EARTH CAMP HISTORY
Earth Camp was founded in 2007 by Vanessa Eyen & Kyle Collins at Laguna Farm in Sebastopol. The next year, Bev & Mark Buswell (aka “Farmer Buzz”) started Wildflowers Nature School on Mill Station Road in Sebastopol, offering a nature-based preschool, a homeschool enrichment program, and afterschool classes in nature connection for older kids. Over the years, Bev & Vanessa brainstormed on how to collaborate with their similar businesses. In 2012, Vanessa & Kyle were ready to move on from Earth Camp and raise a family and develop their professional lives. So in April 2012, at a beautiful ceremony by the campfire, Vanessa & Kyle passed Earth Camp on to Bev & Buzz, as owners, and Jamie as director. Jamie Malone was director of Earth Camp for 6 of our 1st 8 years and will be the new owner of Earth Camp starting September 2021. In this gap year of 2020, Bev & Buzz have transferred ownership of Earth Camp to their daughter Alyssa Buswell, who has created a fabulous Virtual Earth Camp program. Alyssa will transfer ownership of the camp in Sept. 2020 to Jamie. Hopefully by the summer of 2021, socially distancing is a thing for the history books and Jamie will be putting on the Earth Camp programs in person for many years.
OWNER OF (Virtual) EARTH CAMP
Alyssa Buswell was co-founder of Wildflowers Nature School and taught there a couple of years before relocating with her little family to Oregon. She has since taught preschool a few years and this spring converted her preschool into a virtual program with days packed full of fun activities bordered by a little Zoom connection. Parents have loved it and are begging for more. Alyssa also runs a “Nature Pods” group of several children that she takes to parks to be a nature mentor for them. Her BA in psychology included several child development classes and she has continued her education in many ways. She is the mother of 2 young teens, so her parent perspective is very fresh. Alyssa’s patience, positivity and sincere joy will brighten children’s days with her playful spirit and love of nature.
JAMIE MALONE aka “Sunshine”
OWNER (on deck) OF EARTH CAMP
Jamie holds a clear single subject teaching credential and a Master’s Degree in Education with a focus on Wilderness Education. She has taught at summer camps, at wilderness diversion programs (where she had teens in the wilderness for up to 3 months at a time), and has taught the homeschool enrichment program and the preschool program at Wildflowers Nature School. She is currently teaching at Analy High School. Jamie has 4 daughters and is passionate about getting them into nature and providing them with wilderness adventures. She lives in Sebastopol with her husband Chris and their girls. In 2019 she and her whole family hiked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail! Jamie’s amazing capability and organizational skills, her vision and joy, her playful nature and her many skills in teaching crafts and games make for the perfect Earth Camp owner.
Bev started teaching Environmental Education at age 16, volunteering to lead children’s groups at county and National Parks. She now has 37 years of experience in the field including a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Education, 5 years as the Environmental Education Director / Garden Teacher at a public school, about 10 years teaching preschool aged kids, a couple of years as a Laguna Foundation docent and curriculum intern, about 15 years as a scout leader in various functions (especially leading a high adventure group for about 10 years), and a myriad of other expressions of her desire to bring kids closer to nature. Valuing the works of Jon Young, Tom Brown, and Joseph Cornell, Bev has come to realize that the most important environmental education anyone can attain is a strong connection to the natural world. For it is what we love that we care for. Bev and Mark have 2 grown children and 2 grandchildren. When the oldest grandchild turned 2 years old, Bev decided it was time to return to her roots as a preschool teacher. Mark & her had always wondered how they could share their beautiful 4 ½ acres of forest, creek, orchard, & gardens. So in 2008 they opened Wildflowers Nature School on their land for preschoolers and have since added a Homeschool Enrichment Program, an afterschool nature connection club called “Scouts”, and Earth Camp. Bev’s playfulness, vision, sense of wonder, and excitement about the natural world makes her a great teacher.
MARK BUSWELL aka “FARMER BUZZ”
MENTOR Emeritus and FARMER
Buzz has a master’s in physics and a lot of knowledge of weather, birds, gardening, and ecological systems. He has a keen awareness of nature, always being the first to notice a deer bounding in the distance or what the birds are saying. As a father of 2 and grandfather of 2, about 10 years as a scout leader in various roles, and a volunteer in his kids’ schools, he knows firsthand how kids are and values tremendously having so many sweet children in his life here. Retired now from a career in software, Buzz teaches sometimes in the preschool (including the weekly music program) and presently teaches every other week with Bev in the homeschool program. He brings music here, with banjo and guitar and many songs. Buzz adds clear and practical thinking to running the programs, shares his tremendous gardens with the kids (and parents / CSA members), and best of all brings his keen ability to share nature with kids