Our Board includes Alumni and family members connected with every Eagle’s Nest Program, and represents a wide variety of professions, geography, and ages. They are an incredibly supportive, creative, and ambitious group of individuals always working to better the Foundation and launch us toward our 100 year Anniversary!
Board of Trustees
Click on a board member’s photo or name to learn more about each person.
William W. Abberger, MA
Director of the Conservation Finance Program
The Trust for Public Land
Will has been involved with Eagle’s Nest as a camper and counselor since 1966. He also participated in the first Hante trek with Helen Waite on the Appalachian Trail in 1973 and served as chief of the Natseho tribe. He has been on the Board of Trustees for many years and has served several terms as President of the Board of Trustees. Currently, Will is Director of the Trust for Public Land’s Conservation Finance Program, helping state and local governments and citizen groups throughout the United States gauge public support for open space, and craft ballot measures that generate new sources of funding for land conservation.
Gail is the mother to three wonderful Eagle’s Nest Campers: Liza (OA Alumni Semester 33), Billy, and Alison. Gail says, “Eagles Nest is an indescribable experience for our children and we have observed their growth in experiences, values and even the food they eat and grow.” As a committee member, and previous Chair, for the Cary/Apex/Morrisville (NC) Relay for Life, she has been an avid supporter for the American Caner Society’s primary fundraiser over the past 12 years. When not busy with her husband and kids, Gail can be found riding her horse and has even begun eventing again after a break of 20 years.
Cissy Kelton Byrd
Westminster Day School
Cissy began coming to Eagle’s Nest Camp as a child in the 1960’s when her father, John Kelton, was the Program Director for Dr. Alex Waite. This is where she met her husband, Rich Byrd, who was on the medical staff for “Diabetic Camp,” and where each of her sons attended throughout their childhood. Growing up at Camp and the Outdoor Academy, Cissy has watched as her children gained confidence, knowledge, and independence. She and her family enjoy camping, canoeing and bicycling trips together.
Nathan Byrd, MBA
Vice President of Research
Hamilton Point Investment Advisors
Chapel Hill, NC
Nate’s parents met at Eagles Nest camp as counselors, and he regularly attended as a camper, counselor and Hante participant from the age of 9. Currently, Nate works as the Vice President of Research for Hamilton Point Investment Advisors, a boutique investment firm with a sustainability focus. He is an avid outdoor enthusiast, enjoying all of the activities North Carolina has to offer, from scuba diving off of the coast to rock climbing in the mountains. In addition to his trusteeship with the Eagles Nest Foundation, he volunteers as secretary for the CFA North Carolina Society and as president of the Rotary Club of Chapel Hill.
Jean Cohen, MSW
Jean’s connection to Eagle’s Nest began in 1992, when the oldest of her three children began attending camp. Her children, Jon, Saul and Jennifer (OA Alumni Semester 22) spent a combined 21 summers at Eagle’s Nest. Jean is a psychotherapist and the school counselor at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland. She has dedicated her career to working with teenagers and their families.
Cormac Connor, JD
Attorney, Kirkland and Ellis LLP
Cormac Connor has been active with Eagle’s Nest since 1985. Over ten summers, Cormac was an Eagle’s Nest Camper, Junior Counselor, Hante participant and Counselor. Cormac joined the Eagle’s Nest Board of Trustees in 2013. He received his BA in History from Davidson College in 1995 and a JD degree from Georgetown University in 2002. After working as an associate attorney with law firms in Denver, CO and Washington, DC, Cormac worked for almost four years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. Cormac is now a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Washington, DC, where he focuses on government investigations, white collar criminal defense and commercial litigation. He also has an active pro bono practice, including representation of indigent residential tenants who are facing eviction proceedings. Outside of his legal practice, Cormac enjoys spending time with his wife, Anu, and their three daughters, hiking, cycling and finding reasons to go to the hardware store.
Cain attended Eagle’s Nest as a camper and counselor throughout her childhood and always loved returning to The Nest each year to reconnect with some of the people she still considers to be her best friends. She has passed this tradition to her daughters: McKinnley and Mary Lawson, who are long time Nesters. Cain is a Realtor with Carolina Mountain Sales, and acts as the Secretary with the Ruth Davidson Chapter, DAR. When she is not selling real estate, you will find Cain and her family hiking, biking, camping and enjoying the beauty of the mountains of Western Carolina.
