Meet The Outdoor School Staff

Here are some of the program staff that students and teachers will work with during their trip.

Karyn Bonner

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, Rob and Rosie who also love spending time enjoying nature outdoors.  After graduating college in Edinburgh and quickly realizing a career illustrating natural history was not as much fun as actually being teaching about it, Karyn left the art world behind and instead worked with experiential/environmental education programs all over the USA.  College Settlement has always been her favorite place in the world, and where her favorite teachers, kids, bugs, ponds and creeks are! Her hobbies include photography, art, mud runs, anything camp-related, and most of all, being a “mum.”

 

Joshua Davis

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 daughters, Grace and Sophie, 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

Mike on a hike.

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 Old Man 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 and Boo – our fainting goat

Rebecca

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.  Rebecca runs our Counselor in Training program during the summer and coordinates most of our spring and fall weekend programs.

Rebecca 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 and junior staff, and the teachable moments that occur while spending “time in” at College Settlement.

Whittier announcing the “Nature Moment” of the day before lunch

Whittier

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.  Whittier also works during our summer program as our Overnight Camp Coordinator – and is basically our scheduling Yoda.

In 2017 he spent 6 months in Colombia, South America, teaching English as a second language traveling with his wife Heidi. Whittier has been teaching outdoor education since 2014.  Whittier even starred in our end of season movie “Ferret Smith

Tim enjoying a pumpkin tracking lesson

Tim

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.  The summer of 2019  Tim was Boys Village Leader where he led his pack of campers and staff through  a plethora of fantastic activities despite heatwaves and thunderstorms.

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.

 

Charles

Charles and his famous floppy hat

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.  This past summer, Charles ran our Spruce Run Outpost in the Pocono Mountains where our Teen Adventure Program campers spend 5 days at a time.

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.

Brock taking a leisurely paddle

Brock

Brock is a Michigan native who graduated from Northern Michigan University with a Bs in Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Management.  He is an avid outdoors man and has a wide range of experience in various forms of recreation including  guiding  kayaking tours, white water paddling, climbing, zip lines, high ropes courses, and more. Brock and has taught all sorts of back country skills in every kind of weather.   He loves to teach animal tracking which will be great at College Settlement during the Wildlife Detectives lesson.

 

 

Chelsie enjoying Michigan’s back country

Chelsie

Also a Michigan native graduated from Northern Michigan University General biology with an interest in conservation education and wildlife protection.   She is an avid paddler and led sea kayak tours of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Lake Superior.  In her free time she climbs and spends a lot of time on the water.  Chelsie was also raised on a hobby farm where she cared for a variety of animals and worked to educate people on the proper care and training of rescue dogs while employed at the Animal Sanctuary.