Vanessa Barela, Camp Educator - I love the museum and science. From a young age, I participated in camps at the museum and have always wanted to become more involved. I have worked in both Denver, CO and Rio Rancho, NM as a teacher of mathematics, science, and technology. My favorite thing to do is take bike rides or hike with my dogs. I am passionate about teaching students to appreciate nature and the how our water resources/waste management systems work. (BS Environmental En. New Mexico Tech, BS Basic Sciences New Mexico Tech, Certificate Alternative Teacher License New Mexico Tech)
Janis Hirsh, Camp Educator - I have been teaching elementary school for 26 years. I strive to integrate the teaching of art and science, the natural history of our area and our unique ecosystems into all aspects of my teaching. My students enjoy project learning and community based environmental education. Some class projects have included creating a butterfly garden, building an authentic “play size” adobe village and cultivating and maintaining a community school garden. This year her students participated in citizenry science while doing an animal tracking experiment on the west mesa escarpment. I have enjoyed being part of the NM Museum of Natural History summer camps for three summers. She enjoys hiking, nature journaling, gardening and learning about nature. (BS degree in Plant Pathology from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Masters degree in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico)
Ken Merhege, Camp Educator - I am an outdoor enthusiast. I take great responsibility in educating children to know and understand their connection to their environment and their community. All while having a great time, of course. I have taught 5th grade in APS for four years. I have been a trip leader for UNM Getaway Adventures for a decade. I have recently started a cooperative with a colleague called Acequia Learning Resource Center. I truly enjoy any activity that takes place under our great blue sky. (BA in Education, MA in Environmental Education)
Cirrelda Snider-Bryan, Camp Educator - As APS 3rd grade teacher in the 80's and 90's, science was my fave subject to teach! Plant community field trips always began my year, in the olden days when parents drove. Favorite hobbies are clay, sketching, keeping a journal and being in my yard. Have a handmade tile business on the side, and co-coordinated the Protect Our Wildlife Corridors Community Mural in Placitas. I love teaching summer science camp because I get to do art, science and hike with the neatest kids. My Bachelor degree is in Spanish and Ceramics, my Masters is in Elementary Ed. I hold a current NM Teacher K-8 license. During fall, winter and spring, I run the Museum's Prehistoric Preschool and specialize in Early Childhood Education.
Kelly White, Camp Educator – As an informal-educator I love engaging with people of all ages in discovering the world around us. My background is in anthropology and music, both of which stem out of my curiosity about the human animal and how we experience, see, hear, and engage in our environment. My career has been in museums, engaging with people in a wide variety of fascinating areas including: materials science and musical instruments, Newton’s laws of motion, and ecology. I love to bicycle ride, hike in the mountains, and read good books. (BA Physical Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Mmus organology, University of Edinburgh, UK)
Tina Hansen, Camp Coordinator - I love science! I have worked as a volunteer at the museum for 8 years. I help people discover the wonders of snakes, turtles, and bugs in the Naturalist Center, as well as taking museum programs to classrooms in and around Albuquerque. I worked as an instructor for the National Science Foundation after school program ‘Hands on Science’. I developed and taught many science workshops for my children’s classrooms, ranging from Newton’s Laws of Motion to Worm Composting. My favorite outdoor activity is hiking year round with my family and dog. (BS Chem. Eng. University of Wisconsin, MS Chem. Eng. Cornell University)
Heather MacCurdy, Camp Coordinator- I enjoy exploring science with kids of all ages. A great day for me ends with dirt under my fingernails and paint on my clothes! I have had the honor of working with educators at the NMMNHS and the Smithsonian Natural History Museum for the past 6 years. I have a BS in Biology with a concentration in conservation from the University of New Mexico.
Deb Novak, Director of Education - I am proud to be a geek. I have enthused people about science and the wonders of the great outdoors as a Mid-High Science Teacher, a 3rd grade Teacher, a school Science Coordinator, a Raptor Educator (the bird kind, not dinosaur), a National Parks Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi, Africa and as a Summer Camp Instructor for various programs in Albuquerque and beyond. I particularly enjoy interacting with outdoor aquatic life through snorkeling every travel chance I get. (BS Ecology Ethology & Evolution U of Illinois C/U, MS Env. Ed. Lesley College AEI, K-8 Licensure College of Santa Fe, MS Science Teaching New Mexico Tech in progress)