Brian Yinger has been involved in the summits for the past 23 years. His family has grown and now his two young daughters get excited in January for the Summit in July. He has run the Service Project in Missouri, Bar Harbor Maine, and Lake Junaluska, North Caroline. This year is no different. He and the service project volunteers will be helping the staff at Ghost Ranch with some trail building and other projects around the Ranch. When not working on projects for the Summit, Brian works as a musician, sound engineer, and knife sharpener in Columbus Ohio.
Julie is a mother of two teenage boys, Ben is 15 and Luke is 13. She has lived in Colorado for the last 11 years. She has a tutoring business, working with children that have dyslexia. She also has a full time job as a case manager, working with the disabled. She homeschools her youngest son, which she loves. It is the best of all. She enjoys working outdoors and being active as much as possible. This includes hiking, camping, running, and even dance classes. She is looking forward to meeting all of you this summer. It is going to be awesome!
Joe Yarkovich, of Pittsburgh, PA, holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Allegheny College and a Master’s degree in Wildlife Science from University of Tennessee. He has spent time working with black bears and wild hogs throughout the United States before returning to Great Smoky Mountains National Park to manage and research the reintroduced elk herd, black bears, and wild hogs.
Amanda Stroupe: Last year I loved sharing the North Carolina mountains with our young folk, and this year I look forward to experiencing New Mexico with our little (and coolest) guys. As a mother of four, I have found that children are at their best in the great outdoors. It is my pleasure to explore, learn about, and marvel over the wonders of Mother Nature with those who see it best. From August to June I teach 2nd grade in small town Granite Falls, North Carolina. In the classroom I love to take children out of the classroom! We often take walks, have poetry class and nature journaling outdoors, and study birds at our birdfeeder. On the weekends my family likes to take day trips to the mountains for creek play, hiking, salamander spying, picnics, and time to relax. I can’t wait to do similar, and different, things with our Family Summit children!
Michael Skinner is the Executive Director of the Balsam Mountain Trust, the 501 (c) (3) nonprofit environmental education and research arm of Balsam Mountain Preserve. He is responsible for directing the natural and cultural resource management, environmental education programs and scientific research at Balsam. Before coming to Balsam, Michael was the Emmy nominated host of “Georgia Outdoors” on Georgia Public Television.
He is the former staff photographer and photo editor for Game and Fish Publications in Marietta, GA., a 31 – magazine publishing company covering hunting, fishing and related sports activities throughout the United States. In this position he was responsible for field location photography, soliciting photographs from free-lance photographers, assigning free-lancers region-specific photo requirements, choosing photos to be used in monthly publications, keeping records,etc. Michael is an experienced field ecologist, naturalist, nature photographer, environmental educator, taxidermist and musician.
His career track has taken him to zoos (Lincoln Park, Central Texas Zoo and Zoo Atlanta); nature centers (Chattahoochee in Atlanta); museums (Fernbank in Atlanta and Strecker at Baylor University, where he was also an instructor in the biology program) and has afforded him the opportunity to travel extensively in the U. S. and abroad. Michael holds a B.A. degree in Wildlife Management from Southern Illinois University.
James Sherrard lives near Burlington, Vermont and has been part of the Summits since his first at Mt. Washington Hotel in New Hampshire. In past Summits James served on the board of directors for the newly created Family Nature Summits for two years as the Young Adult member, hiked with the Junior Naturalists, assisted Peggy with the Young Adults, co-led rock climbing and is now a teen Leader with Joel and Leigh Ann. When James is not at the Summits he is working in the field of stormwater management and exploring the New England forests.
Dawn Schroeder has been attending and enjoying Summits for the past 20 years. Each year she looks forward to learning about unique ecosystems and exploring new places. The Summit influenced her decision to study and pursue a career in environmental science and biology. She’s excited to be back working with Peggy and the best group, the Young Adults!
Teri Schroeder has worked in the past as director of the child care program. Teri and her family began attending NWF Family Conservation Summits in 1985. Since that first summit, Teri has worked as a volunteer, as childcare staff and director and as a Junior Naturalist leader at many summits.
Joel Schroeder became involved with the NWF Family Conservation Summits starting in 1985 and has either served on the teen staff or directed the teen program many times since then. He was a secondary science teacher and technology coordinator for a school district in Iowa and taught classes in all areas of science.
Sue Sabo first contracted the Conservation Summit Virus (CSV) about 20 years ago when her parents invited her to join them at the Blue Ridge Summit and she has been infected with it ever since! Since the CSV is so contagious, she has managed to infect the rest of her family and a few others along the way! The symptoms of CSV include an intense desire to collect scarves of differing colors, greet others infected with the same virus, and see parts of this country that un-infected people never get a chance to experience! About 11 years ago she developed a new symptom–an uncontrollable desire to become even more involved in the Summit experience. Thus, she entered the “Faculty” phase, working with the Adult Adventure Class, leading the Family Adventure class, and now serving as Director of the Early Discovery Program. Six years ago the CSV mutated into a new but very similar virus known as the Family Summit Virus (FSV), and she hopes to remain infected with this new virus for many years to come! When not indulging her viral symptoms, she is a retired media specialist, a grandmother of 5, and also a member of the Improv Comedy Troupe, See You Thursday, www.seeyouthursday.com
In 2013, Sue assumed the role of Summit Adult Program Director and chair of the Programming Committee. She is also a member of the Family Summits Board of Directors.