Our Outdoor School Community

Our Outdoor School Community

 

The foundation of Echo Hill Outdoor School is our collaborative staff community. Directors, program staff and support personnel are all integral parts of this community which stresses genuine concern for others, cooperation, integrity, and enthusiasm.

Board of Directors

Richard C. Balaban
Director, Oliver Wyman
London, England

Bradley M. Campbell
Attorney, Bradley M. Campbell LLC
Lambertville, NJ

Rachel Skolnik Cogen
Associate Judge, District Court for Baltimore City
Baltimore, MD

Georgina Creamer
Special Education Teacher, Baltimore City School System
Baltimore, MD

Robert F. Creamer, Jr.
Professional Photographer, Artist in Residence ­ Smithsonian Institution
Baltimore, MD

Julia M. Hassett
Owner, Hassett Willis Company
Washington, DC

Leslie S. Morgenthal
Community Volunteer
New York, NY

Mel S. Rapelyea, M.D.
Contract Radiologist
Betterton, MD

Peter P. Rice, Jr.
Executive Director, Echo Hill Outdoor School
Worton, Maryland

Terry V. Rice
Partner, Birks and Rice, CPA
Rockville, Maryland

 

Directors

Echo Hill Outdoor School Directors are the core of our administrative staff. They are responsible for the planning, scheduling, and hiring as well as teaching classes. Their commitment to education and the environment sets the standard for the Echo Hill community.

 

  Peter Paul Rice Jr., Director
Peter Rice spent his childhood at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC where his father was Head of the Lower School. During their summers, Mr. and Mrs. Rice, Sr., operated Echo Hill Camp on the Chesapeake Bay, a highly regarded recreational summer camp. Peter began directing the successful Quaker based summer camp in the 1970’s and continues to lead the camp with passion today. Peter’s graduate work in outdoor education at Indiana and Northern Illinois University gave him the background and desire to start a non-profit educational organization. He did so in 1972, when he founded Echo Hill Outdoor School. Peter’s original vision of children learning in the outdoors remains at the core of the School’s existence. Peter is the president of the Board and is the School’s Executive Director. He lives on Still Pond Neck with his wife, Libby. Their children Katie and Julie live nearby with their families; Petey currently resides in New York City. At the heart of Peter’s passion lies his commitment to provide positive experiences in the out of doors to the child within each of us.
   
  Andrew R. McCown, Associate Director
Andrew R. McCown has worked with Echo Hill Outdoor School since 1977. He founded the School’s Summer Explore Trips program in 1979, and became an Associate Director in 1981. Andrew’s contributions to the school’s mission and methodology are instrumental to the programs’ effectiveness and success. As a senior trainer and educator, he consistently mentors the full program staff in Echo Hill’s teaching standards and quality of programming. Andrew is one of the School’s USCG licensed captains. He regularly teaches Bay Studies, aquatic ecology and the heritage of the Chesapeake Bay. Andrew is a current and founding board member of the Chester River Association and he served on the board of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy for twelve years. Captain Andy worked as an oysterman for eight winters as he captained the Skipjack Elsworth, one of the last of the great dredge boats of the Chesapeake. In 2008 the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) awarded Andrew with the Robert Finton Outdoor Educator of the Year Award. Andrew also performs with the critically acclaimed folk group, Chesapeake Scenes. Andrew and his wife, Betsy, live at the school with their two sons, John Andrew and Parker.
   
  Elizabeth Zelter McCown, Associate and Managing Director
Betsy McCown joined Echo Hill Outdoor School in 1979 after earning a B.S. in Community Leadership and Development from Springfield College, Springfield, MA. Diverse involvement in outdoor adventure pursuits during college coupled with many years at a recreational summer camp built her foundation for individual and group development. She became an Associate Director in 1981 and has continued to work full time ever since. Betsy oversees all daily operations, the professional training and development of personnel, coordinates the yearly calendar of attending schools and groups, and helps to maintain a high standard of quality programming. In September 2011, Betsy joined the Board of Trustees for Gunston School in Centreville, Maryland. At the heart of Betsy’s direction is her ability to facilitate personal growth and development and build a sense of community. Betsy is an involved and devoted educator, counselor, and parent. Growing up in rural western New York State instilled in her a keen appreciation for creative play in the natural environment. Betsy, her husband, Captain Andy and their sons John Andrew and Parker enjoy living on the Outdoor School’s nature preserve and appreciate the unique setting and community they call home.
   
