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Meet Fresh Air Family

In search of nature, we find family.


Verna Gates

Founder & Executive Director

Verna founded the organization in 2006 to help families and children get back outside. A "Plant Nerd," she teaches using the folklore stories about plants. A former journalist, she is recipient of a lifetime achievement award by the National Federation of Press Women for her work on the original crew that launched CNN and with TIME Magazine and Reuters International.

Education Director 

Dr. Amanda Clark




A passionate educator who started with FAF as an undergraduate, Amanda
delights in teaching children. Today, she is the only African-American woman in the Southeast
with a Ph.D. in Molecular Wildlife Ecology.

Amanda teaching in Gross Out Camp tshirt.JPG

Charles Rose

North Alabama Hike Leader


An excellent naturalist, Charles leads outings in North Alabama. He is President of Shoals Environmental Alliance, a Shoals Audubon Society board member and active with Shoals Wildflower Society. An original member of the Muscle Shoals Horns, he has played with Elvis, John Lennon and Bob Dylan. He has a star in the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

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