Meet the Team
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.
610-372-4992, ext. 118
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.
610-372-4992, ext. 117
A Berks county native, Sarah is dedicated to working with landowners in Berks and Schuylkill counties to protect the unique values of our landscape. Prior to joining Berks Nature staff, Sarah worked as a Land Stewardship Intern at the Brandywine Conservancy. As a college student, Sarah worked at Berks Nature for the first two summers of Eco-Camp. Sarah received her Bachelor’s degree from Boston University in International Relations, where she focused on environmental policy and developed environmentally-focused service learning programs for college students in the Boston area. Post college, she worked in forest conservation with agricultural communities in western Uganda. She lives in the city of Reading, and enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking, and rock climbing around Berks County.
610-372-4992, ext. 104
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.
610-372-4992, ext. 200
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.
610-372-4992, ext. 108
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.
610-372-4992, ext. 105
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.
610-372-4992, ext. 116
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.
610-372-4992, ext. 101
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.
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.
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.
610-372-4992, ext. 115
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.
610-372-4992, ext. 100
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.
610-372-4992, ext. 111
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 recently completed a nearly $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.
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 board of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association (PALTA) and shares her time with many other organizations in the community. Kim lives with her husband, Kevin in a 218-year-old stone farm house in Jefferson Township, Berks County; her sons Carver and McQuillin are adults.
610-372-4992, ext. 106
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’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.
610-372-4992, ext. 115
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.
610-372-4992, ext. 103
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!
610-372-4992, ext. 110
Kaitlyn joined the Berks Nature staff in August 2019 as a Communications Specialist. 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 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 our natural resources and connecting people to nature. In her free time, you can find Kaitlyn hiking, mountain biking, camping or traveling!
610-372-4992, ext. 109