Joe Croteau is a high school teacher and fly fishing guide. He has been teaching fly fishing in the Rocky Mountains since 1995 and now owns and operates Sasquatch Fly Fishing (since 2000). His passion for teaching has lead him through many different experiences including working with youths in Outdoor Education, Elderly in crafts and design, history and geography in high schools, and fly fishing with all ages in the Rocky Mountains.
Ron Cisar – Earth Music – Ron is one of our faculty this year as well as performing his popular “Earth Music” for us. All of his hobbies revolve around nature from song writing, photography, reading, writing prose, poems and essays, hiking, kayaking, gardening etc. Ron has released two CDs of his original musical compositions, Earth Music and The Spell of Yellowstone. He has a very sincere enthusiasm about what he does and enjoys working with people of all ages. Be prepared to be entertained and delighted!Ron Cisar is no stranger to Conservation Summits. He has worked over 20 National Wildlife Conservation Summits from 1984 to 2004. Ron has served as Director of the Teen Adventure Program as well as an Earth Music instructor sharing his love of the natural world through his original songs. Ron has performed in 18 states and Canada. His programs have been scheduled and viewed by colleges, public schools, nature centers, and numerous regional, national and international conferences across the country including Project Wild, Bluebirds Across America, Missouri Department of Conservation, Girl Scouts of America, and the National Academic Decathlon Finals to name a few.
Ron has been an environmental educator his entire life. He presently teaches Environmental Science and Biology at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, IA. He has received numerous honors and awards in the area of education such as the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, Nebraska Conservation Educator of the Year and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Ron’s whole life involves the study of natural history. All of his hobbies revolve around nature from song writing, photography, reading, writing prose, poems and essays, hiking, kayaking, gardening etc. Ron has released two CDs of his original musical compositions, Earth Music and The Spell of Yellowstone. He has a very sincere enthusiasm about what he does and enjoys working with people of all ages. Ron’s personal goal is to enrich his student’s and/or participant’s life with the values of a true land ethic and to instill in everyone a passion for positive stewardship of the planet. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska with his wife Muriel. They have three sons.
Janet Chu taught high school Biology for 38 years and took students into the Estes Park Y-Camp for 24 years on a 3-day, 2-night field experience. She has conducted a 4th of July Butterfly Count for 29 years at an Outdoor Education Center. She enjoys involving children and adults in the joy of coming closer to these unique insects.
Gloria Brown is a Decorative Artist from Nova Scotia, Canada, who taught acrylic painting for 18 years. She has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education. She also paints in oils and watercolors. Her original designs are often inspired by scenes in Atlantic Canada and have been featured on several Decorative Art catalogue covers. She is also a Folk Artist, creating with wood, tin, glass, buttons and fabric.
Her passion is especially rewarding when she can resurrect something which has been discarded and make it functional and attractive. As in previous years, her classes continue to use recycled materials. This year, she adds old cutlery to her list. This is her fifth Summit. Gloria is married to Summit Logistics Coordinator, Carl Brown, is the proud mom of Summit instructor, Carla Brown and grandmother to Nora and Russell Welland.
Carla Brown is originally from Atlantic Canada – she was born in Newfoundland and her parents live in Nova Scotia. She became acquainted with Family Nature Summits when they were run by the National Wildlife Federation, where she has worked on the internet team since 2000. She taught at the Summits in Montana, Maine, Colorado, New Brunswick, Oregon and Silver Bay. She taught crafts such as hand quilting, crazy quilting and rug hooking, as well as classes in green lifestyles, global warming solutions and raising children as global citizens. Her daughter said her first “word” at a Summit (a bear’s roar in Colorado) and now her parents come to Summits as well.
