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Meet the Team

Full-time Team Members

Melissa Acosta

Community Educator

Melissa joined the team on April 1st,2022 as a Fellow for the Alliance for Watershed Education though Berks Nature. She onboarded the team permanently in August 2022 as a Community Educator for Berks Nature. Her goal is to expand our reach to community members who have not recently been engaged in our organization, whether it be from a lack of outreach in new locations or due to a language barrier.  As a bilingual speaker Melissa feels so excited to open the door for Spanish speakers to join our efforts with the environment.

Before she lived in Pennsylvania, Melissa lived in NYC where she previously worked for another non-profit organization named Greenpeace. In 2017 she had a life changing camping experience on the Virgin Islands where she came to the realization that environmental conservation has always been dear to Melissa since she was a child.  She knew she was on the right path and made a vow to continue her work to conserve mother nature throughout her life. Melissa is honored to be able to continue this work even after she has moved out of NYC and into the city of Reading. She believes if we continue to ‘Think Globally and Act Locally’ we can be the difference we need and want to see for our future.

Contact Melissa:
610-372-4992, ext. 118
melissa.acosta@berksnature.org

Jenn Bartley

Nature Preschool Teacher

Jenn joined Berks Nature in the fall of 2021. Working as a nature-based educator allows Jenn to blend her personal passion for the outdoors and her professional passion for high-quality early childhood education. Jenn holds a four-year degree from Eastern University and a Preschool CDA. She is also a member of NAEYC to keep up with best practices in early childhood education and continued learning. Jenn has been working with children in varying capacities for the past 25 years seeing firsthand the effects of nature deficit among children. She has been actively finding ways to get children outside or creatively bringing nature into children’s spaces since 2013. When Jenn is not outside facilitating learning experiences for the children in Berks Nature Preschool and Eco Camp she can be found outside adventuring throughout the Mid-Atlantic or relaxing at her family cabin surrounded by state forest playing guitar, writing, and drawing in her nature journal.

Contact Jenn:
610-372-4992
jenn.bartley@berksnature.org

Brian Birchak

Facilities Manager

Brian joined the Berks Nature team as facilities manager in October 2022. With a background in biology and environmental science, he has experience in trail maintenance, building maintenance, and education. Before joining Berks Nature, Brian worked at a nature center situated within a superfund site where he honed his experience in invasive plant control, native plant horticulture, freshwater monitoring and ecology, and watershed conservation. He also gained experience in superfund restoration and ecological restoration. Brian is a tinkerer, explorer, nerd, naturalist, banjo player, and a dad (to three boys). He is just as happy getting lost in a forest as he is playing around with computers… or his banjo.

Contact Brian:
610-372-4992, ext. 117
brian.birchak@berksnature.org

Ryan Brett

Land Protection and Stewardship Specialist

Ryan joined the Berks Nature team in December of 2023 as a Land Protection and Stewardship Specialist. He has a degree in Environmental Science from Albright College. Prior to joining Berks Nature, Ryan was a microbiologist working in municipal wastewater and safe drinking water compliance; however, his education is primarily in tidal wetland and temperate forest ecology as well as environmental ethics. He has presented at national research societies such as the Atlantic Estuarine Research Society, the Coastal Estuarine Research Federation, and American Society of Mammalogists. Ryan was born and raised in Berks County as the younger of two brothers.

Ryan lives in the City of Reading and has volunteered with Berks Nature in the summer and fall of 2021 to help maintain Angelica Creek Park’s trails and wetland. Since his youth, Ryan spent much of his time outdoors fishing with his father along the Schuylkill River, Hopewell Lake Campground, and Scott’s Run Lake in Pennsylvania. He loves hiking and walking trails with his dogs. Ryan is driven to continuously learn about the land upon which we live and teach others about the crucial importance of conservation or preservation of natural resources for recreational, environmental, civic, and educational purposes.

