McDowell Farm School

Farm Staff


Scotty Feltman, Director

Scotty grew up in the small town of Berry, AL where he roamed the woods and creeks surrounding his house and fell in love with being outside. After high school, he attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham and graduated with a degree in early childhood and elementary education. For the next seven years, he taught fifth grade in Birmingham where he first began using farming as an educational tool. He then transitioned to a high school teaching position within the system where he taught environmental science as well as developed and oversaw the programming and growing of a two acre sustainable urban farm behind the high school for four years through a local non-profit. As part of this program, he ran an internship with high school juniors and seniors growing and selling produce to the surrounding community while cultivating curiosity, hard work, and self sufficiency. Scotty was drawn to camp by the overall beauty and peacefulness of the land as well as the opportunity to live and work amongst a community of environmental educators. As farm school director, Scotty gets to continue to share his passion for teaching and sharing his excitement for the natural world and farming with the thousands of individuals that attend McDowell’s programs. Scotty and his wife Julie live at camp with their three children, Samuel, Betsy and Susanna. He’s really really psyched about learning, climbing, exploring with his family, and getting his hands dirty in southern soil.

Screen Shot 2022-02-21 at 11.33.44 AM.png

Kelly Baker, Program Coordinator

Kelly Baker grew up in Mobile, AL and it took her a while to develop a love for farming. While attending Auburn University for a degree in Human Development and Family Studies, Kelly was introduced to the world of farming and plants. She received a minor in Hunger studies and began to understand and appreciate the connection between the earth and humans. This connection solidified during her study abroad trip to Fiji where she worked on a Permaculture farm.

After graduating she began teaching and farming at Jones Valley Teaching Farm in downtown Birmingham. This is where she gained valuable experience in both teaching and farming. Her favorite part of the job was coordinating the High School apprenticeship program, where she got to work alongside a small group of high school students in the farm every day.

In July, Kelly led high-school students on a field trip to Camp McDowell Farm School and fell in love with the program! Only a few months later she became the McDowell Farm School Program Coordinator.

She is loving living at Camp McDowell and feels like a real camp person after adopting her new puppy Peanut who was found in the parking lot of a Jasper thrift store.


Tristan Hendrix, Farm Manager

Tristan is an Alabama native, born and raised in Hoover, AL. Upon graduating from Mississippi State with a degree in agribusiness he knew he wanted to have a positive impact in the world. Particularly the health of the land and the health of those around him. This journey began at Camp McDowell in the Spring of 2020. Upon learning the skills of food production, animal handling and land stewardship at McDowell Farm School Tristan knew he had found his vocation. Teaching about the plants and animals that provide us sustenance has been an incredible way to lay the groundwork for future generations to change our food systems and our world. He has continued his work in organic agriculture at Serenbe Farms where he has served in various roles over time including education programs coordinator, assistant farm manager, and farm manager.

IMG_5806 (1).jpg

Debra Feltman, MFS Nurse and Greta, Dog

Debra grew up in Hueytown, Al where she met, fell in love, and married her amazing husband of 47 years, Dennis. They have spent the last 40 years in the small town of Berry, Alabama, where they raised 2 great kids, quite a few horses and some dogs. (also a garden every year). After Debra's youngest child went off to college, she went to college to become an RN. Debra worked in several different nursing areas, then found her love for the operating room. When Debra retired from her job at Birmingham Surgery Center in Homewood, she was approached about the need for a farm nurse at Camp McDowell. As the farm nurse at Camp McDowell, Debra gets to take care of the amazing children that come to camp. She also enjoys getting to work with the awesome farm school staff and exploring the camp with her little dog Greta.


IMG_0189 (2).jpg


Allie grew up in Huntsville, AL. They spent most weekends with their family hiking or playing outside in the dirt, growing a love of the outdoors that would stay with them into adulthood. They grew up going to Camp McDowell, and spent three summers on McDowell Summer Staff and three years at Church of the Nativity in Huntsville working with their youth group. They graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Biochemistry, but took a gap year before grad school to work on a regenerative farm in Huntsville. Instead, they fell in love with farming and caring for the land and have spent the last two years on that same farm. In their free time, they love foraging, hiking, and playing music. They are excited to be able to spread the love and knowledge of land stewardship with the youth.

