BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Anne Simon, Chair
When Anne and her husband, Lee, moved to Virginia from California 26 years ago, she wanted to settle in Rappahannock County. She remembers coming over the mountain and picking up some lunch at The Mountainside Market and sitting by the Thornton River in Sperryville for a picnic. She looked around and said, “This is my spot in Virginia.” It took them many more years, retirement actually, to be able to move to the county, but they did so as soon as they could. They have never looked back.
Anne was a teacher and school administrator for 45+ years, working in independent schools both in California and Virginia. She ran a farm school on her ranch in Northern California and was Head of School at independent schools in California as well as here in Virginia. Working with families and education was a calling for her.
Outside of schools, her passion has always been for living as close to nature as possible and feeling the connection of all living things that comes when one can get quiet enough and still enough to hear and see it. Rapp Nature Camp offers this at an intentional and purposeful level. It brings with it the opportunity to learn and experience the complex and fascinating web that is created, of which we humans are a small but significant part. It includes all of the building elements of knowledge and understanding–academic, experiential, emotional, social, and even spiritual.
Anne lives in Flint HilI with her husband, two dogs, two horses, and seven sheep. One of her granddaughters and her great grandson have attended Rapp Nature Camp and loved it. She is grateful for the opportunity to contribute her perspective and experience to the Rapp Nature Camp Board.
Jeb Wofford, Treasurer
Jeb Wofford moved to Rappahannock county with his wife and 2 boys nine years ago. Jeb feels lucky that his early love of nature eventually turned into a career. After completing a B.S. in Biology from Washington and Lee and a M.S. in Fisheries Science from Oregon State University, he became a professional biologist. He currently works for the National Park Service where he’s been employed for the last 10 years. Both of his sons have been active participants in Rapp Nature Camp during the summer session. Jeb tends to look for “my own quiet spots” along the county’s creeks and rivers, though he’s certainly happiest when his relatively loud family is in tow.
Kat Habib, Secretary
Kat Habib is a Rapp Nature Camp neighbor who, before becoming Assistant Director in 2015, would annually look across the river during the camp session while on her walk, wondering what the campers were up to. She is delighted to be on this side of Singing Creek.
Kat has made her home in Rappahannock since 2012, a life-long dream that began during her childhood over the mountain in Warren County. Growing up on a farm with an environmental scientist mother (a colleague of Lyt’s), soil quality and gardening, seine nets and river critters, art and song, were all part of every day conversation; she enjoys both remembering and sharing this with campers. Kat received a BFA from the Corcoran College of Art + Design, where she managed the ceramics studio for several years and taught in the Pre-College summer program. From 2014-19, she worked as a college and career guide with Headwaters Foundation. She continues her relationship with Rappahannock school community by substitute teaching and serving on the Headwaters Board. Now a ceramic artist and florist, Kat is both an artist and an educator, each feeding the other within her. Much of her artistic inspiration comes from nature and observation. She especially likes birds, trees, walks in the woods and hearing from children what they see that adults may not.
Beth Gall, Board Member
Beth Gall was a high school classroom teacher for 34 years. She taught Earth Science in Culpeper in 1983 when she and her husband, Paul, made their home in Rappahannock County. She retired after 26 years at Rappahannock County High School where she taught Earth Science, Environmental Science, Horticulture, and Service Learning. She graduated from Va. Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry and Wildlife Management and acquired her teaching license from the University of Mary Washington. Her students had many opportunities to work with many Rappahannock community members. Environmental science students sampled the Thornton River, surveyed and studied the school’s wooded plot in Woodville, and identified plant species at a pond in Laurel Mills. Service learning students volunteered at the Food Pantry, the Rappahannock Historical Society and fire departments or rescue squads in Sperryville, Amissville, and Washington. Horticulture students learned from local residents at Waterpenny Farm, Sunnyside Farm, and Green Comfort School of Herbal Medicine, to name a few.
Beth has two daughters who were born and raised in Rappahannock County and attended Rappahannock County schools and Rapp Nature Camp. Rachel is an ELL teacher in Loudoun County, VA, and Hannah is a nurse in the NICU at UVA Hospital.
Erin Platt, Board Member
Former camper at Rapp Nature Camp and Nature Camp at Vesuvius, mother of a Rapp Nature Camp camper, and former teacher and current board member of Child Care and Learning Center of Rappahannock County, Erin has spent much of her life involved in early childhood learning. She sees the great value for kids to disconnect from computer screens and immerse themselves in a direct experience of the natural world. She also enjoys being an occasional cast member of RAAC theatre group and fully participating in a community she has called home for over 35 years.
Erin’s experience as a camper at Rapp Nature Camp brings immeasurable value to our board. She helps keep alive the child’s eye view with the broader perspective of a parent. As she says in a recent Rapp News article, “I was eight years old when I had my first experience at Rappahannock Nature Camp and nearly thirty years later I can remember every sight, every smell, every feeling. When was the last time you went outside and sat down on the ground and just listened? Listened with no regard for the dirt that will end up on your backside or the dew from the grass that is soaking into your shoes… At Nature Camp my sense of wonder was encouraged and rewarded. I learned many facts about the animals and plants and atmosphere around me. More importantly, though, I learned how to respect, protect, and be a part of the natural world that existed long before me and will continue to exist long after I’m gone.”
Nina Anderson, Board Member
Nina Anderson has been an elementary teacher for nearly 20 years and has a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University. She lives with her husband and Jenkins, “the best dog ever” in Old Town Warrenton. Nina has two adult daughters who are also “Earth Enthusiasts”.
Nina has been a life-long nature lover and has embraced the opportunity to participate in Rapp Nature Camp this past summer. As a youth, she attended Nature Camp in Vesuvius, VA. She is an avid hiker, runner, and reader. Rapp Nature Camp is another opportunity to be actively engaged with youth and the great outdoors. Nina also serves as Assistant Camp Director.
Cecilia Lopiano, Board Member
Cecilia Lopiano was raised in Rappahannock County and graduated from Rappahannock County High School. After high school, she attended the Art Institute of Philadelphia where she studied Fashion Design and Fibers Arts. Her background in art eventually led her to education when she began teaching small group sewing classes to children at a community art center. She went back to school and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and then a Master’s Degree in Special Education.
Cecilia worked in Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey, as an Elementary Literacy Teacher. While in Philadelphia, she participated in non-profit efforts such as Philly Tree People to conserve water and add green spaces to all neighborhoods in the city. After two decades in the Philadelphia area, Cecilia returned to Rappahannock with her two children to teach at Rappahannock County Elementary School. As an educator, Cecilia integrates hands-on learning activities and scientific inquiry in daily lessons to help guide students to a holistic understanding of complex topics.
While she is not teaching, Cecilia is with her kids or gardening. Cecilia also runs a small antique and vintage clothing shop called Antique Miscellanea, and she continues to experiment with growing and making natural textile dye.