Leadership

 

Nature Camps’ leadership team is the core of our administrative staff. They are responsible for the planning and implementing of Nature Camps programs, as well as direct teaching. Their commitment to Nature Camps’ values and philosophies, as well as to education and the environment, sets the standard for the entire Nature Camps community.

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Melissa Shaull-Thompson

Education Director and Administrator

Melissa Shaull-Thompson is a dedicated teacher with over 25 years of experience. Melissa received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology and Environmental Science from Barnard College / Columbia University. She then entered an innovative and intensive two-year teacher training program at The Park School of Baltimore. Melissa received a strong foundation in progressive education – learning the value of student-driven inquiry, cooperative learning, and critical reflection. A few years later, Melissa joined a non-profit organization serving at-risk youth. Melissa worked with a small and dedicated team to develop and expand the organization’s academic program into an MSDE approved non-public school providing services through a partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools. This small and supportive school environment was designed to help students tackle the wide array of obstacles presented by growing up in deep poverty and exposure to multiple traumas.

For the past 10 years, Melissa has been working as a Kindergarten classroom teacher at Federal Hill Preparatory School. Federal Hill is unique in the Baltimore City Public School system in that it is pursuing certification as an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. The IB approach to education closely mirrors the progressive philosophy that Melissa embraced at the beginning of her career at the Park School of Baltimore. In recent years, Melissa has also worked for the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University. In her work with CTY, Melissa developed courses that challenged students to think critically, debate ideas, and express their ideas in creative ways. In December of 2020, Melissa earned a Master of Science Degree from Johns Hopkins University in Early Childhood Education.

Melissa’s relationship with Nature Camps began in the early 1990’s when she was a counselor. Melissa was Co-Director of Nature Camps for five seasons during the Summers of 1996-1998, 2000, and 2001. Melissa’s husband, EJ and her daughter, Remi have also been counselors at Nature Camps. Melissa is thrilled that life is bringing her full circle and back to her Nature Camp home and family. Melissa looks forward to ensuring that Nature Camps continues to thrive – providing a haven for young people eager to embrace the joys and restorative power of nature. She knows that our children need Nature Camp more today than ever before and is honored to be able to share this magical place with a new generation.

Don Webb

Founder and Executive Director

Don is a lifelong naturalist, outdoor educator, and psychotherapist, focusing on the unique growth and development of everyone. In 1974, Don founded Nature Camps, Inc. (formerly Don Webb Nature Camp or DWNC). Don's Quaker background, his love for nature, and his deep regard for children of all learning styles have led to the creation of nurturing and joyful learning environments for children and families from Vermont to Maryland.

Don holds Master degrees from Antioch University New England: MA, Master in the Art of Teaching (MAT); MA, Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT). He is a graduate of Rutgers University, The New York Gestalt Center for Psychotherapy and Training, and The New York Focusing Institute.

Don was in VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) in Norfolk, VA; later working as an Appalachian Volunteer - Community Organizer and as a Teaching Principal in a one-room schoolhouse in Eastern Appalachia (Kentucky). He taught on the elementary, secondary, and college levels for forty-eight years. Don founded Whispering Oaks School, Inc. a one-room country schoolhouse in White Hall, Maryland. Locally, he taught at the Gilman School, The Jemicy School, Whispering Oaks, Inc. and Havre de Grace High School.

​Don serves on the Board of Directors for Spoutwood Farm Center, currently as Chairman. He has previously served on the regional and national Board of Directors for the Association for Experiential Education (AEE). He is a member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and is a Certified Focusing Psychotherapist.