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.
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!!
Marilyn Houser Hartness has spent a lifetime creating art work herself and teaching others to enjoy the natural beauty which is all around; using the process of art to make a lasting visual memory. Her first choice of art mediums is clay. From her outdoor interests: hiking, riding horseback, and swimming, the world of natural beauty coupled with imagination produces ceramic creations which are sculptural and functional. Her career as Associate Professor of Art at Wingate University in North Carolina has allowed her to share ceramics concepts to many people. She teaches Ceramics Fundamentals and Ceramic Art History. Marilyn has instructed courses with the Family Summit Staff for over 14 years She instills a challenge of discovery in her students (young and old) with the focus on shapes of natural objects and the emphasis on the art of seeing line, shapes, color, mass, and space. Creativity plus the location of the summit equals enjoyable learning with a focus on art.
Linda Hamilton is a veteran hiker and outdoor enthusiast, having enjoyed and benefited from many years at the Summits. She works as an Environmental Education Specialist at Lory State Park in Bellvue, CO. She also worked for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. She continues to be involved in outdoor education, life style wellness programs, and various learning pursuits.
Traveling to Lulea, Sweden in 2013 with Betty Trummel (another NWF/FNS staffer) and others to share environmental education interests and skills while meeting new friends was an experience she’ll always remember. In addition, she enjoys being a master naturalist volunteer for her home-town community, as well as a now “accomplished” volunteer for post wildfires and flood restoration projects implemented by multiple state and local agencies. The needs for recovery of back country areas, open spaces, and river boundaries along the Front Range continue.
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Jim Halfpenny is an author, scientist, educator whose interest in COLD (altitudinal, latitudinal, and seasonal) has taken him to all seven continents and Greenland. Jim’s specialties include environmental ecology, animal tracking, and carnivores; his greatest academic love, bears, led to 22 years studying black, grizzly and polar bears. He also works with wolverine, lynx, cougar and wolves. Jim has written over 30 books and videos including his latest, Yellowstone Bears in the Wild and Track Plates for Mammals. He led the American East Greenland expeditions in 1975 and 1976 and is a Fellow of the Explorer’s Club and received the Antarctic Service medal. Jim is past Chairman of the Board of Directors, senior instructor, and past administrative liaison officer of the National Outdoor Leadership School. Currently Jim is President of A Naturalist’s World, an ecological education company. A past Research Fellow of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, Jim was Director of the Mountain Research Station and the Long-Term Ecological Research program in the Alpine. He is listed in Who’s Who in the World 1989-1993, Who’s Who in Emerging Leaders 1989-1996, Who’s Who in Western America 1987-1997 and Who’s Who In Science.
A Vietnam veteran, Jim received the Navy Achievement Medal with Combat “V” and Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm. Jim received his Ph.D. in 1980 in Biology, Ecology, & Mammalogy from the University of Colorado. He received his B.S. in 1969 and M.S. in 1970 both in Botany & Ecology from 2010 Family Summits Classes – Lake Tahoe, California the University of Wyoming. At the University of Wyoming, Jim was on the President’s Academic Honor Roll, University of Wyoming and a four-year letterman in diving, swimming and water polo.
Amy Hahn grew up just outside of Washington, D.C. In 1988 she moved to Colorado and in 1989 led her first hike as part of the faculty of Family Nature Summits (then National Wildlife Federation Conservation Summits). She worked in the outdoor industry for 22 years as a product tester, sales rep and consultant, before turning her attention to the world of conservation, where she still works. She is a confirmed altitude junkie, and spends as much time as possible in the mountains of CO and WY near her home. She enjoys turning people on to playing outside, environmental stewardship, green habits and activism to address environmental degradation.
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.
Tina Egan has been attending Summits with her family for over 24 years and has volunteered at every summit she ever attended. Tina has been assisting on hikes at Family Nature Summits for over 10 years and can’t wait to get out hiking with Summit participants enjoying the coast of Maine. When Tina is not at a Summit, she savors time with her husband, Dave, and three kids (ages 25, 23 and 17). She also enjoys yoga and running. Tina works as a vocational counselor for persons with disabilities.
Carolyn Duckworth experienced Summit instructor with more than 19 years experience teaching about field journals, field sketching, and writing about nature. Her essays and field journal pages have been published in numerous national magazines such as National Wildlife, Orion Afield and several anthologies, and in Nature Journaling: Learning to Observe and Connect With the World Around You by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles Roth (1998, Storey Books). She has also written for Ranger Rick magazine (where she was an editor for many years), and currently works for Yellowstone National Park as a publications manager.