Emily Patrick hails from the Moosehead Lake region of Maine. She graduated from the University of Maine with her B.A. in Wildlife Ecology in 2013. She has a lovely 18-month-old daughter named Jaclyn. She loves many things including, but not limited to, the outdoors, hiking, exploring, traveling, plants, elephants, thrift/resale stores and coffee (and tea occasionally). She hopes to one-day work for an environmental nonprofit and work toward her goal of building a homestead with her daughter and fiancé, John. Her dream is to eventually become self-sustaining, living off of the land, preferably in Alaska!
Jason Wilson earned his B.A. in Philosophy in 2011 from the University of Mississippi. After graduating, he pursued his interests in mycology, permaculture and systems theory. He spent time working in IT, taking Biology electives, and volunteering for the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs, MS. While volunteering, he reconnected kids and adults with their environment through nature hikes, educational events, ecology camps and the annual Hummingbird Migration Festival. Inspired by his experiences there, he became a certified Audubon naturalist and now hopes he can foster a career outdoors through a future in environmental education. Jason now spends his free time hunting fungi and managing his educational website: www.toadstoolstreasures.com. He hopes to one day build a cob home with his wife, learn to live simply, and start his own outdoor educational center while pursuing mycological and ecological research. He is currently studying how arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi affect competition dynamics between native and nonnative grasses. Jason’s peers would describe him as being friendly, easy to talk to, down-to-earth and having a good sense of humor. These are traits that will certainly make him a great environmental educator in the future!
Kathy “Bugsy” Nguyen received a bachelor of science in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution with a minor in Conservation Biology from UCLA. Kathy has studied hermit crabs and marine algae in Belize and researched yellow-bellied marmots in the Rocky Mountains. Kathy has used her immense knowledge of science and the environment to teach kindergarteners and first graders in afterschool programs and was a counselor, organizing backpacking trips, for summer urban youth programs in Los Angeles. In her down time Kathy likes to go rock climbing, skiing and scuba diving or play with her dog Bagel. Kathy loves desserts, deserts, cacti and crisp mountain air. She is an expert pumpkin carver and plays the guitar, ukulele and piano. Kathy is pursuing a teaching license for middle and high school biology along with her masters in Environmental Education.
Ellen Messerly was born and raised in Maryland before going to Virginia Tech to double major in Wildlife Science and Animal and Poultry Sciences. After graduation, she spent a year in Kasane, Botswana (that’s in Africa!) volunteering as an environmental educator with the non-profit CARACAL. While in Africa she kayaked in hippo and crocodile infested waters, was charged by an elephant, and ate termites and mopane worms. Needless to say, it was a memorable experience. When she’s not in class or running from elephants, Ellen enjoys playing the piano, horseback riding, running, hiking, biking, swimming, watching the sunrise, stargazing, and hanging around campfires. She is also an awesome baker and can usually be bribed with dark chocolate.
Kimberly Schubert hails from the beautiful state of Merry-land, where she attended the school-color-twin of SOU, the University of Maryland. She majored in Environmental Science and Policy, furthering her studies by traveling the world to plant trees and monitor seal populations in New Zealand, and study grey whales and marine biology in Mexico. After such amazing experiences she decided enough was enough! Little did she know the excitement that awaited her at Echo Hill Outdoor School, where she got to play in the mud, catch bugs, sleep in tents, and send children flying on a zipline! Kimberly, however, bid the East Coast farewell to join us in Southern Oregon and looks forward to excelling as one of the graduate assistants in the SEEC office. When Kimberly is not working, she enjoys plants, watching terrible movies, hiking, writing, and of course, eating baked goods with friends!!
Erin grew up in the small town of Edwardsville, Illinois. She went to college at the University of Missouri- St. Louis, where she received her bachelors in biology. She then earned her masters in biomedical sciences at the University of Colorado- Denver, where she conducted research on the pediatric cancer, Ewing Sarcoma. During her experience at UC Denver, Erin decided that she would rather pursue a future in environmental education. While in Colorado, Erin reunited with her high school crush, Kyle. They married and now have a two year old, Lillian. Erin and her family moved to Oregon in December 2012. Since moving here, Erin has become completely at home. She enjoys all that Southern Oregon has to offer, including the ocean, the Redwoods, Crater Lake, Lake of the Woods, Hyatt Lake, and much more. Although she loves Ashland, Erin also really enjoys escaping to San Francisco for the big city experience! When Erin is not reading, hiking, studying, or relaxing with her family, she enjoys seeing music with friends!
