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Staff

Nearby Nature's staff would love to hear from you. To contact us by email click here.

 

Beth Stein, Executive DirectorBeth Stein 2011

Beth has worked with Nearby Nature since 1994, serving in a variety of capacities, from program director to executive director. Beth is a writer, educator, storyteller, and key developer and manager of much of the educational programming at Nearby Nature. She is our lead programmer for our School Nature Walks Program, a School Classroom Visits instructor, a grant writer, our lead organizer for yearly special events, and our newsletter editor. She has also been know to dress up as Frannie the Frog! Beth has a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Environmental Studies from Williams College. When she's not working at Nearby Nature, you'll find Beth hiking, biking, canoeing, baking, or reading.


ShyAnne Groberg, Education CoordinatorShyAnne Woods

ShyAnne joined our team in 2016  first as a Nearby Nature Guide volunteer, and then as a Daycamps Instructor. Prior to joining Nearby Nature, she spent time working for the Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis, as a naturalist leading interpretive programs on the southern Oregon coast, and as an Environmental Educator in West Eugene's wetlands. ShyAnne greatly enjoys sharing her love of nature with people of all ages. In her free time she likes to hike Eugene's buttes and ridges, join other naturalists for birding or botanizing adventures, and train her dog Josie.


Shaun Daniel, Park Host and Learnscape & Restoration CoordinatorShaun Daniel

Shaun joined the staff in 2017 as Park Host and Learnscape and Restoration Coordinator. He grew up in a village in the Columbia Highlands of northeastern Washington, where he first learned to appreciate nature. After living in and exploring regions of the broader West and Midwest, Shaun is happy to be back in the Northwest. For his role at Nearby Nature, he is excited to draw on his past experiences as a farmer, musician, instructor, editor, house painter, and even a cave tour guide. He has an M.S. in Environmental Humanities from the University of Utah and a Permaculture Design Certificate from Occidental Arts and Ecology Center. Shaun loves reading, gardening, playing and writing music, hiking, and working on various home projects with his wife Teresa.

 

Bear Scamman, Educator and Assistant Park HostBear Scamman

Bear joined our staff in 2017 as an Assistant Park Host to help with the myriad of tasks that come along with caring for our Learnscape site and Alton Baker Park. He first joined our crew in 2016 as a Volunteer Nature Guide for our School Nature Walks Program. Bear originally hails from faraway Maine, where his family has lived for 11 generations! When he's not busy at Nearby Nature, you might find Bear busy working on his Masters in Education at the University of Oregon or creating fun for kids as the Birthday Party Coordinator at the Eugene Science Center.

 

Network Charter School Instructors

NCS Teacher Wendy McKenzie

Wendy McKenzie, Network Charter School Instructor

Wendy has been a Network Charter School science teacher since 2003. She has worked with Nearby Nature since 1995 and served for many years as its Park Host, both in Alton Baker Park and at Armitage Park. She is an experienced gardener, an artist (the original creator of Nearby Nature's Kinder Critters!), and a skilled teacher.

 

Denise Velasco, Network Charter School Instructor

Denise Velasco started her career with Nearby Nature as a volunteer and has been Denise Velascoteaching at the Network Charter School since the fall of 2004. Her classes include math, health, and independent living. When she's not teaching at the Network Charter School, Denise is a mom to a wonderful little boy, and enjoys reading, baking, and gardening.


William HughesBilly Hughes, Network Charter School Instructor

Billy Hughes has been an instructor with the Network Charter School since 2005.  He loves to garden, hike, backpack, kayak, fish, ride his bike, wild craft, and relax in the great outdoors with his family.  His focus at the Network Charter School is teaching whole systems theory, Permaculture ethics, and design principles to his Urban Ecology class.  He also teaches Ultimate Frisbee and is currently co-teaching Survival. He has a Permaculture Design Certification and a Permaculture Teachers Certification.

 

Tom CoppoliniTom Coppolino, NCS Instructor

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 Summer Daycamp Staff 


ShyAnne Groberg, Education & Daycamps CoordinatorShyAnne Woods

ShyAnne joined our team in 2016  first as a Nearby Nature Guide volunteer, and then as a Daycamps Instructor. Prior to joining Nearby Nature, she spent time working for the Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis, as a naturalist leading interpretive programs on the southern Oregon coast, and as an Environmental Educator in West Eugene's wetlands. ShyAnne greatly enjoys sharing her love of nature with people of all ages. In her free time she likes to hike Eugene's buttes and ridges, join other naturalists for birding or botanizing adventures, and train her dog Josie.

 

Thomas WeaverThomas Weaver

Thomas Weaver first joined Nearby Nature as a volunteer nature guide in the Fall of 2013. In the summer of 2014, he first became a member of our summer teaching crew, and since then has enjoyed two great seasons of exploration, learning, and fun with our daycampers. Thomas looks forward to joining our summer staff again in 2016, and is excited to have even more outdoor adventures with our kids.  Originally a native of Virginia, Thomas enjoys hiking, camping, rock climbing, traveling, photography, volunteering, and doing theater in his spare time. He has a B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon (which included an internship planting indigenous trees in Ecuador) with a minor in Geology.

