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Meet Our Team

With experts in conservation, education, and non-profit leadership, our talented team is working hard to make West Michigan the best place to work, play, and live.

Administration

Travis Williams

Chief Executive Officer
Travis has worked in the field of environmental education and resource management since 1997 after graduating 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.

David Nyitray

President & COO
Dave is a Hope College graduate with a background in development and administration of non-profit organizations. His desire to connect people with the outdoors drew him to the ODC Network. In his free time, he likes to play softball, go camping with his family, 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

Chief of Interpretation
Jamie holds a BS in Environmental Biology from the University of Dayton. He joined the ODC Network Team in 2003 and has thoroughly enjoyed seeing the organization grow from a small non-profit to a thriving regional entity. He loves that his job varies and requires many different skill sets. He is a birder, always looking up and paying attention to the birds around. He enjoys taking pictures of animals, flowers and landscapes and traveling with his wife and kids.

Lannette Zylman

Executive Assistant
Lannette is a Hope College graduate who worked for 15 years in the corporate world followed by 20 years in higher education administration before joining us in 2021. When looking for a new opportunity, she wanted to remain in the non-profit sector. At ODC she enjoys the team-based management style and friendly work atmosphere. When she isn't working, Lannette can be found on the golf course or supporting Hope College basketball with her husband. She also enjoys playing piano and singing with her church's worship team.

Ashley Van Zee

Development Director
Ashley has a BAA in Recreation and Event Management with minors in Outdoor Ed and Leadership. Her favorite part about being a part of the ODC Network Team is seeing the change in people's' lifestyles when they’re exposed to nature. Away from the office, she likes to run, walk, and hike with her husband, children and Dalmatian. She loves road trips and traveling with family and friends.

Kaylee Mesbergen

People and Culture Manager
Kaylee is a proud West Michigan native and graduate of GVSU with a major in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. She is passionate about exceptional service, cultivating relationships, and all things education. Kaylee’s previous experience working in Human Resources for a non-profit school system in addition to her love of the outdoors makes a perfect fit for work with the ODC Network. In her spare time, Kaylee enjoys traveling, exploring local parks, cooking, reading, thrifting, watching documentaries, and spending time with family and friends.

Maddie Tunison

Marketing and Communications Manager
Maddie received her bachelor's degree in Journalism from Central Michigan University with specialization in public relations and multimedia design. She grew up and lives in Hamilton, MI. While at CMU, she worked as a photojournalist for the school newspaper and interned with the Michigan Community Service Commission running their social media. After college, she worked for a small Holland area practice as their Communications Director. Always active and on her feet, Maddie likes to spend her free time hiking, biking and painting.

Rachel Wamsley

Grants and Donor Services Manager
Rachel is originally from Sparta, MI. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame and spent 5 years in Cincinnati, OH working in the non-profit sector. She is happy to be back in Michigan and cherishes time spent outdoors with her kids, checking out local coffee shops, and playing cards. Rachel loves being a part of the mission-driven team at the ODC Network.

Nicole Young*

Business Manager
Nicole graduated with a Bachelors in Business Administration from Ferris State. She was looking for a flexible organization where she could find balance with work and family life. Working for the ODC Network allowed her to advance professionally and gain new experiences. She enjoys spending time with her husband Jeff and kids Christian, Madison, Collin, and Landon. When she's not in the office you can find her watching her children's' sporting events, golfing, and relaxing!

Kristen Grassmid

Rentals Manager

Interpretation

Dylana Eisaman

Creative Director
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 with a background in Biology and Art. 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.

Mikaela Sterenberg

Art Specialist
Having previously worked at a camp, Mikaela found joy in being outdoors and engaging with kids and horses. With a passion for nature, art, and children, she was thrilled at the prospect of combining all three at ODC Network. Fond memories of exploring trails at the Outdoor Discovery Center during her childhood made joining the team an exciting opportunity for Mikaela. In her free time, Mikaela likes to draw, paint, and spend time with her family, friends, and her dog Flynn.

Vicki Sturtevant

Early Childhood Naturalist
Vicki has a BAA in Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services with a concentration in Outdoor and Environmental Education. She worked at Chippewa Nature Center and in Maine as a preschool teacher, school program educator, and camp counselor. Vicki loves being outdoors, teaching others about the natural world around them, and the family atmosphere at ODC. In her spare time she enjoys hiking; running; kayaking; walking her dog, Scout; knitting; and crafting.

Programming

Joy Funk

Vice President of Programming
Joy graduated from the University of Illinois and worked as a naturalist in Kentucky and Illinois before joining the team. It was the ODC's vision and broad scope that first piqued her interest in working here. Having practically grown up outside, Joy has a keen interest in providing the next generation an opportunity to do the same. She feels that playing, exploring, and learning outside is vital to a better life. Beyond work, she enjoys traveling, camping, reading, and exploring with her family.

Kim Lane

Animal Care Manager
Kim has lived in a number of places across the country and worked for many nature centers along the way. It was her love for Birds of Prey that brought her to the ODC Network. She hopes that when people learn about animals, they'll become passionate about them. Kim's favorite part of her job is the awe and excitement people have when they see the birds. When she isn't tending to wildlife, she enjoys hiking, swimming in nearby lakes, and spending time with her family in her backyard.

