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.

Admin

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's background in development and administration of non-profit organizations and 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 Program Officer
Jamie holds a BS in Environmental Biology. He joined the ODC 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 family.

Nicole Young*

Executive Assistant
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!

Ashley Van Zee

Development Manager
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.

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, at the golf course, or “managing” the ODC Network softball team.

Dylana Eisaman

Creative Manager
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.

@Vanessa Gutierrez

Diversity & Inclusion Manager
Vanessa joined the ODC Network in 2020. She brings over 12 years of experience working in early childhood education and nonprofit management. Vanessa's identity as a bilingual Latina with a passion for the outdoors has motivated her to ensure inclusive outdoor experiences for all. Her love for nature pairs well with her goals at the ODC Network to engage with the community. She lives in Hamilton with her husband Jorge and enjoys kayaking and hiking in her free time.

Joe Sikma

Nature-rich Community Manager
Joe joined the ODC Network in 2020. He grew up in Hamilton and graduated from Calvin 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. Joe enjoys spending time with his wife and family, working in his garage, and exploring local lakes and streams.

Programming

Joy Funk

VP 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.

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 Devries

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

Sarah Irvin

Naturalist
Sarah has a BS in Earth Science and Environmental Studies. In 2016 she started at DeGraaf Nature Center and joined ODC Network during the merger. She has a passion for the outdoors and is facinated with the intricacy of nature. Outside of work Sarah enjoys traveling and hiking with her husband, Sam. She also attends and teaches ceramics classes at the Holland Area Arts Council and is an active member of BLVD Church.

Education Network

Bob Wandel

Education Network Manager
Prior to starting at ODC, Bob taught nature-based middle school in Hamilton 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.

Rachel Hucul

VP Early Childhood Education
Rachel holds a BA in Elementary Ed with an Early Childhood Endorsement and launched Nature-Based Kindergarten in Midland, Michigan before joining the Outdoor Discovery Network to start Little Hawks Discovery Preschool. She has always been compelled to serve young children and their families. Rachel enjoys spending time with her family, enjoying the Michigan seasons, camping, and running.

Vicki Sturtevant

Education Network Ambassador
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.

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.

Ruth Cronk

Education Network
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.

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.

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.

Tom Kelly

Education Network Ambassador
Tom was a Grandville Public Schools Elementary Science Specialist for many years. When the opportunity to join the ODC Education Network arose, he was excited about the chance to share his knowledge of the environment and outdoors with others. On top of working outside and teaching others about nature, he enjoys working with the people at ODC. Tom is a USA Archery Level 3 Coach and Trainer. In his free time he enjoys hiking and birding.

Operations

Mike Oosting

VP 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.

Joey Broderick

Facilities 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 and dog, Stella as well as fishing and hunting.

Ben Heerspink

Conservation 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.

Tanner Bricker

Conservation Technician
Tanner studied Natural Resources at Central Michigan University and previously worked for the City of Ann Arbor on natural area preservation. 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.

Gerry Kupres

Facilities
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.

John Dykstra

Maintenance Technician

Little Hawks

Rachel Hucul

VP Early Childhood Education
Rachel holds a BA in Elementary Ed with an Early Childhood Endorsement and launched Nature-Based Kindergarten in Midland, Michigan before joining the Outdoor Discovery Network to start Little Hawks Discovery Preschool. She has always been compelled to serve young children and their families. Rachel enjoys spending time with her family, enjoying the Michigan seasons, camping, and running.

Jayne Schutter

Chief Administrator
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.

Brittany Peters

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 is married, lives in Hamilton, and has a young daughter, Ally.

Kristin DeJarnatt

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

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.

Darcy Logan

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.

Kelsey Zuiderveen

Teacher
Kelsey is currently getting her Masters in Early Childhood and Special Education. Having worked at Chippewa Nature Center for many years, she fell in love with the idea of combining her passions for the outdoors and teaching young children. She loves anything outdoors - hiking, backpacking, camping, mountain biking, and kayaking. Kelsey also has a passion for music, playing the oboe and learning new instruments in her free time.

Elizabeth Wolter

Teacher
Elizabeth has a Bachelors in Elementary Ed and a minor in Early Childhood and Special Education. As a child, her family camped, went canoeing to spot loons on the lake, and caught hundreds of frogs while wading knee-high in the muck. She still remembers these adventures and the magic of the forest. Being part of the Little Hawks Discovery Preschool team allows her to introduce children to that magic of nature! In her free time, she loves hiking, biking, and doing yoga.

Kristi Rosema

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.

Vicki Sturtevant

Teacher
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.

Jenna Zamzow

Teacher
Jenna has a Masters in Environmental Education and BS in Early Childhood Development & Psychology. She loves nature and always knew she wanted to be a teacher. When she discovered outdoor education it was a perfect fit! Jenna enjoys watching students grow in their love for nature and each other over the school year. She likes hiking, kayaking, camping, and reading with her fiance Dan and dog Pippi.

Taylor Van Naarden

Teacher
Taylor graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Geographical and Sustainability Sciences and a minor in Writing. Her love for the environment and desire to protect green spaces drew her to the ODC Network. She likes working with a dedicated community of people who share the same interests. Taylor loves going on road trips, exploring new places, spending time at the lake, learning about herbalism, taking care of plants, and reading books.

Kara Green

Teacher
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.

Tsehaia Santa Ana

Teacher
Tsehaia joined our team in 2019 and is also new to the West Michigan area. She 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 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!

Amanda Veldheer

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! 

Heather Bouwman

Social Worker
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 21 years and has three children with whom she enjoys spending time along the Michigan shoreline.

Childcare

Shaina Heerspink

Lead Toddler Teacher
Before coming to the ODC Shaina was a receptionist at a chiropractic office, and a nanny. She has always had a passion for working with kids and recognizes the importance of children exploring nature. Her favorite part of her job is spending time outdoors with kids and seeing their excitement when they discover something new. In her free time, Shaina enjoys going on hikes with her family (husband Ben, son Bennett and daughter Avery), and reading.

Lisa Mokma

Lead Infant 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.

Laura Bosch

Staff Childcare
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.

Kate Rosema

Staff Childcare
Kate joined the ODC team in 2018 and recently graduated from Muskegon Community College with an associates degree in Early Childhood Education. Her favorite part of working with children is watching each child's unique personality develop as well as watching them learn, grow, and explore. Kate enjoys spending time with her family and friends, listening to music and podcasts, watching musicals, being outside, hammocking, and taking pictures.

Leslie Russell

Staff Childcare
Leslie joined the ODC Network briefly as a Seasonal Naturalist before becoming one of the Hatchlings Childcare Providers. Before joining the team, she was a daycare provider, preschool teacher and John Ball Zoo Camp Instructor. Leslie enjoys teaching and caring for little ones and loves being able to interact with many children, animals, and staff on a regular basis. She loves camping, kayaking, antiquing and thrift shopping.

2020 Board of Directors

Sue Denherder, President

Linda Berghorst

Bill Borgman

Har Ye Kan

Laurie Schmitt, VP

Casey Marietta

Kevin Nash

Micki Janssen

Matt Orazem, Secretary

Liz DeLaLuz

Eric De Witt

Todd Reed

Pati Bekken

 

David VanWylen

Joe Dykhuis

Nick Reister

Kyle Geenen