Our Environmental Educators

 
Sarah

Sarah has a degree in Biology and Elementary Education, a graduate certificate in Leadership in Natural Resources from the UW-Stevens Point, and a Master's Degree in Educational Policy and Community Engagement from the UW-Milwaukee. She recently started a Ph. D. program in Education, where she plans to focus her research on the growing gap between children and nature. Sarah has a love for Lake Michigan and the learning opportunities it provides.  She has studied Great Lakes Ecology aboard the R/V Lake Guardian on Lake Superior and aboard the S/V Denis Sulivan on Lake Michigan.  In addition she has a strong passion for citizen science.  She believes the key to stewardship is involving the community in hands-on, real-life science.  Sarah has engaged the public in data-collection on the Sheboygan River Area of Concern for the past 10 years. When not working Sarah enjoys running, cycling, working out, hiking and spending time with her husband, Todd and her two children Ellison, Ethan and her yellow Labrador, Maggie. Her favorite Wisconsin animal is the Grey Fox.  She finds this secretive member of the canine family fascinating because they can climb trees, either to search for prey, sleep, or to escape from predators. They have strong, hooked claws that are unique among canines. This is her 15th year working full-time at Camp Y-Koda. She enjoys her position at camp because she likes working with children and loves teaching about the natural world. 

     
 
Ann

Ann started out as a board member with the Sheboygan County Outdoor Skills and Education Center prior to the merger with Camp Y-Koda, and has remained involved with Camp Y-Koda as an Outdoor Educator. Ann has a Bachelor’s in education from the UW-Oshkosh, a Special Education Degree from Silver Lake College and a Master’s Degree from UW-Green Bay. In 1973 she began as a teacher and retired in 2011, and is blessed to have many wonderful opportunities in teaching from working in the public schools, community education programs and running her own education and consulting business. Ann has always been active in outdoor sports from trap shooting to kayaking to organic gardening. She loves her time with family, friends and five fabulous grandchildren. In her free time she enjoys working on her hobby farm which is shared with cats, dogs, chickens, a rabbit and her beloved horses. Ann’s favorite part about working at camp is seeing the children explore nature, excitement by outdoor activities, and gaining self-confidence as they explore our natural environment. Her favorite animal is the white tailed deer, as she sees them in her pastures year round and loves how playful they are and how the mothers graze, yet always keeping an eye on their fawns.

     
 
Dale

Dale first started with Camp Y-Koda in 2015 and primarily works with our Wetland Ecology Program at the Sheboygan Marsh, Kiel Marsh and Rhine Center Bog. He also works with the Eco tours at Maywood in the fall and with adult and youth programs on the Sheboygan River. Dale has a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Science and Masters in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin Madison. He worked as a wildlife biologist and as a wildlife supervisor for the Wisconsin DNR for 38 years. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his grandkids and outdoor activities including hunting, fishing, kayaking, biking, swimming, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and running. He also practices Tae Kwon Do and and is currently a 4th degree black belt. Out of all the Wisconsin animals, Dale likes them all as they are part of the system. His favorite part of working in Outdoor Education is seeing the interest and enthusiasm for the environment from our youth and helps give him hope for the future.

     
 
Geralyn

Geralyn retired as an educator in public schools after 35 years, most recently from Longfellow Elementary in Sheboygan. She volunteers with the Ice Age Trail Alliance, GROW ministry at First Congregational UCC, Great Lakes Conservancy and the local neighborhood group working to restore Lake Michigan bluffs. She is also Miss Willa's (Y-Koda Nature Preschool teacher) mom.

     
 
Hannah

Hannah has degrees in Biology and English and a Master’s in Environmental Science emphasizing Environmental Education. She has worked in non-traditional and traditional education with ages from pre-school to college. She has three kids and loves watching any kids make connections with and fall in love with the natural world. She also loves making connections with literacy and outdoor learning. She likes camping and being near water. Hannah’s favorite Wisconsin animal is the SandHill Crane because they are so majestic and are everywhere around her country home. The Sandhill Crane reminds her that Spring is coming!

