- Travis Williams - CEO
- Nicole Tonar - Executive Assistant
- Vanessa Gutierrez - Outreach and Inclusion Manager
- David Nyitray - COO/President
- Jamie Krupka - CPO
- Ashley Van Zee - Development Manager
- Dan Callam - Greenway Manager
- Dylana Eisaman - Creative Manager
- Joe Sikma - Nature-rich Community Manager
Travis has worked in the field of environmental education and resource management since 1997 when he graduated from Hope College with degrees in Biology and Environmental Science. As his career developed, he pursued multiple advanced degrees including a MBA in Strategic Management. He has worked for the ODC Network since its founding in 2000 where he has been intimately involved with developing the nonprofit education and conservation organization as its first Executive Director.
From a young age Travis was interested in wildlife, conservation, and the outdoors. He spends most of his time with his wife and three children enjoying the outdoors and sports activities. Travis’ favorite hobbies include fishing and nature photography – both of which feed Travis’ passion for being outside.
The best part of working at the ODC Network are the amazing opportunities we are offered each day to make our community the best place to Live, Learn Work and Play. It is a blessing to work for this organization, with the ODC Network Team, and in our amazing community.
Nicole moved to Holland 12 years ago after graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration. Her first job out of college was for a large logistics company working in the HR department where she remained for 10 years. She was searching for opportunities to move out of the corporate world and into a business or organization that focused on a greater mission.
Her hobbies range from enjoying the beaches along Lake Michigan, golfing, biking, camping, but most importantly, spending time with her children, family and friends. One of Nicole’s favorite things about working for the ODC Network are the relationships that have been built with co-workers, visitors and the overall community.
Hello, my name is Vanessa Gutierrez and I have joined the ODC team as the Community Outreach & Inclusion Manager. I am thrilled to step into this new role as my passion for nature exploration blends in with my background working in the nonprofit and education field. My identity and experiences as a bilingual Latina woman exploring the outdoors, in our own state of Michigan and around the country, has made me aware of the challenges people of color face when trying to access outdoor spaces. I am eager to join the mission of the ODC and look forward to engaging with community members while creating welcoming places. I live in Hamilton with my husband Jorge and enjoy nature photography and blogging, kayaking beautiful lakes and rivers, hiking through wooded dunes, and biking scenic trails.
Dave began working for the ODC Network in 2013 as a Development Officer. His role as Chief Operating Officer (COO) has him managing many of the business lines of the ODC Network. His background in development and administration of non-profit organizations drew him to the ODC Network because of his desire to connect people and the outdoors. In his free time, he likes to play softball, go camping with his wife Liz and son Noah, and grill out with friends. Dave’s favorite part of working for the ODC Network is seeing community support invested in children and families experiencing nature together!
Jamie Krupka began his career with the ODC Network as a naturalist in 2003. As Chief Program Officer (CPO), he manages all programs of the ODC Network. Though he grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, he has lived in West Michigan since 1999. He received a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology from the University of Dayton. His specialty is birds but he also enjoys learning and teaching about reptiles and amphibians. Jamie has enjoyed building the ODC Network program department to a diverse and skilled team of people. He looks forward to new ways they can continue connecting people with the natural world around them.
Jamie’s personal goals including visiting all 50 states and compiling a bird life list of 2,000 species. His pastimes include bird watching, exploring new places, traveling, playing soccer and spending as much time as possible with his wife Sarah, daughter Anna and son Nicholas.
Ashley began working for the ODC Network in 2014. She was a Hamilton Community Schools student who came to the Outdoor Discovery Center for field trips who went on to Central Michigan University for a degree in Recreation and Event Management. After a year-long internship, she was hired on full time. In her free time she likes to walk/run with her son – Adam, daughter – Kylie, and Dalmatian – Chip, play softball, and travel with her family. Her favorite part about being a part of the ODC Network Team is seeing the change and growth in people’s hearts and lifestyle when they’re exposed to nature.
Dan came to the ODC Network in 2012 after studying at, then working for, Hope College in the Geology and Environmental Sciences department. He enjoys the wide variety of projects that we have going, including helping plan and monitor restoration projects, as well as introducing folks to paddling the Macatawa Marsh. When he’s not at the office, you can often find him on his paddleboard, his kayak, at the golf course, or “managing” the ODC Network softball team.
