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McDowell Farm School

Farm Staff

Meet the team!

FULL TIME FARM STAFF

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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.

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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.

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Holt Akers-Campbell, Farm Manager

Holt grew up in Nashville, TN, and came to farming through starting a vegetable garden in his family’s yard during high school. He was a student farmer throughout his time at Wesleyan University and after graduation, spent the next five years as a professional market gardener and small livestock farmer. He has farmed in no-till operations, by draft horse power, and with traditional tractor cultivation in New England, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama. While a vegetable grower at heart, he is also a passionate swineherd and loves the art of home butchery and curing. He expects to graduate with a M.S. in Agricultural Education through the University of Tennessee in Fall 2021. He is enjoying exploring the fields and forests of Camp McDowell with his dog, Vergil.

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Debra Feltman, MFS Nurse

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.

SEASONAL STAFF

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Durrell

Durrell is from Jasper, Alabama. He enjoys spending his time in the outdoors with friends and family. Some of his hobbies as an outdoor advocate are fishing, hunting, hiking and so much more. Durrell enlisted right out of high school to served his country as a Infantry Marine in the United States Marine Corps. He has also taught Coed Cheer and worked for Netflix as a Body Guard. Through all these jobs he’s found himself here at Camp McDowell doing what he loves most and passing that education further for our future generations.

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Ginger

Ginger is from Daleville, Alabama. As a kid they spent most of their free time wandering the woods and climbing trees, activities they have reconnected with as an adult. Ginger has worked at a couple permaculture farms in the Birmingham area where they discovered their passion for farming. They have a deep connection with nature and particularly love learning about the wildlife and plants native to Alabama. In their free time they enjoy tending to their garden at home, journaling, crafting, and learning more about nature!

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Heather

Heather grew up in Cold Spring, NY, and spent a lot of time in nature, which led them to want to pursue a career in the outdoors. In high school, they worked for a short period of time as a livestock intern on a local regenerative farm, and this experience influenced a love for agriculture. Heather graduated from Stony Brook University last December with a degree in Environmental Studies. Through their education, Heather has taken many courses in environmentalism, sustainability, and agriculture, and has a deep understanding of the importance of conserving natural land and resources. After graduation, they spent six months in Louisiana working for AmeriCorps on a conservation crew. They gained hands-on experience working for local parks and national forests performing invasive species removal and conducting trail maintenance. Over this summer, Heather has worked as a Wilderness Director for YMCA Camp Chingachgook, located in the New York Adirondacks. This job allowed them to gain more experience in childcare and logistical skills related to an outdoor job. In their free time, Heather enjoys hiking, reading, photography, gardening, spending time with friends, and traveling. Heather is really excited to work at Camp McDowell as it is a meaningful opportunity for them to combine their love of working with children and learning/teaching about the environment. Lastly, some random fun facts are that Heather can jungle (for a short period of time) and they really love vacuuming.

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Kendra

Kendra grew up in the Pacific Northwest. They were taught early on by their mother and grandmother the importance and beauty of being able to grow your own food. Never shying away from bringing home a new furry friend, there were always animals around. Kendra began working with children early on in life and has worked in childcare settings as well as being a nanny for many years. Throughout their career Kendra has taken many courses in Early Childhood Education and believes it is important to always keep learning. These last few years they have taken a break from their career path and explored the west coast, traveling in vans or on boats and learning how to live more simply. Being at camp McDowell is an exciting opportunity for Kendra to jump back into work with children while also combining her love of connecting to the earth. Kendra loves camping, hanging with doggos, reading, drawing and generally being in the outdoors.

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Liz

Liz is originally from Birmingham, Alabama and has felt most at peace outside with her hands in the dirt from an early age. She obtained her degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montevallo and fell in love with the mission of Camp McDowell while attending the annual Food and Farm forum in 2018, followed by a University field trip. She oversaw operations at the Montevallo Community Garden, initiated a composting program through the campus cafeteria, and spent 3 years volunteering for Cahaba Riverkeeper as the lead Summer Swim Guide intern. With a passion for travel and people, she has lived out of her van traveling the countryside and documenting folks' stories since March of 2021 and is stoked to gain more farm experience through seasonal work while teaching kids to foster a deep appreciation for the land. She also loves cooking, singing, hiking, and making jewelry in her spare time.

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Maddy

Maddy grew up in the Chesapeake Bay Area, where she spent her days alongside the minnows, oysters, and blue herons. She was instilled with a strong sense of environmental stewardship from a young age, seeking to protect the native biodiversity she loved. "I’ve always felt most connected to myself and my place in the world when I’m immersed in nature." Maddy graduated from Sewanee, The University of the South, where she received a degree in biology. She experienced place based learning for the first time, with access to field work and research just a short walk away from her classroom. Her education reached a new depth when she could apply the concepts she learned in the classroom to her tangible surroundings. Maddy is excited for the opportunity to give students the same hands-on learning experience that made such a difference in her own education!

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Mirena

Mirena grew up in Southern New Jersey for most of her life, spending her senior year studying abroad in New Zealand, and four years at college in Long Island, New York. After graduating from Stony Brook University with a degree in Human Evolutionary Biology and two minors in Anthropology and Leadership Development, Mirena spent some time traveling up and down the east coast and most recently spent the summer working at a teen summer camp in central Pennsylvania. Mirena has loved traveling from a young age and some of her favorite trips include: traveling throughout Ecuador and the Galapagos while shadowing an environmental biology class, spending a week in Yosemite hiking and sight seeing, and traveling throughout New Zealand and Australia during her year abroad. With her down time, Mirena enjoys anything out on the lake, reading, arts & crafts, and spending time with friends and family. A love for nature and teaching children led Mirena to Camp McDowell where she's excited to learn more about agriculture, sustainability, and farming.

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Zee

Zee is an eager learner, and loves hands on work. Zee is from Birmingham, Alabama, and has loved working on farms in the Birmingham Area. Zee did not go to college, but instead chose to dive into the hands on work of farming. When he is not out on the farm, Zee loves video games of all kinds, reads manga, watches anime and cartoons even to this day! Cows are Zee's favorite animal, but he is excited to share with you the other farm animals we have out at the McDowell Farm School!