Kathy Blank graduated from Northwestern University in 1952 and is the Mom of Chris Blank and Grandmother of Alan and Matt. This will be her fifth Family Summit.Kathy Blank is a graduate of Northwestern University and was a junior high school teacher until her first child arrived. She has three children, one of whom is the Summit’s own Chris Blank. In 1978 she again entered the classroom as a junior high school math and English teacher. When her youngest came to her school she took accounting classes and became a bookkeeper/accountant. She served as Controller of Plaza Communications and publisher of “Registered Representative” for nine years, then opened her own bookkeeping business which still serves clients today. Retirement? Not Now!!! Her hobbies include Scrabble and this year, she will be the facilitator for the Summit Book Club which will be reading My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir and The Indifferent Stars Above by Daniel James Brown
Laird R. Blackwell, who received his Ph.D. from Stanford University, has taught field wildflower classes in the American West for over 25 years. He lives with his wife, Melinda, in Tahoe, where he is professor and department chairman of Humanities at Sierra Nevada College. Laird has spent more than 10 years exploring the Sierra, the Mojave and the Great Basin. He hopes that his books deepen the reader’s knowledge and love of this remarkable part of the world. He also hopes that everyone will be fortunate enough to see the high desert in a wet year, for he believes it is one of the most glorious of wildflower treats.
Michelle Dalrymple lives in Black Forest, Colorado with her husband and three active sons. She has a passion for inspiring kids to explore the outdoors and learn to take care of the environment. Currently, she is in her 6th year of teaching a class she has created called “Wetlands and Waterfowl”. Her students learn about the importance of wetland conservation and also learn how to paint waterfowl in their environment in preparation for the national Jr. Federal Duck Stamp Contest. Ever since she earned her degree in Outdoor Education from the University of Northern Colorado, she has worked extensively in the outdoors with children of all ages. She became inspired to teach in the outdoors through a wonderful Marine Biology teacher during her high school years, who taught her to learn through observing in the outdoors. Her most rewarding “job” was working for College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine as a Program Director. She has also worked as a Naturalist at the Nature Center in Windsor, Connecticut, a teacher at the Outdoor Education Center in Trinity, Texas, and has taught “indoors” in Bailey, Colorado and instructed Science in Colorado Springs. For the past four summers she organized and ran a boys “Art and Nature Camp” which turned into a “Sports and Nature Camp” (so much for art). She is looking forward to returning to the Family Nature Summit to inspire more children to explore the wonders of nature and develop lasting friendships with others.
Kathy Conroy is a teacher with many years of experience working with children. She enjoys being able to integrate the outdoors into her students’ school day. She has worked on development of her elementary school’s outdoor classroom and developed grants for staff development for using the outdoors in education. Kathy has extensive hiking and backpacking experience across the United States (including Alaska) and Canada. She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology at St. Lawrence University in northern New York, her home state, and her Gifted Certification/Masters in Elementary Education at Georgia State University, her second home state. Kathy currently lives with her family in Charlotte, North Carolina and is thrilled to be able to share with youth the many natural treasures of North Carolina as a member of the 2015 Family Nature Summit.
Jim Barausky originally trained at Emerson College, England and in Fuhlenhagen, Germany has over 40 years of experience as an organic/biodynamic farmer and gardener. His expertise includes a wide range of large and small scale projects as well as teaching and public outreach. Jim has managed commercial organic farms, market gardens, small land holdings, and developed educational and service programs for three colleges,. He has worked with students and apprentices in many capacities including establishing a farm and bio-dynamic training course at Kimberton Hills, Pa. With his wife, Cheryl Mulholland, he has also created a K-12 on-farm based curriculum.
As adjunct faculty at The Naropa University, Jim developed a 100 member CSA and market garden at Naropa’s Hedgerow Farm. He was on staff at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC as the Garden Manager and developed 8 acres of market garden to serve in the school cafeteria and train students in organic/biodynamic gardening.Working together with the City of Albuquerque, NM as Farm Manger for Rio Grande Community Farms, Jim helped design and operate a food security project on 300 acres of public land. This project delivered fresh food to local food banks, made public garden plots available, offered volunteer service programs and educational programs, and produced farm based public events which drew 60,000 people per year. Jim has consulted on several projects in Colorado and California. Jim also has served as president of the Biodynamic Society, and is regional coordinator for Biodynamic Training and Apprenticeship programs.