Dylana has been with the ODC Network since 2009 and sometimes marvels at how much the organization has grown since then. She has a passion for education, although her background is in Biology and Art, with a concentration in printmaking. Dylana most enjoys finding cool nature facts and sharing them with people, either through programs or in the brochures, signs, and newsletters she’s in charge of creating here.
Joe joined the ODC Network in 2020. He grew up in Hamilton and Graduated from Calvin University with degrees in environmental studies and business. Before joining the team Joe served a number of area businesses in the fields of sustainability and digital marketing. He is passionate about conservation, education, and the positive impacts of connecting people with nature. Outside of work, Joe enjoys spending time with his wife and family at their cottage, repurposing things in his garage, and exploring local lakes and streams.
Programming and ODC Education Network Team
- Joy Funk - VP Programming
- Andrea Woody - Naturalist
- Jennifer LaForest - Naturalist
- Lisa McKellips - Naturalist
- Mike Graves - Naturalist
- Sarah Irvin - Naturalist
- Sheila DeVries - Naturalist
- Tom Funk - Naturalist
- Kim Lane - Animal Care Manager
- Bob Wandel - ODC Education Network Manager
- Ted Malefyt - ODC Education Network Manager
- Jodi Sikma - ODC Education Network
- Ruth Cronk - ODC Education Network
- Vicki Sturtevant - ODC Education Network
- Nancy Berg - ODC Education Network
Joy joined the ODC Network team in 2013. She grew up outside of Chicago in Crete, Illinois. She received a degree in Horticulture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her career started as a landscape designer but after nearly 7 years realized her passion for the natural sciences. She began her naturalist career in the Chicago area then became a naturalist for Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area near Golden Pond, KY where she worked for three years. Joy enjoys hiking, baking, reading, walking her German Shepherd, Zeke and playing with her son Archer. Her favorite part about working for the ODC Network is the variety of her job responsibilities and helping children get excited and be amazed about our natural world.
Andrea joined the ODC Network team in 2017. She studied Wildlife Conservation at Murray State University in Kentucky and received her Masters in Parks and Resource Management from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. Born in Owensboro, Kentucky, Andrea started her naturalist career at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in Kentucky. She then spent 4 years in Kansas working with over 60 different species of program animals at the Woodland Nature Station. She jumped at the chance to join the ODC Network, a company with a strong identity and clear mission. Her hobbies include going to the beach, reading, biking, camping, and taking walks with her husband and dog.
Jennifer started working for the ODC Network in 2010 on the weekends when Founders Hall was also the visitors center. She gradually increased her involvement to include programs and animal care. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time in her garden, swimming with her daughters Liberty and Piper, and practicing archery with her husband Marc. Her favorite part about working for the ODC Network is sharing in the little mysteries and wonders of nature, like finding tracks by the pond or a new flower in the meadow.
Lisa joined the ODC Network team in September 2018 as a full-time naturalist. She brings with her over 25 years of experience working as a naturalist for the City of Holland’s DeGraaf Nature Center. She graduated with a degree in Natural Resource Management from Grand Valley State University. When not at work, Lisa enjoys spending time with her family and caring for her three horses, two dogs, cats, and other critters. Her favorite part of her job is being able to share her joy of nature with people of all ages.
Mike graduated from Purdue University with a Wildlife Degree specializing in Environmental Interpretation. He has been working as a naturalist in Indiana and Michigan since 2003, the last 12 years at DeGraaf Nature Center. When away from the nature center, Mike likes spending time hiking, camping, and visiting National Parks with his family.
Sarah joined the ODC Network in December of 2018 as a part-time Naturalist. She had spent the previous 2.5 years as a Naturalist for the City of Holland’s DeGraaf Nature Center. She graduated with degrees in Geology and Terrestrial Ecology from the University of Michigan, and completed field studies in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Pellston, Michigan. When not at work, Sarah likes to hike and travel with her husband Sam, spend time at the dog park with Bear (German Shepherd/Husky mix), and create in the Holland Arts Council ceramic studio.
Sheila joined the ODC Network team in 2017. She graduated from Calvin College with a degree in Biology. She has over 4 years of experience in outdoor education with pre-K – 12th grade and beyond. When she is not teaching kids, you can find her reading books, playing with her American Eskimo dog, Echo, or enjoying the outdoors through hiking, birding or photography.
