Summer Staff 2017

Meet MSU Tollgate’s 2017 Summer Staff!

 Ellen Koehler- Education Coordinator/Camp Administrative Director      

I have been sharing a love of the outdoors with youth in formal and informal settings for over 30 years. This summer, I will be serving again as Summer Camp Admin Director. I thoroughly enjoy my role as Tollgate’s Education Coordinator and love playing a role in campers’ discovery-based learning. A Master Gardener, I also have my AAS in Horticulture and Landscape Design. Over the years, I have served as 4H leader of science, drama, geography, and wilderness clubs as well as assisted with the Junior Master Gardener Program. My passions include gardening, reading, music, wilderness sports, and, most of all, spending time with my children and grandchildren.

Nicole Blanzy- Camp Program Director

Hi! I’m Ms. Nicole. I’m looking forward to spending my third summer at Tollgate Farm Camp and seeing all of my friends, old and new. I am a graduate of MSU with a degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainability. I’m enthusiastic about the outdoors, animals, gardening, cooking, and eating. Tollgate Farm is a second home to me and I cannot wait to share all of its wonder with our campers.

Tanya Tiemeyer-
Communications Coordinator

Hi campers! I was a camp counselor last summer at Tollgate and I am excited to return in the role of communications coordinator. I will be taking pictures and blogging about camp as we explore Tollgate together! When I am not at camp, I am a speech-language pathologist for Detroit Public Schools and I am training to run a marathon. I cannot wait for another fun summer filled with fishing, time with the animals, camp games, and tie-dye!

Madeline Andrews- Educational Leader

Hi, everyone! My name is Madeline Andrews and I will be one of the Educational Leaders at Tollgate this summer! I am going into my Senior year at Michigan State University, where I am studying Elementary Education. In my free time, I love to be outside at my cottage, draw, and walk my dog. I am looking forward to another fabulous summer at camp! Go Green!

 Alyssa Zaharia- Educational Leader

Hello, my name is Alyssa. I am a recent MSU graduate, and I am starting my master’s degree program in speech-language pathology at The University of Toledo, next fall. I enjoy yoga, cooking, painting, and working with kids. During my free time, I am a reading and writing tutor, and I also work with adults who have disabilities teaching them practical independent living skills. I am very excited to be an educational leader this summer and I can’t wait to meet all of the campers!


 Madeline Verklan- Educational Leader

Hi! I’m Maddy Verklan and I will be one of the Educational Leaders for the 2017 summer. I graduated last year from Michigan State and finished my student teaching program in April. I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education, a focus in Language Arts, and a minor in Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (or TESOL). I love spending my time reading, cooking, hiking and running. I’m so excited to meet all the campers and I am looking forward to a fantastic, fun-filled summer.

 Danielle Gush- Educational Leader

Hi! My name is Dani I just graduated MSU in May with a degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainability. This is my first year at Tollgate and I’m super excited to meet all the campers and have an awesome time on the farm. I love spending time exploring outside and when I’m not at Tollgate you can find me kayaking, playing with my bunny, hanging out with my family, and cooking. Get ready to have an amazing time at camp!

Julian Sanders- Educational Leader

Hello! My name is Julian Sanders and I am so excited to be back here at Tollgate! This will be my second year here as part of the summer camp staff and I couldn’t be more ready for camp. I’m currently a senior at MSU majoring in Physical Science –physics and chemistry— for secondary education. I love animals, plants, and everything about agriculture. In my free time in enjoy spending as much time as I can outdoors, hiking, fishing, camping; I love it all. I’m also an avid fencer, and the current president of MSU’s fencing team. I’m super happy to be working with such a great group of staff, and I have no doubt that my colleagues and I will make this an incredible summer; filled with a lot of learning and a ton of fun.

 Shea Heid- Garden Kitchen  Leader

My name is Shea, and I am looking forward to working this summer as Garden Kitchen Leader at Tollgate.  In addition to healthy living and cooking, I enjoy engaging with people, exploring the outdoors, and the creative arts. I am very appreciative for this amazing opportunity to work with my passions in a camp setting with kids and staff.  It is going to be a fun summer!


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