This is Allie's 2nd season at the MFS!



Bryn grew up in Nashville, TN where they found respite from the city when working with the land. While at Sewanee: The University of the South, their passion for food security and farming grew from their intersecting love for community care and environmental care. Bryn studied Environmental Studies with a focus on Art and Humanities to better understand how people connect to their world.

Throughout their high school and collegiate career, they have been incredibly grateful to work for farm initiatives in Middle TN and Germany with aligning values such as Re: The Regenerative School, Americorps Summer Vista for the Sewanee University Farm and Growing Roots, and more recently the Nashville Food Project. These organizations have given Bryn invaluable experience in permaculture, production, and community garden operations as well as some opportunities to teach community members and an elementary school summer camp. They are thrilled to grow and learn so much more with Camp McDowell's community!



Catherine grew up loving the outdoors and has spent her time trying to get outside as much as possible. She graduated from Sewanee: the University of the South with a major in Biology and a concentration in Ecology and Biodiversity. After graduation, she worked at the McDowell Environmental Center and is now very excited to be on the Farm side! When she isn’t looking for salamanders, birds, or bugs, she can be found reading a book or crafting in whichever medium is her current fixation (ask her what it currently is!).

Chas Zachar Photo.jpg


Chas Zachar was born in Clearwater, Florida but moved to the Arizona desert when he was ten years old. Warm weather was the only thing the two places had in common and remains one of his favorite things in life even today.

After graduating high school, Chas joined the U.S. Navy before his career was cut short after an accidental injury. He then enrolled at Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa where he studied education and life sciences. At MIU, he took part in courses such as “Local Nature”, “Deep Ecology”, and “Biodynamic Agriculture” which inspired his deep connection and respect for the natural world that continues to underlie his passion for education.

After graduation, he was selected to join Teach for America and spent two years teaching math at Kanu o Ka Aina charter school in Hawaii where he gained new perspectives on culture, sustainability and care for the planet and its inhabitants. He made the tough decision to leave Hawaii and earned a Master’s degree in Waldorf Education in Germany before spending the past few years teaching at schools and camps in France, Cyprus, Montenegro, and Philadelphia. He is excited to spend the spring at Camp McDowell and looks forward to an incredible time of working and learning.



Hi! My name is Emily, and I grew up in Hoover, AL. My house is surrounded by woods and backs up to the Cahaba River, and I grew up going on outdoor excursions around my house. This led to me getting my Bachelor of Science degree in Urban Environmental Studies in May of 2021. I have worked with kids since I was 16 and am excited for the opportunity to combine two things I am passionate about – the environment and education!



Ky traces her roots back to the San Francisco Bay Area, and began her career with children as a travel nanny. After several years working with families around the world, Ky embarked on a seasonal gig adventure through the US. While working in a sustainable fishery in Alaska, she gained keen insight on what it takes to nourish ourselves within balance with nature. She began seeking ways to deepen her understanding of the food system with the intent to weave that knowledge into her commitments as a childcare provider. With the shared aim of passing these values to future generations, she knew McDowell Farm School was the perfect place to do just that. She is greatly looking forward to absorbing everything there is to learn about sustainable agriculture while making unforgettable memories with awesome people (like you!)



Neva grew up in rural Missouri and has since lived in Honolulu, HI; St. Louis, MO; Denver, CO; Chicago, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Livonia, MI; and Monhegan, ME. They are now looking forward to experiencing the next few months in Alabama with McDowell Farm School. Neva studied Creative Writing and Theatre at Truman State University and received an MFA in Cinema Directing from Columbia College Chicago, during which she shot her thesis film on a farm in rural Indiana with four child actors and one dog. They are always looking for creative inspiration in unique environments, especially in nature.



From the central valley of California, Samantha (she/her) is so excited to join McDowell Farm School for the spring, learning and connecting with all of you! She is interested in growing, building community and a better world. She loves walks, yoga, books, and the sun!