  Deborah Grigsby, Assistant Director
Debbie Grigsby began teaching at Echo Hill Outdoor School in 1991 and became an Assistant Director in 1994. She attended the University of Virginia and has a B.A. in Environmental Science. Her love of the outdoors began as a young child spending cherished times with family in the countryside surrounding her Front Royal, Virginia, home. Debbie worked as a hydrologist in southern Florida for six years before deciding to direct her interest in the environment toward education. She actively directs Echo Hill’s challenge course, is one of the school’s USCG licensed captains, and teaches an array of classes. Debbie coordinates the weekly program schedule, assists with personnel and risk management, and is instrumental in helping to maintain our program standard in all areas. Deb and her charismatic son Benjamin are often seen maximizing activities in the great outdoors…. like puddle jumping !
   
  James A. Stone, Assistant Director of Facility Care
and Daily Operations
Senior Educator, USCG Captain
Jim graduated from Springfield College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation and Leisure Services. He joined the Outdoor School's full time teaching staff in 1997. As a senior educator and licensed USCG Captain, Jim frequently teaches Chesapeake Bay Studies aboard our lab vessels along with a variety of aquatic, history, and ecology classes. Jim oversees facility care and maintenance. His fair and consistent leadership style sparks a strong work ethic in fellow staff. Along with his wife, Tracy, and children Zach and Tory, Jim owns and operates the award-winning bed and breakfast “The Inn at Mitchell House” in Tolchester, Maryland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Administrative Support

 

  Pat Bjorke, School Secretary/Receptionist
Pat's love of children has woven itself throughout her lifetime, whether through volunteer work with Girl Scouts and other youth organizations, or in a professional capacity in public school systems and now as the school secretary and lead receptionist at Echo Hill Outdoor School. Pat grew up in eastern Pennsylvania in a family that enjoyed spending a great deal of time fishing, hunting, camping and skiing. But her favorite moments outdoors are walking in the woods during the changing seasons, messing around quiet backwaters in her kayak, or just being out late at night in the muffled stillness of a snowstorm. Curiosity about the human mind and psyche led her to a degree in psychology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. On a whim, she and her husband Clark wound up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland nearly 30 years ago and they have called it "home" ever since. Pat enjoys sharing her interests in gardening, crafts and cooking with her three daughters and granddaughter.
   
  Robin Whitney, Business Manager
Robin has been the Business Manager at Echo Hill Outdoor School since July 2013. Her over twenty-five years of business and management experience as well as her personal, professional and family ties to the School have prepared her well for this position. Robin is a native New Yorker and her business career began in retail management in Macy’s Herald Square. She and her husband, Chris, left city life behind in 1990 and have never looked back. After taking time off to raise their two young sons, Robin returned to work in an accounting firm, where she managed payrolls for clients in Maryland and Delaware. Her attention to detail and customer service provided the framework for strong professional relationships with all her clients. Robin handled Echo Hill Outdoor School’s payroll as well as accounting assistance and consulting when needed. She has now found her niche at Echo Hill and loves the non-profit world of outdoor education. Both her sons have attended the 5th grade program with Kent County Middle School, Summer Explore canoe and skipjack adventures, and high school orientation programs with St. Andrew’s School, Middletown, DE. Robin holds a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences and Psychology from Carnegie-Mellon University, and currently lives in Worton, MD with her husband and their orange tabby cat, Rocket J. Squirrel, aka Rocky.
   

