Monica Elser

Monica Elser

Education Liaison

Monica Elser

Phone: (406) 872-4511

Monica Elser is the Education Liaison at the Flathead Lake Biological Research Station.  Monica spent many years engaged in limnological research and published her work in a wide range of scientific journals. She moved out of science research and into working to enhance science and sustainability science education within the K-12 community.  She has since published her work with students and teachers in a variety of education journals.

She continues to engage students of all ages with inquiry-based science curriculum that links them with the cutting-edge research being conducted at the Flathead Lake Biological Research Station. Prior to coming here, she led the education team at Arizona State University’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability which developed the successful Ecology Explorers, Service at Salado, and Sustainability Science for Sustainable Schools program. Ecology Explorers received the 2004 ASU Award for Innovation, Service at Salado received the 2006 ASU Award for Social Embeddedness, and the Sustainability Science for Sustainable Schools received the 2013 ASU President’s Award for Sustainability.


MEd, Curriculum and Instruction, Arizona State University, 1998

MS, Ecology, University of Tennessee, 1983

BS, Biology, University of Notre Dame, 1980


Bestelmeyer, S.V., M. M. Elser, K. V. Spellman, E. B. Sparrow, S. S. Haan-Amato, and A. Keener. 2015.  Collaboration, interdisciplinary thinking, and communication:  new approaches to K-12 ecology education.  Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 13(1): 37-43.

Warner, Benjamin and M. Elser. 2015. How do sustainable schools integrate sustainability education? An assessment of certified sustainable K-12 schools in the United States.  Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis. J. of Environmental Education 46(1): 1-22.

Elser, M., L. Pollari, E. Frisk, M Wood. 2011.  Linking Curriculum and Learning to Facilities: Arizona State University’s GK-12 Sustainable Schools Program.  Educational Facility Planner 45(3): pgs 8-11

Ganesh, T. G., Thieken, J., Elser, M., Baker, D., Krause, S., Roberts, C., Kurpius-Robinson, S., Middleton, J., & Golden, J. 2009. Eliciting underserved middle-school youths’ notions of engineers: draw an engineer. In 2009 Annual conference proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Washington, DC: American Society for Engineering Education.

Dresner, M., and M. Elser. 2009. Enhancing science teachers’ understanding of ecosystem interactions with qualitative conceptual models. Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology, Vol. 6: Research #1 [online].

Cutts, B., C. Saltz, and M. Elser. 2008. Insights into the interactions between educational messages: Looking across multiple organizations addressing water issues in Maricopa County, Arizona. Applied Environmental Education & Communication 7(1):40-50.

Elser, M. and K. Schwartz. 2007. Using survey instruments to design more effective workshops. In the Proceedings of the North American Association for Environmental Education 2007 meeting.

Banks, D., M. Elser, and C. Saltz. 2005. Analysis of the K-12 component of the Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) project, 1998-2002. Environmental Education Research 11(5):649-663.

Elser, M., B. Musheno, and C. Saltz. 2003. Backyard ecology. The Science Teacher 70(5):44-45.