By Katie Koerten
Hello and welcome to Nature Summer Camp 2015! The counselors and I have been buzzing like bees 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, two fabulous new ones and two wonderful support staff! And now, let’s introduce them one by one…
We could not be more excited to have Peter back as a co-instructor of our popular Leadership Training Camp. After 30+ years as an educator in public schools, Peter has re-joined the Hitchcock Center staff (in retirement, no less!) as a field trip educator and camp instructor. Peter is beloved by many in the community and some families were eager to sign up for his camp because he was such a wonderful 6th grade teacher. But what many do not know is that Peter was one of Hitchcock’s first camp counselors in the earliest days of Hitchcock camp programming! Welcome back Peter!
Katie can’t believe she is already upon her 5th year as Hitchcock Camp Director! She began at Hitchcock as a camp counselor in 2007, when she fell in love with the Pioneer Valley and the Hitchcock Center. She spent three years working in a public school Kindergarten classroom and then took an internship working as an avian rehabilitator and educator at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science. She joined Hitchcock’s staff full time in 2011, when she became Children and Family Programs Coordinator, teaching homeschool, afterschool, camps and other children and family programs. In her free time she can be found birdwatching, hiking and checking out local swimming holes (usually all at the same time!).
Hannah is excited to return for her second summer as a Hitchcock nature camp counselor! This year she spent lots of time at the Hitchcock Center as an intern, assisting with homeschool classes, Discovery Days, and more. In May, Hannah graduated from UMass Amherst with a degree in Environmental Science. She plans to pursue a Master’s degree in science education this fall. Each summer, Hannah also volunteers as a counselor at Circle Camps for Grieving Children. She loves music, and in her spare time she plays the fiddle, the ukulele, and the guitar – but not all at once!
Liz is so excited to spend the summer outdoors exploring nature with young people! She grew up on a small farm on the east side of the Quabbin Reservoir spending free time running through the forest, digging in rivers, and making epic forts. Liz has her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont where she honed her nature knowledge and further developed a great passion for environmental education. During the school year she works as an Educational Support Professional at an elementary school in Northampton. When not at camp, Liz can be found riding her bike, playing and listening to music, gardening, cooking, or baking a pie.
Ashlyn will be a junior at Tufts University next fall. Growing up in the Valley inspired her love for nature, animals, and all things outdoors, which brought about her curiosity for the environment and how to protect it. She studies history and art history at Tufts, where she works in the Office of Sustainability as an Eco-Rep, promoting sustainable practices throughout campus and in the dorms. Growing up with a bundle of siblings fostered her love for children, and she spent last summer tramping around the Berkshires at a sleep away camp for children of all ages. This past spring she worked as a substitute teacher at Fort River Elementary school, where she was once a student herself, and this summer she is excited to combine the teaching aspect of school and the fun play of camp at the Hitchcock Center. When she is not playing frisbee or reading a book, she can be found outside wandering around making fairy houses!
We are very lucky to have Colleen assisting us with camp this summer. Colleen is going on 31 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!
Patrick is thrilled to back for his third season with Hitchcock Nature Day Camp. Over the last few years he’s fallen in love with the Hitchcock Center and this past spring he joined as a full time staff member. In addition to summer and school vacation camps he teaches the Homeschool II class, 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.
Lucy joins us this year as an assistant counselor during Session 2 with the Young Naturalists. She brings many years of education experience, most recently as a pre-school teacher in Williamsburg, and we are so excited to have her as part of our team!
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