Contact Ryan:
610-372-4992, ext. 104
ryan.brett@berksnature.org

English Dawson

Community Engagement and Outreach Assistant

English joined the Berks Nature team in November 2022. She has a degree in Environmental Resource Management, as well as a degree in Community, Environment, and Development from Penn State University. Her professional background is in agricultural sciences and sustainable foodways. English was born and raised local to Berks County and is passionate about environmental and social sustainability. When she’s not working, you can find English spending her time with her large family, reading a good book, or participating in activities outdoors.

Contact English:
610-372-4992, ext. 200
english.dawson@berksnature.org

Andrew Fetterman

Vice President for Land and Conservation

Andrew joined the Berks Nature Team in February 2023 as Vice President for Land and Conservation programs. His work centers on the oversight of the land and water conservation programs in Berks County and beyond. In the role of Vice President for Land and Conservation, Andrew facilitates a proactive approach to conserving and stewarding Berks County’s exceptional natural and cultural assets by building and maintaining relationships with private individuals as well as local, regional and state organizations.

Andrew was born in Reading, Pennsylvania and grew up as a child in the Earl Hills of Berks County. It is there where he nurtured a love for the outdoors and a profound respect for the natural environment. He is an ardent supporter for land protection and indigenous species diversity.

Andrew studied and documented freshwater mussel ecology for many years in the St. Lawrence, upper-Delaware, and upper-Susquehanna River basins before commencing a 24-year career in environmental consulting. Having worked in private consulting for much of his career, Andrew is very familiar with building both public and private partnerships.

Andrew holds an undergraduate degree in Geology from St. Lawrence University and a Master of Arts in Earth Science Degree from the State University of New York, College at Oneonta. He has been a Professional Geologist in Pennsylvania since 2002.

Andrew volunteers for various organizations including teaching hunter trapper education with the Pennsylvania Game Commission and painting songbird decoys for the bird conservation program at Willistown Conservation Trust. He and his spouse Alison enjoy birding, gardening and camping in addition to lots of other fun outdoorsy stuff with their two children and budding naturalists Gus and Etta.

Contact Andrew:
610-372-4992, ext. 123
andrew.fetterman@berksnature.org

Michael J. Griffith

Environmental Education Coordinator & Watershed Specialist

Personal Teaching Mission: “To educate people of all ages on the importance of nature and how it is essential to our quality of life”.

Michael joined our staff in August of 2015. He has volunteered for many environmental organizations and is a board member of several more. He was an intern for us during the summer of 2013, while he was acquiring his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science/Biology at Kutztown University. He spent a lot of his time at Kutztown involved in extracurricular activities. He was the vice-president of the Kutztown University Environmental Action Club, research assistant, teacher’s assistant, tutor, and did independent research. He has experience in management, photography, citizen education at the Department of Agriculture, laboratory work, and concentrated on limnology (water ecology) at school. He lives in Sinking Spring with his son Michael Jr.

Contact Michael:
610-372-4992, ext. 108
michael.griffith@berksnature.org

Jeremy Haymaker

Trails & Preserve Specialist

Jeremy was part of our staff 11 years ago as a part of our very first Summer Eco-Camp. Life took him on a journey that eventually led him back to Berks Nature as our Trails and Preserve Specialist. Prior to rejoining our organization, he spent two years working for the DCNR. He has a Bachelors of Science in Geography from Penn State University. Jeremy lives in Birdsboro with his wife and two children (one a 2021 Berks Nature preschool graduate and the other a future graduate). He and his family enjoy hiking, camping and mountain biking. He believes that life is best lived outdoors.

Contact Jeremy:
610-372-4992, ext. 105
jeremy.haymaker@berksnature.org

Brooke Leister

Land Protection Specialist

Brooke joined the Berks Nature team in July of 2023. She has a degree in environmental biology from Kutztown University. Prior to joining Berks Nature, Brooke’s professional life was in wastewater management and environmental consulting. Brooke is a Berks County native and holds a deep passion for preserving our local, natural landscape and creating sustainable environments for the community. Outside of work, Brooke can typically be found in her home garden or on a hiking adventure with her husband and their two rescue dogs.

