Emma White has worked with children of all ages in the past as a summer camp counselor. She has always had a passion for the outdoors and enjoys all types of adventurous activities. This will be Emma’s first summit, and she’s excited to be on childcare staff!
Jean Tufts has enjoyed the Family Summit experience for many years as an instructor of adult programs and as a participant. She is very excited to be returning again this year to be involved in the Jr. Naturalist program. Jean has taught environmental education to students at her local elementary school as well as led many field trips for kids to learn about the environment. Jean lives in a rural town in Vermont with her dog, Fielder.
Julie is a mother of two teenage boys, Ben is 15 and Luke is 13. She has lived in Colorado for the last 11 years. She has a tutoring business, working with children that have dyslexia. She also has a full time job as a case manager, working with the disabled. She homeschools her youngest son, which she loves. It is the best of all. She enjoys working outdoors and being active as much as possible. This includes hiking, camping, running, and even dance classes. She is looking forward to meeting all of you this summer. It is going to be awesome!
Joe Yarkovich, of Pittsburgh, PA, holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Allegheny College and a Master’s degree in Wildlife Science from University of Tennessee. He has spent time working with black bears and wild hogs throughout the United States before returning to Great Smoky Mountains National Park to manage and research the reintroduced elk herd, black bears, and wild hogs.
Tamra Willis is an assistant professor in the Graduate Teacher Education Program at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton Virginia. She has developed an Environment-Based Learning (EBL) program at the college, providing professional development for teachers and a Master of Education degree in EBL.
The program encourages K-12 teachers to take students outside and to use the local environment to teach all subjects including reading, writing, math, science, social studies, and art. A primary goal is to engage students in outdoor learning experiences so that they will connect with nature in a meaningful way. Tamra lives on the side of Little North Mountain, VA in an 1850s farmhouse with her husband, Michael Pelton.
Betty Trummel has just retired from a 35-year career in elementary teaching, and 10 years as an adjunct professor at the university level. She’s taught at over 40 Summits since 1983 and loves to reach out to learners of all ages to teach about the natural world. Three expeditions to Antarctica have focused on education outreach, working alongside scientists at the U.S. McMurdo Station. Betty is headed back to Antarctica in December, 2016, as part of the all-women’s expedition Homeward Bound. She has been chosen as one of 78 women in science from around the world who are part of Homeward Bound, a global collaboration and an inspiring leadership and strategic initiative teamed with a science education program on climate, biological and earth system research, set against the back drop of Antarctica.
For the past 12 years Betty has co-led a teacher exchange program with educators from the U.S. and northern Sweden, based on environmental education and sustainable development. She’s also on the Executive Committee for Polar Educators International (PEI) and on the Board of A to Z Literacy Movement, a non-profit dedicated to putting books in the hands of children and sharing literacy teaching skills/strategies with teachers in Zambia.
Betty’s off to Svalbard Island in the Arctic later in July, to work with her Italian colleague, Matteo, and help teach on a high school student expedition called “Research and Education Svalbard Experience” (RESEt). Teaching is her passion, rambles/hikes are her joy. Betty is a avid reader, hiker/backpacker, gardener, photographer; she loves to kayak, snowshoe, ski, go orienteering, and spend time in the mountains and at the beach. Her newest adventure: The Science Roadshow….a business she started to continue to promote lifelong learning in science and technology. Dedicated to doing science presentations/programs to learners around the world, this is a way that Betty can share her passion for education for years to come.
Stephen Torbit earned his Ph.D. in wildlife ecology from Colorado State University specializing in ungulate nutritional ecology. Since earning his doctorate, Steve has worked in every aspect of wildlife conservation. He not only has been an academician, by continuing on the faculty of Colorado State as an instructor and researcher, but he has also worked as a biologist for two state wildlife agencies (Colorado and Wyoming). While with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, he was presented with the “Wildlife Professional of the Year” award by the Colorado Wildlife Federation. He has managed wildlife habitats, wildlife populations and served as a wildlife advocate to development proponents, federal and state agencies.
In 1993, Steve brought his research, agency and management experience to bear on wildlife conservation issues in the west for the National Wildlife Federation. He assisted NWF in their policy development concerning the re-authorization of the Endangered Species Act. Steve has also served as an expert witness in many legal forums including federal district court. In addition, Steve has served as technical advisor for over 10 NWF wildlife films broadcast on PBS and the Turner Broadcast System and large format (IMAX) films. Steve has served as technical advisor, writer and on-camera commentator.
Steve’s duties with NWF also included oversight of NWF operations in an 8-state region that included assisting the indigenous tribal people of the western U.S. in the restoration of wildlife and guidance on energy development for their reservations. He remained intimately involved in conservation of wildlife and wildlife habitat on public and tribal lands. Steve led both the public and tribal lands programs including working on behalf of wildlife in the face of massive energy development on public lands.
For his work on behalf of bison restoration, Steve was presented the first annual “Friends of the Buffalo” award from the InterTribal Bison Cooperative. Steve also works with tribal governments to restore other components of their prairie ecosystems, serving both as a technical consultant to the tribes and as an advocate to the federal government for the tribes. He has assisted with the reintroduction Black-footed ferrets on the Ft. Belknap and Cheyenne River Sioux Reservations and with the management of wolves by the Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho and Mexican wolves on the White Mountain Apache reservation. Steve served as the Regional Executive Director of NWF’s Rocky Mountain Natural Center in Boulder, Colorado. Steve retired from the National Wildlife Federation in 2011 after nearly 19 years on the NWF staff. Steve returned to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and now serves as the Assistant Regional Director for Science Applications in Region 6 at the Denver Regional Office. He continues to be involved in nearly every aspect of modern wildlife conservation in his new role.
Tim Thomas, fourth-generation native of the Monterey area, is a popular speaker and lively tour guide. For 16 years, he was historian and curator for the Monterey Maritime & History Museum and has worked with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, California State Parks and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. He is author of the newly published “The Abalone King: “Pop” Ernest Doelter, and “The Japanese on the Monterey Peninsula” and he is co-author of “Monterey’s Waterfront.”
Amanda Stroupe: Last year I loved sharing the North Carolina mountains with our young folk, and this year I look forward to experiencing New Mexico with our little (and coolest) guys. As a mother of four, I have found that children are at their best in the great outdoors. It is my pleasure to explore, learn about, and marvel over the wonders of Mother Nature with those who see it best. From August to June I teach 2nd grade in small town Granite Falls, North Carolina. In the classroom I love to take children out of the classroom! We often take walks, have poetry class and nature journaling outdoors, and study birds at our birdfeeder. On the weekends my family likes to take day trips to the mountains for creek play, hiking, salamander spying, picnics, and time to relax. I can’t wait to do similar, and different, things with our Family Summit children!
Spring has been attending summits since age 5. She has volunteered in childcare and been on staff with the young adult group at multiple summits. In 2011, she retired from her office job as a computer systems analyst and now spends as much time as possible on adventures with her three-year-old daughter.