Lesley is a cookie-dough lover from Georgia. She attended Berry College and studied environmental science, with a concentration in biology. Lesley has a secret passion for European history, which explains her minor degree: history. At school, she researched Berry’s Eastern Bluebird population and the effects of the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park. Before arriving in Oregon, Lesley made a pit stop in Wisconsin where she worked as an Environmental Education and Captive Wildlife Management intern. Reading, trivia, knitting, stretching, dancing, epidemiology, hiking, playing with dogs, eating cookie dough…these things combined make a Lesley. She misses her three dogs desperately and they miss her too.
Peter Kleinhenz was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where his love of animals began due to two supportive parents and one of the nation’s finest zoos. His mom instilled him with a love for animals as sentient beings while his dad spent his summers off from teaching to take him all over the state to look for animals. He attended Columbus Zoo School in high school, majored in zoology and mass communication at Miami University, studied abroad at the University of Tasmania, and worked as an upland chorus frog researcher through Florida State University as his first “real” job out of college. He plans to pursue a thesis at SOU that fuses conservation education with media production by filming a video about the Endangered Species Act. Upon graduation, Peter hopes to fund a traveling expedition through journalism about his encounters. Eventually, he hopes to continue his involvement with conservation media by hosting a nature TV program. He spends his free time searching under rocks and fallen trees for whatever amphibian or reptiles can be uncovered. He also enjoys nature photography, caving, going to concerts, and writing.
Kristin grew up on the exotic island of Long Island, New York and graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Studies at Binghamton University. She traveled to Belize with a tropical marine biology class to snorkel and study amazing wildlife. She also spent time in college during winter break as a WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) volunteer. After graduating, Kristin moved to Savannah, Georgia for a year. Kristin has had an eclectic job background, including soccer referee, gymnastics coach, nursing home lunch lady, receptionist, sales person, babysitter, and finally as camp counselor at an environmental camp in Pennsylvania, which lead to her decision to pursue this program in environmental education. Kristin is very directional savvy and loves maps. Some of her other hobbies includes collecting cool rocks, watching endless amounts of Netflix, and finding new hobbies. She is currently training for a triathlon next Fall. She can be found running the trails of Ashland eating/managing the wild blackberry population.
Vanessa grew up in Auburn, Alabama. Her parents are biologists, so Vanessa was surrounded with a love of nature throughout her childhood. She followed this fondness of nature to Shorter University in Georgia where she obtained her Bachelor’s of Science in Ecology and Field Biology. While attending Shorter University she researched cave invertebrates with a special interest in arachnids. She has three published articles in various journals! Vanessa made the move out west two years ago to the lovely state of Oregon. She has made the transition back to school at SOU. When not study for class, Vanessa spends some of her time volunteering as a teacher at North Mountain Park. She also loves spending time with her 10-year-old son and her four-legged kids Ashley the dog, Rudy the cat, Juliette the Chinese Water Dragon, and Sand dollar the bearded dragon! Her favorite outdoor activities include caving, kayaking, and just being out in the wilderness. If you are ever in a survival situation (or just feeling hungry) Vanessa is the person to hang with because she always has food with her. Just don’t expect her to share the chocolate!!
Phylicia Schwartz comes to us from the lovely state of Iowa. Her formative years were spent in New Vienna, Iowa where she followed around her park ranger father and spent as much time as possible outdoors. For college, Phylicia studied at the University of Dubuque and majored in biology and environmental science. Phylicia has used her degrees in a number of interesting ways, reflecting her passion for travel, wildlife, and educating others about the importance of experiencing nature. Perhaps her most interesting job was working as an Alaskan ground fisheries observer. This required her to count fish, on a boat in rough Bering Sea waters, in the middle of winter. Other jobs Phylicia has held include black-footed ferret observer, volunteer researcher in Paraguay, and naturalist at the Delaware Nature Society for the past four years. She has traveled all over the world, but her most recent trip was to Oregon in July to start graduate school. In her free time, Phylicia enjoys hiking, fishing, geocaching, and hanging out with her two cats, Apollo and Hermes.