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 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 Program Officer
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.

Alexa Redick

Vice President of Marketing & Communications
Alexa brought her communication and development talents to the ODC in 2022. She graduated with an Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science BA from MSU, a Multicultural Communications MA from DePaul University, and is currently earning an MBA from Syracuse University. Working for ODC Network gave her the opportunity to grow in an innovative, challenging, and fast-paced environment. When she's not working, Alexa is volunteering, reading, spending time with her friends and family, or somewhere Up-North.

Lannette Zylman-TenHave

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.

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!

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.

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

Community Outreach & 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.

Rachel Wamsley

Grants 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.

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.

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.

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.

Analiese Schmitt

Naturalist
Analiese has a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Ferris State University. After college, she spent three years in Korea teaching English as a second language. She can remember coming to the Outdoor Discovery Center when she was little and is excited to now be a part of the team. She thrives on learning more about the natural world! When she's not working, she reads, learns languages and actively explores the outdoors.

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

Tanner Bricker

Conservation Services Manager
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

Conservation Services Technician
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.

Joe Sikma

Sustainability 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.

Kelly Goward

Watershed Manager
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.

Sarah Irvin

Naturalist
Sarah has BS degrees 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 fascinated with the intricacy of nature. Outside of work Sarah enjoys traveling and hiking with her husband, Sam, as well as making ceramics at Holland Area Arts Council.

Education Network

Bob Wandel

Education Network Manager
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.

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.

Bree DeWeerdt

Education Network Ambassador

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.

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.

Paige Prins

Education Network Ambassador

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.

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, son August, and dog Stella as well as fishing and hunting.

Gerry Kupres

Assitant 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.

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!

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.

Evan Machiela

Facilities and Construction Specialist
Evan grew up in Zeeland, Michigan and graduated from Holland Christian High School. He spent time working in the landscaping industry and for the National Park Service at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park after graduation. Evan loves working outside and being hands-on with projects using various equipment for construction and playground work. When he is not working, Evan enjoys working on his Jeep and taking it off roading with friends.

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

Janitorial and Facilities Technician
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.

Maddie Tunison

Janitorial and Facilities Technician
Maddie received her bachelor's degree in journalism from Central Michigan University. She grew up and lives in Hamilton. Though she has worked in the communications field for a few years, she is excited for the change of scenery and to work for the ODC Network. Always active and on her feet, Maddie likes to spend her free time hiking, biking and painting.

John Dykstra

Maintenance Technician
John started his work with the ODC Network as a volunteer in 2005 before retiring from his career as a professional photographer. Since 2013, he can be found helping with a variety of tasks around the ODC. John has loved nature his entire life and finds joy in capturing moments with his camera. When he's not working he if often found behind a lens taking in landscapes or taking action shots of wildlife. John and his wife Bev have 17 grandchildren ranging from less than a year to 25 years old.

Early Childhood

Jayne Schutter

Chief Administrator
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.

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.

Laurel Grose

Little Hawks 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.

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.

Heather Bouwman

Little Hawks Director of Support Services
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.

Kristina Boersma

Dragonflies Director of Support Services
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.

Tsehaia Santa Ana

Seedlings School Counselor
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!

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.

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.

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.

Jenna Callam

Dragonflies Teacher & Nature-based Curriculum Coach
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 husband Dan and dog Pippi.

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.

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.

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 will officially join us at Dragonflies Discovery Preschool in August! She graduated from Colorado College and is happy to be back in Michigan. Annabel finds inspiration from sand, water, trees and the bluest skies. She also enjoys hiking, swimming, running, biking, gardening and doing art.

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.

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.

Kimberly Jones

Seedlings Teacher
Kimberly received her Bachelor's of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from DePaul University in Chicago. She has worked in a variety of educational roles over the years from summer camps to Montessori school and preschool teacher to Head Start teacher. She is the proud mom of a son who has Autism and has served in various capacities with the local Autism Society of America. She enjoys hiking, camping, yoga, traveling, star gazing, nature photography and spending quality time with her friends and family.

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.

Gabrielle Kosters

Little Hawks Teacher
After receiving her degree in Elementary Ed. and Special Education, Gabrielle began working with special education students in the public school setting. She also taught in a resource/ inclusion setting for 8 of those years. Since January 2021, she has been working with students 1-1 at Higher Horizons Tutoring. Gabrielle lives in Holland with her husband, Evan, and two kids, Everly and Judah. In her free time, she enjoys being a frequent beach bum with her crew, reading, and spending time with their little neighborhood community.

Cristina Lagunas

Little Hawks Assistant Teacher

Raquel Lara

Dragonflies Assistant Teacher
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.

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.

Rileigh Loveland

Little Hawks Teacher
Rileigh is from Grandville, Michigan and graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Development. In here free time, she enjoys hiking, taking pictures, and playing volleyball! She is excited to be a member of the ODC Network community and looking forward to working with all of the children!

Lauren Messing

Dragonflies 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.

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.

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.

Anna Ryzenga

Seedlings Teacher
Anna is a recent graduate of Michigan State University. She grew up in West Michigan, and spent much of her childhood playing and volunteering at the ODC. She loves working with young children and watching their creativity and curiosity flourish. Discovering nature based learning has been so amazing, and she couldn’t imagine anything better than getting to play with kids outside and learn and explore with them. When she’s not at school, she loves cooking, hiking, and swimming with her dog Iris (when Lake Michigan is warm enough).

Lise Steeby

Dragonflies Teacher
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!

Vicki Sturtevant

Little Hawks 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.

Samantha Sweet

Little Hawks Teacher
Sam grew up in Muskegon, Michigan though worked recently as a preschool teacher in Ann Arbor, MI. She received an associate's degree in Fish and Wildlife Management. Her experiences also include volunteering at a raptor rehabilitation center and she is excited to include ODC's birds into her classroom learning. When she is away from work, Sam likes to spend time with her family, cook, hike and explore new places.

Rachel VanHouten

Dragonflies Teacher / Wrap Around Care

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! 

Val Voss

Seedlings Assistant 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.

Dawn Wedeven

Little Hawks Teacher
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. She is excited to continue growing and combining her passion for teaching and the outdoors at Little Hawks this fall!

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.

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.

Childcare

Amber Murray

Childcare Manager
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.

Jennifer Buell

Dragonflies 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.

Siarra Hoolsema

Staff Childcare Teacher
Siarra joined our daycare staff in 2021. She is a graduate of Allegan High School who found that an office job wasn't right for her. Her love of the outdoors had her search land at Outdoor Discovery Center where she gets to spend time outdoors with children. When she isn't working, she enjoys hiking and camping with her husband. She also enjoys traveling, cooking with her dad, and being in the sun on her boat.

Courtney Kuipers

Dragonflies Wrap Around Care
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.

Hannah Meade

Dragonflies Wrap Around Care
Hannah is excited to be a part of the work we do at the ODC Network! She is a recent psychology graduate of Hope College, and really enjoys spending time outdoors. In her free time, Hannah enjoys paddle boarding, hiking, and reading.

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.

Brittany Peters

Staff Childcare 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.

Shelby Taunton

Staff Childcare Teacher

Mallory Thompson

Staff Childcare Teacher