Parks in Focus® is excited to introduce our summer 2014 team. Working alongside our park and youth organization partners, our trip leaders will be providing hundreds of youth with their first opportunity to visit, explore and camp in some of the nation’s most celebrated public lands.
Courtney Bennett is our returning Montana-based Parks in Focus® trip leader. Courtney is an avid nature and wildlife photographer who takes advantage of any chance she has to get outside. As a wildlife biology major at the University of Montana, Courtney is very passionate about the wildlife of Montana and enjoys sharing her knowledge with others. Having lived and worked in Glacier National Park for a number of summers, Courtney is intimately familiar with the area and all of the beauty it has to offer.
Chad Burton is our returning Michigan-based Parks in Focus® trip leader. Chad has lived in Michigan his whole life and grew up in a family that spent its time traveling, camping, hiking and fishing. Chad has a bachelor’s degree in fisheries and wildlife from Michigan State University. This will be Chad’s fourth year working with Parks in Focus® where he acquired his passion for nature photography. He is excited to reach out and share his knowledge and experiences with another group of kids.
Joel Garcia is our Tucson-based Parks in Focus® trip leader and will serve as one of our Grand Canyon in Focus leaders this summer. Joel has more than five years of experience in coordinating and implementing recreation programming for services and fitness areas as well as more than two years of experience in leading outdoor trips and challenge course education for the University of Arizona’s Student Recreation Center. Joel has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Arizona.
Mackenzie Harrington is one of our two Grand Canyon in Focus trip leaders for summer 2014. Mackenzie has extensive teaching experience working with Boys and Girls Clubs as well as with The DREAM Program in Vermont. Most recently, she worked in Acadia National Park and Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. Mackenzie has a bachelor’s degree in plant biology from the University of Vermont.
Shah Hussein is our new California-based Parks in Focus® trip leader. Excited to return to California after spending her childhood there, Shah will use skills gained from planning and implementing environmental education summer camp programs in Maine to engage youth in the San Francisco Bay Area with art, photography, and the wonder of Yosemite. Shah studied environmental policy, chemistry and gender studies at the University of South Florida. She is a 2012 Udall Scholar.
Bret Muter is the program manager for Parks in Focus®. Hailing from Michigan, Bret has more than 10 years of experience in leading outdoor and environmental education programming. He has been involved with Parks in Focus® in a variety of roles since 2006 and, to date, has helped coordinate and implement Parks in Focus® programs in nine states. He has a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology from Ferris State University and a master’s degree in fisheries and wildlife from Michigan State University.
Collin Whitsett is our Oklahoma City-based Parks in Focus® trip leader. Collin is an avid nature and wildlife photographer, and is passionate about the roles photography and creative expression can play in conservation and environmental education. Having graduated from the Oklahoma City area with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, Collin is familiar with the state and all the great natural areas it has to offer.