Lyne has been a member of the Board of Trustees for more than a decade. His connection with Eagle’s Nest started when his eldest daughter went to camp for three weeks at the early age of six! Lyne has enjoyed a long career in college admissions and development at St. Andrews College, Wake Forest University, Duke, East Carolina, and UNC Chapel Hill School of Public Health where he served as the Director of Major and Planned Gifts. Lyne is currently Principal in Gamble Squared, a nonprofit and development consulting firm.
David Gilbert, MAT
Greensboro Day School
David Gilbert’s introduction to ENF began with a visit in 1993 from then executive director Helen Waite. Helen came to discuss her dream of a semester school, hoping that Greensboro Day School, where David was academic dean, would be interested in the concept. Convinced by Helen’s vision for OA, Greensboro Day School became one of OA’s six founding member schools, and Dave has served as his school’s liaison to OA ever since. Dave continues as Academic Dean with over 30 years of experience as an independent school administrator, teacher of math, physics and computer science, and an advocate for outdoor experiential education. David feels his primary service to the ENF Board is to attend to the long-term vitality and viability of the Outdoor Academy.
Heather Goodling, MA
SVP; Market Information Manager
Bank of America
Atlantic Beach, FL
Heather first learned about Eagle’s Nest when she was six years old through Mariella and Joe Huber whose father, Dr. Alex Waite, founded Eagle’s Nest Camp. Heather started coming to camp soon after that and still returns every summer with her husband, Beaver, and sons Daniel and Jacob. She is now a Senior Vice President of the merged company, Bank of America, a member of her church contemporary band, The Grateful Bread, and participates regularly in church dramas and plays at her community theater in Jacksonville Beach.
Bruce Grob, PhD
Retired Executive Director
Susan G. Komen for the Cure, N. Florida
Black Mountain, NC
Bruce’s connection with Eagle’s Nest began when his daughter attended the Outdoor Academy in the spring of 2002. With a background in Education, Religion, Social and Biomedical Ethics, Bruce helped found and direct the non-profit FreshMinistries which focused on housing, economic and community development in the city’s urban core and HIV/AIDS prevention education in South Africa, Siyafundisa. He now serves as the Executive Director of the North Florida chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and helped his wife, Banta Whitner, write a book called This Congruent Life, A Spiritual Ecology Practice.
Troy grew up in Winston-Salem, NC with many of the ENF camp regulars.
In his college years, he worked at the camp, and forged life-long relationships with the Eagle’s Nest community. He was a chief of the Migisi Tribe, and co-led two exciting “Huck Finn” trips on the French Broad River.
He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, and followed at Wake Forest University where he earned his law degree. After prosecuting for several years in Atlanta, Georgia, Troy entered private practice as a civil rights and criminal defense practitioner.
He has maintained the close relationship with the mountains of North Carolina that he gained from his experience at Eagle’s Nest. He and his wife, Theo, spend much of their free time in a cabin high above the Tuckaseegee River in western North Carolina near Sylva. He is an avid mountain biker, fisherman, skier, and paddler.
Elen Knott, MLS
Retired Head Reference Dept.
Z. Smith Reynolds Library
Wake Forest University
Elen’s daughters, Sara and Hannah Knott, went to Eagle’s Nest Camp for many years as campers and counselors. Now her four granddaughters are proud Nesters, and Elen has been a Board Member for many decades. After more than twenty years as a reference librarian at Wake Forest University, Elen is now involved in Master Gardener Volunteer activities in Winston Salem, digging and delving in themed gardens at the Arboretum at Tanglewood Park, and runs school programs grounded in North Carolina curriculum standards.
Jamey Mavis Lowdermilk, MS
Legal Policy Intern, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
Chapel Hill, NC
Jamey Mavis Lowdermilk
Jamey has come a long way since her first night in Cabin Library, terrified of the bullfrogs. She has since been involved in every aspect of ENF programming as a participant, staff, and OA Alumni. After a varied career concluding most recently in Montana with the U.S. Forest Service, she’s pursuing a juris doctorate at the UNC School of Law with a focus in public interest and public policy.
Richard O'Hara, MEd
The John Carroll School
Bel Air, MD
Rick O’Hara was recruited to assist Eagle’s Nest Foundation in establishing and growing The Outdoor Academy. At the time, he was the Head of the High School at the University School in Nashville, Tennessee, a position he held from 1989 to 1997. Prior to that, Rick was a Spanish teacher, coach, Director of College Counseling, and Director of Community Service, among other roles, at Woodberry Forest School in central Virginia. From 1997 until 2007, he was head of the Wellington School in Columbus, Ohio and appointed a member of the Ohio governor’s Community Service Council. In 2008 Rick became President of The John Carroll School in Bel Air, Maryland.
