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.
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!
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
Brenda Holmes-Stanciu lives in Manitou Springs, Colorado with her husband and two creative daughters who are 8 and 9 years old. She loves sharing her love of the outdoors, working as staff naturalist and early childhood specialist at a local nature center. She coaches and empowers teachers to incorporate the natural sciences into their curriculum through college courses, presentations, and workshops. For the last 20 years she has taught preschool and kindergarten, advocating for the importance of fabulous, hands on experiences during early childhood. Brenda has a BFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, a Masters in Education/Curriculum, and recently achieved National Board Certification in Early Childhood Education. She stresses the need for cross curricular, inquiry driven, hands-on experiences for young children that encourage the development of higher level thinking. Years ago she taught summits in Colorado, New York, and Washington, and last year, in North Carolina. She is thrilled to be sharing the experiences of this summit with her daughters.
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!!
Chris Hoechstetter has been attending summits since he was two. Since then, his interest in the outdoors has done nothing but expand. Completion of a NOLS course in 2012 combined with working at Outdoor Source, a local outfitter in Columbus, OH, has provided Chris with the skills and equipment to work with groups around central Ohio.
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.
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.
Jeff Harding is an enthusiastic amateur naturalist who grew up exploring California’s woods and wetlands. As a teenager, backpacking in the Sierras occupied most of his summers, but after earning a BS in Zoology from Oregon State University, He made his home in Oregon. He has been birding for 40 years, conducting breeding bird surveys, compiling and participating in Christmas Bird Counts, helping with breeding bird atlas programs and currently serving as an eBird reviewer, for two counties in Oregon and the country of Colombia. For several years he edited Oregon Birds, the quarterly journal of the Oregon Birding Association. Jeff is a veteran Summiteer, having been on the faculty of 15 NWF Summits in the 1990s, as well as three in this decade.