About Natural Inquirer

Meet the Natural Inquirer Team


Dr. Babs McDonaldBabs McDonald

My name is Dr. Babs McDonald. I am a Social Scientist, a writer, and an educator with the USDA Forest Service. I write some of the articles that you read in Natural Inquirer. I like writing the articles because I have to read scientific articles written by the scientists before I can rewrite them for Natural Inquirer. I learn a lot of new things by doing this. I can also be creative, because I get to think of the "Reflection Section" questions! When I am not writing Natural Inquirer articles, I like to walk or run in the woods, ride my bicycle, swim, and lift weights. I also like to take nature photographs.

Presentations by Babs


Jessica NickelsenJessica Nickelsen

Hi! My name is Jessica, and I am the Director of Education for Natural Inquirer. I also used to be a science teacher for 4th, 5th, and 7th grade students. I love teaching and learning about science and the natural world! By working with Natural Inquirer I get the opportunity to teach and learn about science every day. In my spare time, I love to hike, bike, read, and spend time with my husband, my daughters, my family and friends, and my two dogs. The picture shown here is from a hiking trip in Georgia.

Presentations by Jessica


Michelle C. AndrewsMichelle Andrews

Hi there! My name is Michelle. I am the Distribution Coordinator for Natural Inquirer. I get to participate in many interesting projects. I helped to develop an environmental education evaluation tool called EUGENE (Ecological Understanding as a Guideline for Evaluation in Nonformal Education). I am also working on the development of a photo library that will be used for all Natural Inquirer projects. I enjoy being a part of this educational opportunity and team. I have a great deal of love and respect for our planet, the small and the great, and all it has to offer us. I surround myself with a large spiritual family, good friends, family, and great coworkers. Last but not least, my dogs and cats, Moby, Bijou, Punkie (the dogs) and Marley, Patchouli and Marco (the cats), as well as my foster kitties, Petunia, Charcoal, Pedro, Pierre, and Pashur.

Presentations by Michelle


 Bradi McDonald

Hi! My name is Bradi McDonald. I am an undergraduate student studying genetics. I am in charge of distributing the scientist cards for the Natural Inquirer. This job gives me an amazing opportunity to learn about all kinds of future careers I could pursue in the STEM field. In my free time, I love to spend time with my family, friends, and my sweet dog, Kleo. I also enjoy swimming, playing tennis, crafting, and exploring new places!









Nissa McKinney

Hi! My name is Nissa, and I am the Education Assistant for Natural Inquirer. I help the team by getting the word out to educators about our products and helping my colleagues with their work. I used to be a high school English teacher, so I love getting to connect with other teachers across the country. In my spare time, I love to sew and knit, travel to new places, and hang out with my two daughters, my husband, my friends, and my pets – five cats and one dog! In this picture, I was visiting Bandelier National Monument, an amazing place in New Mexico.





Brian Cooke 

Hi, my name is Brian, and I'm an Education Specialist with Natural Inquirer. I've worked with the team for 4+ years doing everything from writing articles and updating the website to producing scientist cards and coordinating with printers. Prior to working at Natural Inquirer, I spent a few years as an environmental educator. Working alongside my Natural Inquirer colleagues and the many Forest Service scientists gives me the opportunity to continue learning about education, writing, and the natural world. In my spare time, you'll probably find me outside hiking, trail running, biking, kayaking, or skiing. If I have to be inside, I'll be reading and writing.