Here are some of the staff that students and teachers will work with during their trip.
Camp Director Karyn Bonner is originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, and has been working with College Settlement for over 30 years. Karyn has two teenage children who also love the outdoors. After graduating college in Edinburgh, Karyn travelled and worked with experiential education programs all over the USA. However, College Settlement has always been her favorite place in the world, and where her favorite teachers and kids are! Her hobbies include photography, art, mud runs, anything camp-related, and most of all, being a “mum.”
Assistant Camp Director Joshua Davis is originally from Michigan by way of Canada, and has been with College Settlement for 19 years. Josh lives on-site with his wife and two young daughters, both of whom often come out on lessons with the camp kids! Josh is a Temple graduate with a background in sociology. Other than his work at our base camp, Josh also ran our Spruce Run Outpost for a few years. Josh is an accomplished musician, a talent his oldest daughter Grace seems to have inherited! Josh is often found at Pennypack Farm, as he is an avid gardener himself.
Our Teacher Naturalists
We take great pride in making sure each student gets the most out of their trip to College Settlement. Our staff members are carefully selected and trained to make sure our programs are a unique opportunity to meet and make new friends, as well as enrich their education and appreciation of our outside world. Outdoor education provides a chance to create fond memories of joy and discovery. From encouraging students to take a leadership role during group challenges to leading night hikes, our TNs keep the students learning and laughing. Some join us for a year or two, while other have been with us for more than a decade.
Old Man Mike
Teacher Naturalist Mike is a Penn State grad and retired Philadelphia science teacher who has worked with us in many capacities for over 30 years. Mike’s hobbies are camping, traveling, running, and terrible puns. His wife encourages him to run long distances… that way she cannot hear his jokes.
Mike would like folks to know: “I once actually had hair. They refer to me as Oldman Mike at College Settlement Camp, since I am the oldest person on camp. I was a science teacher in an elementary school in Philadelphia for thirty five years. I brought groups of children to College Settlement Camp for the three-day overnight trip for 21 years. Since I retired in June of 2009, I have been working at College Settlement Camp as a teacher naturalist during the fall and spring. During the summer I am the farm educator and spend a good part of my day taking campers on hay rides. One of the things that never gets old is watching a child catch a fish for the first time.”
Rebecca is a Philadelphian and Anthropology graduate from Bloomsburg University. She has worked with many youth and social service organizations, is a former Teacher Naturalist and Camper Advocate. She recently returned to College Settlement after a year as a Team Leader with Americorps. Rebecca loved Iowa and Americorps, but has traded the fields of corn for Mike’s corny jokes. She loves teaching the Archaeology lesson because students “really dig it.” Rebecca’s hobbies include reading, biking (not while reading), and meeting each year’s new crop of students. Her favorite part of the job is connecting with students in those teachable moments that occur while working out in nature.
Raised in South Jersey, Whittier is keen on reaching out and inspiring our youth. He loves sharing the marvels of macro-invertebrates which whets the appetite of the students imagination in his Stream Ecology class. Maintaining a positive attitude and high energy keeps his students engaged and excited on each activity. A renaissance man, he enjoys hiking, all types of games, scuba diving, ceramics, blacksmithing, and more. In 2017 he spent 6 months in Colombia, South America, teaching English as a second language and has been teaching outdoor education since 2014. Whittier even starred in our end of season movie “Ferret Smith”
An original Horsham resident, Tim first came to the Outdoor School in 2004 with Simmons elementary as a fifth grader. He attended Ursinus College, where he studied History and French, and has worked at College Settlement in various positions since 2012. In summer of 2018, Tim ran our Teen Adventure Program and spent the season hiking, camping, white water rafting and mountain biking with our teenage campers.
Tim loves working with the kids and introducing them to all the new perspectives offered by the Outdoor School. Tim loves to travel – he has lived in both France and Scotland, thrives most when being active outdoors, and is a musician. His favorite part of our Outdoor School program is the campfire.
Katy is an avid world traveler. She graduated from University of Wisconsin and University of Illinois Carbondale with a degree in Outdoor Recreation and Leadership Management and Therapeutic Recreation. As Katy puts it “as much as I dream of reincarnating into Spongebob, I am still Katy.” She doesn’t live in a pineapple under a sea, but how cool would that be!
Katy has amazing experience with all sorts of adventure based programs. Katy enjoys the finer things in life like a cup of mediocre and cheap coffee on a brisk morning, any form of potato, and dry bran flakes. Her talents include “being slightly under statistically average at the ukulele, knowing where is best to sleep in airports a and being a run-of-the-mill dog aunt.” Katy is excited to join the team and we are lucky to have her!
Sara is a recent graduate from Paul Smith’s College with a Bachelor of Science in Ecological Restoration. She is from the Catskill Mountain Region in New York State. Sara has many interesting certifications and training’s, including Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG), Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior and Firefighter Training (Red Card), Deer-Aging and Animal Tracking workshop, as well as banding Saw-Whet Owls. She’s been substitute teaching for 2.5 years. Sara’s hobbies include hiking, drawing, DIY’ing, napping, and rock climbing. You can always find Sara outdoors – either attempting to identify plants, climbing on boulders and trees, photoing different fungi species or just getting lost in the woods. Sara worked for The College Settlement Camp last summer and is very excited to be working as a Naturalist Teacher at their Outdoor School!
Native to Long Island, Charles is a graduate of SUNY Binghamton and Dowling College, was a special education teacher in southern Colorado and a sustainability caretaker at a wolf sanctuary. His hobbies include foraging, gardening, pickling, hiking and recycling. He enjoys learning and teaching about the variety of edible plants growing wild throughout the trails of Outdoor School, often fostering discussions on sustainable practices during lessons held around the campgrounds or at Pennypack Farm, where students are encouraged to try new foods they harvest together. Talents include walking fast, reaching things in high places, tying his shoes with magic and wearing a big hat.