Heather Fenyk, Ph.D., AICP/PP loves sea monkeys, oatmeal cookies and her daughter’s jokes. She is President of the non-profit Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership, New Jersey’s newest watershed association, which she founded as a way to marry environmental stewardship and “civic science” with environmental restoration. Heather teaches environmental courses at Rutgers University. She is also a big believer in K-grey environmental education, and developed the Project WADES (Watershed Action Dialogue Education and Stewardship) curriculum that merges art and civic science for nature learning at all ages. In her academic work Heather looks at the role of civic science in shaping environmental policy, especially as it relates to climate change. She is happiest when she is stream walking and taking water quality measurements with her family.
Fenyk, Heather, Ph.D., AICP/PP
The daughter of a Wilderness skills instructor Alysann Tally has logged thousands of hours of dirt time in wilderness and survival settings. She has extensive experience with long distance hiking and backpacking with minimal equipment. Alysann also specializes in natural medicine. If you’re going on a long hike, this is one woman you want to have with you!
Billy Synk, Director of Pollination Programs for Project Apis m., works with growers in California to help them integrate bee forage into their operations. He manages the ‘Seeds for Bees’ bee forage cover crop project. Billy comes to us from UC Davis, where he managed bees and participated in bee research projects with Drs. Brian Johnson, Neal Williams and Elina Niño. He was trained in beekeeping by noted bee breeder-geneticist Sue Cobey at the Ohio State University, where he received a BS in environmental policy and management.
Heather Reich got her degree in wildlife biology from the University of Montana in 1998. After spending time on various wildlife projects from Montana to Missouri, she found herself working in the world of human-bear conflict utilizing Karelian Bear Dogs. She spent more than 10 years on contract with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks handling human-grizzly bear conflicts. In May of 2015 Heather joined the Nevada Department of Wildlife to continue trying to help humans and bears coexist with the help of her two bear dogs, Orca and Sputnik.
Sarah Muskopf has been working on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit as an aquatic biologist for 19 years. I am the program leader for the fisheries department and have managed recovery projects for federally listed aquatic species around the Lake Tahoe basin. I have also led projects intended to restore sensitive habitat to a more resilient state and improve both the quality and quantity of habitat needed for native species. I represent to forest on various working groups including the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Recovery Implementation Team and the Lake Tahoe Aquatic Invasive Species Coordination Committee. I also serve as the Regionally Aquatic Invasive Species Program Manager. I received my undergraduate and graduate degree at Humboldt State University. I completed my thesis right here in Lake Tahoe studying the impacts of beaver dams and beaver dam removal on water quality.
For thirty years now, in over four thousand performances from Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City to Leningrad University in Russia, McAvoy Layne has been preeminent in preserving the wit & wisdom of “The Wild Humorist of the Pacific Slope,” Mark Twain.
McAvoy is the ghost of Samuel Clemens in the Biography Channel’s episode of Mark Twain, and in the Discovery Channel’s Cronkite Award winning documentary, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He is a winner of the Nevada Award for Excellence in School and Library Service, and author of a soon to be published, The Secret Lives of Pine Nuts.
Says McAvoy, “It’s like being a Monday through Friday preacher, whose sermon, though not reverently pious, is fervently American.”
Don Lane has lived in a Forest Service cabin at Nevada Beach for more than 30 years. While Don self-published his book, he is not concerned with making money. Instead, he wants to preserve all of the research he has done, and above all, share it with everyone. As a USFS ranger, Don knows every inch of Tahoe’s wilderness and back country that helps him set the stage for his fascinating tales. You can find “Tahoe Tales” at the Gatekeeper’s Museum book store in Tahoe City.
Jessica Heitt earned her degree in Biology from the University of Nevada Reno. After graduating went on to work for the Nevada Department of Wildlife as an Urban Wildlife Educator. Jessica is responsible for teaching communities to prevent conflicts and how to coexist with wildlife.
After first attending summits as a teenager, Tyler Gagat returned to Family Nature Summits in 2016. In his hiatus from FNS he attended the University of Georgia and received degrees in Wildlife Biology and Natural Resources Recreation and Tourism. Tyler now works as a ranger for the U.S. Forest Service in Alaska in the summers, and for Breckenridge Ski Area in Colorado for the winters. An avid angler, skier, and photographer, Tyler is most excited about opportunities to introduce people to and bring people closer to wildlife and wild places.