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FBES Ecology Educators
FBES is enormously proud of our teaching staff. We hire 16 Ecology Educators each fall and spring, including graduates and undergraduates from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences, including the natural sciences, humanities and education. We've also partnered with EarthCorps, an AmeriCorps affiliate, which provides environmental service and conservation opportunities to emerging environmental leaders from more than 60 countries.

Our educators are hired for their enthusiasm, energy, and past experience working with children. All staff receives background checks and extensive training in the art and method of teaching children in the out-of-doors. Check out below to find out more about our current educators.

Fall 2014 Educators


Aaron Altabet (Walnut Creek, CA) – BS and BA (2014) in Biology and History from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA.  When he isn't thinking about airplanes, searching for the perfect chili recipe, or singing in choirs, Aaron can most likely be spotted hiking/rowing/running/cycling/eating potato chips in the great outdoors.  Though the oak tree grasslands of Northern California were where he first fell in love with the natural world, collegiate adventures have led him to live in and learn about Washington firs, Andean paramo, Galapagueno reefs, southwestern cacti, and Himalayan pines.  He has an affinity for maps and the color turquoise, constantly seeks improvement in his dinosaur-drawing skills, and is passionate about experiential education.  Aaron would classify his excitement for joining the Ecology School family as a 14.7 out of 10!  He is humbled and stoked for the opportunities to share and learn with such an awesome community!


Ryan Barry (Southborough, MA) – BA (2013) in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont in Burlington, VT. Since graduating, Ryan has interned with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation as well as Meister Consultants Group, a sustainability consulting firm in Boston, MA. He has spent time backpacking through Europe and spent a semester abroad in Costa Rica, where he lived with a local family. Ryan enjoys playing guitar and soccer. He is excited to be returning to The Ecology School this fall. 


Allison Bolger (Sparta, NJ )– BA (2013) in Geology from Colby College.  Having spent the summer biking across the country with teenagers, Ally is super excited to return to the great state of Maine!  Ally has not only biked across the country but also biked through Germany and Italy with her twin sister and taught skiing in her hometown.  In her free time, Ally enjoys skiing in all forms, hiking, backpacking, kayaking, and baking whoopie pies. Having spent many summers exploring nearby Biddeford Pool’s beaches, rock outcrops and tidal pools, Ally is excited to continue to share her love for the environment and zest for life with others returning for her second term at The Ecology School.  She hopes to spark in kids a similar sense of curiosity, discovery and desire to learn.


Tyler Core (Milton, DE) – BA (2011) in Philosophy and English from the University of Delaware. Growing up in Annapolis, MD on the Chesapeake Bay, he developed a passion for his coastal surroundings.  Tyler loves learning more about the world around him and exploring the outdoors as much as he can.  After living and working in Shenandoah National Park, he found a new love for travel, and especially hiking, which he’s taken with him wherever he goes.  When he’s not planning his next adventure, he enjoys sports, listening to music and eating delicious food.  He has spent many summers as a day camp counselor in Delaware State Parks, and he’s looking forward to returning to the coast of Maine for his second term at The Ecology School!


Tyler Costello (Yarmouth, ME) – BA (2013) in Environmental Planning & Policy from the University of Southern Maine. After studying abroad in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Tyler fell in love with traveling and spending time either above or below the ocean surface. You might see Tyler playing sports, exploring the outdoors with friends, scuba diving, fishing or simply taking a leisurely walk on the beach. He is always okay with a spontaneous adventure. Since graduating, Tyler spent time teaching marine sciences in the Florida Keys, and working as an invasive plant removal diver at Little Sebago Lake in Maine. Tyler is very excited to be back on the Maine coast starting a new experience at The Ecology School. 


