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.
Matt Ferguson returns to the Family Nature Summit after a few years away. He is currently a second grade teacher in New Hampshire, but has taught everything from preschool to middle school science. When not in the classroom taking his students mountain climbing or snowshoeing, he is home with his family. Having three young children keeps him very busy. When not changing diapers or wiping noses, Matt enjoys practicing yoga, exploring the outdoors and reading a good book. After many years of working at past Summits, he is excited to share the magic of a Summit with his family for the first time.
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.
Dan DenDanto is the creator of Whales and Nails. He has been cleaning, articulating and restoring whale skeletons professionally since 1993. He strives to create dynamic exhibits which convey more about the animals’ lives than their deaths. Dan’s knowledge of whale anatomy and extensive experience in the field contribute to his extraordinary ability to accurately display the remains of these magnificent creatures.
Dan is the Director of the Fin Whale Catalog and a Senior Scientist at Allied Whale, a Research Associate at College of the Atlantic, Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Maine’s School of Marine Sciences, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of CETOS Research Organization. The research Dan has been involved in includes the genetics, life history, population, phylogenetics and culture of whales in the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
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.
Carl Brown was born in Newfoundland, and currently lives in Nova Scotia, Canada. His first summit was in 2004 at Estes Park, Colorado. His wife is Gloria Brown, his daughter is Carla Brown (Green Lifestyles program in 2009 and 2010, Green Tours program in 2012 and 2013 ) and he is grandfather to Nora and Russell. Carl worked 34 years with Imperial Oil, an affiliate of ExxonMobil as a Planning /Real Estate Manager. He retired in 2003 and has continued to do contract work with Imperial Oil since retirement. Carl has a business degree from Memorial University, Newfoundland. He says he enjoys dealing with people and has plenty of energy to coordinate, organize and manage. He says that must be why the Transportation Coordinator role fits his personality. He used to be a Venturer/Boy Scout leader dealing with ages 14 – 17. They experienced many outdoor activities including winter and summer camping, hiking and canoeing. He has also been an Advisor for the Duke of Edinburgh Program, a soccer and T ball coach. The Maine Summit will be his eighth.
Matt Blank was 7 when he attended his first summit in New Hampshire. He has been attending them ever since and is excited to have added a rock climbing class to the program. He has been instructing and guiding rock climbing for the last 5-1/2 years. Matt enjoys many thrill-seeking activities and always stresses safety first so he can keep enjoying them.
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
Carol Cosgrove retired from teaching three years ago. She has been both an art teacher and special education teacher. Originally from Philadelphia, she attended Otterbein College in Ohio and has lived in central Ohio for more than 40 years. Carol is a landscape painter and paints with oils. She is a member and trustee of the Ohio Plein Air Society. She has one adult son who presently lives in Colorado. Carol loves nature, hiking, kayaking and traveling.
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