Marla Coppolino

Course Developer

As a Course Developer, I create engaging content for the Bird Academy’s online courses. I write material for course pages and scripts for videos, and I design games for our audiences to enjoy, while expanding their knowledge about birds. I’m thrilled to be part of the Bird Academy team and enjoy working with this dedicated group to inspire and educate bird enthusiasts.

From the time I could toddle on my own and grab fistfuls of leaves, I was hooked on discovering nature. As a child, I felt a spark of connection with every organism I met, from very teeny to birds and beyond, and I wanted to know what each was called, what it ate, and what purpose it served in the natural world. My two most treasured “toys” as a kid were my microscope and my set of Safari Cards, both of which I still have.

My fascination with all of nature persists. I’m especially interested in understanding soil and soil organisms and how they support the entire ecosystem, from bryophytes to birds. My personal focus area is our native land mollusks (snails and slugs). These misunderstood critters are essential members of the ecosystem; for instance, many species of birds depend upon snails and slugs in their diet to thrive and reproduce. I’m passionate about sharing what I learn about nature with others, and I want to help influence people to play an active role in conservation.

Beyond the Cornell Lab, I immerse myself in science illustration and artwork, creating non-fiction children’s book manuscripts, and writing poems, both serious and funny, about a range of topics from caterpillar frass to mashed potato flakes. I also enjoy life cycle diagrams, maps, word games, gardening, baking without measuring ingredients, playing the cello, and composing short cello pieces for snails. My partner and I are owned by Nigerian dwarf goats, a flock of ducks, two cats, and a dog.


M.S., Zoology, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
B.S., Biological Sciences, University of Georgia
Learning and contributing through other opportunities:

  • Master Naturalist level 3
  • Research Associate at Paleontological Institute
  • Research Associate at Delaware Museum of Natural History
  • My backyard
Marla Coppolino
Center Engagement in Science and Nature
Projects Bird Academy

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Golden-cheeked Warbler by Bryan Calk/Macaulay Library