Nature Camp Staff

Sarah Strew


Lead Nature Camp & Adult Programs

Sarah Strew 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 VINS Nature Camp and also as an Environmental Education Intern, providing educational programs at the VINS 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. Sara 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.

Julie Kozak


Nature Camp Assistant

Julie Kozak has her BS in Wildlife from Unity College in Maine and her M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Antioch University New England.

She has held a variety of jobs in the fields of wildlife and education ranging from working as a vulture nest biologist in the Golan Heights of Israel, to working in Ohio and Massachusetts as a field educator. She has worked as an environmental youth developer in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, as well as a classroom teacher in Maine and Vermont. Julie joined the VINS Nature Camp community in 2016 as a Lead Nature Camp Instructor.  Since 2017, Julie has been the VINS Nature Camp Assistant.

For the past three years, Julie has been working at Union Elementary School in the special education department.  She is excited to return to VINS as the Nature Camp Assistant to work not only with our campers and staff but also with the adolescents in VINS’ L-I-T program.  

Julie enjoys non-fiction books, cooking, birding, being in the outdoors, weaving baskets, and connecting with people of all ages and all walks of life.



Lead Raptor Camp Instructor

I am from Morristown, New Jersey. I graduated from St. Lawrence University in 2016 with a B.S. in Conservation Biology and a minor in African Studies.  During school, I studied and worked with wildlife in Australia, Kenya, Ireland, and spent summers as a Camp Counselor and Naturalist at Camp Johnsonburg in NJ.  I held a position educating the public about the animals at the Liberty Science Center in NJ following graduation.  Most recently, I have been teaching science classes, handling raptors and leading team building experiences for school groups at the Alabama 4H Science School.


While I have always had endless love for wildlife and the natural world, my work at both Camp Johnsonburg and the Alabama 4H Science School solidified my love of working with and educating children.  I am super stoked to share my love of the environment, the camp experience, and raptors with campers this summer at VINS! 



Lead Nature Camp Instructor
Erin originally hails from State College, PA but has been a New Hampshire resident for the past several years. This is her first summer working at VINS, and she could not be more thrilled. She holds a B.S. from The Pennsylvania State University in Childhood and Early Adolescent Education and is currently pursuing her master’s degree at Antioch University New England in Environmental Education.
Erin has experience in a variety of positions at a variety of camps and nature centers, including being a learning group leader at Penn State’s Outdoor School program, interning at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, and as an overnight counselor at the W. Alton Jones Environmental Education Center. She also recently dipped her toes into the world of classroom education by teaching 4th grade at the Riverside School in Lyndonville, VT before deciding to pursue her passion of working with kids in the outdoors full-time. Erin loves loves salamanders, stories, rock climbing, getting her hands in the dirt.  She also loves exploring the mysteries of our natural world, and can’t wait to do so with this summer’s crew of wonderful campers!


Lead Wilderness Camp Instructor

Melissa is from College Park, Maryland. She earned her BS in Evolution and Ecology from the University of Maryland.  From volunteering in Indonesia and Ghana educating children to serving as a teacher's aid at the Anacostia Watershed Society for the Saturday Environmental Academy, Melissa has had the privilege of working with children with different abilities, backgrounds and from around the world.  Melissa also educated visitors to the National Zoo in Washington D.C. on different conservation topics. 


Melissa is interested in ecology, entomology - she loves insects and even has her own collection of bugs. Her favorite insect is the green june beetle. In her free time, she loves to travel and be outside hiking and exploring.  Melissa is very excited to be a Wilderness Camp Instructor at VINS and hopes the campers will enjoy nature this summer as much as she does.