Inspiring exploration, appreciation, and conservation of our natural world.

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Rachel Straughen

Rachel is a Traverse City native. Her passion for nature and the environment comes from being raised on her family’s sesquicentennial farm in Leelanau County. Some of her fondest memories were made on this farm including learning to drive tractors, harvesting her first white-tailed deer and learning to swim in Lake Leelanau.

After receiving her Bachelor’s degree from Michigan Technological University in Wildlife Ecology and Management, Rachel worked in numerous roles before finding her way to the GTCD. A pre-k teacher, state worker at Leelanau State Park and an Explorer Guide at Interlochen State Park are just to name a few. Rachel recently served as a Huron Pines AmeriCorps member with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in Traverse City. There, she focused on the Adopt-a-Forest program, a program for volunteers to locate and cleanup illegal dumpsites on public land throughout Michigan; she also focused on the Michigan Project Learning Tree program, a program for educators to incorporate nature into their everyday curriculum. She also recently completed a Wildlife Assistant-ship for the Michigan DNR. Rachel is also a certified Project Learning Tree and Project WILD facilitator. Overall, Rachel’s experience has led her to find her passion for educating all ages about nature.

In her spare time she enjoys running her photography business and exploring everything Michigan has to offer with her husband and her goofy golden retriever, Rosco. She claims to have an “unhealthy obsession” with the Upper Peninsula and hopes to never have to leave the state of Michigan. Come say hello to her at our nature center!

Phone: 231-941-0960 x 17