Sarah Gamble (State College, PA) – BA (2013) in Comparative Literature from Hamilton College.  Growing up exploring the woods around her home in Pennsylvania and other amazing environments around the country on “expeditions” with her family every summer, Sarah can’t remember a time she wasn’t inspired by and curious about the world around her. Spending the last year as an environmental educator in central Pennsylvania, and teaching kids about sustainable agriculture in Westchester County, NY, Sarah is thrilled to be in Maine exploring and learning about a new environment alongside the students at The Ecology School. A few things Sarah particularly enjoys are running, gardening, reading, and eating ice cream!


Jacqueline Kutvirt (Albuquerque, NM) – BA (2011) in Geology and Geography from Macalester College in Minnesota.   Jacque was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico and will always be a desert girl at heart. That said, she couldn't be more excited about being an ecology educator on the spectacular coast of Maine. She's been lucky enough to travel and live in a lot of different places through the Americas. From the Rockies, to Patagonia, to the Great Lakes to Maine, she is always observing local environments, ecology, geology and landscapes. What excites her most is working to understand how we humans interact with each unique setting that we live in and how we can be positive parts of our environments.  Her favorite mode of travel is bicycle, her favorite time of day is sunrise and her favorite animals are bears.


Connor Lee (Seattle, WA) – BA (2009) in Environmental Studies from Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH.  Connor grew up exploring the parks, lakes, sea, mountains, and rivers around Seattle. Hiking, biking, kayaking, and climbing make him happy. When he's not adventuring in the great outdoors (and often when he is) you will frequently find him by a stove or oven cooking and baking. If there's ample space and amiable winds you can expect he'll be looking for someone to throw around a disc, or "frisbee" as some like to call it. After guiding and teaching outdoor environmental education up and down the West coast and in the wild woods of northern Georgia, Connor is excited to explore the remaining corner of the country at The Ecology School.


Deborah Lyon (Outreach Specialist) (Canandaigua, NY)BS (1986) in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech and AAS (2007) in natural resources conservation from Finger Lakes Community College.  Debbie is a civil engineer-turned-environmental educator.  She spent a year volunteering at an orphanage in Guatemala and two years teaching elementary school in Belize.  Debbie is a tri-athlete who enjoys canoeing and kayaking and is always up for a good belly laugh.  She loves music, especially singing and playing guitar and has a real talent for rewriting songs.  She is looking forward to returning to The Ecology School team this fall. 


Caley Mackenzie (Walpole, MA) – BA (2010) in English Education from Westfield State University in Westfield, MA. Caley grew up exploring tide pools and finding starfish and hermit crabs along Massachusetts’ beaches. After college, Caley moved west and taught in New Mexico and later taught as a naturalist in Ohio. In 2011, she biked from Providence, RI to Seattle, Washington and built houses along the way. Caley returned to the east coast this past summer to canoe up and down the Charles River as an instructor at Mass Audubon. Now Caley is ready to explore and learn about Maine’s beautiful coast at The Ecology School!


Austin Muir (Lapeer, MI) – BA (2013) in Social Relations and Policy from Michigan State University. 
Austin’s love for the outdoors grew at a young age, exploring on his family's farm.  Throughout college, Austin worked as a professional river guide in Pennsylvania and a trip leader in Colorado.  After college, Austin worked as a middle school and elementary school teacher in Chicago and Detroit.  At any given time, you can find him laughing, working out, chit-chatting, hunting, meeting new people, hangin' with his family, cheering for Michigan State, eating, questioning, whistling, and attempting to sing.  Austin is a Michigander at heart, but could not be more excited to teach on the beautiful Maine coastline!


Julia Reed (Seattle, WA) – BS (2014) in Biology from the University of Washington, focusing on evolution, ecology, and conservation. Julia loves interacting with the outdoors as a classroom, learning and teaching about the complexities and interactions that never cease to amaze. She hopes to help bring out everyone's sense of wonder and curiosity. She is a Pacific Northwest native, and very excited to branch out to a whole new coast! Some hobbies of hers include cooking feasts, playing banjo and guitar, weaving, fungus, and doing math problems.