     
 
Jennifer

Jennifer has been working for camp since 2017 as an Outdoor Educator. She has a degree in Biology from the University of New Hampshire, and a Master’s Degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Oregon. In her free time, her favorite activities are traveling, hiking, skiing and reading with her family and friends. Jennifer’s favorite Wisconsin animal is the opossum. She enjoys working in the world of Outdoor Education to introduce the children to the natural world.

     
 
Julie

Julie began as an Outdoor Educator at Maywood in the fall of 2019 and as a leader of the Great Lake Gang environmental club at Grant Elementary in 2015.  She loves children of all sizes and works in the Sheboygan Area School District sharing her passion for learning and growing.  One of her favorite things is to see her students' eyes light up as they explore natural spaces, learn something new, and excitedly share their joy.  Julie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Special and Regular Education at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and Master’s degree in Pupil  Services/Special Education  Administration at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.  She enjoys beekeeping, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, biking, gardening, cooking, reading and she and her husband especially enjoy road trips creating new memories together. Her favorite Wisconsin animal/insect is the honeybee, an incredibly important and fascinating creature. She love to share her passion for nature and our beautiful Lake Michigan and hopes it inspires our youth to also become environmentalists.

     
 
Kendra

Kendra began as an Outdoor Educator in 2009, served as Program and Summer Camp Director, and came full circle to working part-time as an Outdoor Educator.  This allowed her to take on her other current position as the Director of Programming with Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership. Kendra earned her Bachelor’s degree in Conservation and Environmental Science and Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management and Leadership at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.  She explored the field of environmental conservation through internships in Water Quality Advocacy, Urban Forestry, and Wildlife Rehabilitation.  She enjoys hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and camping with her family and friends, and she and her husband especially enjoy adventuring in new natural spaces.  The raccoon is Kendra’s favorite Wisconsin animal for its cute mask, ringed tail, mischievous antics, and ability to thrive in an urban environment.  She also loves red foxes for their incredible cuteness and bald eagles for their majesty.  Her favorite programs to teach are Wetland Ecology and Winter Ecology.  Her favorite part of being an environmental educator is seeing kids light up in response to a new discovery or experience in the outdoors. 

     
 
Mackinzi

Mackinzi is an Environmental Education Specialist, the Maywood Summer Camp Director and Nature School Naturalist with Camp Y-Koda. Mackinzi has been working at camp since 2015. Before coming to camp she worked for the Wisconsin DNR as a Naturalist and Outdoor Educator. She has earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She enjoys working at camp because she loves being able to share her passion for nature with students and campers. Mackinzi hopes to create an appreciation for our environment and encourages nature exploration at any age. Mackinzi has many outdoor interests including kayaking, camping and hiking with her husband and two dogs. She also has many creative hobbies like woodworking, painting, and nature photography.

     
 
Mary

Mary joined Camp Y-Koda as an outdoor educator in 2008.  Mary is also one of the Naturalists that support Camp Y-Koda’s Nature School.   Mary graduated from Indiana University with a Secondary Education degree and a Master’s degree in Biology and Natural Resources from Ball State University.   Prior to coming to Camp Y-Koda she taught high school Biology and served as a Naturalist in the Indiana State Park system.  Her favorite part of working at Camp Y-Koda is listening to all the camper’s questions about the plants and animals at camp.  She especially likes “stumpers” that make her go home and research the answer!  Mary loves to spend time with her family around the campfire.  Her hobbies include camping, hiking, beekeeping, candle making, and gardening.   Her favorite Wisconsin animal is the Northern Amber Bumblebee because they are BIG, beautiful, pollinators!

     
 
Mary Jo

Mary jo has been working with Camp Y-Koda since 2014 as an Outdoor Educator. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and a Master of Science degree in Administrative Leadership and Supervision in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She enjoys the outdoors and all of its beauty. Mary Jo has two rescue cats and her favorite Wisconsin animal is the gray fox because of its cat-like characteristics. The gray fox is one of only two canine species in the world that can climb trees. Mary Jo's favorite part of being an environmental educator is engaging kids in outdoor activities and seeing their excitement and energy as they discover the natural world around them. 

