how urban greenspaces can be used as sites for learning, advocacy, and stewardship and how human and nonhuman nature interact in these spaces.
Previously, Marijke worked in Pittsburgh’s parks for 14 years where she spearheaded two major projects – advocating for the Nine Mile Run aquatic ecosystem restoration, one of the largest urban stream restorations in the U.S., and managing the design and construction of the Frick Environmental Center, a public education and welcome center that is net-zero water and energy, and is LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge certified. In her former role as the Director of Education for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, she led the organization’s efforts to expand and diversify participation in parks based environmental education programs.