Houser, Steve

Houser, Steve

Steve Houser Jr has a master’s degree in Elementary Education as well as a graduate degree in counseling. Steve is certified in gifted education, social sciences, and geography, as well as being certified as an Environmental Educator by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. His work as an educator of young people for over 40 years has been recognized through numerous awards, including: The Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (the nation’s highest science teaching award sponsored by the White House and the National Science Foundation), the Governor’s Award for NC Environmental Educator of the Year, the American Geological Institute’s US Earth Science Teacher of the Year, the Mecklenburg County Arts and Science Council’s Outstanding Educator Award for his contributions to the Arts, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System’s Wachovia Ben Craig Teacher of the Year Award.

In addition, Steve is a professional storyteller with over 35 years experience in telling the old North Carolina tales and international stories that inspire and educate the listener. He worked over twenty summers as a National Wildlife Federation Family Summit faculty member at locations all over North America, and he currently serves as Director of the Family Nature Summits Junior Naturalist Program. Recognized as an “Educator of Excellence” with the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, Steve has participated in educator institutes in Sweden, Belize, Yellowstone National Park, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest in Peru

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Houser, Jan

Jan Houser has attended or volunteered at 24 Summits. After teaching for 33 years, she retired and has her own private tutoring business. She enjoys being able to schedule her time in such a way as to spend ample time outdoors walking her dogs and riding her horse. Family Nature Summits have been an important part of each summer for her family, and she has enjoyed seeing many beautiful places across the United States in conjunction with Summit adventures.

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Hoffner, Delene

DeLene Hoffner is currently teaching 4th grade at School in the Woods, a natural science immersion school. She has been an elementary teacher for over 28 years. DeLene earned her Masters degree in Integrated Natural Sciences from Colorado College. She has been recognized for her teaching with numerous honors; 1999 Presidential Award for Excellence, Teacher of the Year, Exceptional International Elementary Science Teacher, Space Foundation Advisory Teacher, to name a few. DeLene also is a regional director for Colorado Environmental Education Council, a teacher trainer for her school district, President for the Colorado Association of Science Teachers, executive board member/instructor for eleSTEMary and an adjunct professor for a local university. She is very involved in the National Science Teacher Association where she previously was the Preschool/Elementary Committee Director and now reviews articles for the Science & Children magazine and chairs the committee for the selection of the Outstanding Science Trade books award. She is an international teacher/presenter who shares her passions for learning with teachers ranging from her local state conferences to Australian teachers!! (She spent a year in Australia on a teaching exchange) DeLene marvels at the wonders of the world we live in and strives to share ways for all to enjoy, understand and care for our precious natural world!!

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Hays, Peggy

Peggy Hays teaches elementary science in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She has been teaching for 32 years in all grade levels with the past thirteen years as a science specialist. She has also created and taught several outdoor education classes and science workshops for both students and teachers. She loves to ski, bike, hike, play tennis, and spend time with family and friends. She especially enjoys helping children to appreciate and take responsibility for the preservation of nature. She is very excited to be returning for her 12th summit as one of the Junior Naturalist teachers.

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Griffin, Brete

Brete Griffin has been looking for “birds” for more than thirty years and started out by chasing down the songs of birds he did not recognize while traversing the hills and hollers of his native West Virginia. Before going back to Toronto to get his teaching degree, Brete worked near Fort Sill, Oklahoma to help collect data for a longterm study on the threatened Black-capped Vireo. Brete has also worked to help raise awareness and support for bird conservation projects and research conducted by Bird Studies Canada in his community in the Toronto area by promoting IMBD activities and by conducting a Baillie Birdathon each spring for the last twenty+ years. He broke in with the Family Nature Summit program when they were in the Canaan Valley Resort in WV, now our 500th National Wildlife Refuge, and found breeding birds for the summiteers on his old stomping grounds back in 2001.

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Blank, Chris

When not acting as President of Family Nature Summits Chris Blank is a private practice attorney based in Newport Beach, California. His firm’s focus is business litigation, business law, and bankruptcy. In addition to his law practice he sits on the board of a local educational non-profit organization and founded a political action committee to support local candidates. He has been coming to the Nature Summits since 1994. This is the highlight of the year for he and his sons. He has been a committed environmentalist since the 1970s and is excited about continuing the Summit mission

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Cameron Tiberion, Annie

Annie Tiberio Cameron is a fine art nature photographer with a passion for teaching, especially to beginners. She brings to this Summit (in 2016, her 34th) over 40 years of elementary school teaching, coordinating environmental education programs for Massachusetts Audubon Society, and teaching photography for many institutions across the USA. Since 2009, she has been teaching a 3-credit online photography course at UMass Amherst, (open to anyone, worldwide) and currently focuses her exhibiting efforts in venues around Central Vermont, including the Montpelier gallery that represents her work. Her photos have been exhibited in galleries and museums across the country, received awards and have been published in numerous calendars, magazines, newspapers, and other publications, including two editions of a top-selling Sierra Club book entitled: Mother Earth — Through the Eyes of Women Photographers and Writers, as well as its accompanying postcard book. Annie also tours three slide programs, seen at Summits and available for your communities: Death Valley, Okefinokee and Beyond,  Come With Me to Tanzania, and Touring Kenya are for upper elementary students through adults. See her online gallery at: www.AnnieCameronPhotography.com

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Bales, Kathy

Kathy Bales , a recreation therapist, has experience working with people of all ages in her work at a rehab center and in a school Pre-K program. Mother of three, she and her husband have volunteered with children in Scouts, Sunday School, Audubon camp, after-school programs and 4-H. Her leisure activities reflect her love of outdoors and include bicycling, gardening and x-c skiing. Maine will be her 12th Summit.

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Brosnan, Peggy

Peggy Brosnan has been a leader for hiking, youth, teens, and young adult programs. A biology and genetics teacher, she advises an ecology club and Environthon team at one of the D.C. area’s top public high schools. She has done hikes to 12,000, 14,000, 16,000, and 20,000 feet in the Alps, the Rockies, the Andes, and the Himalayas respectively, and camped inside Kilimanjaro’s crater at 18,800 ft. She has kayaked Baja, New Zealand, Italy’s Elba Island, and Alaska’s Glacier Bay, but says that one kayaking moment in Canada’s westernmost islands topped them all. This will be Peggy’s 31th Summit.

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Arledge, Judy

Greetings from Ponderosa Country. My name is Judy Arledge, and I have been creating pine needle baskets since 1980. My work has been accepted for museum shows in a number of major American cities—one piece was selected for a journey to Latvia, representing “Artists for Peace.” My signature basket “Spirit Bear” was chosen to be part of a collection of special pieces of Montana art to represent Missoula in our New Zealand sister city, Palmerston-North. Several galleries have shown my work and I have been featured in Sundance Catalog. As an educator, I have presented programs for schools to share the important history and tradition of basketry for all nations and people. My studio provides an intimate arena for the gathering of students who come to learn coiling, one of the ancient methods of basket making.  It has been an honor to share my passion for basketry as an instructor for participants in Family Summit events with the National Wildlife Federation at various locations internationally.

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