 

Program Staff

Echo Hill Outdoor School teachers and interns are highly qualified professionals and dedicated naturalists who communicate appreciation and respect for nature and people. Since 1972, hundreds of individuals have committed a part of their lives to teaching, counseling, and nurturing students at Echo Hill Outdoor School. Our instructors thrive on the flexibility and freedom of the School’s learning and teaching environment. They take initiative to design unique classes and they skillfully adapt their classes to incorporate teachable moments. Their energy and creativity engage students and make learning fun.

Qualifications
All teachers have experience working with children or working in the environmental field. These experienced outdoor leaders come from a variety of educational backgrounds including environmental studies, education, history, sociology, biology, and English. Our staff diversity adds variety and imagination to our classes and lesson planning. The School also employs interns each season to assist teachers and students. Echo Hill Outdoor School staff hold American Red Cross certification in First Aid and CPR. Additionally, a team of teachers with more advanced medical training oversees the health and safety of participants.

CORE TEACHERS

   
  Amanda Fry, Senior Educator
Between growing up in the Appalachians of Central Pennsylvania to spending her time in high school and college working as an Educator and Animal Caretaker at Catoctin Zoo, Amanda found a deep-seated love and respect for the outdoors and the wildlife that calls it home. She took this passion to Salisbury University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, with a focus on vertebrate biology. Reflecting on her time educating the public about animals at the zoo, Amanda discovered the benefits and enjoyment of non-traditional teaching. Taking this a step further she embarked on her first of two summers in England working with the summer camp Do it 4 Real, taking at-risk youth and youth with developmental disabilities from the cities to the countryside and immersing them in outdoors. Amanda has since returned to her “second home-land”, Britain, for a gap-year at Ochil Tower School in Scotland where she worked as a Residential and Classroom assistant for children with special needs. When she’s not singing songs or canoeing through the swamp at Echo Hill, you can find Amanda thrift-shopping, going on adventures to new places, sampling Asian food, crocheting, and going for hikes.
   
  Peter Rice III, Senior Educator
After graduating from Gettysburg College with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies, Petey felt a strong desire to experience a bit more of the world. He accepted a job farming oysters in New York. Oyster farming was interesting, but he felt there was more to the world than the Long Island Sounds, so he accepted a position as a Course Designer/Supervisor for Tough Mudder in New York City. He proceeded to design and build challenging obstacle course races all over the world, and loved it. Throughout the next two and a half years he traveled extensively, all the while making time each summer to return to the place he loves most – Echo Hill. He then spent a year with New York Road Runners, a company that organizes and supports marathons. In 2014, Petey returned to Kent County, Maryland full time to be with his family, help run the best camp ever, and join the Echo Hill Outdoor School’s faculty as a teacher and USCG licensed Captain. In addition, Petey contributes significantly to the care and management of the campus and facilities as an Assistant Site Manager.
   
  Annie Rae Richards, Senior Educator
Annie has spent most of her life on the eastern shore of Maryland and its waterways. She first came to Echo Hill Outdoor School in 2008, and ever since has been empowered by and dedicated to their mission of education, investigation, and wonder. Annie has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a concentration in Anthropology from Roger Williams University. In her sporadic time spent away from EHOS, she has worked for a variety of sail training and leadership programs, accruing more than 10,000 miles at sea, sailing in Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and New England. As a licensed captain, she holds a Masters USCG 100 Ton Inland license with an auxiliary sail endorsement. In addition to teaching, program oversight, and the training of EHOS staff, Annie works closely with Captain Andrew McCown in all aspects of the care and upkeep of EHOS’s historic fleet of Chesapeake Bay workboats. Annie is also a Wilderness First Responder and an American Red Cross certified Lifeguard.
   
  James Stankewicz, Teacher
From through-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2015, to mountain biking and canoeing, James Stankewicz embraces a passion for outdoor adventure each and every day. He graduated from Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts degree in a double major of environmental studies and music. His love of the Eastern Shore of Maryland led him to a teaching position at Echo Hill Outdoor School in 2016. James believes in bringing a spirit of fun to everything he does, whether it be teaching children, everyday maintenance work, or playing his guitar.
   