Caleb Savage (Bourne, MA) – BS (2012) in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism from the University of Maine. Caleb grew up with strong faring sea legs, growing up venturing on family sailing trips and exploring the shoreline of Cape Cod.   He can be found adventuring into the wilderness on a long hike, climbing mountains, or kayaking in a remote destination. Caleb has done two SCA Internships, the first one down in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as an Environmental Educator. He was a member of the 2013 SCA NH Corps as an Environmental Educator/Interpretive Ranger. Caleb considers Maine a second home, and is eager and grateful to be returning to The Ecology School this fall.


Laurel Simone (Wolfeboro, NH) – BS (2012) in Environmental Science from the University of Denver. Laurel loved growing up on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire and has since embraced all water sports. She loves to go diving, sailing, waterskiing, swimming, wakeboarding, and fishing. This is where she developed a passion for ocean conservation; and fueled her passion to get her environmental science degree. Laurel had the opportunity this winter to work down in the Florida Keys at the Newfound Harbor Marine Institute. She taught school groups about coastal ecology, shark biology, and identification of marine organisms while snorkeling out on the coral reefs. Laurel loves to travel and soak up new experiences, and is excited to continue her environmental education career on the beautiful coastline of Maine.


Sara Van Note (Washington, DC) – M.Ed (2004) in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Antioch University.  BA (1999) in Women’s Studies and Politics from Pomona College.  Sara has taught many subjects, from French to yoga to cooking, but nature is her favorite one.  In her bilingual Spanish/English classroom in New Mexico, her students cared for a school garden and wrote nature haikus.  She’s taught about dinosaurs at New Mexico’s natural history museum and led students tide pooling in the Puget Sound.  Most recently, Sara immersed herself in the mysteries of trees as an educator at Boston’s Arnold Arboretum.  Some of the other hats Sara wears are writer, auntie, radio producer, photographer, hiker, and cook.  She loves the ocean, and also chocolate!    


Abby Verney-Fink (Orange, CT) – BA (2013) in Environmental Studies from Bates College in Maine.  Abby spent the last year working at the environmentally-focused preschool at The American Farm School in Thessaloniki, Greece. Despite frequent cravings for spanakopita, she is very happy to return to the state where she went to school and fell in love with the Maine outdoors. This summer, Abby has been working as the farm teaching apprentice at The Putney School in Vermont. In her free time she loves skiing, hiking, knitting, cooking as much (and as cheaply) as possible. It’s safe to say you can usually find her outside and with friends. Abby can’t wait to get back to the Maine coast and continue working with kids in a close-knit community.


Dawn Allison (Nurse) (Fort Valley, GA) - BA & RN (1990) University of Miami & Palm Beach State College in Florida.  Nurse Dawn has been exploring nature most of her life from scuba diving and snorkeling in the Florida Keys, to horseback trail riding in Texas, Wyoming, and the Southwestern states.  These days she tries for as many day hikes as she can wherever she goes. A camp nurse in Maine since 2012 she loves to travel, is a voracious reader, enjoys photography and crafts - especially cross-stitch, and absolutely loves a good joke or funny story. (If you have one, please tell her!)  She has a grown daughter who lives in Wisconsin, and shares her year-round home in Georgia with her husband Dave, and son Zach. Two loopy Lab Retrievers and two crazy but cuddly cats (all rescue animals) round out the general mayhem there.

Rich O'Brien

Rich O'Brien, Proprietor, Pangea Food Service
Rich is from Hull, Massachusetts and is a master in the kitchen. He's has a long history with Ferry Beach and he and his staff have been providing delicious and nutritious meals in our dining hall since 1999! When he's not cooking, Rich enjoys his hobbies — traveling and scuba diving. Rich often incorporates inspirations from his travels into the meals he cooks at FBES!



