Nature Camp Staff

Sarah Strew

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.

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Megan Widli

Afterschool & Nature Camp Coordinator

Megan grew up in Vermont spending her days playing in her backyard, forest, and hiking and camping all around Vermont and Maine with her family. She earned her BA in Elementary Education and Psychology from Green Mountain College. While attending college, Megan volunteered for the DREAM mentoring program for four years. In her final year with DREAM, she held an AmeriCorps position running community activities and events for children in the program.

After earning her degree, Megan was a behavioral interventionist, working with children in schools throughout Vermont. Megan spent three years living in Seattle, WA, working as a nanny and spent nearly a year working on a farm in Queensland, Australia. Her time in the pacific northwest and traveling throughout Australia strengthened her love for hiking and the outdoors.

Megan began her journey at VINS when she moved back to Vermont in 2020. She first worked as an associate in the Nature Store eventually making her way into school programming and now to her current position as the Afterschool and Nature Camp Coordinator.

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ELYSE SCOTT

Lead Nature Camp Instructor

Elyse grew up in Claremont, NH and remembers school field trips to VINS being the best.  She loved the messages of conservation and stewardship that she learned and always hoped to be part of the VINS team one day.  Elyse is excited for this summer and can’t wait to share her love for nature with others.  Her experience as a swim coach and the work she did at the local children’s museum during college helped her develop the skills she will need to make this summer a great experience.

Elyse will graduate from Clarkson University this May with a BS in Biology and a minor in Environmental Science.  While attending Clarkson, Elyse spent much of her time in the Adirondack Park, doing field research, learning about the area’s natural history and backpacking, hiking, skiing, and biking in her free time.  Although she loved being so close to the Adirondacks, she is excited to be moving back to the Upper Valley where she grew up.  Elyse is a nature lover and adventure seeker at heart. If you don’t find her paddle boarding, playing disc golf, hiking, skiing, or biking, you’ll likely find her hanging out with her dogs, reading a book or crocheting.

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Ivy Dall

Lead Nature Camp Instructor

Ivy is a rising senior at Brandeis University pursuing a BA in international global studies with concentrations in the environment and law. She hopes to one day work in the field of international human rights and development.  For the past 4 months, Ivy has been studying international development in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  There she spent time taking care of elephants, learning about climate change, and creating a bike and walking path for visitors to see historic sites in an environmentally-friendly way.

Ivy loves spending time outdoors with friends and with Brandeis Mountain Club leading hiking, skiing, and climbing trips for other students.  She works as a teaching assistant for the environmental studies department leading tree walks and teaching tree identification.  Her favorite is the sugar maple!

Ivy Grew up in southern Vermont and fondly remembers her annual class trips to VINS. She credits VINS as being part of the reason she strives to teach others to be a steward of and protect the environment.  This is Ivy's first year at VINS Nature Camp.  She is so excited to meet and learn with campers this summer!

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MADISON ALDERMAN

Lead Raptor Camp Instructor

Madison is a born and raised Vermonter and 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.  During the summer of 2020 Madison worked as a Lead Wilderness Instructor with VINS Nature Camp.

Madison 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 animals she comes across.

Madison is currently working on her Vermont teaching license and hopes to have a career in education, inspiring others at nature centers like VINS or 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 boosting their love for nature and wildlife.

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ISAAC BLODGETT

Raptor Camp Instructor

Isaac is a graduating senior from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in Environmental Science and Natural Resources Conservation. During his education, he studied land conservation techniques and wrote habitat management plans for local long eared owl populations.

As an intern with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, Isaac helped provide funding to landowners for improving environmental conditions on their properties. He worked on projects related a variety of natural resource concerns such as wetland protection, forest composition, and soil quality.

Isaac loves to be active; in his free time you can find him playing ultimate Frisbee, hiking, and running. When not in school, Isaac spent summers maintaining trails at Thunder Mountain Bike Park in Charlemont, Massachusetts.  Isaac feels most at home while exploring the natural beauty found in Western Massachusetts where he grew up.  He attributes his own curiosity for the natural world to having passionate educators in school and at nature camps. This summer Isaac is looking forward to showing campers at VINS what makes the outdoors so fun!

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CAROLYN LEIBLY

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.

Carolyn volunteered at VINS Nature Camp as a Leader-in-Training throughout high school.  As an L-I-T, she learned what it takes to run camps and gained leadership experience all the while getting to know and love VINS even more.

Carolyn will be attending Wellesley College in the fall as a freshman.  In the future, Carolyn
hopes to either go into education or linguistics.  In her free time, she enjoys reading, skiing, and going on walks with her dog, Snickers.

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Olivia Merrill

Nature Camp Instructor

Olivia is a Quechee native and longtime member of the VINS community.  This will be her tenth summer at Nature Camp and second summer as a Nature Camp Instructor!

Over those years she has been a camper, Leader-In-Training, staff member, and volunteer with the Center for Wild Bird Rehabilitation.  Olivia's love for the natural world and teaching as well as her passion for the VINS mission keeps her coming back year after year.
Outside of VINS, Olivia is an animal biologist working towards a BS in Biology at Brandeis University.  She also loves to bake, play with her cat, Bruce Wayne, and passionately discuss superhero trivia.
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Jackson Bilbrey

Lead Nature Camp Instructor

Jackson is a rising Senior at Dartmouth College pursuing a degree in English with a concentration in Victorian Studies. He is a passionate educator and hopes to eventually become an English professor. For the past year, he has been working with the Works and Days research group at Dartmouth in an effort to transcribe and preserve the diaries of Edith Cooper and Katherine Bradley, the couple publicly known as the poet Michael Field.

This year, Jackson has also been a tutor with America Reads. He has worked to teach literacy in Kindergarten and First grade classrooms at Plainfield and Dothan Brook Elementary Schools and has loved getting to know all of his students. Outside of school, Jackson enjoys reading and (of course) spending time outdoors, be it hiking, canoeing, snowboarding, golfing, or playing soccer with friends.

Jackson grew up in Tennessee, and remembers spending many of his summers at camps just like VINS Nature Camp. He believes that camps like VINS are essential for the promotion of extracurricular learning for children, and can’t wait to learn and grow with the campers this summer. This is his first summer working with the camp, so he’s looking forward to a great summer and meeting everyone!

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Kaylee Starke-Meredith

Lead Nature Camp Instructor

Kaylee grew up in Sharon, Vermont and spent a lot of time exploring the woods and brook near her house.  She remembers biking to VINS for field trips during elementary school, and loved visiting all of the birds and exhibits.  She is excited to be joining the VINS team as a counselor this summer!

Kaylee is a rising senior at Ithaca College, where she is studying writing and English.  When not doing school work, she loves to explore all of the wonderful gorges and hikes in the Ithaca area.  Kaylee has worked at summer camps in the area 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.