Danny McMurphy is a life long resident of Sullivan, Missouri where he has raised 4 children, two sons and two daughters, and has 4 grandchildren. He retired from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – St. Louis District in 2009 and has since become a volunteer addict. He volunteers by doing trail work with the Ozark Trail Association, where he is a Life Member, works on trails in Missouri Conservation Areas, several local Missouri State Parks, and the Shaw Nature Reserve. He also joined the Missouri Master Naturalist program after retirement and has donated over 1,800 hours on many different projects since becoming a Master Naturalist. He currently serves as President of the local chapter of Missouri Master Naturalists. Danny is a 58 year veteran of the BSA and an Eagle Scout. He was the hiking coordinator for our FNS in 2011 at Trout Lodge in Missouri and has been a hike leader for the FNS 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 Summits. He has degrees in Geology and Engineering Management from the U. of Missouri – Rolla (now Missouri S & T). Danny is working his 6th summer as a seasonal naturalist/interpreter in Meramec State Park in Missouri. He is really looking forward to hike leading in New Mexico as he has taken Scouts on several 10 day backing trips to the nearby Philmont Scout Ranch and has volunteered there on several occasions. His wife Linda will be along for her 5th Summit His son Shannon and family will also be attending the Summit. Danny has been on the FNS board for the past three years.
Richard MacDonald has a diverse background rooted in science, natural history, and adventure, with a curriculum vitae that reads a bit like an action novel.
Taking a year off from university to earn money for his continued studies became an eight-year hiatus that saw Rich working atop Whiteface Mountain, located in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, studying the effects of acid rain on high elevation forests. These studies, which led to broader studies of climate change, saw him tromping the massive Whiteface massif to remote field sites during all hours of the day and night, driving snow-cats to the summit during the winter research program, climbing 24-meter (80-foot) spruce trees to sample foliage.
During this time, Rich simultaneously pursued his passion for everything bird. Initially, he worked part-time for the Audubon Society, studying the colonial waterbirds of Lake Champlain. Eventually, he joined the science staff of The Nature Conservancy where his studies focused on both waterbirds and the boreal birds of northern forests.
To supplement his ardent passion for the natural world, early on Rich added guiding and instructing to his repertoire, leading bird tours, teaching paddling skills, and touring the Adirondack Mountains on telemark skis. In 1997, he founded the Lake Champlain Sea Kayak Institute. And in 2002, Rich left his position with The Nature Conservancy to co-lead a five-month educational sea kayak expedition, the Gulf of Maine Expedition, along with Natalie Springuel, who afterwards became his wife.
Today, Rich lives in Bar Harbor, Maine, with Natalie and their five-year-old daughter, Anouk. He is the director of The Natural History Center, leading nature and adventure tours, and studying the birds of coastal Maine. Among his many projects, he is writing a bird book for this region.
Since 2005, Rich and his wife have co-directed the education team on special cruise-ship charters for the National Public Radio program, A Prairie Home Companion. And in January of this year, he was a naturalist on a small ship that went to Antarctica. Rich regularly writes about nature and outdoor adventure for a variety of publications. He is a graduate of the State University of New York where he studied field biology.
Leigh Ann Lenz has been a lifelong Summiteer, attending her first one in Colorado at age 8. Ghost Ranch will be her 18th summit and fourth as a faculty member. She is very excited to be working with the teens again this year and is looking forward to sharing her love of Summits and enthusiasm for the outdoors with young minds. Leigh Ann has a growing gardening business that she runs out of the suburbs of Chicago, has been involved with the fine-dining industry for over 11 years, worked as a lifeguard for 6 and volunteered at a wildlife shelter for 3. She has also traveled extensively across the U.S. and Europe, bringing her love of nature everywhere she goes.
Chris Lenz is a full time human resources manager and part time firefighter-EMT from Northern Illinois who loves the outdoors. He and his family have attended 15 summits in the last 18 years and he has been active as a volunteer for the summits since 2003. This will be his 8th year working with the hike program both as an assistant and leader. He has led hikes at Silver Bay, Mt. Hood, Rocky Mountain National Park, The Ozarks and Lake Tahoe. His family operates a 1200 acre grain and beef farm west of Chicago. He and his family are the product of Summit experiences, learning about the environment, and bringing that knowledge back to the farm.
Bruce Lampright currently serves as the Naturalist for Brays Island Plantation in Beaufort County, South Carolina. Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, Bruce has lived in coastal South Carolina for the past four decades. After graduating from the University of South Carolina (with a degree in Marine Science) he conducted research at USC’s Baruch Marine Lab and served as Education Coordinator for the Belle W. Baruch Foundation, both near Georgetown, SC. Lampright has also served as the Director of USC-Beaufort’s Coastal Zone Education Center in Bluffton and is a founding member and former President of the South Carolina Marine Educator’s Association. In 1999 Bruce and two others started the SC Master Naturalist Program, now administered by Clemson University with programs throughout the Palmetto State. Lampright is a Master Gardener and has been involved in environmental education for over 35 years and was the 2004 recipient of the South Carolina Marine Educator of the Year Award. He is also one of the first to be certified in South Carolina to legally pick mushrooms for resale. This will be his 13th Summit as a faculty member.
Leslie Krebs is originally from St Louis. She has both of her degrees from the University of Iowa; Elementary Education, (Science), Outdoor Recreation and a Masters in Science Education. Her teaching in environmental education has taken her to Massachusetts, Michigan, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Iowa, and Ohio. These have included work with the Girl Scouts, National Park Service, and other fine non-profits over the years. She enjoys working with all ages in the outdoors and is pleased to be teaching at her twenty-ninth Summit.
Marla Krasinsky is a former teacher, an avid reader and an enthusiastic Summiteer. She began her Summit experiences at Big Sky, Montana when she and her husband, Arthur, brought their grandson, Dean Kullmann, for a grandchild trip. They were so excited about the summit that the next summer they brought the Kullmann family to Maine. Then they added their son’s family. All love sharing these summer experiences with friends they’ve made through the years. Marla is looking forward to leading the book group this summer.
Charlie Jacobi is a Natural Resource Specialist /AKA Visitor Use Guy at Acadia National Park who has been exploring the park on and off work and on and off trail since 1984. His hiking and trekking experience ranges from Acadia tidewater to over 15,000 ft. near K2 in Pakistan. Charlie is the recipient of the 2013 national award for Leave No Trace education and his Acadia Ridge Runner program at the NPS Awards, Denver, CO.
Sara Jackson has been part of the Junior Naturalist staff for Family Nature Summits since 2003. She is currently a piano teacher in Ann Arbor, MI, however, prior to that she worked in the environmental education and communications field for many years. Experiences include nature camp program director, challenge course facilitator, invasive species removal crew member, and communications associate for National Wildlife Federation. Sara loves the Summits and can’t wait for another fun week of exploring and learning about nature with all of the awesome kids in her group!