Mary Field

Naturalist

Tom Funk

Naturalist
Tom has worked as a naturalist in Maine, Kentucky, and Tennessee. He loves the outdoors and was excited for a chance to work for an organization that seeks to get everyone outside. He loves to explore new places with his wife, Joy and their son, Archer. He also enjoys cooking and - even more - eating. He has three other children, Toni, Colin, and Jackie who mean the world to him and make him proud every day.

Mike Graves

Naturalist
Mike graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelors in Wildlife, specializing in Environmental Interpretation. In 2006, he accepted a naturalist position at DeGraaf Nature Center and has since joined the ODC Network. Mike enjoys educating people about the natural world and sharing experiences with them that increase their awareness and interest in protecting it. He enjoys hiking, kayaking, camping, and traveling with his family.

Kaitie Janecke Soltesz

Naturalist
Kaitie graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and immediately began work connecting children to nature. Since 2015, she has led preK-12 students, scouts, campers, and many accompanying adults to a greater understanding and appreciation for the natural world. She is heavily involved with the National Association for Interpretation, and is an avid reader, professional science education writer, intermediate aerialist, and board game rival of husband Rob.

Jennifer LaForest

Naturalist
Jennifer has a BS in Parks and Recreation Management. A science enthusiast and experienced naturalist, she's thankful that her job allows her to spend time working outdoors with animals and helping others see how awesome and important nature is. Jennifer enjoys kayaking and camping with her family, spending time with her pets, and adding native plants to her yard.

Lisa McKellips

Naturalist
Lisa has a BS in Natural Resource Management and worked for over 25 years as a naturalist for DeGraaf Nature Center. She enjoys working with a great group of people at the ODC Network, connecting people with nature through outdoor education, and caring for our wildlife. In her free time, you can find her tending to her horses, dogs, cats and chickens, camping with her family, and spending time at the beach.

Sheila Postmus

Naturalist
Sheila has a BS in Biology from Calvin College. She started as teacher at Little Hawks Discovery Preschool before joining the programming team. Sheila strives to be an advocate for nature and found that educating people was a great way to do that. She loves showing the wonders of nature to people of all ages. Outside of work, Sheila enjoys camping, hiking, exploring natural areas with her husband Nate and reading books.

Andrea Woody

Naturalist
Andrea holds a BS in Conservation Biology and a Masters in Parks and Resource Management. She started her career at the U.S Forest Service and has worked with over sixty species of program animals in four different states. As the brains behind the Community Park Passport, she is thrilled to see so many families using it to explore. Away from work, Andrea can be found spending time with her family and friends, inside and out!

Cindy Oosting

Animal Care Assistant
Throughout my whole life I've been drawn to health, fitness, and nature. I am a certified fitness trainer and have worked in a variety of health food stores. My true passion lies with animals and has recently encouraged me to explore different career paths. I'm excited to be a part of the ODC Network and join the amazing team that supports it. I hope to learn more and more about wildlife and all of these fascinating creatures.

Land & Water

Kelly Goward

Land and Water Director
Kelly joined ODC Network in 2021 after 8 years of working for the Ottawa and Allegan Conservation District followed by 9 years of work for the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council. She has a BS in Biology from Grand Valley State University and a Masters in Natural Resources and Environmental Management from Ball State University. When she's not working, she coaches students in the Science Olympiad program at Grand Haven High School and competes in a women's knife throwing league.

Tanner Bricker

Conservation Services Director
Tanner studied Natural Resources at Central Michigan University and previously worked for the City of Ann Arbor's natural area preservation team. His values align with the ODC Network's mission and he enjoys West Michigan. His favorite part about working for the ODC is doing habitat restorations. In his free time, Tanner enjoys playing music, golfing, and hiking.

Dan Callam

Greenway Manager
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, or golf course.

Ben Heerspink

Land Stewardship Manager
Ben has always been interested in the outdoors and land management. He graduated with a BS in Natural Resource Management from GVSU and joined the ODC team shortly thereafter, ready to utilize his skill set for the betterment of his hometown community. He likes being able to work with a wide range of specialties toward a common goal. In his free time, Ben enjoys hiking with his wife Shaina and kids Bennett and Avery.

Will Hofmann

Conservation Technician
Will graduated with a BS in Environmental Science from Calvin University and has worked in land management, rare plant research, and native landscaping. He is passionate about conifers, native plants, and the conservation and restoration of native habitats. In his free time, he enjoys running, appreciating nature, learning more about native plants, and spending time with his fiancée, Taylor.

Lexie Kasper

Outreach Coordinator

Sarah Washabaugh

Conservation Educator
Sarah has BS degrees in Earth Science and Environmental Studies from the University of Michigan. In 2016 she started at DeGraaf Nature Center and joined ODC Network in 2018. She has a passion for the outdoors and is fascinated with the intricacy of nature. Outside of work, Sarah enjoys traveling and hiking as well as making ceramics at Holland Area Arts Council.

Maya Klanderman

Sustainability Specialist
Maya has BS degrees in Sustainability Science and Society and Anthropology from Michigan Technological University. She joined the ODC Network in 2024. She grew up walking the trails and bird watching at the ODC since she was a kid. She is so excited to be working at a place that fostered her love for nature. When she is not working, Maya enjoys traveling, hiking, and running in the local area.