     
 
Penny

Penny began working as an Outdoor Educator in the Spring of 2017 and continues to see the wonders of nature through a child's eyes. She has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Lakeland University and has taught for a total of 10 years at Here We Grow Childcare Center which included 4 years as their 4K teacher through the Sheboygan Area School District. In her free time away from kids, school and extracurricular activities she spends her time volunteering at church and Love INC Sheboygan County. Penny's favorite activities include camping, reading, watching movies and spending time with her children. Her favorite Wisconsin animal is the Spring Peeper because she loves to hear them call on early spring nights.

     
 
Steve

Steve joined the Y-Koda team in the spring of 2015 and fully enjoys the wide variety of tasks put before him but he enjoys most the Wetland Ecology program at the Sheboygan Marsh and the Ecosystem Tour program held at Maywood. Steve graduated from UW-Stevens Point in 1977 with a B.S. in Wildlife Management and B.S. in Fisheries Management.  Most of his 30+ years, Steve worked with the DNR in the Wildlife Department, developing and maintaining nesting cover (prairies) in Sheboygan, Fond du Lac and Washington Counties. Upon retirement Steve has focused on his passion of invasive species control work.  He was the Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator for 3 years in Sheboygan County.  People got to know him as the ‘Invasive Guy.’  He still continues working developing prairies on County, State and especially private lands in his role as the Habitat Chair with the local Pheasants Forever Chapter.  He is also very active with many other Conservation Organizations in the area. My favorite wildlife species is probably the Pileated Woodpecker because of their size and beauty.  On the rare chance you actually get to see one, you are left impressed to say the least.

     
 
Terese

Terese began working at Camp Y-Koda in 2007 as an Outdoor Educator. With her love of camp, she became our Administrative Assistant and a Lifeguarding CPR & First Aid Trainer for the Outdoor Education and Summer Camp Team. When she was 9 years old, she saved her 6 year old brother from drowning. She has been a lifeguard instructor for over 20 years and a swim instructor for more than 30 years. The best part she loves about working at camp is taking walks around our grounds and seeing our campers every morning with pure energy and excitement they have for camp. She enjoys working with her family on a small hobby farm taking care of their ever-changing menagerie of animals including 3 dogs, 6 goats, 4 bunnies and 16 chickens. During her down time, Terese enjoys a good cookout with her friends and family. Her favorite activity at camp is anything to do with water either at the lake, river or swimming pool.

     
 
Walter

Walter has always had a life-long passion for the outdoors.  He is an avid sportsman enjoying hunting, fishing, hiking and shooting sports. He began his journey with outdoor skills and environmental education as a founding board member of the Outdoor Skills and Education Center in the late 1980s. He later agreed to serve as the board chairperson. He served in this position for many years helping to promote outdoor skills and education for future generations of youth.  He believes working with youth is key in stewardship of our natural resources, as well as preservation of responsible hunting and fishing.  He also served on the board of directors for the Sheboygan County YMCA in the 1980s and 1990s. Walter has a BA in History from Colorado State University. After graduation from college Walter joined his family in working for their family company, Polar Ware from 1979 to 2012.  He sold both Stoelting and Polar Ware and retired as chairman in 2012.  He was the youngest president/ CEO, in company history.  Walter remains active in the community.  He is on the board of directors at Road America and the Friends of the Marsh. Besides enjoying the outdoors, Walter enjoys coaching youth sports, racing, traveling and spending time with his family, his wife Mary Jo and five children Heidi, Tom, Steve, Kate and Anna and his yellow lab Biscuit. Walter’s favorite animal is the Grey Wolf because they are fiercely loyal and are true survivors.

     
 
Willa

Willa started working for Camp Y-Koda and the YMCA in 2018, as our first Nature 4K Preschool Teacher at Maywood Environmental Park. As a child she attended YMCA camps and grew a passion for being in the great outdoors, which she currently gets to do in this role. Willa has a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from the UW-Milwaukee, a Bachelor's Degree in Education from the UW-Oshkosh and is DPI certified. She was previously a teacher at Kindercare Learning Center and Preschool, and experienced being a Field Trip Coordinator at the Above and Beyond Children's Museum. Her very first real teaching experience was in a one-room school in India. Willa's favorite activity with her students is putting down a big quilt, laying down and watching the wind in the trees. There is nothing better for Willa than instilling an appreciation and adoration for nature in little ones. In her free time she draws illustrations, plays music on her viola (and guitar), and taking her dog on long walks!