Meet Our 2017 Nature Summer Camp Directors and Staff

Back Row (L to R): Jeff Mazur, Tara Borgilt, Patrick O’Roark, Hannah French, Fiona MacNeill, Katie Koerten Front Row (L to R): Rose Jackson, Sierra Hausthor, Ellena Baum

Hello and welcome to Nature Summer Camp 2017! We are incredibly excited for our first Nature Summer Camp at the new Hitchcock Center. The counselors, Katie and I have been as busy as beavers around here getting ready for the first day of camp next week. We can’t wait to meet all the campers! I am super thrilled about our staff. We are lucky to have three returning counselors, four fabulous new ones, and two wonderful support staff! And now, let’s introduce them one by one… 

Jeff Mazur

Environmental Educator and Summer Camp Director
Jeff is answering the call of the wild – to inspire others to be better stewards of our planet through helping children and adults more deeply connect to the natural world. This is Jeff’s second year as camp director and at the Hitchcock Center. During the school year, Jeff teaches our Homeschool II Program, Nature Play Afterschool Program, and teaches to classes that visit the Hitchcock Center on field trips.

Prior to joining the Hitchcock Center, Jeff worked for Mass Audubon as a teacher/naturalist at Drumlin Farm, Arcadia and Habitat Sanctuaries and created his own afterschool program called “Into the Woods” for the Lexington Montessori School. Jeff brings to his teaching a deep-felt gratitude for the earth, an innate and also continuously growing ability to experientially engage others in the wonders of nature, and his own wellspring of curiosity and delight at the surprises that unfold around us each day. When not at the Hitchcock Center, Jeff can be found in the woods keeping a keen lookout for mushrooms, swimming at Puffer’s Pond, biking or tending his garden.

Katie Koerten

Summer Camp Co-Director
Counselor – Leadership –Training Camp
Katie Koerten is excited to for the first season of summer camp in the new Hitchcock Center. This summer she will be leading camp along with Jeff Mazur and teaching Leadership Training Camp with Peter Lamdin. Katie has been at the Hitchcock Center for 6 years and serves as the Children and Family Programs Coordinator. During the school year she teaches Girls into the Wild, Homeschool I, Homeschool Discovery Days and Girl Scout Programs. Before Hitchcock she worked in a public school Kindergarten for three years and had an avian rehabilitation internship in Vermont. She loves birds, wildflowers, and playing with her daughter!

Ellena Baum

Counselor – Young Naturalists
Ellena is excited to be joining the team of teacher naturalists at the Hitchcock Center this summer! Since graduating from Smith College several years ago with a degree in Engineering and Environmental Science, she has traveled near and far, mostly with just her tent and a bicycle, to be a part of cooperative land trusts, ecological building projects, and nature immersion programs in the Pioneer Valley and beyond. After teaching last year with a regenerative agricultural project in the Peruvian Amazon, eating all the mangoes she could get her hands on, and then leading middle-school outdoor education programs in the Berkshires this spring, she’s happy to call the Pioneer Valley her home once again.

Ellena is thrilled about the new Living Building and can’t wait to explore all of its intricate, interconnected systems with the young naturalists, as her dream is to one day live in her own zero energy home. This summer she plans to hike, bike, and swim many of the swimming holes that the valley has to offer. On the weekends she can be found playing her mandolin or frolicking in the woods with friends.

Tara Borgilt

Counselor – Young Naturalists
Tara is delighted to be a summer camp counselor at the Hitchcock Center for the first time. She loves exploring the intricacies of the natural world, and looks forward to sharing her excitement and curiosity with the campers. Tara was born in the foothills of the Rouge Valley in Southwestern Oregon and grew up camping, skiing, picking up bugs and critters, backpacking, and climbing to high places with her family and friends. She is passionate about encouraging deep relationships to place, and grateful to have the opportunity to do so herself in this new part of the country. Since moving to the Pioneer Valley last February, Tara has been at the Hitchcock Center as a volunteer and as a co-counselor for April Vacation Camp. She has a BA in Spanish from Reed College in Portland, OR. She enjoys writing, mending broken things, going on night bike rides, and spying on the birds and squirrels with binoculars from her bedroom window.