Education Network

Bob Wandel

Education Network Director
Prior to starting at ODC, Bob taught nature-based middle school for the Hamilton Community Schools' STREAM School program. Bob has been involved with the OAISD FuturePrep'd Design thinking and has his Masters in Business Management. He appreciates that the ODC's team is highly committed to their community. He lives on the northside of Holland with his wife Kelly and daughters Ellie and Riley.

Ted Malefyt

Education Network Manager
Ted joined ODC because has a desire to provide more support for schools and teachers wanting to have meaningful learning experiences outdoors. He was led to this field because he has a deep belief that it is a human right to have ongoing access to the natural world. He enjoys rethinking education by giving students a chance to learn outside the four walls of a classroom. He enjoys fishing, mountain biking with family, traveling, and learning in his spare time.

Robby Cramer

Education Network Ambassador
Robby joined the ODCN delighted to have the opportunity to work outdoors with teachers and administrators as they find joy in becoming scientists. Her Michigan State Univ. degrees include a BA in Elementary Teaching and MA in Curriculum & Teaching with an emphasis on Creative and Critical Thinking. After retiring as a teacher and administrator in Grand Haven, she continued as Executive Director of the Michigan Science Teachers Association. She was active in the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards in Michigan.

Bree DeWeerdt

Education Network Ambassador
Bree received her degree in Elementary Education and from Calvin University. Her career started as a middle school math and science teacher where she saw the value of incorporating nature-based learning into her classroom. She also has a Masters degree with a focus on STEM education and the benefits of nature based education which gives her a vast set of resources to help teachers find comfort teaching in the outdoors. When she is not teaching, she loves playing tennis and pickleball and enjoys sewing.

Ruth Cronk

Education Network Ambassador
Ruth retired from Zeeland Public Schools after 32 years of teaching. She has a passion for engaging students in outdoor adventures and learning making the chance to work with the ODC Network a welcome opportunity. In her free time, Ruth enjoys walking for exercise and exploring a variety of natural areas. You can also find her reading a book and discussing it with her book club and spending time with family and friends.

Tom Kelly

Education Network Ambassador
Tom is a retired elementary science teacher from the Grandville Public Schools. He received his bachelor's degree from Northern Michigan University and his MS in education from Michigan State University. He began working for the ODC Network in 2018 sharing his love of the outdoors and his knowledge of the natural sciences. When he is not teaching, he enjoys hiking and bird watching.

Keera Lung

Education Network Ambassador
Keera earned her bachelor's degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Michigan Technological University. Her passion for the outdoors drive her desire to provide others with meaningful natural experiences. Her time at the ODC has shown her the transformative power of providing a nature-based educational experience, which she views as fundamental to shaping a brighter future.When she isn't working, Keera finds joy in traveling, hiking, camping, reading, and spending time with loved ones.

Sarah Malefyt

Education Network Ambassador
Sarah's desire to work with students and teachers brought her to the Education Network. She loves providing new opportunities for students to have engaging interactions with the natural world and their community. It is her hope that, through intentional interactions, students grow in their love for the natural world and their community leading them to be life long caretakers of the earth and community builders. Outside of work she likes to spend time with family and friends, reading, and visiting new places.

Emily Myaard

Education Network Ambassador
Emily joined the Education Network after a decade of teaching in a traditional classroom. She earned her degree in Secondary Ed from Hope College and taught social studies and psychology. Her recognition of the tremendous impact that learning in nature has on students and teachers lead her to the ODC. She understands the challenges and value in blending traditional curriculum with meaningful outdoor experiences. Outside of work, she spends time on the lake or in the woods with her husband and two young children.

Paige Prins

Education Network Ambassador
Paige received her bachelors in Social Work from Grand Valley State University. She worked for Holland Public Schools providing academic and behavioral support to students. Her path changed when she came to ODC where she could spend time outdoors while also helping teachers and students find value in their outdoor learning. When not teaching, she enjoys hiking, camping and biking in West Michigan with her husband Logan. She also enjoys reading and spending time on their homestead tending to her gardens.

Melissa Sayre

Education Network Ambassador
Melissa had been an educator with East Grand Rapids Public Schools for over 34 years. She had a classroom with access to a small woods which allowed her to teach outside. She believes there is no better way to educate children and is thankful she was able to work in a district that allowed her to embrace outdoor education. Melissa enjoys hiking, running, gardening, skiing and snowshoeing. She loves to travel and is the proud mom of four and an aged Labrador.

Jodi Sikma

Education Network Ambassador
A retired elementary school teacher who recognized the benefits of taking her classroom outdoors, Jodi now works to help other teachers and school leaders reap the rewards of doing the same. Her work primarily involves what she calls “curriculum curating”. Jodi loves 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.

Emily Slagter

Education Network Ambassador
Emily received her degree in Early Childhood Ed and Youth Ministry from Calvin University. She taught 1st Grade at Holland Christian's Forest School for several years after graduating. She loves that she has the opportunity to work with so many teachers and students now helping them explore conservation and education outside of a traditional classroom. When she isn't working, she spends time traveling, hiking and exploring with her husband and two dogs. She is also an active player and coach of soccer and basketball.

Dawn Wedeven

Education Network Ambassador
Dawn has been a Kindergarten teacher for the past 6 years at Sandyview Elementary. She has always loved teaching her students the joys of the outdoors and incorporated that in her kindergarten classes. She has been married to her husband, Dan, for 24 years. They have 3 beautiful daughters; Daria, Merril, and Noelle. Before joining the Education Network team, she was a preschool teacher at Little Hawks Discovery Preschool.

