Nature Camp Staff

Sarah Strew


Lead Nature Camp & Adult Programs

Sarah has been the Lead for Nature Camp and Adult Programs at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science since 2014. Sarah feels deeply connected to VINS, and its camp program specifically, as she can recall being a VINS camper when the organization was at its original site in Woodstock, Vermont

During college, Sarah spent summers as a counselor and backpacking instructor at an overnight camp in Fairlee, returning eventually to manage the camp-craft department. For four years, she moved between Big Sky, Montana, where she taught skiing, and Hartford, Vermont, where she held various positions with VINS as a Lead Counselor for camp and also as an Environmental Education Intern, providing educational programs at the Nature Center as well as handling and training the raptors.

Prior to stepping into her current position, Sarah was involved with various educational efforts in the Upper Valley. She earned her MS in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England where she concentrated in Education. Sarah loves living in the Upper Valley and the lifestyle it affords her. She is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, gardening in the summer, and hiking with her dogs all year round.



Afterschool & Nature Camp Coordinator

Cleo is joining VINS as the Afterschool, Nature Camp and Adult Education Coordinator in 2023. Having grown up in the Northeast herself, originally from Upstate New York, Cleo is excited to move back to the region and to bring her experience to the VINS team.

Cleo holds a BA in Anthropology and minors in both Art History and Recreation Studies from Ithaca College. With this degree path, she loves blending her experience working with people with her love of museums, nature, and art. 

For the past five years, Cleo lived in Salt Lake City, Utah.  There she worked at Utah’s Hogle Zoo, first as a School Outreach Instructor, teaching place-based environmental education in classrooms across the entire state, and more recently as the Community Programs Coordinator, working on expanding education offerings and making programs more accessible to Utah’s diverse communities. During Cleo’s time at the zoo, she enjoyed engaging the public, campers and teen volunteers on local and worldwide wildlife conservation and environmental education topics.

Prior to life in the desert, Cleo worked as a Museum Naturalist in the Adirondack region of New York at The Wild Center. In this role she served as a canoe guide, worked with animal ambassadors, ran public programs, and participated in the Youth Climate Summit. It was these experiences early in her career that made her fall in love with working in the environmental education field.

Connecting others to their local natural surroundings to build empathy for the environment is something Cleo values highly.  She is looking forward to working at VINS, an organizations whose mission so closely aligns with her values.  In addition to educating, Cleo enjoys making art, reading, canoeing, and spending time in the forest.



Nature Camp Instructor

Eamon is an Upper Valley native, having grown up in Norwich.  He is very familiar with VINS and can even remember attending VINS Nature camp when he was young.  Eamon spent his first year of college at the University of Hawaii studying Hawaiian studies but plans to transfer to the University of Vermont next year with a focus on history.  For the past five years, Eamon has been a camp counselor for the Norwich Recreation Department.

Eamon loves spending time outdoors hiking and climbing as well as reading and playing the guitar. He is incredibly passionate about Vermont’s natural beauty and wildlife and is excited to bring his love of nature and past experience as a camp instructor to VINS this summer.  Eamon looks forward to getting to know the VINS team and building connections with campers while explore the amazing opportunities that VINS has to offer.

Madison pic


Lead Nature Camp Instructor
Raptor Specialist

Madison is a born and raised Vermonter who grew up playing in the woods and exploring nature.  As a child, she visited VINS on school field trips and has always loved the mission of VINS, connecting people with the importance and beauty of the natural world.  This will be her third year working at VINS Nature Camp. In 2020 she was a Lead Wilderness Instructor and in 2022 a Lead Raptor Instructor.

She earned her B.S in Biology from Castleton University where she worked as a tutor and lab TA for several courses in the Castleton Natural Sciences Department.  She studied a wide variety of wildlife including insects, arachnids, salamanders, birds and mammals.  In her spare time, Madison explores and volunteers at Merck Forest in Rupert, Vermont.  Along with loving the outdoors, she spends her time photographing and documenting the wildlife she comes across.

During the rest of the year, Madison works as a science teacher at Fair Haven Union High School. She hopes to grow her career in education by inspiring others at nature centers like VINS and in high school science classrooms.  This summer, she looks forward to sharing her passion and excitement for nature with campers and hopes to teach them something new while bolstering their love for nature and wildlife.


Kaylee Starke-Meredith

Lead Nature Camp Instructor

Kaylee grew up in Sharon, Vermont where she spent a lot of time exploring the woods and brook near her house as a child. She is very excited to be returning as a VINS Nature Camp Instructor.  She had so much fun last summer and has fond memories of visiting VINS for field trips in elementary school.

Kaylee graduated this spring from Ithaca College with her BA in Writing and English. She hopes to eventually become a teacher and fiction author.  Kaylee has worked at summer camps in the Upper Valley for many years, and also has worked teaching violin lessons to young students.  In her free time, Kaylee enjoys reading, writing, doing any kind of art, and going on long walks with her dog, Aria.


Jessica Kiefer

Lead Nature Camp Instructor
Wilderness Specialist

Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jessica has been teaching elementary and middle school students for over 17 years.  She earned her undergraduate and her teaching degree from the Pennsylvania State University and the University of Pittsburgh.  

