Each camper will be part of a small field group based on age for their week at camp. Groups are led by members of our education team and Junior Summer Camp Guides, creating a maximum guide to student ratio of 1:7. Our education team members are all well-trained and experienced environmental educators chosen for their expertise and commitment to improving the world by facilitating meaningful learning experiences in nature. In addition to their dedication, our education staff are CPR and first aid certified.

2019 Summer Camp Staff

Ashish Katru

For as long as I remember, I have always been fascinated with life and how it works. As a kid, my nose was always stuck in some animal or dinosaur book of sorts (including Ranger Rick and Zoobooks). Growing older, I continued to pursue my passion for nature by gardening, experimenting on what works best, and always paying attention to the organisms I came across. I also had some pet frogs and birds while learning a lot about the importance of all life. A few years ago, I began my own permaculture garden and have been using it as both a learning tool for myself, and teaching tool to share with friends. Graduating from UW Tacoma with a BS in Environmental Science, I’m always trying to apply what I’ve learned to my garden and to my life. I’ve worked as an Environmental Educator at a Spring Camp, and I just spent the spring of this year working on endangered salmon for US Dept. of Fish and Wildlife! I’m passionate about anything that keeps me outside- including (of course) gardening, hiking, riding bikes and strolling through trails. I also have other hobbies like music and going down the rabbit hole researching cool new things I come across. I can’t wait to put my educator boots on and share what I’ve learned!

Eléni Williams

My name is Eléni Williams, I grew up in a small town among mountains, trees, and a beautiful lake in northern Idaho. I am currently a senior at the University of Washington majoring in Community, Environment, and Planning with a minor in Environmental Science and Resource Management. I am extremely passionate about protecting nature and connecting people (including myself) to it! I love to swim, paint, cook food with friends and family, play games, bike, surf and much more. My favorite experience working outdoors has been maintaining trails for the US Forest Service, where I got to be outside and learn about amazing trails in my backyard every day. I was also a ski and snowboard instructor at Snoqualmie Pass, waking up every morning to snow covered trees and fresh air! Backpacking through Greece and our lovely Cascade mountains here in Washington have taught me a lot about the world and myself and I am always eager to learn more!

Erin Irby

Erin spent her childhood in the lower coastal plain of southeastern Georgia nestled between pecan groves and cotton fields. A hop and a skip away from the Atlantic Ocean, she grew up loving the wilds of the sea, watching bird migrations, and forging a strong communion with nature. She attended college in western New York where she studied film and communications, learned what winter was like, and also found an affinity for public lands in the immense national forest. With a desire to learn from a new ecological habitat, she moved to northwestern Minnesota and served as an environmental education intern at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center. She is a Master Naturalist with the Anacostia Watershed Society, lifelong flower smeller, and is excited to begin graduate school at UW to obtain a Master of Landscape Architecture starting this fall. She loves taking breaks to look up at the sky, spying on hummingbirds, soft serve ice cream, prairies, and being infinitely curious about the natural world!

Jane Wynne

I grew up exploring the coastal hills of Marin County California, and I moved up to Seattle in August of 2017 to start school at the University of Washington. I am pursuing a BS in Environmental Science and Terrestrial Resource Management with a minor in Global health. I enjoy swimming and playing water polo with the UW women’s club team in my spare time, I also enjoy hiking, biking, and exploring the great outdoors! I have taught swim lessons and lifeguarded at a variety of pools and locations, ranging from my hometown in California all the way out to an overnight summer camp in Yosemite where I worked on the waterfront. I am so excited to share my passion for exploring nature’s beauty at the stunning Washington Park Arboretum this summer, and I can’t wait to meet everyone!

Kayla Carrington

Summer is my favorite season, here’s why: Trees grow their leaves which are perfect for picnicking under, berries grow on their bushes, and Arboretum Camp starts back up. This summer, I am determined to find all the best spots for digging, building, crafting, exploring, and playing games in the whole Arboretum. I love to do goofy things. I juggle, I slackline, I play basketball, I play saxophone, I rap, I wander, I meditate outside, and I make art. My ideal week of summer camp is one that’s full of smiles, questions, games, and learning. Seattle has shown me a wonderful 6 years, very different from where I grew up in Los Angeles. I am excited to share what I’ve learned about indigenous plants and animals in the area from my time as an Environmental Studies major at UW. Ask me anything! Let’s adventure.