Educator Hiring

To apply please submit application form, cover letter and resume to Alex Grindle (alex@theecologyschool.org)

We will begin hiring for the Spring Term  (mid March- mid June) in November. 

Please see our position description for more details.

Application as a PDF
Application as a Word Document

Please note, due to the volume of applications received we cannot respond to every application. Hiring is done on a rolling basis and continues until positions are filled.  

FBES Directors
Ferry Beach Ecology School was founded in the fall of 1998 by Brad Bradway, Drew Dumsch and Steve Signell (former FBES Director of Staff & Curriculum and author of the FBES Teaching Guide). Together our administrators have more than 50 years experience, and share a passion for teaching and creating effective, innovative environmental education programs.

Drew Dumsch,
Executive Director

Drew Dumsch
(Saco, ME) – MA (1993) University of Tennessee, BA (1990) Kalamazoo College (both degrees in English).  Drew worked as a naturalist in California and Chicago and since 1991 has been an ecologist, naturalist and educator at Ferry Beach.  He founded Ferry Beach Ecology School in 1998 and is an active member of the Maine Environmental Education Association (MEEA) and the New England Environmental Education Alliance (NEEEA).  Drew is also an affiliate representative to the North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE).  When not working to advance the cause of ecology, systems and sustainability education, Drew spends his time with his wife, Lisa, and two daughters, Nia and Sophie, on the Nonesuch River behind their house.

Alex Grindle,
Residential Program Director

Alex Grindle
(South Portland, ME) – BA (2001) in Environmental Studies & Politics from Oberlin College.  Alex began her career at The Ecology School in the spring of 2002 as a naturalist and stepped into an administrative position in January of 2004. At The Ecology School, she is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the residential program and hiring and supervising the educators.  Some of the things she finds herself doing in her free time include: enjoying being outside in just about any capacity (beekeeping and gardening are her current passions), reading (especially if it is young adult literature), tap dancing or cooking scrumptious meals with her husband, Peter.

Meg Edstrom,
Outreach Director

Meg Edstrom
(Portland, ME) – MEd (2004) in Elementary Education from the University of Maine.  BA (2001) in Philosophy and Religion from Colgate University. Meg has taught in many settings; on mountains, along rivers, in the classroom and at the beach.  When not enjoying The Nature, Meg can be found eating, training to be Wonder Woman, or adventuring with her husband, Clay.  Starting her Ecology School career as a naturalist in the spring of 2007 she quickly joined our administrative team in the role of Outreach Director, coordinating SELU’s multi-year curriculum, in addition to summer and vacation camps.  Meg can also be found dashing around in The Ecology School Prius, presenting workshops at regional and national conferences.

.John Ibsen,
Assistant Director
& Food For Thought Coordinator

John Ibsen
(Alfred, ME) – BS (2007) in Environmental Studies and Forestry from the University of Vermont. As Assistant Director, he works with Alex to oversee the day to day operations of the Residential Program and coordinates the Food for Thought Program. He has blended his passion for forestry and woodworking as the proprietor of Quercus Woodworking which specializes in wooden spoons with a natural history. As a permaculture designer, John enjoys finding solutions in problems to build more resilient and sustainable food systems and is currently working to make his home in Alfred a self-sustaining homestead.

Krysta Zambroski,
Graphic Designer
krysta zambroski
(Alfred, ME)BS (2007) in Environmental Studies with a focus in experiential education at the University of Vermont.  After spending the first part of her life in the “other” two northern New England states, Krysta finally realized Maine is the way life should be.  KAZ (as she is affectionately known) is our resident legacy, having attended The Ecology school first as an 8th grade student, then as a naturalist and finally as part of Team Admin.  As Graphic Designer Krysta works part time designing marketing pieces and managing the website.  While not busy creating for The Ecology School, Krysta is in school full time to get her teaching degree.  In her free time, KAZ likes to explore the environs surrounding her homestead and find adventures to take with her dog, Tucker.