Asbury Woods is committed to providing a quality summer camp experience. Our summer camp educators are highly qualified individuals who enjoying inspiring others to get out of doors and explore.
Kelley Lang is the Director of Education and Community Programs and is responsible for the Summer Camp programming at the Nature Center. Kelley has worked in a number of educational and outdoor settings in her career, including as a naturalist at Audubon Center of the North Woods in Minnesota and the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest in Wisconsin. She holds Masters degrees in Forestry and in Education. She served with the Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa (RPCV, 2001 - 2003).
"My deep love for nature began with a childhood spent at my family’s lake house in Wisconsin, chasing fireflies and exploring the lake shore. I hope the campers coming to Asbury Woods will find the deep sense of safety, comfort, and enjoyment I got at a child from being outdoors. As an educator, it is a wonderful gift to wake up each day and spend my time connecting children to nature and helping them to explore their interests in science. Asbury Woods is such a rich place for discovery. No matter how many times I go for a walk on the trails here, I am sure to uncover a little hidden beauty or see something new. When I am not at work, you can usually find me in my garden with my two littlest helpers, Amelia and Elliot, by my side. I Also enjoy bike riding, cooking, hiking, and spending time with my family. This year at summer camp, I am looking forward to all the new activities we have planned for the campers."
Melissa Martin, Education and Program Coordinator, has obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Master’s degrees in Environmental Education and Parks & Resource Management. Melissa has worked for Asbury Woods as well as the National Park Service and the Pennsylvania State Park system.
“I’ve been working in the environmental education field for 9 years, and I love it. As a kid, I spent a lot of time outside playing. I got hooked on being outside exploring and enjoying nature from a very young age. I love getting to share my passions for nature and wildlife with visitors of all ages. I hope that my enthusiasm and knowledge will help each person to form a deeper connection of their own with the natural world. My favorite thing about Asbury Woods is the recreational opportunities here! I enjoy finding something new every time I walk the trails. When I’m not at work you can find me playing with my dog, Brody, hiking, kayaking, running, skiing, or reading a good book on my back deck.”
Sarah Lewis, Education and Program Coordinator, came to Asbury Woods as an AmeriCorps member serving a year-long appointment in the Education and Public Programs Department. She has since transitioned to be a full-time staff member coordinating and delivering school group visits and public programs. Sarah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and a Master’s in Education from Gannon University. In addition, she is certified as a secondary biology teacher in Pennsylvania. Sarah coordinates the volunteer Camp Assistant opportunity for our camps.
"I grew up in a rural area so I spent my summers outside exploring the woods and creek next to our house or catching frogs in the yard. We spent a lot of time in Cooks Forest hiking the trails and tubing or canoeing down the Clarion River. I feel that nature and the outdoors has just always been a part of my life and I wouldn’t feel complete without being able to go outside and explore. I love that at Asbury Woods you don’t have to go to a huge national park to have an awesome experience in nature and that every day there is a new adventure or something to learn or see. When I’m not working you can find me volunteering at Gannon, crafting, snowshoeing or hiking, or drinking coffee somewhere. I believe strongly that positive experience out-of-doors is an essential component in understanding the environment and our place in it."
Alyssa Zimmer, Environmental Educator, obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and is working towards a Master in Education at Edinboro University. She has many years of experience working with adolescents through various mentoring programs in Erie. Currently, she runs her own business teaching painting classes to kids and adults.
"My mom played a huge roll in fostering my love for nature growing up. We spent a lot of time at my grandparent’s cabin in rural Pennsylvania where my sister and I were always catching bullfrogs or exploring the forest, both of which I still enjoy. Nowadays you can often find me painting, practicing yoga, traveling to new places, or hanging out with my four cats, two dogs, and bunny. My husband and I are both avid hikers and have had the privilege to spend some time doing so overseas. We especially enjoyed our long-term camping trips to New Zealand and South Africa. I believe that letting kids explore and get messy outside cultivates a sense of wonder for the beautiful places that exist all over the world. I love sharing my love for the environment with others in hopes that they too can teach their friends and family how important it is to take care of our planet."
Sydney Fitch is one of our summer Nature Camp Counselors. She recently graduated from Mercyhurst with her degree in Public Health and Environmental Science and is currently working towards her Master's degree in Secondary Education.
“Growing up in Warren, PA near the Allegheny National Forest, I spent a lot of time exploring. I grew up spending every day outdoors and that instilled in me my love for nature. I’m mainly teaching survival skills this summer, I want to give my students knowledge about local species and their role in our environment. I was inspired at a young age by one of my Earth Science teachers and her passion changed my life, I want to be that person for my students. I love that Asbury Woods gives me the opportunity to inspire through nature, it’s the hidden gem of Erie and is such an amazing educational opportunity. When I’m not working you can find me skiing, hiking, studying, or taking photos.
Laura Jasinski, our second Nature Camp Counselor, is currently a student at Slippery Rock double-majoring in Early Childhood Education and Spanish. Previously, Laura worked at Camp Fitch for two summers as an Overnight Camp Counselor.
“When I was 8 I started visiting my grandparent's house in Maine. When we visited, I spent my time kayaking, hiking, swimming, and more which helped me grow my love for nature through exploring. My hope for this summer is that my students will grow to love being outside and that after camp they will still have that love for nature and exploration. My favorite thing about teaching is seeing the students grow from our first meeting and watching the impact that education has on them. I like that Asbury Woods has so much to explore, there are so many trails and so much information to learn and things to do. When I’m not working you can find me hiking, biking, at the beach, or spending time with my friends. I am looking forward to meeting all the campers and spending my summer teaching them.