Operations

Mike Oosting

Vice President of Operations
Mike has an extensive background in construction, landscape architecture, and management. He enjoys working with wood, dirt, rocks, water and all natural materials. This job allows him to combine design and construction while promoting the mission of a nature based non-profit. There are always new and challenging projects that offer many creative problem solving opportunities. In his free time, Mike enjoys woodworking, gardening, and exploring.

Nate Bosch

Landscape Architect

Gerry Kupres

Facilities Manager
Gerry joined the ODC Network after a friend recommended the position because of her love for children and nature. She appreciates the beautiful surroundings and watching the faces of curious and excited children daily. Beyond work, she enjoys walking, kayaking, reading, and photography. Gerry's love for nature stems from her childhood in Minnesota where her family of eleven spent nearly all their time outdoors.

Joey Broderick

Project Manager
Joey graduated from Western Michigan University. He loves his job because he gets to be outside every day. Joey was lucky enough to grow up in this area and enjoys seeing the positive impact ODC Network has on this community. He is very proud to say that he works for the Outdoor Discovery Center! When he's not at work, Joey enjoys spending time with his wife Courtney, sons August and Caden, and dog Stella as well as fishing and hunting.

Nick Compagner

Facilities and Construction Specialist
Nick joined our team in 2021 after working for a number of years in the landscaping industry. He received his Bachelor's degree in business management from Davenport University. Building with natural materials has always intrigued and challenged Nick so working on playscapes has been fun. He enjoys waking up every day knowing he is contributing to family fun and learning in the outdoors. When he's not working, Nick is often found competing in bass fishing tournaments or at a park with his dog Nitro.

Colin Quincey

Facilities and Construction Specialist
Colin grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan as one of 13 children. He has numerous skills including welding and steel fabrication, specialized carpentry, and building log homes and tree houses. His career has taken him to Europe, Asia and several places in North America where he has had titles such as: Metal Fabricator, Adventure Instructor, Camp Director, and Designer/Builder of Climbing Walls. He joined ODC in 2022 where he continues to build and be creative with playscapes and other projects.

Tyler VandenHeuvel

Facilities and Construction Specialist
Tyler has been coming to the ODC since he was a kid and jumped at the chance to work for the team when the opportunity came up. A Holland Christian High School grad, he worked in landscaping for a number of years where his skills with equipment easily translated to playscape construction with our team. When he's not working, Tyler like to hunt and fish and hang out with friends.

Cory Van Zee

Facilities and Construction Specialist

Evan Cline

Playground Specialist
Evan joined our team in 2020 after work for five years in the Chicago area with nature centers, zoos and public gardens. He has a B.A. in Philosophy from Huntington University. Evan grew up along the Indiana and Michigan border and was happy to return to Michigan near the lakeshore where he can spend time in nature and on the big lake. His experiences with projects and construction have been immediately valuable to the organization as he sets out with the team to build amazing nature Playscapes!

Kent Baker

Maintenance Technician
Kent graduated from Zeeland West High School and the Careerline Tech program for construction trades. He spent over a year working with a house builder learning the trade before joining the ODC Network in 2021. He has been coming to the ODC since he was a kid and is excited that he now works here! He loves working with his hands and problem solving while calling the outdoors his workshop. When he isn't working, Kent likes to hunt, fish and take in all that nature has to offer.

Josh Williams

MaintenanceTechnician
Josh literally grew up at the Outdoor Discovery Center with his family living in multiple buildings that are now part of the site's office and preschool. He worked part-time for the center for a number of years before his graduation from Hamilton High School. After stints exploring college options, he decided that working outdoors at a place he has grown to love was a great next step. When he's not working, Josh enjoys being outdoors hiking, traveling and especially fishing.

Early Childhood Network

John Vincent

Chief of Early Childhood Education
John graduated from Grand Valley State University and has a background which includes teaching special education at the K-12 level before he changed focus to Early Childhood education. Before coming to ODC, he worked for Head Start where he advanced to Deputy Director of Early Childhood Services in Northern Michigan for 120 preschool classrooms in 21 counties in NE Michigan. When not working, John enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters in his new community in West Michigan or at their family cottage in Manistee.

Jayne Schutter

Vice President of Early Childhood Administration
Jayne joined the team in 2017 and serves in a business administration role for all ODC Preschools. Jayne loves good coffee, spending time outside with her family, enjoying beach days and kayaking.

Jenna Callam

Nature-based Curriculum Coach
Jenna has been with ODC Preschools for five years. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Development and Psychology, and her Masters Degree in Environmental Education. She has previously worked teaching children at the Wisconsin History Museum, Great Lakes Aquarium, and the Aldo Leopold Nature Center. She loves being outside and is passionate about helping students and teachers learn in nature! Outside of work, she enjoys reading, painting, running, and hiking with her husband, Dan and daughter, Clara.

Alli Engel

Nature-based Curriculum Coach

Little Hawks Discovery Preschool

Gina Dobbin

Little Hawks Site Director
Gina has spent many years in the world of education including working as an early childhood teacher and Great Start Readiness Program Coordinator. She received her bachelor's degree from the U. of Georgia and her graduate degree from GVSU. Before working for ODC, she worked at a school who partnered with our Education Network team to expand their outdoor learning opportunities. She loves making a difference in children's and families lives by encouraging learning through play. In her free time, she enjoys time with her family including many outdoor adventures.

