About our Nonprofit
Our mission is to connect people to the natural world and support local communities.
Scientists Uncovering Nature Inc. was founded by Erin O’Neill and Laney Williams in 2022 from conversations around offering a science program that helped foster love for our beautiful Earth.
Erin and Laney met while conducting research in the Biology Department at the University of Vermont under the advisement of Dr. Alison K. Brody where they studied blueberry plants, pollination biology, and fungal ecology. In the field and the lab, they bonded over their shared passion for educating youth about ecology. They began leading workshops together through research grants and through UVM Extension programs.
They identified a gap: there were nature camps and science camps. But what about the science of nature? From there, Scientists Uncovering Nature Inc. was born.
About the Founders
Laney Williams (she/her)
M.S. Biology (University of Vermont 2022)
B.A. in Biology (University of Vermont 2021)
Laney is currently carrying out her master’s thesis research studying plant-fungal interactions in blueberry plants!
Since she was a young girl, Laney was always asking questions, observing the way the world worked, and the way people interacted. Studying science was what she was always passionate about, specifically scientific learning and experimentation in ecology and plant biology. Throughout her life she has had many experiences working with kids. She has babysat/nannied for 10 years, she was a pre-team swim coach from 2012-2014, she was a private tutor for a third grader in 2021, and currently teaches a biology lab for college students.
Laney first developed her love for nature when she was young, spending time with her family outside hiking, skiing, biking, surfing, and swimming. Growing up, her and her family were extremely involved in community service, specifically advocating for ocean protection and conservation in the face of climate change. Her personal journey toward reducing her carbon footprint and waste as well as living an eco-friendly lifestyle was strengthened by the community she found in Burlington, VT. She is passionate about teaching others to be mindful of the environment and believes it is important to teach kids to think scientifically and critically, as well as foster curiosity of the world at a young age.
During the school year she spends most of her time working on her research and teaching biology labs at UVM. In the winter you will find her skiing on her days off, and in the summer she spends her time at the beach, swimming, hiking, and teaching kids science through nature!
Erin O’Neill (she/her)
M.S. Biology (University of Vermont 2020)
B.S. Plant Biology (University of Vermont 2018)
Erin credits her love for the natural world to her hometown of Beach Lake, Pennsylvania where she spent most of her time playing in the woods with her brothers, skiing at the local hill, and kayaking on the Delaware River.
The Plant Biology Department at UVM helped Erin turn her love for the natural world into a love of science. While at UVM, Erin worked in a molecular genetics lab studying plant physiology in legumes and an ecology lab studying interactions between blueberry plants, fungi and pollinators. She has studied plant systematics in the Champlain Valley of VT and in Costa Rica in 2017 and 2019.
During her time at UVM, she taught ski lessons at Stowe, ran educational workshops, gave science lectures to kids and led several undergraduate student biology labs. After graduating in 2020, she continued teaching workshops through volunteer work with UVM Extension. During the “COVID year”, Erin worked with fifteen 3rd – 7th graders developing individualized extracurricular STEAM projects and activities.
Erin is passionate about teaching kids about the environment and hopes to empower young people to ask and answer questions about the world around them. She believes that education is the best way she can give back to the community.
Erin is currently a biology lab coordinator at UVM where she organizes the biology labs for UVM undergraduate students. In her free time you can find her long-distance running, hiking in the Whites and Greens, skiing anywhere there is snow, or at book club with her friends.