Outdoor Lab

Some call it a salamander, others say it is a lizard - but either way, it is the mascot of the Arlington Outdoor Lab, a facility in Fauquier County that gives students from Arlington a taste of natural surroundings. (Arlington Outdoor Education Association photo)

The Arlington Outdoor Lab starts the school year with a host of initiatives, as well as a new incoming director.

Michele Karnbach, who previously served as a resource assistant at the facility, has been tapped as its next director. Karnbach most recently was a science teacher in Prince William County’s school system.

The start of the year also coincides with the departure of Chris Payack and Kate Sydney, who departed Outdoor Lab posts to return to their teaching positions in Arlington’s public schools, said Todd Parker, president of the Arlington Outdoor Education Association, the non-profit organization that oversees the Outdoor Lab.

“They will be missed, and we appreciate the passion and dedication they had while teaching at the Lab,” Parker said.

In addition to Parker, board leaders for the 2019-20 school year will include vice president Mike Maleski, secretary Sarah Jensen and treasurer Ann Thomson. Committee chairs include Maleski (facilities and maintenance) and Carol Goodloe (outreach), and other board members include Paul Diehl, Scott Kovarovics, Mary Ann Penning, Anita Scott and Kristen Shattuck.

The Outdoor Lab, set on about 225 acres in Fauquier County, was conceived in the 1960s by Dr. Phoebe Hall Knipling, an Arlington science educator and administrator who believed students in the increasingly urbanizing community of Arlington would benefit from access to nature. The organization works in collaboration with, but independently of, Arlington Public Schools.

For information, see the Web site at www.outdoorlab.org.

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