Michael Perling, CPA
Birnbrey, Minsk, Minsk & Perling LLC
Michael’s connection to Eagle’s Nest began when his daughter, Anna, asked if she could go to Camp. While Michael and Dori were worried how Anna would adjust to nature and the outdoors, Anna attended Eagle’s Nest until she no longer could! Anna has been a participant in three Hantes, a Junior Counselor, kitchen intern, and will have served as a cabin counselor at Eagle’s Nest Camp for two years after the summer of 2012. She also attended the Outdoor Academy in the fall of her sophomore year in high school. The impact that Eagle’s Nest had on Anna and her family led Michael to become a member of the Board of Trustees. Michael is a Certified Public Accountant and Partner with Birnbrey, Minsk, Minsk & Perling, LLC in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. He has been a contributing member of several non-profit organizations in the Atlanta area.
Steve Robins, MA
Head of High School
University School of Nashville
Steve Robins became involved in Eagle’s Nest in 1998 he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to serve as Head of School at the University School of Nashville. Steve’s son ultimately enjoyed Eagle’s Nest as well. In 1999, Steve joined the Advisory Board of OA, and in 2007 became a member of the Board of Trustees. Prior to his position at USN, Steve taught English for twenty years at the Buckley School. In addition to his lifelong commitment to reading, Steve enthusiastically listens to music and whenever possible enjoys spending time in his workshop turning wood.
Edee Waite Robinson
Owner, Viva Gourmet
Mt. Dora, FL
Edee Waite Robinson
Edee’s history with Eagle’s Nest began when her parents met here in the early 1950’s. Her father Ed was the program director and her mother was hired to start up the rifle/marksmanship program. She grew up with summers at Eagle’s Nest as a camper, JC, and counselor. Edee is a fifth generation resident of Mt. Dora, Florida and spent fifteen years in the real estate industry followed by years managing a family-construction business. She currently is pursuing her passion as the co-owner of an online gourmet food business Viva Gourmet, which provides high quality gourmet ingredients and the inspiration to create memorable meals. Memories from around the table are a longstanding tradition at Eagles Nest.
Tom Rogers, PhD
Assoc. Professor of History
In addition to growing up at camp, Tom and his wife Hannah Knott Rogers met there. He relished the opportunity to return as a parent counselor in 2011, during daughter Dinah’s first year at camp. In 2012, Dinah was joined at camp by her younger sister Juno. Tom taught Latin American and Caribbean History at UNC Charlotte for six years before joining Emory University’s History Department in 2011. His professional and personal interests overlap considerably; he wrote a book about environmental and labor history and is at work on another that explores Brazil’s experiences with biofuel production. Tom is thrilled to serve as a trustee for an organization that has figured so prominently in his life.
Diane Ulmer, MSW, LCSW
Social Worker and Administrator
Denver North High School
Diane’s first glimpse of Eagle’s Nest was during a site visit for a risk management class that she took while earning her BS in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at Clemson University. The next summer she was all in as a vital part of Eagle’s Nest Camp and Hante Wilderness Staff. Since then, she has led countless Hante Adventures, Added Adventures, and Paddling trips for Eagle’s Nest Foundation. Diane currently can be found exploring the mountains of Colorado, skiing and hiking. She has been a School Social Worker in Denver Public Schools for the past six years, and is currently working on a certificate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies through the University of Denver and Denver Public Schools.
Retired Executive Director, Eagle's Nest Foundation
Pisgah Forest, NC
Helen attended Rollins College and received degrees from Duke University and Salem College. She served Summit School as a 5-K teacher and the Winston Salem Public schools as 4th-5th grade teacher respectively. But she soon followed her passion for the arts combined with environmental and experiential education as Director of Eagles Nest Camp. Later she founded Eagle’s Nest Camp Inc. as a Foundation and became ENF’s ExecutiveDirector. Realizing the dream of experiential and academic achievement she founded The Outdoor Academy of the Southern Appalachians in 1991. Presently Helen serves the Eagles Nest Board of Trustees and also serves the Board of Directors of The Downeast Coastal Conservancy in Maine.