Gloria Ruggles

Little Hawks Office Assistant
Gloria grew up in Holland, MI and went to college in Dallas, TX where she studied family, marriage and kids. She served as an interim youth pastor before become a part-time children's director and pastor for nearly six years. She has since worked as an administrator for more than 18 years. Gloria enjoys spending time with her husband John and three kids, hiking, anything to do with the beach and sun, while also training for and running in 5k's, triathlons, and half marathons.

Heather Bouwman

Support Services Director
Heather holds a BS in Psychology and a Masters in Social Work. She's worked in various school and agency settings and has facilitated parenting classes at Little Hawks for seven years. She feels incredibly fortunate to be a part of something so intentional, innovative, and wonderful for the children and families in our community. Heather has been married for over 20 years and has three children with whom she enjoys spending time along the Michigan shoreline.

Kristie Aukema

Little Hawks Teacher
Kristie has worked in early childhood classrooms for nearly 20 years as a teacher and teaching assistant. She loves the curiosity that preschoolers have and finds it rewarding to walk alongside them as they discover the natural world around them. Her favorite part of working at an ODC Preschool is that she sees how important play is to the well-rounded development of a preschooler. When not teaching, Kristie enjoys taking road trips with her husband John and three kids to explore and soak up the sun.

Laura Bosch

Little Hawks Teacher
Laura first got involved with the ODC Network when her kids attended Little Hawks Discovery Preschool and she loved the atmosphere. Taking care of children, being out in nature, and seeing new things each day give her a sense of joy. She loves camping and hanging out with her family. Laura and her husband of 13 years, Jerry, have two kids, Sarah and Caleb, and a cute, sassy rescue dog named Misty.

Tom Chappell

Little Hawks Teacher
Tom has a resume that includes factory work, telecommunications, electrical utilities, and code enforcement prior to his coming to the ODC. As a father of a former Little Hawk student, he and his family found their experience made them stronger and more connected. He is excited to be on the ODC Preschools team where his sense of purpose is fulfilled and he can help shape the future of kids through nature-based education. When he's not working, Tom spends time with his family participating in a variety of outdoor activities year-round.

Gabrielle Kosters

Little Hawks Teacher
After receiving her degree in Elementary Education and Special Education, Gabrielle worked with special education students in the public school setting. Gabrielle is a Holland native and is happy to back to her roots, raising her two children in the community where she grew up.

Darcy Logan

Little Hawks Teacher
Darcy taught elementary school, Kindermusik, Homeschool, and preschool before joining Little Hawks Discovery Preschool. Her family is passionate about the outdoors and active in Scouting. She loves working with children in nature and watching their curiosity grow. Outside of work she can be found camping, hiking, kayaking, and spending time with family. Raised in Holland, she is a mother to six amazing children.

Lauren Messing

Little Hawks Teacher
Lauren has a bachelor's degree in Child Development from Central Michigan University. She grew up in West Michigan where she spent many summers outdoors camping and playing in the woods. From an early age, she enjoyed working with children and knew that she wanted a career working with them. In her free time, she enjoys photography, crafting and spending time with her husband.

Stacy Oosterink

Little Hawks Student Transportation
Stacy has lived in West Michigan her entire life. She and her husband Brandon have been married for 27 years and have three children. They all enjoy being outside including camping and gardening especially with family and friends.

Brittany Peters

Little Hawks Teacher
Brittany has worked in childcare for over seven years and earned an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education before joining the ODC Network. She loves coming alongside children where they are and seeing the growth and joy that they experience in the outdoors. Brittany enjoys spending time with family, at Bible studies, and outdoors. She lives in Hamilton with her husband Michael and two children, Ally and Bradley.

Kristi Rosema

Little Hawks Teacher
Kristi has a M.S. in Natural Resources with a focus in Environmental Education. She was drawn to the ODC Network by Little Hawks Discovery Preschool which allows her to support and encourage children as they use their natural sense of wonder and curiosity to explore the world around them. In her free time, Kristi enjoys spending time outside by taking walks, especially in natural areas, with friends and family.

Stephanie Williams

Little Hawks Teacher
Stephanie graduated from Hope College in 1999 with a degree in Biology.  She chose to stay home to raise her 3 kids and loved volunteering in the classroom and at church. When her youngest was in elementary school she went back to school to earn her Associates in Child Development from GRCC.  She recently taught at Creation Ridge (Zeeland Christian’s nature-based preschool). Over the last 20+ years, she has worked at DeGraaf Nature Center, Outdoor Discovery Center and Little Hawks Discovery Preschool in various roles.

Dragonflies Discovery Preschool

Kelsey Zuiderveen

Dragonflies Site Director
After getting her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and working as a naturalist and nature-preschool at Chippewa Nature Center, Kelsey fell in love with nature-based education and joined the ODC team in 2016. Kelsey was a naturalist and taught nature-based preschool at ODC Preschools for several years. She has a Master’s in Early Childhood Special Education and has her MSU Master Naturalist Certification for Ottawa County. Kelsey enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and playing music (oboe and piano) in her spare time.

Carla Chase

Dragonflies Administrative Assistant

Bridget Bravata

Dragonflies Office Assistant
Bridget graduated from Western Michigan University. She lives in Holland, MI with her husband Tony and adult daughter. In her spare time she enjoys gathering with family and friends, travel, tackling DIY projects and walking golf courses with her family.