Kirsten Syberg

Born and raised in Everett, Washington, I’m a big advocate for traveling around the Pacific Northwest! Much of my childhood included sailing trips to the San Juan Islands, camping along the Columbia River, and cross-country skiing in the North Cascades. I’ve spent the last three years in Seattle getting my BA in Psychology from the University of Washington, and will be pursuing a Childhood and Youth Studies MA in England this upcoming fall. Some of my favorite free-time activities include cooking, hiking, portrait drawing, reading, and drinking coffee! I have previous camp counseling experience at the YMCA and am incredibly excited to work at the Arboretum this summer!

Madison Adams

Hey, I’m Maddie! I’m from Bremerton, Washington and moved to Seattle about a year ago. I’m currently attending UW to earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Science with a focus in natural resources and environmental management. I’ve worked with several camp and youth development programs over the past few years and have really enjoyed it. In my free time, you can find me hitting the gym or exploring the city.
I love the nature of the Pacific Northwest and am so happy to spend my summer working in such a beautiful setting. I can’t wait to see everyone there!


Nicolette Riggins

Though born and raised in Kansas, Nicolette has spent the last several years working all over the country. She worked as a park ranger for several National Parks across the country including Rocky Mountain (CO), Denali (AK), Shenandoah (VA), Saguaro (AZ), Big Cypress (FL), and Glen Canyon (UT and AZ). She has also worked as a wildland firefighter, Emergency Medical Technician, dogsled guide and kennels manager, nanny, daycare teacher and costumed balloon delivery girl. She most recently taught environmental education at Greenkill Environmental Education Center in New York. She spends most of her free time outdoors hiking, camping, canoeing, fishing, farming, swimming, playing, reading, and reflecting. Her favorite thing to do outdoors, however, is teach. This is Nicolette’s second year as an instructor at Arboretum Summer Camp.

Olivia Palenscar

My name is Olivia Palenscar and I am from Sammamish, Washington. I grew up here and I am so happy to finally be back. In May, I graduated from Scripps College in California where I completed my B.A. in Environmental Analysis. My thesis was on the seasonal variability seen in a rhodolith (a kind of red coralline algae) in the Canadian Arctic. I learned that algae are actually really cool! Throughout college, I also ran cross country and track & field for Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) and recently I just ran my first marathon. Last year, I spent a semester abroad in Iceland and Greenland studying the environment and developing a plastic recycling workshop where I recycled plastic to create a reusable lunch box. In the fall, I will be starting my masters in teaching at Seattle University to become a high school biology teacher. I have always had a passion for education and the environment. I really love the outdoors and value being outside and learning so greatly. I love hiking, backpacking, skiing, running, and I especially love the cold, cloudy weather. I have been interning at the Arboretum for the last two summers and I am so excited to be back for my third. I can’t wait for all of the adventures to be had in the Arboretum this summer!

Robin Dein

Originally from Madison, WI, Robin has been an environmental educator in Washington since 2015. He initially came to Washington as an outdoor environmental educator for Camp Killoqua near Marysville, WA and liked it so much that he kept finding reasons to stay. Robin recently finished his Masters of Education degree at the University of Washington in June of 2018. Before coming to Washington, he worked as an outdoor environmental educator in several other areas including Tampa Bay, Chincoteague Island in Virginia, and the mouth of the Neuse River in North Carolina. One of his most interesting facts is that Robin was a part of a maritime search and rescue team during his undergraduate career at Eckerd College in Florida. He enjoys pretty much anything you can do outside especially hiking with his 1 year old puppy, nature photography, and playing team sports.

Sophie Silver Isenstadt

I grew up in Maryland and moved to Seattle in March of 2015. I knew I wanted to study environmental science and was drawn to the gorgeous alpine wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. During my time in Seattle, I’ve gained an even deeper appreciation for the natural resources Earth has to offer. I try to get outside as often as possible, whether it be camping, hiking, backpacking, etc. I am a huge plant nerd, and I am beyond excited to be working in the Arboretum helping kids appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature. I am so excited for camp to start! Can’t wait to meet you all!

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