Cornelia Barr, Chair
Cornelia is one of the original members of the Gateway Nature Preserve. She grew up in a small town in Rhode Island where she tried to raise tadpoles in a fishbowl, spent hours daydreaming in trees, and caught blue crabs in a secret place she’ll never tell. She has lived in Winston-Salem longer than anywhere else. A writer and editor by trade, she received her environmental education certification in 2014.
Born and raised in Greensboro, Zipporah is an undergraduate student at Winston-Salem State University, majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry. She inherited a love for plants and beautiful gardens from her grandmothers. "I enjoyed helping them plant and nurture these plants," said Zipporah, "and [to] decide which ones would be best for which season." This fascination led her to study the medicinal properties of plants with a professor at WSSU and to further her training through the MARC & RISE Program. MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers) and RISE (Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement) are federal programs funded by the National Institutes of Health. Zipporah is excited to learn and contribute to the Gateway Nature Preserve and our community.
SHARON F. DOORASAMY
An editor, writer, and former journalist, Sharon is a Winston-Salem native who grew up in the 1960s and '70s when running, jumping, climbing trees, and other unstructured outdoor play was an everyday thing, both at home and in school. She spent many holidays and summers on her grandparent’s farm in western North Carolina, and this is where she developed an abiding love for the natural world and untouched open spaces. In 1991 she spent nine months backpacking through 18 countries in sub-Saharan Africa by truck, train, boat, plane, and foot. This journey cemented her view that wilderness introduces us to ourselves in a way that no other experience does.
Mark has enjoyed spending time outside his entire life. Although born in Ohio and having lived in New Jersey, he has lived in North Carolina plenty long enough to call it home. Mark and his wife are proud parents of two young girls and he wants to make sure that they and all other children will grow up to have the same opportunities to enjoy the outdoors as he did. Mark works for the commercial construction manager Frank L. Blum Construction Company and is fortunate to spend many of his working hours out in the environment on a regular basis.
An avid fan of sun, water, and nature, Eric spent his school years in Clemson, South Carolina, enjoying the area around Lake Hartwell. After living in eight states, Eric loves the seasonal changes of the Carolinas and exploring the natural landscapes. He has two degrees in biomedical engineering and has worked in the medical device industry for 15 years. Currently, Eric is project manager for Cook Medical in Winston-Salem. His wife and four sons share his admiration of the natural world. When not playing sports, you can find them most weekends playing in their yard, woods, or creek in Lewisville.
Andy has fond memories of playing in the very same creeks and natural areas that form the Gateway Nature Preserve today. He walked to and from Latham Elementary School each day across wooden bridges and over pathways that meandered through what was then, a very large urban forest. He attributes the early education he received on those daily walks through the woods to his many achievements. Most of his professional career has been focused on working in education, particularly with the planning, design, construction and operations of school buildings. In 2012, he retired from Guilford County Schools as Assistant Superintendent of Operations and launched his company, BAISCA, which provides consulting services to many school districts across the state. He is also president of EduCon Energy, a local firm that helps schools develop student-based energy conservation programs.
Despite growing up in the middle of urban Mexico City, Salvador has always found a calling to nature. Whether it be wandering alone through the desert highlands of Southern Arizona or trekking through the crowds of the Appalachian Trail, he has found a never ending feeling of amazement in the outdoors. He has masters degree in Architecture from Arizona State University and currently runs his own architectural design practice in Winston-Salem, with a focus on creating designs that are sustainable and long lasting, regardless of their size.
Jeremy Reiskind, SEcretary
Jeremy, a native of Staten Island, N.Y., came to Winston-Salem from North Dakota, where he earned a Ph.D. in Paleontology at the University of North Dakota. He retired from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts after teaching geology and earth sciences in both college and high school for 21 years. As a long-time birder and Washington Park neighborhood resident, he is committed to the success of the Gateway Nature Preserve.
Christine grew up in Pennsylvania and earned an B.S. in environmental studies and an M.S. in park and resource management. She spent more than a decade working as a naturalist in Maine, New York, and the Carolinas. Christine is the Director of Education at the Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem and enjoys having adventures outdoors with her two young children.
Phyllis B. Smith
Phyllis has more than two decades of experience as a nature educator. In August of 2017, she was hired by the Forsyth County office of N.C. Cooperative Extension, as the Agent for Natural Resources Conservation and Environmental Sustainability. Prior to working for Extension she taught at Forsyth Tech Community College for three years. Before Forsyth Tech, she directed the Nature Education Division at Tangelwood Park for nearly 15 years. And before Tanglewood she taught a variety of science classes (middle school science and high school biology) both locally and in her hometown of Reidsville, North Carolina. She holds bachelor/masters degrees in biology from Appalachian State University. And when not working, she enjoys the company of her two children, two grandchildren, two very high maintenance dachshunds, and one very patient and dedicated husband, Bill Smith, who is a professional percussionist.
Leslie grew up in the "wilds" of the western Chicago suburbs, camping and fishing along the shores of Lake Michigan. After moving to Winston-Salem, she co-founded the Winston-Salem Family Nature Club in 2011 to encourage kids and families to play, explore and enjoy nature together. Leslie is a librarian at Wake Forest University's Professional Center Library. Her favorite places for camping and hiking excursions with her husband and twins are Hanging Rock and Stone Mountain State Parks.
Kristie Wallis, Vice Chair
Kristie enjoys showing her two girls what it means to make a difference – and loves sharing how she’s helping to build a new nature park in the city when she misses bedtime for board meetings. She has almost 15 years of experience in marketing and communications, and serves as the Director of Marketing & Content at Alloy Design & Development. Originally from Connecticut and having lived in NYC, Richmond, Spain, Australia & New Zealand, she is happy to now call Winston-Salem home.