Nicolas Smith coordinates and leads groups in team building events, coaches a youth climbing competition team as well as teaches all ages basic to advanced climbing techniques. He has been an instructor for Boy Scouts of America climbing merit badge program, helped coordinate and teach an anchor-building Clinic for Black Diamond, is a qualified wilderness first aid responder and current member of the Southern California Mountaineers Association.
Michael Skinner is the Executive Director of the Balsam Mountain Trust, the 501 (c) (3) nonprofit environmental education and research arm of Balsam Mountain Preserve. He is responsible for directing the natural and cultural resource management, environmental education programs and scientific research at Balsam. Before coming to Balsam, Michael was the Emmy nominated host of “Georgia Outdoors” on Georgia Public Television.
He is the former staff photographer and photo editor for Game and Fish Publications in Marietta, GA., a 31 – magazine publishing company covering hunting, fishing and related sports activities throughout the United States. In this position he was responsible for field location photography, soliciting photographs from free-lance photographers, assigning free-lancers region-specific photo requirements, choosing photos to be used in monthly publications, keeping records,etc. Michael is an experienced field ecologist, naturalist, nature photographer, environmental educator, taxidermist and musician.
His career track has taken him to zoos (Lincoln Park, Central Texas Zoo and Zoo Atlanta); nature centers (Chattahoochee in Atlanta); museums (Fernbank in Atlanta and Strecker at Baylor University, where he was also an instructor in the biology program) and has afforded him the opportunity to travel extensively in the U. S. and abroad. Michael holds a B.A. degree in Wildlife Management from Southern Illinois University.
Early Discovery Program Director Sally Sherrard lives in Littleton, NH with her husband Jim. Sally and her son James have attended 19 summits. With a degree in Early Childhood Education Sally has taught preschool for 25 years. She is presently working as a Para Professional in a Kindergarten class. Her focus is on helping children learn to respect and understand the world in which they live. She believes children learn through playing in their natural environment. Sally enjoys hiking, kayaking, and snowshoeing in her beautiful northern New Hampshire playground; she is also a magician and will share her Nature Magic Show at the Family Summit.
Leslie Sherrard is an educator with 33 years of teaching experience in elementary, middle, and high schools. She currently teaches high school math in Savannah, Georgia. She has worked at Glacier National Park in Montana, and has served as a Director of Camp Invention (a national science camp for elementary students). She is an assistant PADI scuba diving instructor and a full time outdoor enthusiast. Leslie admits: “I hike and camp whenever I can!” She has two adult sons – the older one graduated from Clemson and her younger son graduated from Appalachian State. This is Leslie’s eighth Summit.
James Sherrard lives near Burlington, Vermont and has been part of the Summits since his first at Mt. Washington Hotel in New Hampshire. In past Summits James served on the board of directors for the newly created Family Nature Summits for two years as the Young Adult member, hiked with the Junior Naturalists, assisted Peggy with the Young Adults, co-led rock climbing and is now a teen Leader with Joel and Leigh Ann. When James is not at the Summits he is working in the field of stormwater management and exploring the New England forests.
One of Harvest Schroeder’ s earliest Summit memories is looking at starfish on the beach at the 1992 Monterey Bay California Summit. She always looks forward to the unique outdoor adventures, friendships, and learning opportunities provided during the Summit week. Harvest Schroeder has worked as a water resources engineer for the Iowa Flood Center for the past 3 years.
Teri Schroeder has worked in the past as director of the child care program. Teri and her family began attending NWF Family Conservation Summits in 1985. Since that first summit, Teri has worked as a volunteer, as childcare staff and director and as a Junior Naturalist leader at many summits.
Joel Schroeder became involved with the NWF Family Conservation Summits starting in 1985 and has either served on the teen staff or directed the teen program many times since then. He was a secondary science teacher and technology coordinator for a school district in Iowa and taught classes in all areas of science.
Sue Sabo first contracted the Conservation Summit Virus (CSV) about 20 years ago when her parents invited her to join them at the Blue Ridge Summit and she has been infected with it ever since! Since the CSV is so contagious, she has managed to infect the rest of her family and a few others along the way! The symptoms of CSV include an intense desire to collect scarves of differing colors, greet others infected with the same virus, and see parts of this country that un-infected people never get a chance to experience! About 11 years ago she developed a new symptom–an uncontrollable desire to become even more involved in the Summit experience. Thus, she entered the “Faculty” phase, working with the Adult Adventure Class, leading the Family Adventure class, and now serving as Director of the Early Discovery Program. Six years ago the CSV mutated into a new but very similar virus known as the Family Summit Virus (FSV), and she hopes to remain infected with this new virus for many years to come! When not indulging her viral symptoms, she is a retired media specialist, a grandmother of 5, and also a member of the Improv Comedy Troupe, See You Thursday, www.seeyouthursday.com
In 2013, Sue assumed the role of Summit Adult Program Director and chair of the Programming Committee. She is also a member of the Family Summits Board of Directors.
Robert Michael Pyle was born and raised in Colorado but for thirty-three years has lived along, studied, and written about southwest Washington State, with his wife, artist and botanist Thea Linnaea Pyle. He taught at a couple dozen Summits from the early 1970’s to 1998, and again in 2011. He has worked as Ranger-Naturalist for Sequoia National Park, Lepidoptera conservation consultant in Papua New Guinea, Northwest Land Steward for The Nature Conservancy, and co-manager of the Species Conservation Monitoring Center of the World Wildlife Fund and IUCN in Cambridge, U.K. In 1971, he founded the international Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and later chaired its Monarch Project.
For thirty years, Pyle has been an independent, full-time biologist, writer, teacher, and speaker. He has published over five hundred articles, essays, papers, stories, and poems His sixteen books include Wintergreen, The Thunder Tree, Where Bigfoot Walks, Chasing Monarchs, Walking the High Ridge, Sky Time in Gray’s River, and Mariposa Road: The First Butterfly Big Year; as well as The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies, The Butterflies of Cascadia, and several other standard butterfly works. They have been awarded the John Burroughs Medal, a Guggenheim Fellowship, three Governor’s Writer’s Awards, a Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Award, the Harry Nehls Award for Nature Writing, and the National Outdoor Book Award for natural history literature, and have been runner-up for the Orion, Green, PNBA, and Washington Book Awards.
Pyle’s popular essay-column, “The Tangled Bank,” appeared in fifty-two consecutive issues of Orion Magazine and Orion Afield, and has recently come out in book form from Oregon State University Press as The Tangled Bank: Writings from Orion. A Colorado novel, Magdalena Mountain, is on deck, along with collections of poems, stories, and selected essays, and several scientific papers on monarchs and other butterflies.
Bob Pyle has taught writing and natural history seminars for many conferences, institutes, and colleges around the world, and presented hundreds of invited lectures and keynote addresses. In recent years he has served as Visiting Professor of Environmental Writing at Utah State University; as Kittredge Distinguished Visiting Writer at the University of Montana; and as place-based writing instructor from Alabama to Alaska, Tajikistan to Tasmania, and beyond.
Named Distinguished Alumnus by the forestry schools of both the University of Washington and Yale University, Pyle also received a Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Conservation Biology. For thirty-three years he has lived along, studied, and written about Gray’s River, a tributary of the Lower Columbia River, in the Willapa Hills of southwest Washington. He and his wife, weaver and botanist Thea Linnaea Pyle, have four grandchildren.