  Jacob Swane, Teacher
Jacob is a Vermont native who comes to Echo Hill Outdoor School pursuing his dream of being an outdoor educator. He has always had a passion for nature and exploring the world around him. Jacob graduated from Castleton University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, and has studied abroad in Belize, Guatemala and Costa Rica. He spent one semester backpacking in the Mojave Desert in California. Jacob may hail from the Green Mountains, but he is more than happy to claim the Chesapeake Bay as his second home.
   
  Sara Vogel, Senior Educator
Born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Sara first came to the eastern Shore of Maryland in 2009 to work at Echo Hill Outdoor School. While growing up, she spent her free time paddling on the Great Lakes and playing team sports – skills she now uses on EHOS’ challenge course and summer EXPLORE programs on the Chester River. She and her family live full time in northern Kent County, where they enjoy the Chesapeake Bay life and culture on a daily basis.
   
  Grace Wach, Teacher
Born and raised in Western New York, Grace is a new transplant to the state of Maryland, but she is no stranger to adventure. She began her studies in nursing, and while completing clinicals in Hungary and Finland she discovered a passion for exploring, learning, and advocating for others. Her experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities, older adults, and caregivers through the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Parkinson’s Foundation, sparked a great joy in being present with others through life’s challenges. She also realized how much she enjoys the role of mentor and educator during her work structuring the interpersonal, recreational, and vocational skills program at Onward Transitions for young adults. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work at Nazareth College of Rochester and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from SUNY Buffalo, Grace was inspired to connect with others where she feels most grounded - the outdoors. From family camping trips at a young age to her experience with the Boy Scouts of America as a Challenge Course Director in Maine, her interest in climbing and discovering the unknown is what she enjoys sharing with others. She also loves talking to her houseplants, using her library card, watching Animal Planet, downhill skiing, and is an avid Buffalo Sabres hockey fan.

FIELD TEACHERS/STAFF NATURALISTS

  Sahil Bandyopadhyay, Teacher
Sahil grew up in Gaithersburg, Maryland, where he spent summers on his local swim team, and later as a summer camp counselor. He graduated from University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelors of Science in chemistry. Sahil was eager to join Echo Hill Outdoor School, where he hopes to gain a more practical relationship with science by teaching youth in the outdoors. He continues to enjoy swimming in his free time, and plays video games and attends concerts for fun.
   
  Dan “DBB” Barnes-Batista, Teacher
Dan was raised a city slicker but his heart lies in the countryside and wilderness. He grew up in Philadelphia and spent his summers on the Chesapeake Bay as a camper and subsequently a counselor at Echo Hill Camp. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Environmental Studies. Dan has worked in education and childcare from a young age, volunteering at environmental education centers in his early teens and working as a lead educator at Piedmont Wildlife Center in Durham, NC in college. Dan’s passion for experiential education and affinity for rustic living make him a great fit in the Echo Hill Outdoor School community. Dan also enjoys keeping up with music and culture, staying politically informed, playing ultimate frisbee, and watching basketball. In the future Dan would like to embark on a career of public service.
   
  Josh Barrett, Teacher
Josh Barrett is from Wilmington, North Carolina. From a young age he grew to love the ecology and wildlife around him. After graduating high school, Josh attended the local fire academy where he received a degree in fire science and technology, which allows him to understand the chemistry behind what makes fires prosper. At Echo Hill Outdoor School, Josh seeks to educate students in the fields of fire safety as well as the ecology and biology of the Chesapeake Bay area.
   
  Kaiti Brauer, Teacher
Kaiti was born and raised in Colorado. She graduated from Front Range College in Fort Collins with a degree in Art Education and sustainable design classes. Following her adventurous heart, Kaiti has traveled to Central America and Europe, and lived in Hawaii for two years. She loves all things water: hiking to glaciers, venturing along streams, diving in the ocean, winding through the fjords, jumping in waterfalls and now enjoying the rarest water in the world, the brackish water of the Chesapeake Bay. A cross country road trip from the California coast led her to Echo Hill Outdoor School where she enjoys sharing her appreciation of nature and the outdoors with young minds. Always excited to explore and expand, she's eager to share her knowledge and encourage others to learn about the outdoors.
   