Hannah French

Counselor – Eco-Investigators
Hannah holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science from UMass Amherst and recently completed her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education at Antioch University of New England. This spring she has been living in Milan, Italy and working as an au pair. Hannah enjoys drawing on her mixed background in music and art to enrich and diversify her science teaching. She loves to spend time outdoors, too! She is excited to return to Massachusetts for her fourth summer as a counselor at Hitchcock Nature Summer Camp.

Sierra Hausthor

Counselor – Young Naturalists
Sierra is so excited for her first year as a teacher naturalist for the Young Naturalists at Hitchcock! Growing up in the valley, she spent her childhood in the woods studying outdoor survival, enjoying time in the forest and learning about animals. From attending Hitchcock summer camp as a kid, to the homeschool program, to working as a junior counselor last summer, she has spent much of her life at the Hitchcock Center. Sierra has worked with kids of all ages for many years and it’s always been a passion of hers. She’s been a babysitter for about eight years and has worked as an intern at the High School Preschool program over the last year. She very much looks forward to pursuing study in outdoor education and oceanography after finishing her last year of high school. If Sierra’s not at the Hitchcock Center, you can usually find her babysitting, performing theater, hiking with her dog, or spending time with her friends.

Rose Jackson

Counselor – Eco-Investigators
Rose is excited for her first summer as a Teacher Naturalist at the Hitchcock Center! A sophomore at College of the Atlantic, she enjoys taking botany classes along with a whole mess of other things. She grew up in the woods and streams of the Valley which gave her a love for all things outside, and  she likes nothing more than sharing this love with groups of kids. She has previously worked for two years as a part-time teaching assistant at Full Circle Elementary School, and for several more years as a babysitter.  When not at Hitchcock, Rose can be found trellising tomatoes in her garden, brewing up herbal tinctures, and playing fiddle on contra dance stages throughout the Northeast.

Colleen Kelley

Education Director – Provides support to camp as needed
We are very lucky to have Colleen assisting us with camp this summer. Colleen is going on 33 years of being part of the Hitchcock Center staff, and has worked on just about everything here, from camp to school residencies to homeschool to afterschool to her all-time favorite program, Nature Discovery Preschool! All that experience has led to her current role as Education Director, in which she provides leadership and support for the education staff, Hitchcock’s Living Building project, professional development programs, college interns and loads more. In her spare time Colleen loves to get moving outdoors, from swimming to running to cycling to hiking!

Peter Lamdin

Counselor – Leadership Training Camp
Peter is excited to be back for his fourth year as a co-instructor of our popular Leadership Training Camp and thrilled that it continues to evolve and grow. Peter’s first experience as a camp counselor was 42 years ago at the Long Plain Nature Center, soon to become the Hitchcock Center!  At that time he also worked on school programs, until he decided to become a classroom teacher.  For most of his 35 years in the classroom, Peter taught 6th grade here in Amherst, something he loved and which earned him a lot of respect in the community.  Four years ago, Peter re-joined the Hitchcock Center staff (in retirement, no less!) as a field trip educator, curriculum writer, and camp instructor. Some times you can return home, which is how Peter feels about being back at the Hitchcock Center.  But, being part time, he still has lots of time to spend birding, walking, hiking, biking, skiing, gardening; if it’s outside Peter’s happy.

Fiona MacNeill

Counselor – Nature Explorers
Fiona is eager to begin her experience as a counsellor at the Hitchcock Center Nature Camp. She is a rising junior at Cornell University where she studies insect biology. For the past five years, she has worked as a camp counsellor at Hampshire College Garden and Farm Camp, and is excited to expand her teaching experience. As a child, Fiona attended nature programs through Arcadia’s preschool and hopes to create a space where children can be as excited and involved with nature as she was when she was young. In her free time, Fiona likes to collect insects, bake pies, draw, swim, and bike. She is very excited to encourage and support children with all of their curiosities about nature.

Patrick O’Roark

Counselor – Nature Explorers
Patrick is thrilled to back for his fourth season with Hitchcock Nature Summer Camp as Teacher Naturalist for the Explorers. Over the last few years he’s fallen in love with the Hitchcock Center and in the spring of 2015 joined as a full time staff member. In addition to summer and school vacation camps he teaches the Discovery Days, school field trip programs, school residency programs, and is Hitchcock’s Live Animal Caretaker. When not teaching or tending to the critters, Patrick can be found lurking about in art museums and movie theaters or barefoot hiking somewhere in the Mount Holyoke Range.

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