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.


Kaylan Baxter

Born and raised in Charlotte, Kaylan spent time in New York City and Northeast Ohio, prior to moving to Winston-Salem in early 2014. Her interests in planning and social justice attracted her to the board of GNP, in support of its quest for equitable access for the most marginalized residents of our city. As the city slicker of the group, Kaylan doesn’t hike much, but she does appreciate nature’s ability to heal, inspire, and build 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 Ford

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.

 

ERIC HENNESSY

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 LaRowe

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.


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 Simonson

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.

 

Leslie Wakeford

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.