Kristina Boersma

Support Services Director
Kristina has spent the last 28 years working with children and families in schools, private practice, and non-profit. She is a licensed, master's level social worker and a certified school social worker. Kristina looks forward to teaching, nurturing, and supporting students and families.

Dani Brewer

Dragonflies Teacher
Dani has several years of experience working with children. She has a passion and love for children and watching them connect and engage in learning is such a joy. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, being outdoors, baking and cooking, sports, arts and crafts and babysitting. She is thrilled and beyond excited to begin the next chapter of her life at Little Hawks this fall.

Jennifer Buell

Dragonflies Teacher/Wrap Around Care
Jennifer is glad to be a part of the ODC Network staff. Her daughter was a student at Little Hawks Discovery Preschool, which encouraged Jennifer to join the team herself. Jennifer and her family live in Grand Haven, and they all enjoy spending time outdoors. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys fishing, camping and swimming.

Mireya Cardona

Dragonflies Student Transportation
Mireya is excited to bring her love of nature to the ODC Network. Mireya has been living in Holland since she was a teenager, and now enjoys living here with her husband, Ivan, and two wonderful children. In her spare time, Mireya enjoys gardening and nature walks. Mireya is also fluent in Spanish!

Annabel Cieply

Dragonflies Teacher
Annabel has lived in various regions of the US and is happy to call Michigan home for the past 13 years. After teaching in the Lower Elementary Montessori at Waukazoo for 7 years, Annabel joined Dragonflies in 2022. Annabel finds inspiration for teaching and for life from sand, water, trees and the bluest skies. She and her husband raised a son and a daughter. When not working, she enjoys hiking, swimming, running, biking, and gardening.

Kristin DeJarnatt

Dragonflies Teacher
Kristin studied biology and environmental science at Hope College. She taught environmental education for 6 years and preschool for 2 years before coming to ODC Network to teach at Little Hawks. She's always loved being outside and learning about the natural world. Her favorite part of the job is using play to help kids make discoveries in nature. Kristin enjoys being outdoors with her husband, two daughters, and dog; going up north; hiking; and kayaking.

Nicole Dykstra

Dragonflies Teacher
Nicole left her career as an athletic trainer to raise her kids; both graduates of Little Hawks Discovery Preschool. This opened up an entirely new way to look at education. After seeing first-hand how learning in nature creates an environment that instills curiosity, promotes imagination, and provides opportunities for social-emotional growth in young children, she had to join! She enjoys staying active with family and friends, cooking, and listening to Broadway musicals.

Katie Feikema

Dragonflies Teacher
Katie earned her degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Early Childhood Education from Ferris State University. She has been a summer camp counselor at Camp Roger near Rockford, MI, taught 1st grade in Raleigh, NC, and has taught 3rd and 4th grade in Holland, MI. She remembers visiting ODC sites as a kid and enjoyed bringing her students and family here to have nature experiences. She looks forward to being outside with kids every day helping them explore and express themselves in a natural learning environment.

Tina Gless

Dragonflies Teacher
Tina earned her degree in English Language Arts and Elementary Education and a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Grand Valley State University. Two of her 15 years teaching prior to coming to ODC were in a nature-based classroom. She spent 13 years teaching in an ASD/GSRP inclusion classroom. Tina seeks to continue growing her knowledge and skills as a nature-based educator where she can bring the youngest of learners closer to nature.

Kristen Hintz

Dragonflies Teacher
Kristen has a degree in Natural Resource Management with an emphasis on Environmental Education and Interpretation. She joined the ODC team in 2022 after working as a naturalist for the Ottawa County Parks for more than 10 years. From an early age, she has enjoyed exploring and being outdoors and frequently finds herself spontaneously helping people connect with the natural world. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, kayaking and mountain biking but also music, reading and dancing.

Nohemi Holtsclaw

Dragonflies Teacher
Nohemi is a mom of an elementary-aged daughter and loves spending time outdoors with her. She also enjoys working out and listening to music. A self-proclaimed foodie, she loves to find new places to eat.

Vanessa Jackson

Dragonflies Teacher
Vanessa has been an educator for seven years, and is very excited to be joining the Dragonflies Discovery Preschool staff. She has enjoyed teaching in migrant education, first grade, and kindergarten. Vanessa is a Hope College graduate, and is currently earning her Master’s in Early Childhood and Special Education from Grand Valley State University.

Betsy Knox

Dragonflies Teacher
Betsy is so excited to be teaching at Dragonflies Discovery Preschool! Betsy has made her way back to Michigan after living and teaching in Oregon for the past 27 years. In her spare time, Betsy enjoys spending time on Lake Michigan, and getting lost in a great book.

Courtney Kuipers

Dragonflies Teacher
Courtney is happy to be joining the ODC Network team! Courtney is a senior at Hope College studying Early Childhood Education. Courtney grew up in West Michigan, and enjoys exploring all that our beautiful state has to offer. Courtney attended nature-based schooling as a child, and is excited to share that excitement and knowledge with the Dragonflies students. In her spare time, Courtney enjoys running and backpacking.

Raquel Lara

Dragonflies Teacher/Wrap Around Care
Raquel has always enjoyed spending time with children! She is looking forward to working at Dragonflies so she can equip future generations with important skills. In her free time, Raquel explores new trails, sings at church, and spends time by Lake Michigan.

