Lyt Wood, Camp Director
Lyt Wood has been a professional arborist, forester and educator in natural history subjects since 1974. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Forestry and Wildlife Management. From 1974 to 1981, he worked as County Forester with the Virginia Division of Forestry promoting forest management practices on private land in Madison and Rappahannock Counties.
Since 1981 he has worked on various projects related to agriculture, tree care and natural history education: editor of the newsletter of the Virginia Association of Biological Farmers; manager of a 30-acre apple and peach orchard and 60 honeybee hives; educational and other support for the Nature Camp at Vesuvius, Virginia; and assistance with mapping and other projects for The Nature Conservancy. In the 1980’s he worked with the Piedmont Environmental Council’s Education Committee to establish a regional educational program, of which PEC’s Natural History Day Camps were a part.
In 1986 he helped to establish Rapp Nature Camp which, under his direction, is still open to children each summer at his property on the Hazel River south of Sperryville. He is semi-retired as sole proprietor of Tree Works, specializing in all kinds of tree care. His personal interests include gardening and small-scale farming, wildlife watching, Goethean science, Waldorf education, songwriting and traditional music.
Kat Habib, Assistant Director
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. Now a ceramic artist, florist, and college and career guide with Headwaters Foundation, 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.
Nina Anderson, Assistant Director
Nina Anderson has an Education Degree, has taught kindergarten for 12 years, and is in her 6th year teaching 2nd grade in Fauquier County. She has been a life-long nature lover. As a youth, she attended Nature Camp in Vesuvius, VA. She is an avid hiker, runner, and reader. She lives with her husband and Jenkins, “the best dog ever” in Old town Warrenton. She has 2 adult daughters – one is a student at VCU and the other a graduate from VA Tech.
Nina enjoys any opportunity to take learning outdoors. Additionally, she can be found with a menagerie of creatures in her classroom, borrowed temporarily for observation and lessons in life and its patterns and cycles. Rapp Nature Camp is another opportunity to be actively engaged with youth and the great outdoors. It is her goal to nurture an appreciation of the natural world in the youth of today, for a better tomorrow.
Tessa Crews, Assistant Director
Rapp Nature Camp alumna, Tessa graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016 with a major in Global Environmental Sustainability. While at university, some of her most transformational experiences include managing the student-led community garden, being trained as a student designer for the Office of the Dean of Students Marketing Department, and a semester-long independent study conducted in rural India for her final thesis. Upon graduation, she apprenticed at the Green Comfort School of Herbal Medicine as a student sponsored and published by The Project on Lived Theology. She has since lived in the jungles of Costa Rica and the Pyranees mountains of France while working remotely as a Graphic Designer.
Tessa is excited to join the team at Rapp Nature Camp as the Assistant Director and feels this is a wonderful opportunity to immerse herself more deeply into the streams and forests of the Shenandoah while sharing this unique and biodiverse landscape with others.
Tristan Sonnett, Counselor
Tristan grew up in Rappahannock, in Harris Hollow surrounded by forest and the headwaters of the Rush River. He spent a few years at the University of Mary Washington before opting to seek a less formal but more fulfilling education on his own, traveling abroad and volunteering on organic farms, sustainable homesteads, and small communities, building and working with the land and being infinitely inspired by the creative ways in which people all over the world strive to live simply and symbiotically within nature. Tristan describes this education as a beautiful and solid foundation.
Tristan attended Rappahannock Nature Camp and Belle Meade Summer Camp first as a camper and later as a counselor, and loves exploring and getting filthy and discovering critters and all the hidden magical nooks in this beautiful area, and encouraging the same appreciation with the kids (though they often seem to have that naturally!)
Amanda Puskar, Counselor
Although Amanda lives in Warren County, she grew up within the Rappahannock Public School system and spends most of time in Rappahannock. She will soon begin her freshman year at George Mason University. She plans to major in biology and minor in conservation, with hopes of pursuing a career in wildlife conservation. She currently works at the Rappahannock Animal Welfare League in her free time. When she is not working, you can find her hiking in Shenandoah National Park, or pursuing her interest in photography. She is thrilled to become a part of Rapp Nature Camp and learn new things along the way.
Melissa Luce, Administrative Director
Melissa has been keeping small businesses and non-profits organized for over 25 years. A recent transplant to Madison County, she is setting roots at the base of Old Rag – a mountain she has been hiking since she moved to Virginia in the mid-1990s.
An ardent backpacker, gardener, and photographer, Melissa’s fondest memories include watching tadpoles transform into frogs, silk worms metamorphize into moths, and singing songs at 4-H and nature camps in her home state of California. She is delighted to help young people connect to the magic power of nature and the wisdom of its seemingly chaotic order.