Jessica has taken a variety of workshops and classes over the years, including winter camping, foraging, survival skills, tree identification, archery, and photography.  She has organized environmental clubs for schools and has designed nature-based curriculum and crafts for students with the goal of helping others to explore their world while becoming earth ambassadors along the way.

Summers have been spent camping, hiking, foraging and searching for the ultimate swimming holes, which of course she discovered right here in the Green Mountains!  She and her husband moved to Vermont in 2019 in order to connect more deeply with the natural world and to seek out opportunities to inspire the future generations who will soon inherit the earth. 



Nature Camp Instructor

Carolyn grew up in Taftsville, Vermont collecting rocks and wading in the nearby Happy Valley Brook.  She always loved trips to VINS with her family, learning about the birds in the exhibits and walking on the nature trails in search of songbirds and other wildlife.  Currently, Carolyn enjoys skiing, gardening, and going on walks around her college campus. 

Carolyn volunteered at VINS as a Leader-in-Training throughout high school during the summers.  As an L-I-T, she helped with the nature camps and gained leadership experience, getting to know and love VINS even more.  She went on to be a Nature Camp Instructor at VINS after graduating high school.

Carolyn is a rising sophomore at Wellesley college.  While she hasn’t yet chosen a major, Carolyn hopes to either go into education or linguistics.



Nature Camp Instructor

Tucker is from Wellesley, Massachusetts, and has summered in Quechee, his entire childhood.  He has always enjoyed studying science and frequently visited VINS prior to joining VINS Nature Camp first as a Leader-In-Training and then as an Instructor in 2022.

Back home, Tucker volunteers at two local farms. In his free time, he likes to ski and golf.  Tucker will be graduating this spring from Wellesley High School and will be attending Stonehill College in the fall, where he plans to major in environmental studies. 

Tucker is looking forward to returning to VINS to welcome everyone back from last summer and meet all the new campers.



Nature Camp Instructor

Alethea (Thea) is a rising senior in high school and wants to pursue a career in Wildlife Ecology or Environmental Science.  She lives in a big house with her rambunctious family of nine, spending her inside time drawing, reading, and writing.

Growing up in Quechee, Vermont, Thea has always loved the outdoors and been fascinated by the plants and animals that lives and thrives in our region.  She enjoys nature photography, birdwatching, hiking, and kayaking.  With such a large family, when Thea needs a quiet moment, her favorite places to go are the woods along the Ottauquechee River. 

This will be Thea's second summer working at VINS Nature Camp.  She is excited to share her love of nature with new and returning campers this summer!



Nature Camp Instructor

Tyler grew up in Norwich, VT.  During high school, he worked as a camp counselor for Norwich Rec and as a ski instructor at the Dartmouth Skiway.  More recently, Tyler has held a wide variety of jobs including as a lobster fisherman and ice cream scooper.  He loves music and art of all kinds.

Tyler is a lifelong lover of the outdoors.  This year, his passion for rock and ice climbing has taken him on a 25,000 mile journey around the country from Maine to Hawaii and everywhere in between, in pursuit of the natural beauty that the country has to offer.  Tyler will be attending Portland State University in Oregon in the fall to pursue a degree in filmmaking. 

As a child, Tyler attended many camps at VINS and has a lot of fond memories from those weeks of camp.  He is very excited to return to VINS in this new position and looks forward to a great summer!



Lead Nature Camp Instructor

Asha grew up in Tiverton, Rhode Island.  Growing up close to the ocean and surrounded by many conservation areas, her love for the outdoors grew.  Upon graduating high-school, Asha enrolled at Paul Smith's College in northern New York to study Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences. 

Over the last few years, Asha has spent much of her free time exploring, hiking and fishing within the northern New York area.   She is a member of her school's woodsmen team, competing in Timbersport meets across New York.  As a rising senior, Asha is entering her third year as a resident assistant with the college and is excited to graduate soon.  

Asha is looking forward to getting to know others on the VINS team and being able to share her knowledge of the outdoors with campers this summer!



Nature Camp Instructor

Maya was born and raised in Vermont.  She currently lives in Sharon and will be entering her senior year of high school at The Sharon Academy.  In her free time, Maya can be found drawing, painting, gardening, or experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen.

This will be Maya’s second summer working as a VINS Camp Instructor.  VINS has
become a very special place to her over the past few years.  Whether she’s helping run a camp, volunteering with the after-school program, or visiting as a guest, she always enjoys the time she spends there.  She is excited to be part of the VINS team again this summer.



Lead Nature Camp Instructor

Rhiannon is a recent college graduate from Hampshire College having studied filmmaking, animation, and dance. For Rhiannon nature has always been a big part of life and an inspiration for artistic endeavors.  Rhiannon hopes to be able to share that with children at VINS Nature Camp this summer. 


In a previous job working at Farm and Wilderness camp, Rhiannon designed different stories and adventures for campers to go on blending imaginative play and nature skills.  Rhiannon believes time in nature is integral for healthy child development and naturally engages their curiosity about how the world works.  Rhiannon strives to help them answer these questions in their own way through exploring art, storytelling, and natural science.