Brittney Rich

Dragonflies Teacher
Brittney was born and raised in West Michigan and currently lives in Holland with her husband. She graduated from Johnson University in Knoxville, TN with an Associates degree in Cross Cultural Studies and went on to get her Bachelor's in Psychology degree from Cornerstone University. Her childhood was spent frequently traveling to Illinois for vacations and holidays at her grandparent's farm. She continues to love spending time outdoors but also enjoys art, reading, gardening and spending time with family.

Brie Rouwhorst

Dragonflies Teacher
Brie has an Associates of Early Childhood Education which she used while working for Head Start. She moved to ODC because she wanted to learn along side children outdoors. She enjoys helping kids use their curiosity to explore the environment while leaning new skills. Brie loved going to new places, hiking, camping, gardening and trying new foods! She can often be found exploring with her husband and 2 dogs. During the summer, she enjoys teaching swim lessons.

Katie Sheppard

Dragonflies Teacher
Before coming to teach at Dragonflies, Katie taught for 2 years at a Reggio inspired preschool while simultaneously getting her bachelors degree from the University of Oklahoma. She was inspired to work for ODC because of the pure and natural approach to teaching using child-led and play-based learning. When she's not teaching, she enjoys reading, family adventures and seeing new places.

Lise Steeby

Dragonflies Wrap-around Childcare
Lisa grew up in Vermont where she was surrounded by nature every day. She even walked over a river, and through a woods and field to get to school. She received her Masters degree in Early Childhood and has used it to teach 3 and 4 year old preschoolers in the Holland community for a number of years. Beyond work, she says that life is best with her husband and three adult children who loves to hike, camp, play games garden and cook together. They also have a very adventurous dog who often joins them!

Rachel VanHouten

Dragonflies Teacher / Wrap Around Care
Rachel grew up in Belding, MI and studied Criminal Justice at Ferris State University. Later, she moved to West Michigan and began working in child care. Realizing her interest in teaching, she came to us at our nature-based preschools where she enjoys brining people and nature together. When she's not working, she enjoys camping with her family and spending time at Silver Lake sand dunes.

Amanda Veldheer

Dragonflies Teacher
Amanda's love for teaching and nature led her to Little Hawks Discovery Preschool, her dream job! She values the work-family culture of the Little Hawks staff where each member brings unique gifts to the team and is committed to having a positive impact on their community. In her freetime, Amanda enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, hiking and exploring new places! 

Jaelyn Zook

Dragonflies Teacher
Jaelyn is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University. When not working, she enjoys nature, photography and animals. She especially loves her dachshund Buster who is forever by her side.

Bri Timmer

Dragonflies Wrap-around Childcare

Seedlings Discovery Preschool

Kara Green

Seedlings Site Director
Kara has a MA in Early Childhood Education and was drawn to work with a staff that is committed to the developmental work of this field. She loves working with young children and being challenged to meet their academic, physical, and social-emotional needs in a safe, nature-based setting. And, of course, she enjoys being outside! When she's not in the classroom Kara likes going on road trips with her family and hiking through the Saugatuck Dunes.

Christa Zwiep

Seedlings Office Assistant
Christa was born and raised in Holland, MI. She worked for Holland Christian Schools as and Administrative Assistant for 14 years. She enjoys serving students, parents and staff. In her spare time she goes on hikes with her husband and kids. They also love fishing and catching turtles in their pond. She enjoys anything related to fitness and nutrition, reading books and spending time outdoors.

Tsehaia Santa Ana

Seedlings School Counselor
Tsehaia joined our team in 2019. She has her Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. She has always been passionate about working with children over the years and being part of the team and experiencing nature has just been the icing on the cake! In her free time, Tsehaia enjoys exploring West Michigan with her husband, hanging out with family and their dog Baloo!

Abby Branstetter

Seedlings Teacher
Abby grew up in Kalamazoo and went to Michigan State University where she received a BS in Fisheries and Wildlife and Natural Resources Education. After graduating, she spent time teaching at a preschool in Knoxville, TN. After meeting several ODC staff at an environmental education conference, she was excited to apply for a job with ODC and return to Michigan. Teaching using the outdoors is a perfect fit for her skill set and interests. When she's not working, she enjoys kayaking, hiking, reading and playing with her cat Skippy.

Kathy DeJonge

Seedlings Childcare Teacher

Trista Hernandez

Seedlings Teacher

Kimberly Jones

Seedlings Teacher
Kimberly earned her Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from DePaul University. She has worked in a variety of teaching roles over the years. She served on the local Autism Society of America's West Shore Board helping educate and support children on the spectrum, their families, and the community. Both children and nature are very near and dear to her heart. She enjoys spending quality time with her two young adult children, hiking, nature photography, yoga, live music, road trips, and star gazing.

Nicole Proctor

Seedlings Teacher

Taryn Neece

Seedlings Teacher
Taryn graduated from Hope College where she received her BA in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. During her college experience, she was placed in nature-based schools and fell in love with outdoor education! She loves working with young children and seeing their growth and creativity blossom in nature-based settings. In her free time, Taryn enjoys reading, arts and crafts, hammocking, and going on hikes with her husband and dog Luna.