  Elizabeth Brown, Teacher
Elizabeth grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland near Washington, DC. She has always loved the outdoors and being on or near the water. She graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in biology. Elizabeth spent her summers during college as part of the program staff at West River Center, where she led team-building activities, taught sailing, and did various other jobs associated with a summer camp. She also had the opportunity to work on the Maryland Dove, a tall ship in St. Mary’s City. In 2018 she graduated from St. Mary’s College with a Master of Arts in Teaching, and started looking for a non-traditional job in teaching where she could work with a hands-on approach to learning. Echo Hill Outdoor School fit the bill perfectly, and she is excited to continue to introduce children to the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem she loves.
   
  Lola Dalrymple, Teacher
Despite being a born-and-raised New York City kid, Lola Dalrymple has always felt most comfortable in the great outdoors. She is very excited to join the Echo Hill Outdoor School team and immerse herself (literally and figuratively) into the marshlands of the Eastern Shore. She spent fourteen wonderful summers as a camper, staff member, and assistant director at Echo Hill Camp; and after four years away is overjoyed to be back at a place she calls home. A 2012 graduate of Bard College, with a degree in history, Lola is an avid reader, hiker, bread-baker, and traveler. Always on the lookout for her next adventure, Lola has climbed Himalayan peaks, worked on farms and vineyards in Australia, New Zealand, and California. She has taught in classrooms in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Thailand, and India, and she is so happy to now add Maryland to that list!
   
  Sage Donpineo, Teacher
Sage hails from Annapolis, Maryland. She graduated from Guilford College in 2014 with a Bachelors degree in Psychology. She has spent the last three years living and working on boats up and down the East Coast and the Bahamas. Sage holds a United States Coast Guard Masters 100-ton inland license with an auxiliary sail endorsement, as well as her Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers. Sage is excited to be an outdoor educator with Echo Hill Outdoor School, both on the water and land.
   
  Katherine George, Teacher
Katherine George comes to Echo Hill Outdoor School with a background of diverse experiences inspired by her childhood exploring the marshes and shorelines of the Chesapeake Bay. She puts those experiences to good use now in her favorite class at EHOS - exploring the fresh water shrub swamp with students. Kate graduated from University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy. Eager to utilize her degree, Kate became a Staff Naturalist at Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve leading educational programs; supervised interns for a Wild Rice restoration project at Jug Bay Wetlands; and researched osprey nesting towers and wood duck box nests. Along with several peers, she founded a non-profit organization, Pollinators Prospering People, focused on preserving wildlife and nectary plant corridors. Kate has also served as a consultant for the Washington D.C. Department of Health on Zika virus investigations, where she monitored and tested mosquitoes for Zika virus, Dengue fever and Chikungunya. In her free time you can find Kate hiking trails and bird-watching.
   
  Bradley Hirsh, Teacher
Bradley is a native of Kent County, MD, who has returned after 15 years of experiencing the world beyond the Chester and Sassafras Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Brad spent the first five years of his teaching career in public and independent school classrooms teaching English, ESL, remedial reading, and Honors English to middle and high school students. However, his passion for the outdoors drew him to Echo Hill Outdoor School where he could combine his love for teaching and the outdoors. In his travels and working from the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts to Reno, Nevada, Brad discovered a passion for two ecosystems: the high desert and the Chesapeake Bay. In 2013 he began working full time at The Swain School, a K-8 independent school in Allentown, PA, as a Middle School History, English, and Philosophy teacher. In addition, he serves as Swain’s Outdoor Education Coordinator and 7th Grade Dean of Students. Even though he spends the majority of the year in Pennsylvania, he still thinks of the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Echo Hill as his ‘primary’ home. During the Summer Explore season (and whenever he can during the Fall and Spring), he returns to Echo Hill Outdoor School to teach students about the wonders of the Chesapeake Bay. When he is not teaching he enjoys reading, playing video games, watching movies and playing chess.
   
