Click on a Foundation staff member’s photo to learn more about each person.
Elizabeth Waite-Kucera (Noni) is the Executive Director of Eagle’s Nest Foundation and serves on The Outdoor Academy Advisory Board. She graduated from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., with a B.A. degree in anthropology. Previously, Noni was Camp Director at Eagle’s Nest Camp from 1993-2003 and Business Manager from 1989-1999 for Eagle’s Nest Foundation. She has also been the Swimming Director, and Paddling Director. Additionally, Noni developed Eagle’s Nest whitewater canoeing and Hante Bicycling programs.
Noni’s grandfather, Alex Waite, head of psychology at Rollins College, founded Eagle’s Nest Camp in 1945. Helen and Mo Waite, Noni’s parents, served as directors for the Eagle’s Nest Carolinas’ Camp for Diabetic Children. Her mother served as director of Eagle’s Nest Camp and executive director of Eagle’s Nest Foundation for many years. Noni spent her childhood years growing up at camp and is honored to carry on the mission of Eagle’s Nest as Executive Director of the foundation.
Cara, a North Carolina transplant from Ohio, now calls Brevard and the Blue Ridge Mountains “home.” After hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2014 she took the role of Paddling Director for ENC before moving to the development office full-time.
Not only is Cara a skilled paddling instructor, she’s a talented experiential educator and an avid outdoorswoman. She holds a BS in Recreation from Ohio University and has worked in the field of outdoor education since 2003 as a wilderness instructor, outdoor program manager, camp counselor and challenge course facilitator. Cara spends her free time paddling, climbing, and hiking, tending to her impressive garden, and adventuring with her family.
Paige graduated with a B.A. degree in English from Salem College in Winston-Salem. While studying education in college, she applied to work at Eagle’s Nest Camp because she loved her own camp experiences as a child and thought that working at a camp would give her invaluable teaching experience. Her first summer at camp, Paige helped direct the musical and taught soccer. Throughout college, she continued to spend her summers at Eagle’s Nest teaching everything from ceramics to swimming to Explorer’s Club and leading Hante Appalachian Trail treks and bike treks. After graduating, she started working full time with Eagle’s Nest and has now worked here for more than 15 years. During that time, she served as the Hante Director, Head Counselor, Junior Counselor Coordinator and Associate Director. Her husband, Andy, whom she met at Eagle’s Nest, is also an educator.
Jesse was drawn to Eagle’s Nest by the mission and by the tremendous, life-changing learning offered by The Outdoor Academy. He’s an experiential educator and nonprofit administrator with years of service in environmental and higher education organizations. Before OA he served as executive director of Smokey House Center in Vermont, where he worked to inspire youth and others to connect to the land through the work of conservation and agriculture. He previously supported student learning and campus environmental programs at Unity College in Maine and Green Mountain College in Vermont.
Jesse and his partner Laura – an experienced educator in and out of the classroom – met many years ago while enrolled in an immersive, community-based environmental studies program with the Audubon Expedition Institute (AEI). Jesse holds a master’s degree in environmental education from AEI, a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Pace University (NYC), and a certificate in nonprofit management from the Marlboro Center for Graduate Studies. He is also a Senior Fellow in the national Environmental Leadership Program which supports diversity and leadership within the environmental sector.
Jesse, Laura, and their three children love to explore the woods, grow and share food, and make music together. They’re delighted to call the Blue Ridge Mountains and Eagle’s Nest “home.”
Kristine joined Eagle’s Nest Foundation as a Part Time Business Office Assistant in June 2019. Her family moved to Brevard from Tampa, FL in July 2016 when they decided to switch paths and move to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains to slow down, simplify, and to spend more time outdoors as their 2 daughters approached their teenage years. Prior to ENF, Kristine worked for over 20 years at a global investment company in various financial and project management roles. Outside of work, Kristine enjoys backpacking, hiking, gardening and giving back to the community in various volunteer roles.
After moving back to Brevard, North Carolina after a four-year stint in Colorado, Camille began working at Eagle’s Nest Foundation in 2018 as the Donor and Alumni Relations Coordinator. Camille earned her B.A. in Mass Communications from UNC Asheville, and she has a background in experiential education as well as an avid appreciation for the outdoors.
In her free time, you can find Camille exploring Pisgah National Forest with her husband and their dog, Piper. She also enjoys creating handmade arts and crafts and curling up with a good book and a hot cup of coffee.
Alex is originally from Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand and immigrated to the United States at a young age. He had been a photographer in western North Carolina for about five years before joining Eagle’s Nest Foundation in 2022. Alex is fluent in Thai, plays the piano, and spends lots of time with his friends. He spends his free time playing board games with his wife, learning new recipes, and lazing around his dog and cat. Alex works closely with The Outdoor Academy, Eagle’s Nest Camp, and Hante Adventures; photographing the authentic experiences of the day to day life of these programs.