Contact Brooke:
610-372-4992, ext. 122
brooke.leister@berksnature.org

Lawrence E. Lloyd

Senior Ecologist

Larry joined our staff in June 2002. He had been a Berks Nature volunteer for over ten years and also spends time volunteering for DCNR State Parks and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. He has over 28 years of experience managing land near his residence in Cumru Township. Larry is responsible for managing all our protected land and conservation easements in Berks County, and facilitates many of our stream and trail projects.

Contact Larry:
610-372-4992, ext. 116
larry.lloyd@berksnature.org

Allison Mackley

Vice President for Education

Allison joined the Berks Nature staff in June 2022. As Vice President for Education, her work centers on the Berks Nature Preschool and Education team to offer environmental education programs to PreK through twelfth grade students.

Allison grew up on the Delaware River where she built a foundation for her love of the environment. She is enthusiastic about connecting kids to nature as they navigate their ways through our global society.  As a career educator, Allison was a middle school English teacher for fourteen years and a National Board Certified (NBCT) high school librarian and instructional technology coach for fourteen years. Most recently, she was a Director for Curriculum Development and adjunct instructor in higher education.

Allison holds an undergraduate degree in Secondary English Education from Penn State University, an M.A. in Writing from Northeastern University, an M.L.I.S. from the University of Pittsburgh, and an M.S. in Educational Administration from the University of Scranton. She also earned a graduate certificate from the University of Pennsylvania Virtual Online Teaching (VOLT) program and a Certificate in Media and Technology for Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Allison has earned an Environmental Education Outcomes Certificate from Cornell University and a professional development Nature-Based Teacher Certification from the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools.

Allison and her husband, Dale, enjoy camping, kayaking, and maintaining their property on the Swatara Creek as a certified wildlife habitat.

Contact Allison:
610-372-4992, ext. 101
allison.mackley@berksnature.org

Joan Marten

Lead Preschool Teacher

Joan joined Berks Nature as a part-time employee for Eco-Camp and the Nature Preschool in 2019. In August of 2020, she became a full-time lead teacher for the preschool. Joan studied at Kutztown University and began coursework toward a degree in elementary and early childhood education. While living in the Pittsburgh area, she coached gymnastics and taught in a PreK classroom at Westminster Preschool in Upper St. Clair. Joan received her Level II Nature-Based Teacher Certification from ERAFANS in Summer 2023.

Moving back to Berks County, Joan applied her paraprofessional expertise in an elementary special education classroom (learning/autistic support). She also coached for the Girls on the Run program. In addition, Joan holds a professional development Nature-Based Teacher Certification from the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools.

Joan knows that interacting with nature and incorporating it daily in the preschool allows children to learn by doing. Children benefit in a multitude of ways, such as improving academic achievements, learning engagement, critical thinking, confidence, and social, emotional, and physical skills. Her passion for teaching young children, an active lifestyle, and a love of the outdoors make Berks Nature the perfect fit for Joan.

Contact Joan:
610-372-4992
joan.marten@berksnature.org

Alyssa Matlack

Lead Preschool Teacher

Alyssa joined the Berks Nature staff as a part-time employee in October 2017. In August of 2021, she became a full-time lead teacher within a preschool classroom. Alyssa graduated from Alvernia University with a dual degree in elementary education and special education as well as a minor in psychology. She is currently enrolled in a Master of Education in Nature-Based Early Childhood Education degree program. In addition, Alyssa holds a professional development Nature-Based Teacher Certification from the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools.

Alyssa has worked with kids since she was 11 when she volunteered for story time at a local library. Loving nature herself, Alyssa embraces the idea of bringing the outdoors into the classroom and, in turn, bringing the classroom outside.