  Joey Hughes, Teacher
Joey is a native Texan who came to Maryland in 2013 to attend Goucher College and study environmental studies and economics. Right after graduating in 2017, he went out to the corn and soybean fields of Indiana to study environmental education at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center where he gained an appreciation for place-based outdoor education. He joins the team at Echo Hill Outdoor School to continue his passion for facilitating positive learning experiences, and helping students develop positive relationships with their environments.
   
  Megan Lineweaver, Teacher
Megan Lineweaver, a native Marylander, found her passion for the outdoors and exploration from family outings and camping trips. She is a 2017 graduate of Frostburg State University with a double major in Wildlife & Fisheries and Interpretive Biology/Natural History. Megan’s experiences include living on a barrier island off the coast of North Carolina preforming shorebird surveys, spending a year at Glen Helen Outdoor Education Center in Ohio as a Naturalist Intern, and traveling to New Zealand to study abroad. Megan enjoys reading, kayaking, time with family, and exploring the outdoors.
   
  Parker McCown, Teacher
In September 2018, Parker returned to his childhood home of Kent County, Maryland after living in Colorado and on the North Shore of Oahu for the past three years. Having worked in retail and commercial sales, as a kayak guide, and a first mate for a deep-sea sportfishing boat out of Waianae, Hawaii, Parker’s passion for sparking people’s curiosity in the out of doors continues. Parker’s undergraduate studies at James Madison University focused on Interpersonal Communications as a major and Music Industry as a minor. Each and every day, Parker brings his love of music and individual and group development into his teaching at Echo Hill Outdoor School.
   
  Briana McLean, Teacher
Briana hails from the park-abundant city of Newark, Delaware. While living there, she volunteered at local parks and camps in programs that ranged from teaching children STEM concepts to fostering a rewarding experience outdoors. During her time in Newark, she learned about the importance and beauty nature holds and felt inspired to learn more. Upon earning a degree in environmental studies in 2018 she embarked on a journey to find how her new-found skills could further help youth and the developing world. She found the ambitious goals of Echo Hill Outdoor School something she wanted to take part in and joined the team. In the future she hopes to join the Conservation Corps and the Peace Corps. Her hobbies include dancing, engaging in artistic projects, and learning unique languages.
   
  Jack Petricone, Teacher
The outdoors has always been Jack’s place of play and discovery. As a youngster, Jack reveled in catching pond newts, romping in meadows, climbing boulders and building snow forts in his hometown of Colbrook, Connecticut. In high school he attended 16 weeks of wilderness programs, and his college years found him hiking and canoeing throughout Maryland and New England at every opportunity he had to get away. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Saint Mary’s College in Maryland, Jack worked as a substitute teacher in the Philadelphia Public School District, teaching a wide variety of subjects to kindergartners through high school seniors. In his after-school hours he volunteered with Mighty Writers, a literacy and writing program in the Italian Market neighborhood. Jack has never stopped escaping to the outdoors, and he is happy to have found his way to Echo Hill Outdoor School.
   
  Cecelia Pyles, Teacher
Cecelia Pyles was born and raised in Severna Park, Md. There she was an active individual, participating in a variety of school, sports and community activities from the age of four. Throughout her childhood experiences with family she developed an interest in camping, hiking, kayaking and other outdoor activities. At Salisbury University she earned a degree in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Outdoor Education. She has camped on the Appalachian trail, earned her scuba diving certification, taught in various schools in the Worcester/ Wicomico areas of Maryland as well as in parts of South Carolina. Cece has spent considerable time traveling to outdoor destinations. In the past two years she has traveled to more than ten National and State parks throughout the East, Midwest and California. In her free time she enjoys kayaking, physical conditioning, running, and traveling.
   
  Erin Rinaldi, Teacher
Erin was born in Baltimore, Maryland but has spent a majority of her life in Middletown, Delaware, where she further developed her love of wildlife and the environment. She graduated from the University of Delaware in May 2018 with a Bachelors of Science in environmental science. To celebrate her graduation and the beginning of a new chapter in her life, Erin traveled around Europe for a month exploring 13 countries, where she fell in love with both the cities and the wildlife. In addition to her love for the outdoors, Erin enjoys a variety of hobbies including playing guitar, crocheting, making dream catchers, and hiking with friends. She is excited to be sharing her knowledge and love of the environment as a teacher at Echo Hill Outdoor School.
   
