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
Will W. Abberger, MA
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. He lives in Tallahassee, FL.
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 of the Cary/Apex/Morrisville (NC) Relay for Life, she has been an avid supporter for the American Cancer 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. Gail lives in Apex, NC.
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. Cissy is a retired teacher from Westminster Day School. She lives in Spartanburg, SC.
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. She lives in Washington, DC.
Cormac Connor, JD
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.
Margaret Davidson Esposito
Margaret joined the Eagle’s Nest community in 1996, and participated as a camper, JC, and staff member as well as in Hante and as a student at The Outdoor Academy (Semester 10). After receiving a B.A. with concentrations in dance and African American history she moved from New York City to New Orleans and has been there ever since. After receiving her M.A.T. Margaret taught kindergarten, first grade, and special education geared towards literacy. She has since transitioned into her current role as a Mentor Teacher at Green Trees Early Childhood Village, teaching preschool to four-year-olds specializing in a constructivist and Reggio Emilia approach to learning. Margaret, her husband Chris, and her son Walker live a stone’s throw from the Mississippi River and frequently enjoy walks along the levee, birding in Bayou Sauvage, and extensive applications of glitter during Mardi Gras.
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. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.
David Gilbert, MAT
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
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
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
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
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.
Julee first learned about Eagle’s Nest through a camp party hosted by her neighbors. Her then five-year-old son looked up at her and said, “I want to go!” Both of her sons, Alex and Jack, have been attending camp since they were six and it has become a second home to them. Julee works as the Director of Financial Services for Outfitters4, a small business dedicated to helping nonprofits succeed. She is also very involved at her children’s school, serving as the Parent Council Co-Chair and as a committee member for the school’s largest fundraiser. Julee and her husband Kevin enjoy spending time outdoors with their boys and their dog, Dottie.
Rick O’Hara, MEd
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.
Doug is a functional potter/baker turned attorney. Doug attended Eagle’s Nest Camp as a camper from 1978 until 1981. During his junior year of High School, Doug was an exchange student in Finland. During college, Doug worked for several summers as a counselor at Eagle’s Nest. Doug joined the Eagle’s Nest Board of Trustees in 2016. He received his BA in Liberal Arts from the University of Central Florida in 1990 and a JD degree from Florida Coastal School of Law in 1999. Doug joined his father’s real estate law practice in 2000 and has been a sole practitioner since his father’s passing in 2011. Outside of his legal practice, Doug continues to make pottery as a hobby as well as baking and cooking.
Mike’s family has been involved with Eagle’s Nest since the late 1970s, when his oldest sister first attended camp. He began as a camper in 1985, and went on to work as a counselor, lead Hantes, serve as chief of the Natseeho tribe, and help direct the Program Office. He teaches English literature at Choate Rosemary Hall, the Connecticut boarding school, and is at work on a nonfiction book about race relations in the South. He spent nearly a decade working in journalism, mainly as a member of the editorial staffs of The New Yorker and, later, the New York Times. His writing has appeared in a wide variety of publications. He is a regular contributor to the New York Times Book Review, and his work has been cited by the Best American Science and Nature Writing series.
Michael Perling, CPA
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.
Harold first learned about ENF from Roger Herbert when he was interviewing for the Director position at The Outdoor Academy. Intrigued by Roger’s enthusiasm, Harold and his family visited the campus and OA for the first time in the spring of 2016. His son Bas was sold after visiting classes with Ted Wesemann and Katie Harris. Bas applied to the OA and attended Semester 44. His experience at OA and our many visits since have developed a strong liking for ENF and its mission. His son Finn is getting ready to apply to be a student of Semester 48. Harold grew up in a small village in the south of the Netherlands. Living in Williamsburg, Virginia with his wife Tracy, their two sons Bas & Finn and their dog Mello, Harold manages to find time to play board and card games with his family, mountain-bike, trail-run and introduce Dutch visitors to the beauty of Virginia. His greatest passion is traveling with his family. Professionally, Harold has been working with Northwestern Mutual as a Wealth Management Advisor since 2006.
Steve Robins, MA
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
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
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.
Dee Anna Smith
Born in Florida, Dee Anna spent her summers at Eagle’s Nest as a camper (and was camper of the year in 1984!). After driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, the US wasn’t large enough and she joined the Department of State Foreign Service. As a diplomat, she and her family have served in Madagascar, Switzerland, Azerbaijan, England, and Russia. She holds an MBA from Thunderbird and a BA from the George Washington University where she was a Division I swimmer. She joined the ENF Board of Trustees in 2017. Both her children are campers and they look at Eagle’s Nest as a place to always come back to. She currently lives in Washington, DC near the Zoo with her family.
Diane Ulmer, MSW, LCSW
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 is currently a proud Assistant Principal within Denver Public Schools, at High Tech Early College. She has been with Denver Public Schools since the 2009-2010 school year, serving as a School Social Worker, school turnaround leader, and district MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Support) leader. Diane has a Master of Social Work and a Certificate in Education Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Denver and is currently completing a yearlong Principal Fellowship with the Relay Graduate School of Education.
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 Executive Director. 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.