Meet the Staff!

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Daryl Bernard

Executive Director

Daryl grew up in the Saginaw Bay area and earned a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Elementary Education from Saginaw Valley State University. He taught middle school as a science teacher for 18 years. In 2017, Daryl became Executive Director at Seven Ponds. He enjoys birding within the county of Lapeer, throughout our great state of Michigan, and beyond. Daryl is inspired by sharing the outdoors with others, particularly young people. Working at Seven Ponds provides an opportunity to impact the community in a positive, lasting manner. His hero is Roger Tory Peterson, who helped make the natural world accessible to the masses by bringing it home to us in small, portable field guides - which made up the bulk of Daryl's reading while growing up. Daryl lives for road trips and exploring places he has never before been.


Carrie Spencer

Director of Environmental Education

A Michigan native, Carrie earned her bachelor's degree in Fisheries and Wildlife with a concentration in Wildlife Conservation and Management from Michigan State University. She is currently working on a master's degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Administration and Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan-Flint. Carrie's love of the out-of-doors started as a kid as she adventured into the woods and swamps around her childhood home with her siblings. Her sense of wonder about the natural world started in those woods, and has only strengthened and flourished at Seven Ponds. One of Carrie's favorite things about working here is sharing that curiosity with our visitors, and seeing their sense of wonder catch fire.


Diane Rankin

Office Manager

Diane grew up in Imlay City, met her husband, Patrick, while going to school there, and the two still reside in town. Diane and Patrick have three children, Anthony, Leigha, and Forrest. Diane has a variety of hobbies, including backyard birdfeeding, gardening, baking, photography, scrapbooking and soap making.


Mike Grappin


Mike grew up in the Lapeer area, and has lived in Dryden since 1964. During high school, he came to Seven Ponds in his senior year to help with trail maintenance and worked on the creation of Earl’s Prairie. Mike's interests include biology and the natural world. He loves spending time with his family, reading, and woodworking.

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Katie McKiernan


Katie is a naturalist who has the pleasure to oversee our living and non-living scientific collections as well as coordinating all our wonderful volunteers. Growing up on the west side of the state, she was always exploring outside, whether that was from the back of her horse or using her own two feet. Katie has always loved nature but it wasn’t until half way through college when she decided to become an educator. When she became involved with The Fisheries and Wildlife Club’s Outreach Committee at Michigan State University, she discovered her love for teaching people about nature. Katie says, "Seven Ponds has given me amazing opportunities to grow as Naturalist and some of my favorite things about my job is creating new exhibits, teach people of all ages, raising Monarch Butterflies, and spending time with my fellow Naturalists. When I am not at work I enjoy creating artwork, reading a good story, or watching my favorite shows and movies."


Nicole Kopas


Nicole grew up in coastal Virginia and earned a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Hollins University in Roanoke, VA. She grew up riding/training horses and was always outside exploring the world around her. Growing up on the coast she developed a love for water and coastal conservation and education. During college she also had the unique experience of conducting Coral Health and Quantity research in Saint John, USVI.  After graduating college she moved down to Georgia to be with her now husband, Austin who was in the military at the time. During her time in Georgia she worked as a Seasonal Ranger for Jekyll Island State Park. After Austin got out of the military they moved up to Michigan where Austin is from and they now get to explore the wonders of Michigan together! “I could not have come to Seven Ponds Nature Center at a more perfect time in my life! After not having been in the field I love for two years, I look forward to diving right into the position of Naturalist here at the Center. I am absolutely delighted to be here and learn from this wonderful team of people!”


Damian Goidich

Weekend Receptionist

Damian is a Michigan native from the west side of the state. He has both a BFA (Illustration) and an MFA (Drawing) from Kendall College of Art & Design in Grand Rapids. Damian was a professional freelance Illustrator for twelve years and a college instructor of Illustration for fifteen years. His love of nature began within the sandy pine forests of his youth, a time of exploration, play, and imagination that molded his understanding of the natural world and the importance of protecting and maintaining its ecosystems. "As a visual artist, I’m trained to see the world around me with clarity and curiosity, to inspect things and ask questions. The natural world is a never-ending source for this practice and deeply rewarding on a personal level. I am excited to be a part of the Seven Ponds legacy and its mission of education and sustainability!"


Gina Stoldt

Weekday Receptionist

Gina and her family have returned to the area after living out of state for five years in Wisconsin and the last ten years in Iowa.  While she enjoyed exploring those places and making friends along the way, she has always longed to return to the "Mitten" state. As a child growing up in Attica, Gina loved to spend time outside. She could be found tagging along with her Dad doing outdoor chores or helping plant flowers with her Grandma. Field trips to Seven Ponds with her classmates were a favorite school event. Today, Gina loves gardening and enjoying outdoor activities with her family and friends.