Contact Alyssa:
610-372-4992, ext. 129
alyssa.matlack@berksnature.org

Dawn McDonough

Office Management and Donor Support Specialist

Dawn joined the Berks Nature staff in May 2017. Prior to joining Berks Nature, Dawn held a number of executive administrative positions throughout her career. As a Berks County native, she enjoys many of the parks, trails and lakes the county has to offer and tries to get outside whenever possible, whether hiking, kayaking or just sitting among the trees. As a student of psychology, she feels time in nature brings balance to the body, mind and spirit. Dawn and her husband Bob live near our Earl Poole Sanctuary in Alsace Township on a small farmette with their German Shorthaired Pointers, chickens and one very social lop-eared rabbit.

Contact Dawn:
610-372-4992, ext. 100
dawn.mcdonough@berksnature.org

Regan Moll-Dohm

Director of Communications

Regan joined the Berks Nature team in 2019 as a Natural Resource Coordinator. She also doubles as the Development Specialist for the Alliance for Watershed Education, of which Berks Nature is a member. Prior to joining the Berks Nature staff, Regan worked as a Conservation Associate at Willistown Conservation Trust. Regan received her Master of Science in Environment and Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Throughout her academic career, Regan nurtured a love for communicating science through art and stories. It was this passion for creative science communications that eventually drew her away from academia. Now, Regan spends most of her free time building her art portfolio, playing Ultimate frisbee, and enjoying the outdoors with her husband.

Contact Regan:
610-372-4992, ext. 111
regan.dohm@berksnature.org

Kimberly J. Murphy

President

Kim joined the organization in January 2004. As president, she works with a dedicated staff to improve and protect our land and water resources, to educate the community about land use and its implications, and to connect people to nature thus, conserving Berks County’s unique cultural and environmental resources for the benefit of future generations.

Berks Nature ran a successful $4.2 million capital campaign to raise money for a new nature center, “The Nature Place” at Angelica Park, which opened in September 2017 and has achieved LEED GOLD certification. Kim led the creation of a Nature Preschool which opened in 2018. The “Rookery” addition of a rooftop patio and event space was opened in March 2022 nearly doubling the size of The Nature Place.  The Rookery demonstrates many of the green sustainable features of the original LEED Gold Certified building.

The Berks Nature team has focused on preserving agricultural land, forests and open space; protecting the quality of our streams and ground water; preserving historic landmarks and scenic landscapes; environmental education and by promoting those values that contribute to a sustainable future for our community.

Before joining Berks Nature, Kim spent nearly 12 years as director of development at Penn State where she managed the development, alumni and university relations programs for both the Berks Campus in Reading and the Lehigh Valley Campus in Fogelsville. Kim graduated from Penn State University, University Park in 1985 with a degree in Elementary Education. She did her student teaching at Mill Rythe First School on Hayling Island in England.

Kim serves on the policy committee and board of directors of the statewide association, We Conserve PA and shares her time with many other organizations in the community. Kim is a skilled fundraiser with nearly 20 years in non-profit management.  Kim lives with her husband, Kevin in a 218-year-old stone farmhouse in Jefferson Township, Berks County; her sons Carver and McQuillin are adults.

Contact Kim:
610-372-4992, ext. 106
kim.murphy@berksnature.org

Anne Muvdi

Nature Preschool Director and Eco-Camp Director

Anne joined the Berks Nature staff in September of 2017 as Nature Preschool and Summer Eco-Camp Director. Previously, she taught both kindergarten and first grade in the William Penn School District outside of Philadelphia PA. Anne earned a BS in Early Childhood N-3, a Master of Education in Reading, and completed 24 credit hours towards her Principal/Administrative certification. Anne received her Level II Nature-Based Teacher Certification from ERAFANS in Summer 2023.