 

Tami DardenTami Darden

Tami joined our crew in 2015, having spent the school year teaching sustainability education in Eugene/Springfield elementary school classrooms. Tami has been an environmental educator for young and old alike and in many types of environments, from Hawaii to Alaska and many places in between. Getting people excited about nature is one of her favorite things to do — in her free time she loves to be out and about doing things like backpacking, kayaking, and hiking. Tami has a B.S. in Geology from Humboldt State University and has earned most of her M.S. degree in Forest Ecosystems and Society from Oregon State University. She is looking forward to teaching and learning outside this summer!

 

Bear Scamman Bear Scamman

Bear joined our staff in 2017 as an Assistant Park Host to help with the myriad of tasks that come along with caring for our Learnscape site and Alton Baker Park. This summer, he is joining our Daycamp teaching crew as well! He first started helping out at Nearby Nature in 2016 when he became a Volunteer Nature Guide for our School Nature Walks Program. Right away one of our most dependable and skilled volunteers, Bear has helped out with everything from dressing up in our Kinder Critter costumes, to leading nature adventures for school kids, to recruiting volunteers for summer camps. Bear originally hails from faraway Maine, where his family has lived for 11 generations! When he's not busy at Nearby Nature, you might find Bear busy working on his Masters in Education at the University of Oregon or creating fun for kids as the Birthday Party Coordinator at the Eugene Science Center.

 

Ted WilburTed Wilbur

Ted first joined our staff in the summer of 2016 to lead our bicycle camps...and now we're happy to say he's back! In the interim, Ted worked as a Bike Ambassador for the City of Eugene, a role in which he spent LOTS of time getting to know our local parks and bike paths. These days, during the school year, he is Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at the middle school level. Before that he worked as a National Park Service Ranger in Death Valley, where he gave history and geology tours, and as a trail crew lead at Pinnacles National Park, where he got to handle California Condors from time to time. Ted has a MA in Asian History from Boise State and studied History and Comparative Religion at Chico State in California. He is also an avid cyclist who has gone on numerous bicycle tours in foreign countries, from Japan to New Zealand. Ted is looking forward to a summer of good stories, great rides, cool wading pools and lots of smiles.

 

Elaine Yoch Elaine Yoch

Elaine first joined Nearby Nature as a Restoration Ecology Volunteer in 2017 and, a few months later served as a Volunteer Guide for our School Nature Walks program. Since then, she's done a bit of everything for us -- from dressing up as Frannie Frog, to working in our Learnscape Garden, to assisting with community programs. When she's not at Nearby Nature, you'll probably find her happily tumbling and jumping with kids in her role as a gymnastics instructor at National Academy of Artistic Gymnastics. She is a Virginia native, and worked as a member of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation for a year after graduating from Dickinson College in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. Elaine holds certifications in Wilderness First Aid and Epinephrine Auto-injector administration from NOLS. She looks forward to a summer of active fun and learning with kids at Nearby Nature.

 

Erica Benedict-BartaErica Benedict-Barta

The first time Erica participated in a Nearby Nature camp, she was one of the group's ten-year-olds! In 2013, Erica came back as an adult to lead our Wheels to Water daycamp and has been with us ever since, working with everyone from tiny ones to teens. During her time away from Nearby Nature, Erica studied in Bolivia and Peru, fought wildfires from Colorado to Alaska, taught basic bike mechanics and other skills at Maple Elementary in Springfield, and chaperoned middle school bike rides for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. Today, when not working for Nearby Nature or hanging out with her toddler, you might see her in a garden, playing soccer, pedicabbing, or biking to Portland. She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a minor in Biology from the University of Oregon. Erica will be forever grateful to Sharon Blick, one of Nearby Nature's founders, and to those responsible for Eugene's wildest parks and extensive bike system.

 

Samuel KenneySamuel Kenney

Samuel is new to Nearby Nature this year! During the school year he works as a special education teacher with elementary students. He also has experience working at summer camps -- in Nebraska, Washington, North Carolina, and now in Oregon! Samuel grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and has traveled and lived in many different places. He loves the woods, hiking, camping, and playing in nature. As an undergrad Samuel studied textile design at the University of Oregon. Using his degree, he lived in an intentional community with adults with developmental disabilities. While in the community he ran a ceramics workshop, worked in the weavery, and helped in the herb garden. Samuel has taught years of swim lessons with preschoolers at Tamarack Wellness Center, has assisted in Early Childhood CARES classrooms, and has extensive experience working with children with special needs. Samuel is excited to spend his summer helping children explore wonders of the natural world right in their own backyards. When he's not at camp, Samuel enjoys tubing, growing flowers, and soaking in the sunshine.

 

Laura FarahLaura Farrah

Born in the Midwest but raised in Eugene, Laura has always been a lover of animals. When she was just three years old, she fell in love with the forests of the Pacific Northwest on the extended camping trips her family would take each summer. Laura's love of nature and wildlife led her to begin volunteering at the Cascades Raptor Center in 2010. As the Raptor Center's current staff Education Assistant, Laura works with resident birds, helps provide educational experiences to visitors, assists in the rehabilitation clinic, helps with volunteer management -- and teaches Nearby Nature's daycamp at the Raptor Center! In the fall of 2016, Laura completed an 8-week intensive online course on Applied Behavior Analysis taught by Dr. Susan Friedman of Utah State University, getting her one step closer to her goal of becoming a certified bird trainer. Beyond her work at the Raptor Center, Laura has worked locally as a gluten-free baker and is a licensed massage therapist.

 



 


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