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Learn more about the Leaders and Educators in the Pearlstone Program Department

Petahya Lichtenstein

Education Director

plichtenstein@pearlstonecenter.org

Petahyah is a teacher, naturalist, and artist. He graduated from Pratt Institute of Design and the Rabbinical College of America. He has served as a teacher of earth-based Hebrew mythic work and the creative arts in both the US and Israel for 24 years. Petahyah has built trans-denominational relationships across every boundary. As an artist he is drawn to explore the intersection between the natural world and the dream state. Petahyah has raised sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, dogs, bees, and his children.

 Jill Eisen

Co-Director of Programs

jeisen@pearlstonecenter.org 4105005394

Jill grew up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with two younger sisters and a dachshund named Schultz. It was Schultz who gave Jill the love of being outdoors. He would escape when the front door was opened the tiniest crack. She and her sisters with the neighborhood kids would race after him through backyards, shouting Schultz! Schultz! He was a wily one, he was caught only when he was ready to be carried home, like a king.

Jill learned what is special about day camp by watching the joy in the campers’ eyes when they connect with each other, their counselor and nature. She has taught and/or led people ranging the entire spectrum of ages. However, the best age is working with children. You can see the awe and wonder on their faces when they see or do something magical. That is why she loves summer camp!

Her passions include all things Penn State, football, learning, hiking, reading, Zentangling, knitting and her family. She lives with her husband and son in Reisterstown. The joy of her life is watching Benjamin climb trees, play soccer, do complicated math in his head like it is 2 + 2 and interact with others. Her core values in life are that everyone should feel they have been heard and understood, make a difference in someone’s life and live life everyday with purpose and gratitude.

Eli Bass

Teva Program Director

Ebass@pearlstonecenter.org 4105005372

Eli Bass serves as the Teva Program Director and helps to support the needs of camp as well. Eli Bass started as a Teva educator after graduating from college in 2004. Teva inspired Eli to grow as an environmental educator. Eli’s background includes extensive outdoor education experiences including Teva, Eden Village, wilderness therapy and outdoor education. Teva also gave Eli a way of understanding a living vibrant Jewish experience, which inspired him both personally and professionally. Eli helped students create engaged Jewish communities in his work directing Hillel life for 6 years. Before arriving at Pearlstone, Eli served as the Jewish Education Coordinator at the Macks Center for Jewish Education. Eli has a Masters’ degree in Jewish Experiential Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a certificate in Jewish Educational Leadership from Spertus Institute of Jewish studies and Northwestern University. Eli lives with his wife Ali in Columbia MD.

Mira Menyuk

Tiyul Adventure Camp Director

mmenyuk@pearlstonecenter.org 4105005425

Mira grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland and attended summer camp in Pennsylvania. She first came to Pearlstone in 2013 as a volunteer on the farm, and quickly became full-time staff falling in love with the land and community, as a farmer and an educator. She had the opportunity to help shape the first two years of Tiyul Adventure Camp and take part in many other programs before leaving in 2018 to pursue her passion of healing in nature, and spending 2019 working as a wilderness therapy field guide out West.

During her time at Pearlstone, Mira learned how to tend the earth with the seasonal cycles in both the fields and forest, each year growing more passionate about teaching and sharing that knowledge. Her other passions include backpacking, reading, making art with nature, and being outdoors. She lives in Owings Mills with her partner, 2 cats and wonderful dog. Her values include, nature connection, chessed (kindness), and having edge experiences to grow. She is excited to continue learning and teaching on the land with all the wonderful people and creatures that walk upon it.

P Stern Christian

Pearlstone Lead Educator

schristian@pearlstonecenter.org

Stern brings more than a decade of experience as an educator and mentor, serving communities in Jewish New Jersey, East Baltimore City, and Hong Kong! In his three years at Pearlstone, Stern has facilitated connections to self, community, spirit, and land for thousands of people through Jewish experiential education on the farm and in the forest. He lives for Maryland’s summer rains and thunderstorms, and loves walking in the creek, singing, and leading games at camp!

Joe Murray

Land Steward, Naturalist and Earth Skills Specialist

jmurray@pearlstonecenter.org

Joe or Joey has been teaching nature connection since 1997 and has made it his life’s work to learn from the indigenous peoples of the earth and share their wisdom with as many people as possible. During that time, he has mentored thousands of kids and helped design the curriculum for several wilderness schools and is a founding member of the nonprofit Ancestral Knowledge.

Beth Denaburg

Educational Farm Manager and Farm specialist

bdenaburg@pearlstonecenter.org 4105005424

Beth is an environmental educator and Jewish farmer who loves facilitating nature-based experiences. She grew up in Toronto, and went to Jewish summer camp in Muskoka, Ontario. She was trained as an educator through the JOFEE (Jewish Outdoor Food Farming and Environmental Education) Fellowship and is now the Educational Farm Manager at Pearlstone. This summer she’s excited for vegetable parties, swimming, singing, and Shabbat festivals at camp.

Stephanie Katsampis

Educator and Nature Skills and Art Specialist

skatsampis@pearlstonecenter.org

Steph has always been a nature lover. She grew up camping, looking for birds, horseback riding, growing food and visiting neighboring farms. As she grew older, her love for nature took form in the exploring of local trails and identifying wild plants. She drew a deep amount of peace from her time outdoors as well as inspiration. After high school she took some time off to travel. She stayed on various off-the-grid homesteads and farms tending to gardens and animals and immersing deeper with the landscape. During this time her love and connection to the wild grew and became a prominent motivating force, which is what led her to Pearlstone.

Steph began here as a farmer and gained her first experience as an educator during the Fall season of our Farm and Forest School program. It didn’t take long for her to realize that this was the kind of work she wanted to devote herself to. Guiding others in their own exploration of the outdoors in a way that supports them in their various curiosities, strengths and weaknesses she has found to be most rewarding, and medicine that is deeply needed in our world right now.

Some of her favorite things to do with others outside are build fires, collect and use wild leaves, nuts and berries, share stories, play games, cultivate soil, plant food, laugh, find awe in the creature teachers we stumble upon, and learn more about what it is to be a human being, living on an Earth that in motion, and giving so much to us.

Ann Ulick

Program Coordinator

aulick@pearlstonecenter.org 4105005393

Ann has been with Pearlstone since June 2021 and comes from the for-profit world, where she planned conventions, trade shows and seminars all over North America. She is the Program Coordinator at Pearlstone.