Anne’s love of children has carried throughout her adult life and influences every professional decision she makes. Her understanding and passion for exposing young children to nature are what brought her to Berks Nature. After joining the Berks Nature team, Anne earned a professional development Nature-Based Teacher Certification. This workshop highlighted the positive impacts daily contact with nature has on children’s social, psychological, academic, and physical health. Whether running, hiking, or biking. Anne expresses her own love of the outdoors by utilizing the parks and trails in and around Berks County.

Contact Anne:
610-372-4992, ext. 115
anne.muvdi@berksnature.org

Beckey Seel

Volunteer Engagement Coordinator & Educator

Beckey joined the Berks Nature staff in August 2020 as a supervisor for our Camp for School Program and then went on to help with our Summer Eco Camp program.  She has a degree in Environmental Resource Management from The Pennsylvania State University.  Prior to her time at Berks Nature, she worked in Berks and other surrounding counties as an Environmetal Consultant, performing wetland delineations and soil evaluations.  She then went on to teach programs for the Green Valleys Watershed Association and the Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center.

Beckey is passionate about educating the public and future generations about conserving our natural resources, and enjoys helping adults and children in developing a deep relationship with the natural world.  She lives in Robeson Township with her husband, Dave, and two children, Ben and David.  They enjoy spending time together on their forested property in the Hay Creek Watershed.

Contact Beckey:
610-372-4992, ext. 103
beckey.seel@berksnature.org

Tami J. Shimp

VP Development & Community Relations

Tami joined the Berks Nature staff in February 1997 as Environmental Projects Manager. Since that time, she has held the positions of Land Protection Specialist, Director of Land & Cultural Resources, Senior Conservation Specialist and Director of Development. Tami has a degree in Environmental Resource Management from Pennsylvania State University.

Born and raised in Berks County, Tami’s passion has always been focused on protecting the natural resources that make our community so special. She enjoys sharing her experience in both conservation efforts and fundraising with others in our community. Tami, her husband Todd and sons Paul, Charlie and Johnny live in South Heidelberg Township. Family time typically includes spending time outside in nature!

Contact Tami:
610-372-4992, ext. 110
tami.shimp@berksnature.org

Kaitlyn Tothero

Events & Visitor Experience Manager

Kaitlyn joined the Berks Nature staff in August 2019 as a Communications Specialist and shortly after, in October 2021, transitioned to her current position as Events & Visitor Experience Manager. Prior to joining the team, she served as Marketing Director at a local commercial real estate firm in Berks County. Kaitlyn has a Corporate Communications degree and Theatre minor from Elizabethtown College.

Born and raised in Lancaster County, Kaitlyn moved to Berks County after graduation and fell in love with the area. She has a passion for protecting the environment and connecting people to nature. In her free time, you can find Kaitlyn hiking, traveling, or hanging at home with her best pal, Leia!

Contact Kaitlyn:
610-372-4992, ext. 109
kaitlyn.tothero@berksnature.org

Part-time Team Members

Lynn Walker

Nature Preschool Teacher

Lynn Walker joined Berk’s Nature Preschool in 2020. Prior to that she taught in the Governor Mifflin School District for fifteen plus years. She held various positions including floating substitute, long term substitute, fifth grade math teacher and third grade teacher. She ended her time with the district assistant teaching Pre-K Counts (under a state grant) for three years. In that capacity she attended a field trip with her students at Berk’s Nature. She knew that very day that the she wanted to be part of this type of education with this team!

Lynn graduated from Millersville University with a degree in Elementary Education. She shas raised three children and now has three grandchildren. Lynn is thrilled they are all local and she can spend time with them both winter and summer from swimming and biking to skiing and sledding.

Lynn and her family love the outdoors and Lynn is blessed to bring that joy and appreciation to the children of Berk’s County.  She continues to professionally grow through the Intermediate Unit and Penn State. Lynn truly loves teaching the children at Berks Nature and it shows in her enthusiasm and hard work.

Contact Lynn:
610-372-4992
lynn.walker@berksnature.org

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