Tom joined the ODC Team in 2015. He grew up loving nature. At age 4 he had started a butterfly collection, his prize specimen, a luna moth. By age 5 he had a toad hole under the front stoop and he was scaring little girls by getting lizards to bite onto their hair. His very first job was as a Boy Scout camp counselor. He loved teaching kids about the outdoors. Tom took a class to become a certified interpretive guide and he volunteered with the Lake County Illinois Forest Preserves. He decided to pursue a career as a naturalist. He worked for Acadia National Park and the Land Between the Lakes before coming to the ODC Network. Tom started at the ODC Network at the Visitors Center desk but has now moved to a position as a full time Interpretive Naturalist. For fun, Tom likes to take walks with his wife Joy, dog Zeke, and son Archer. He also enjoys decorating cakes and raising honeybees.
Bob is a Graduate of Michigan State University and has a Masters in Business from Davenport University. Bob came to the ODC Network through his work as an educator in STREAM School fro the Hamilton Community Schools. Bob is an 8th grade science facilitator in a middle school STREAM classroom where students uncover significant content through the natural world and Project Based Learning.
The quest to build a nature-rich community in West Michigan has led Bob to the ODC Education Network where he helps coordinate the the delivery of nature-rich experiences.
Bob lives on the North Side of Holland near Lake Michigan with his wife, Kelly, and daughters, Ellie and Riley. He and his family have a close connection to the Great Lakes where they spend most of their time exploring, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting and living.
Ted came to the ODC Network through his work as an educator in STREAM School for the Hamilton Community Schools. He currently teaches in the middle school STREAM classroom where students uncover significant content through the natural world and gold standard Project Based Learning. The success of STREAM School has led him to the ODC Education Network where he takes on the role he helps coordinate and facilitate nature-based education.
In his free time, Ted enjoys outdoor time with his family, fishing for salmon on Lake Michigan, and reading. All the while focusing on the mission of engaging more kids and adults in the natural world that surrounds them. A vision of a nature rich community where all kids have the ability to develop a personalized relationship with their ecosystem while adding value drives the discussion every day!
Jodi is in her 29th year of teaching elementary school and a recent addition to the Education Network. After graduating from Calvin College in 1990, she taught 15 years for East Grand Rapids Public schools. In 2005 she moved with her family out to Hamilton. She taught 3rd grade and kindergarten before creating her current position as a nature based STEM teacher. Jodi spends her week meeting with young fives through fourth grade scientists, engineers, technicians, and mathematicians.
Her work with the ODC Education Network primarily involves what she likes to call “curriculum curating”. Finding ideas that not only get kids outside to enjoy nature, learn something new and strengthen their skills but also connect to state curriculum standards. As a certified facilitator for Project Learning Tree and Project Wild as well as being an ambassador for the Birdsleuth group from Cornell University, Jodi has a wealth of resources to share with any educator who wishes to step outside with students.
Ruth began working with the ODC Network in 2002 as part of a committee of people organizing the first Water Festival. After retiring from 32 years of teaching for Zeeland Public Schools, she found her niche teaching outdoor education classes with the ODC Network. Ruth’s creative influence on the ODC Network program is vast including leading the first Nature School programs with her now retired sister Bonnie Ryzenga and friend Vicki Miller. She is an avid walker who loves interacting with little children in their natural world. Her goal is to afford children opportunities to create their own sense of curiosity and wonder as they explore their nature world.
Vicki joined the ODC Network team in 2016. She graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services with a concentration in Outdoor and Environmental Education. She completed a 2 semester internship at the Chippewa Nature Center in Midland where she discovered her love of teaching young children about nature. After many years of teaching at various camps and a residential education facility; she found her way to the ODC Network. Vicki is both a Little Hawks Discovery Preschool educator and an ambassador for the ODC Education Network. She is excited to share her love of the outdoors with young children through teaching at the preschool and her work helping educators develop nature-based curriculum. In her free time she enjoys biking, hiking, knitting, crocheting, and sewing.
Nancy completed her thirty year career as a general education teacher in 2016 with an Educational Specialist Degree in administration. Even before retiring from teaching she obtained her Master Naturalist Certification from Michigan State Extension for both Kent and Ottawa County. She enjoys combining her degree in Art Education along with her love of nature in her programs as a Naturalist Guide. She is also a novice birder and photographer which helps as she co-leads the Holland Junior Audubon Club. She is passionate about the environment and has co-founded Holland Area Citizens’ Climate Lobby. She and her husband reside in Holland in a happy home just large enough to support visiting children and seven grandchildren.