Amanda Wilson

Seedlings Teacher
Before joining the ODC Network, Amanda's background was in childcare, including roles in child-care centers and as a nanny. Drawn by a passion for outdoor learning and engagement, she sought a new direction with ODC. Outside of work, Amanda enjoys exploring nature with her puppy and friends, finding solace in the pages of a good book. Her dedication to nurturing young minds and fostering a love for the outdoors drives her every day.

Val Voss

Seedlings Teacher
Val looks forward to expanding and growing as an outdoor educator with ODC Network. She has her Bachelor's in Education from WMU, and a Master Gardener certification through the MSU Extension program. Val loves spending time with her family outdoors, and arts and crafts.

Woodlands Discovery Preschool

Laurel Grose

Woodlands Site Director
Laurel joined our team in 2021 after retiring from teaching 1st and 3rd graders at the elementary level in the Hamilton Community Schools and working with pre-service student teachers as a supervisor of Early Childhood majors at Hope College. She believes that children learn best through exploration and play; especially when it comes to immersive experiences in nature like students at any of the ODC Schools preschools receive. Laurel enjoys walks with her husband and their dog Griffin, reading, digging in the flower garden and listening to birds.

Sara Brown

Assistant Site Director

Mallory Lake

Office Coordinator

Hatchlings - Staff Childcare

Amber Murray

Childcare Director
Amber received a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Ferris State University. Her 12 years of childcare experience have included stints at childcare facilities and being a site supervisor for Ottawa County Head Start. Amber loves helping children explore their environment and learn things. There are so many ways to learn using natural materials! When not working, she enjoys traveling, reading and spending time outdoors with her husband Zach, son Wesley and Siberian Husky Kodah.

Lyndsey Aldrich

Staff Childcare Teacher

Hannah Boerema

Staff Childcare Teacher
A 2021 graduate of Hamilton High School, Hannah embarked on her journey with a childcare role at a local daycare. After taking a break, she discovered an ideal opportunity at ODC Network and knew it was the perfect fit. Passionate about working with children, teaching them new things, and witnessing their growth, Hannah appreciates the bonus of being outdoors. Her love for exploring nature makes everyday an exciting adventure for both her and the kids she works with. Outside of work, Hannah loves camping, hiking, baking and spending time with friends.

Kira Manning

Staff Childcare Teacher

Katie McCoy

Staff Childcare Teacher
Katie has over 18 years of experience in childcare. She attended Muskegon Community College for Early Childhood Education and holds an Infant/Toddler CDA. She finds joy in spending time outside, nurturing infants and toddlers, witnessing their growth and new experiences. Outside work, she loves hiking, reading, camping, kayaking, and martial arts where she has a black belt in Taekwondo! A Holland native, Katie is married with two teenagers, accompanied by three Siberian Husky/Alaskan Malamute mixes.

Courtney Minnich

Staff Childcare Teacher
With a BS in Exercise Science and a Minor in Psychology, Courtney's diverse journey includes roles like Youth Sports Program Specialist, Crisis Recovery Advocate, and Lead Preschool Teacher, earning a CDA through her preschool position. Courtney has always loved the ODC. Jokingly, she once mentioned working here, and that dream materialized. She loves ODC’s ever-changing nature, offering new discoveries daily. In her free time, Courtney loves hiking, crocheting, and utilizing her Cricut. Family time is precious, often filled with crafts and adventures.

Lisa Mokma

Staff Childcare Teacher
Lisa was a lead teacher at a Montessori for over 16 years before coming to ODC Network. She loves the outdoors and working with children. A highlight of her work is watching those that she cares for learn and blossom through life as they grow and move on through the years. Outside of her job, Lisa enjoys spending time with family and friends, camping, taking her jeep to Silver Lake, and riding her motorcycle.

Rachael Pratt

Staff Childcare Teacher
Rachael received her degree in Psychology and Sociology from Aquinas College. After graduating, she worked with children at the YMCA for several years. A nature lover at heart, she enjoys caring for children while spending time with them outdoors. Rachael is the oldest of a large family and grew up on a farm. When she's not working, she has numerous hobbies that occupy her time including sewing, pottery, gardening, kayaking and hiking.

Jennifer Sikkema

Staff Childcare Teacher
A Hamilton High School grad who has her CDA credential, Jennifer loves working with kids and being outside. She is excited to make every day fun by being outside helping kids investigate the outdoor world. When she is not working, she enjoys going to the gym, being at church, and cooking, baking and cleaning.

Madison Sjolund

Staff Childcare Teacher

Shelby Taunton

Staff Childcare Teacher
Shelby's journey in childcare began at the age of 20 while pursuing an elementary education degree, a goal she continues to work on. Moving to West Michigan led her to discover ODC Network, introducing her to the concept of a nature-based school/daycare, which turned out to be the best experience of her career. Inspired by her nieces and nephews, Shelby found joy in being around children, ultimately shaping her career path in childcare/education. Shelby loves being outside, exploring with the kids and embracing new experiences like encountering snakes and bugs. Outside of work, Shelby enjoys hikes, quality time with family and friends, and playing pickleball!

Brenda Villegas

Staff Childcare Teacher
Brenda brings two years of experience as a pre-K lead teacher and an additional year working with toddlers in daycare. She sees early childhood education as a crucial stepping stone in children's journeys. Brenda enjoys having the opportunity to see children interacting with nature and fostering a deep connection to the environment. Outside of work, she enjoys travel, crafting, and spending quality time with her three kids and two dogs.