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Our Staff & Team

There's nothing more crucial to the success of camp than the staff team. Our staff is fun, but also experienced, mature and trained. We all understand were here to support healhy childhood development. Staff alumni now include a celebrity chef in California (Eliza!), a farm organizer in Illinois (Kathleen!), a bread baker in  Vermont (Jake) and a non-profit legal aid in Maine (Julia). For more on who we hire, please visit HERE.  For 2022, we will provide staff updates in the spring.

 

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Executive Board of Nature's Farm Camp

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Gordie Kaplan comes to the Nature’s Farm Camp board with more than 55 years experience in camp administration, mentoring and training. Most recently, Gordie was the Executive Director of American Camping Association, IL. With extensive experience on program development and camp accreditation, Gordie will help us expand and improve camp programming. He has a Master’s degree in Camping and Outdoor Education as well as graduate work in Business Administration.

Gordie Kaplan

Alice Kao

Alice Kao is an architect, avid gardener and enthusiastic knitter. She graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University with a BArch degree. Alice spent most of her career in New York (with a stint in Shanghai!), but has found home in Chicago. Ms. Kao’s cooking is inspired by the hard-working, dedicated farmers of the heartland and she loves the farmer’s markets.

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Jolie Krasinski

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Jolie Krasinski is a grantmaker and philanthropy consultant who lives in Evanston, Illinois. She specializes in designing new programs and supporting community-based natural resource protection projects. She most recently served as the Natural Areas Program Director at Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. Jolie holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and a master’s degree in public affairs and policy analysis from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She enjoys traveling to natural areas throughout Illinois with her family for both work and pleasure.

Pervin Kuar

Pervin Kaur is a Certified Public Accountant working from Reno, NV. She graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a Bachelor of Science dual Major in Accounting and Finance. She is adept at providing her time to help charitable organizations organize their books and budget. She loves reading, walking, and sitting outside to watch sunsets and stars. 

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Tim Magner

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Tim (Executive Manager, Nature's Farm Camp) believes in the magic of camp to create growth opportunities by connecting kids with the natural world in a novel and challenging environment. While visiting schools as a children’s book author and running Truck Farm Chicago  he explored food from every angle and learned about what’s possible, i.e. making great food de facto can solve lots of problems.
Tim taught skiing to kids in Colorado, golf in North Carolina and was a camp counselor in Georgia. He’s tutored & served on school boards and will never forget ‘his’ camp, Camp Highlands. Tim is the Executive Manager of the Board. Tim is also a Grant Officer for the Bryan Cameron Education Foundation, which awards college scholarships to the next generation of difference makers, plus a board member of The Illinois Stewardship Alliance, a collaboration of farmers and eaters working on building a just and sustainable food system.

Dr. Geeta Maker-Clark

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Dr. Geeta Maker-Clark is a physician board certified in both family medicine and Integrative Medicine. She created a practice through NorthShore Medical Group in the Chicagoland area that focuses on the therapeutic and preventative use of food as medicine. Her integrative practice also utilizes herbs, botanicals, mind body therapies alongside allopathic medicine. Dr. Maker-Clark is a clinical assistant professor at the Pritzker School of Medicine of University of Chicago, teaching nutrition through a course called Culinary Medicine, and coordinating all integrative medical education.

Thanks to Staff 
2015 – 2021

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Without a doubt, a natural resource as valuable as the delicious veggies we harvest is our Team.


2019-2021: Adam, Andrew, Amanda, Laura, Maddy, Sophia, Mazey, Beatrice and Sophie (former campers), plus Katie, Candie, Aaron, Mylz, Lincoln, Randy, Stacey, Ryan, Michelle and Holly. And visiting artists Jennifer, Christopher and David!

Past Team (and Visitors) over the first few years: Dustin, Julia, Jake, Sarita, Champ, Valerie, Shanna, Dante, Jess, Seneca and Maddy! Vicki, Tatum, Kate, Carolyn, Lea, Sarah Jane, Deliah, Patrick, Chef Franklin, Tomas, Seneca..Winona, Kate, Eliza, Kathleen, Matt, Carolyn, Susan and Joe. Visitors included Timber Edge Farm, Brian Severson Farm and State Representative Bennett, Teddy Z, Warren (as Mark Twain!), Amanda, Charlie and Katie and Mark from Timber Feast Farm.

 

Our first camp garden wouldn’t have happened without the direction of Kirsten Akre, formerly of Growing Power, The Kitchen Gardener & Chicago Park District and local farmer Andrew Barelli, with special help from college superstars Effie Bentz and Ashley Quinlan. Many of our seeds came from The Green City Market, our starts from The Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse, Wicker Park Garden Club and LaGrange Park’s Master Gardener Bob Zeni. Thank you also to our favorite seed grower: High Mowing Organic Seeds.

We appreciate the guidance of various current and former Camp Directors, notably Bob & Joan Erickson of Arts & Sciences in the Woods and Dustin Thacker of Tinkering School Chicago.

We’re also thankful to our initial supporters who’ve enabled us to offer financial aid & scholarships: Patrick D.N.R. Suciu, Craig Pratt, Patrick Shannon, Kate Sirkin, Adam Hinrich, Noemi Kopp-Tanaka, Marti Hoffer, the Hayes Family, the Mack Family, Alice Kao, Marko Vulovic, Brian Lynch, Lauren Beuerlein, Magen Elliot, Gier Bowen, Beth Masterson, Prathima Yeddanapudi, Vic & Amy Morman, John & Linda Fix, CJ Wolf, Marvelous Meccia, Jill Stockard, Joe Digilio, Lena Bravo-Olsher, Reed Watson, Chris Howard, Karl, Amanda Rutter Hanley, Amanda Sargent, Matha Clemons, Gerry Weitz, Erin Kelly, Nilam Trivedi, Marilyn “Kid” Going, Anna Langston, Susie Kirkwood, Sarah Walter, Jenelle Hammes Sullivan, Brekke Bounds, Nancy McClelland, Dianna Smith, Kate Gross, Kitty River, Marge Shannon, Sally Lian, Mike Judy, Jennifer, Julie Ann Alex DeSorbo-Quinn, Josh S, Christine Hutcheson, Brian”Fox” Ellis, Glenna Sullivan, Robert Fierro, Liz Miller, Rachel Land Browder, Jill May, Elizabeth Sommer, Genna Toledano, Boaz, Grobo, Amanda Nugent, Carly, Kevin Evans, Joel Parker Henderson, Elise Kleinman Jaffe, Chris Niewiarowski.