  Shannon Spry, Teacher
Shannon grew up just outside of Annapolis in the small town of Riva, Maryland. She graduated from Salisbury University in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies, a Bachelor of Science in Geography, and a minor in Spanish. Vacationing at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge while growing up, and studying abroad in Panama and Costa Rica, have given Shannon her passion for the outdoors that she now hopes to share with others. When not racing go-karts, she enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, reading and taking naps in her hammock.
   
  Taylor Swanson, Teacher
Born in Annapolis, Maryland, and raised in the backwoods and creeks of the Chesapeake Bay, Taylor is as true a die-hard Marylander as they come. Whether it’s waking up at 4am for crabbing and fishing, or taking a long stroll through an ancient forest, nothing makes him happier than being outdoors. Since he was as little as he can remember Taylor has been as crazy as a cuckoo for wildlife, likely aided along by more than a decade of EHOS programming; as both a participant and an educator. That passion took him far north to the University of Vermont where he graduated in the spring of 2015 with a B.S. in Wildlife Biology, concentrating in Ornithology. Now, Taylor spends his days in the land of pleasant living cultivating that same wonder and bewilderment that hooked him in his youth.
   
  Aaron Thal, Teacher
Aaron is a native of New England, graduating from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Already an accomplished musician (playing the piano, cello, and guitar), Aaron then attended classes at the Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University so he could follow his passion for music. There, he learned how to record and mix sound, and also work on movie and television sound design. A lover of nature and the outdoors, Aaron was a lead member for the Connecticut Environthon team at his high school, as well as being a founding member of the “Woodsy Club”, a survival organization. While he finds terrestrial education great, his previous teaching experience has brought him up and down the East Coast on the decks of tall ships, teaching students seamanship as well as environmental science and stewardship.
   

INTERNS

  Emily Pfeifer, Intern
Emily spent her childhood roaming the woods of North Carolina with her six siblings. This early experience gave her a love of the outdoors, especially hiking the mountains of North Carolina. She now enjoys exploring the waters of the Chesapeake Bay, and her favorite classes to teach at Echo Hill Outdoor School are Swamp Ecology, Scanoe, and Bay Studies. Because she was home-schooled until high school, Emily truly appreciates the encouragement to learn through exploration, and she is happy to be part of the experiential education approach that is present at EHOS. Emily is an avid painter and loves to explore the medium of collage. She incorporates art into her lessons any chance she gets, and she aspires to be a special education or art teacher. Emily loves to see students gain confidence in the outdoors over the course of their visit to EHOS, and she finds it very fulfilling to help them feel at home and enjoy their time in the outdoors.
   
  Abby Speck, Intern
Abby Speck was born and raised in Clinton, New Jersey. She is currently taking a step-away year from George Washington University to pursue her passion for teaching and working outside. After spending summers in Lake George, New York at YMCA Camp Chingachgook, she knew Echo Hill Outdoor School would be a new and exciting way to learn more about the out-of-doors. Abby looks forward to returning to college to study outdoor education.

   
  Coale Wilde, Teaching Intern
Coale hails from across the Bay in Gaithersburg, MD, but calls the whole state home. He was lucky enough to have attended Echo Hill Outdoor School for three years as a middle school student at Friends Meeting School. Coale attended Hood College in Frederick, MD while pursuing his degree in Environmental Science. He was an active member of Boy Scouts of America, and is excited to bring his skills and knowledge to EHOS for his debut as an outdoor educator. In his free time, Coale loves to “get his nerd on” by playing tabletop games.
   
   

 

Listed below is a sampling of college affiliations of Echo Hill Outdoor School teachers and interns over the past ten years.