- Mike Oosting - VP Operations
- Ben Heerspink - Conservation Manager
- Tanner Bricker - Conservation Technician
- Joey Broderick - Facilities Manager
- Derek Nykamp - Maintenance Technician
- John Dykstra - Maintenance Technician
Mike began working for the ODC Network in 2015. Before returning to his native West Michigan, he lived and worked in the Pacific NW, Alaska, Idaho and Hawaii. He has a degree in Landscape Architecture from Colorado State University. His background experience is a blend of construction and natural environment.
In his spare time he likes to build and create wood sculptures and garden. Working at the ODC Network is gratifying for Mike because he is able to construct new buildings and develop natural play areas.
Ben joined the ODC Network in 2014 as a volunteer after completing his Natural Resource Management degree at Grand Valley State University. He soon advanced to a full-time land management position working with the Operations team. He loves playing with his dogs Lucas and Luna, mostly Luna. Ben also enjoys spending time with his wife Shaina and son Bennet, playing softball, riding his motorcycle, and backpacking. He enjoys the people he works with every day, to share a work environment with such dedicated people.
Tanner joined the ODC Network team in 2017 as a conservation land steward. Tanner is a graduate of Central Michigan University where he studied Biology with a concentration in Natural Resources. He is excited for the opportunity to help restore ecosystems and reconnect people to nature. In his free time, you can find him on the water, hiking, or playing his guitar.
Joey joined the ODC Network team in 2015. A Hamilton boy who visited the ODC for school field trips, he went on to graduate from Western Michigan University with a degree in Health, Wellness and Recreation. He loves working outside and thought the ODC Network would be a perfect fit for him. When the opportunity presented itself to work for the us, he jumped at the opportunity. He loves being able to make a difference in the community with the ODC Network’s conservation work. In his spare time, Joey likes to go hunting, fishing, and backpacking with his his fiance Courtney and dog Stella.
Derek joined the ODC Network in 2018 after graduating from Calvin College where he studied Organizational Communication and Outdoor Recreation Leadership. Most of his time at school was spent teaching and leading rock climbing, kayaking, and backpacking trips where he developed a passion for connecting people to the outdoors. In his free time he also enjoys woodworking and cooking. Now, he gets to continue helping people connect to the outdoors through many aspects of the ODC, including building and maintaining natural playscapes.
Little Hawks Discovery Preschool Team
- Rachel Hucul - VP Early Childhood Education
- Jayne Schutter - LHDP Chief Administrator
- Kristin DeJarnatt - LHDP Teacher
- Nicole Dykstra - LHDP Teacher
- Darcy Logan - LHDP Teacher
- Brittany Peters - LHDP Teacher
- Kristi Rosema - LHDP Teacher
- Vicki Sturtevant - LHDP Teacher
- Elizabeth Wolter - LHDP Teacher
- Kelsey Zuiderveen - LHDP Teacher
- Jenna Zamzow - LHDP Teacher
- Taylor Van Naarden - LHDP Teacher
- Shaina Heerspink - Lead Toddler Teacher
- Lisa Mokma - Lead Infant Teacher
- Kate Rosema - Staff Childcare
- Laura Bosch - Staff Childcare
- Tsehaia Santa Ana - Staff Childcare
- Amanda Veldheer - Staff Childcare
- Leslie Russell - Staff Childcare
Rachel joined the ODC Network in 2013 as the first director of Little Hawks Preschool Director. After graduating from Saginaw Valley State University with a B.A. in Elementary Education and an endorsement in Early Childhood Education, she taught for six years in Midland before join our team. Her goal is to create an environment where every student can enjoy a safe, enriching, and challenging learning experience by using the natural resources around us.
Jayne joined the team in 2017. She was born and raised in Hamilton and still resides in the area with her husband, John, daughter, Julia and son, Johnny. Jayne loves good coffee, spending time outside with her family, enjoying beach days and kayaking. She is excited to serve Little Hawks Discovery Preschool families in the area of office management.
Kristin graduated from Hope College with a B.A. in Biology and a minor in Environmental Science. She taught environmental education to 4th – 12th graders for 5 years and preschool for 3 year old’s for 3 years. She enjoys gardening, kayaking, camping and spending time with her husband and daughter. Kristin encourages students to be curious and creative in the outdoors and also to care for the environment.