  • • Audubon Expedition Institute
    • Bard College
    • Boston College
    • Boston University
    • Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts
    • Bowdoin College
    • Bowling Green University
    • Cape Cod Community College
    • Cape Fear Community College
    • Carnegie Mellon University
    • Castleton University
    • Cedarville University
    • Chesapeake College
    • Colgate University
    • College of the Atlantic
    • Columbia University
    • Connecticut College
    • Cornell University
    • Dartmouth College
    • Dickinson College
    • Duke University
    • Evergreen State College
    • George Washington University
    • Georgia College and State University
    • Gettysburg College
    • Goucher College
    • Grinnell College
    • Guilford College
    • Hampshire College
    • Harvard College
    • Hood College
    • Indiana University
    • James Madison University
    • Johnson State College
    • Karoli Gaspar Reformatus University
    • Lock Haven University
    • Masaryk University
    • McDaniel College
    • Michigan State University
    • Monterey Institute of International Studies
    • Montgomery College
    • Mount St. Mary’s University
    • North Central College
    • NW Missouri State University
    • Oberlin CollegeOccidental College
    • Pennsylvania State University
  • • Randolph-Macon College
    • Roanoke College
    • Saint Michael’s College
    • Saint Vincent College
    • Salisbury University
    • San Diego State University
    • Scripps College
    • Shepherd College
    • Smith College
    • Springfield College
    • St. Joseph’s University
    • St. Lawrence University
    • St. Mary’s College
    • St. Norbert College
    • State University of New York at New Paltz
    • Stanford University
    • Stevenson University
    • Union College
    • University of Connecticut
    • University of Delaware
    • University of Georgia
    • University of Kansas
    • University of Maryland, Baltimore County
    • University of Maryland, College Park
    • University of Massachusetts
    • University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • University of Michigan
    • University of New Hampshire
    • University of North Texas
    • University of Richmond
    • University of Vermont
    • University of Virginia
    • Vassar College
    • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
    • Warren Wilson College
    • Washington College
    • Westfield State College
    • Wichita State University
    • Yale University
    • York College

 

Support Staff

 

  Catherine "Honey" Murray - Head Cook Emeritus
For the better part of four decades, Catherine Ann Murray has prepared meals for a dining hall full of hungry children and adults at Echo Hill Outdoor School and Echo Hill Camp. Better known as “Miss Honey,” she has mastered the art of cooking comfort food for up to 200 people at each meal. Over the years, she’s introduced thousands to her famous fried chicken and cornbread. Her friendship and camaraderie has counseled thousands of staff, visiting teachers, parents and children. Much of the spirit and heart of Echo Hill radiates from her gentle strength and joyous love for children experiencing the wonders of nature while on the campus. While Honey has retired from her everyday schedule cooking eleven to 21 meals each week, she is still present in the kitchen weekly. After all this time, Echo Hill is very much her home and the Echo Hill community continues to be her extended family.
   
  Cindy Jackson - Head Cook/Food Service Manager
In 2003, Cindy Jackson left the west coast of California with her three children, Eli, Moriah and Carter and relocated to Kent County, Maryland. During her job search, Cindy found her way to a kitchen position with Echo Hill Outdoor School in March 2004. Cindy rapidly became a valued member of our dynamic kitchen staff and is currently the Head Cook and Food Service Manager for Echo Hill Outdoor School and Echo Hill Camp. Her strong work ethic, passion for the arts and her pets coupled with a charisma for fun and friendship make Cindy a pivotal member of the Echo Hill community. Cindy’s spirit for life and love is best exemplified in her devotion as a mother to her three amazing children.
   
  Cheryl Torres - Kitchen Assistant

Cheryl has been involved with Echo Hill since she was eight years old when Miss Honey, her mother, began bringing her to Echo Hill Camp as a camper. She played and helped out in the kitchen from ages eight to sixteen. She left Echo Hill for a while to teach Spanish in Galena, MD, but returned to the Echo Hill family a few years ago. She enjoys cooking and helping students feel more comfortable at Echo Hill by making sure that they have full and satisfied tummies.
   

 

Personnel photos courtesy of Kaitlin Pope.