Nicole is originally from the east side of the state, moving to Holland after graduating from Grand Valley State University. Both of her children are Little Hawks graduates and have mastered the fine art of puddle jumping! Nicole loves the outdoors, finding the fun in every season. She is excited to be a part of the Little Hawks team and the many awaiting adventures and memories!
Darcy has 20 years of experience teaching children from preschool to 6th grade. She owns her own music education program, Tunes4Tykes, and is a very active leader in the Boy Scouts of America. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Tim, and has five children.
Brittany joined the Little Hawks team in 2017. She graduated from Grand Rapids Community College with her associates degree in early childhood education. Before joining Little Hawks she spent seven years working in child care with children’s ages ranging from 1 to 4. She loves being outdoors and connecting kids with nature. In her free time she enjoys golfing, attending Bible Study Fellowship, and spending time with family.
Kristi joined the Little Hawks team in 2017. She has a background in Environmental Education and has spent much of the past 20 years home educating her two, now grown, children. Kristi loves the sense of wonder children have for the world around them and she is looking forward to exploring and discovering with the Little Hawks students.
Vicki joined the Little Hawks team in 2016. She graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services with a concentration in Outdoor and Environmental Education. She completed a 2 semester internship at the Chippewa Nature Center in Midland where she discovered her love of teaching young children about nature. After many years of teaching at various camps and a residential education facility; she found her way to the ODC Network. Vicki is both a Little Hawks Discovery Preschool educator and an ambassador for the ODC Education Network. She is excited to share her love of the outdoors with young children through teaching at the preschool and her work helping educators develop nature-based curriculum. In her free time she enjoys biking, hiking, knitting, crocheting, and sewing.
Elizabeth joined the Little Hawks team in 2017. She graduated from Cornerstone University with a Bachelors in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Development. Elizabeth loves teaching young children about the world around them. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, kayaking and yoga. She was born and raised in Holland.
Kelsey joined the Little Hawks team in 2016. She graduated from Calvin College and has three years of experience teaching environmental education to preschoolers through 12th grade. She is an active musician; her main instrument is the oboe. Kelsey’s hobbies are hiking, backpacking and biking.
Jenna joined the ODC Network team in 2018. She attended UW-Madison to earn B.S. degrees in Psychology and Human Development. She recently graduated with her Master’s in Environmental Education from the University of Minnesota – Duluth, where she studied nature preschools as her thesis project. She loves spending time outside, especially hiking, kayaking, and snowshoeing. Jenna is excited to continue sparking natural wonder and curiosity in children at Little Hawks!
Taylor graduated from University of Iowa with a Sustainability/Environmental Studies degree and earned her preschool-age CDA. Little Hawks is the perfect place to merge her passions for early childhood development and the outdoors. She loves any outdoor activities, but her favorites are going to the lake and playing yard games. She believes nature is so therapeutic and important for health and loves to help others enjoy it!
Lisa grew up in Holland, Michigan. She is married and has 5 children and 11 grandchildren.
She has been in the field of childcare for 20 plus years and enjoys each day she spends with children. She has her infant/toddler CDA and is continuing her education in child development.
Lisa loves spending time with her family, camping, traveling with her husband, going to sliver lake, riding her motorcycle, taking pictures and spending time outdoors tending to flowers in my yard.
Tsehaia joined our team in 2019 and is also new to the West Michigan area. Her and her husband relocated from Florida last summer and have loved their transition ever since! Tsehaia has her Masters in Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. She’s always been passionate in working with children over the years and being part of the team and experiencing nature has just been the icing on the cake! She works as an assistant teacher in the staff childcare! In her free time, Tsehaia enjoys exploring West Michigan with her husband, hanging out with family and their dog Baloo!
Amanda joined the ODC team in 2019, and now is the preschool teacher for the staff childcare! She has a degree in Child Development, and has lots of experience working with young children. Amanda is passionate about providing young children with opportunities to grow and learn, especially in the natural world around them. This job was the perfect fit! She enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She loves hiking, camping, traveling and being outside!
Leslie began at the ODC as a Seasonal Naturalist in 2019. She and her husband, Craig have triplet daughters that are 29 now! She loves to travel, go thrifting and antique shopping. Leslie also loves animals of any kind, exploring and learning new things and is very excited to join the Hatchlings Team!