Friends of Far View was founded in 1998 as the charitable arm of Far View Ranch Camp. For over 20 years the non-profit provided scholarship funds to disadvantaged youth in Butte County and the broader region. In 2014 the camp lost its lease to the facilities and went out of business. Since then, FOFV has looked for ways to provide new experiences for young people to learn and grow in nature.
Starting in 2017, FOFV started a new approach of partnering with local high schools to implement habitat restoration projects. For nearly 30 years we have run education programs for young people. We are continuing to build our capacity to provide meaningful hands-on education experiences. We believe that for young people to understand themselves and the natural world they need to have deep connections to a place, time alone in nature, and time away from their everyday lives.
Alex is the fourth generation of his family to run the education programs at Far View Ranch. He developed a passion for nature during his childhood at the ranch and earned an MS in Ecology from the University of California at Davis in 2007.
He coordinated environmental education programs with The Center for Land-Based Learning until 2010 when he took over Far View Ranch Camp. The concept of The Far-View is a continuation of providing young people time and space to reflect on their lives in a safe community. These same tenets are at the core of Alex's passion to work with students to find purpose and conviction as they enter adulthood.
Theresa has long believed that experience is the best teacher, and she has sought out experiences that she thinks will edify both her professionally and personally. She spent four summers at Far View Ranch camp, as both a counselor and an assistant director. She graduated in 2013 with a B.A. in American Studies from Pomona College. In 2016 she spent a year with Americorps serving as a Middle School Math Intervention teacher. In the fall of 2017 she will begin a Masters in School Counseling.
Theresa is passionate about bringing young people together to learn about themselves and their communities - to figure out how to become the best possible versions of themselves and to be productive members of the local and global communities in which they live.
Liz McDonough was born and raised in Berkeley, California. She has over 20 years of experience working in adult education for UC Berkeley Extension and is currently a Continuing Education Specialist in the Humanities & Education Department. She holds a B.S. in Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco and participated in San Francisco State University’s graduate program in Art Education. She was a member of the Wendy Roger’s Dance Company for 10 years and performed throughout California as well as in New York and overseas. She attended Far View Ranch camp from the ages of 8-14.
Mitchell Thomas has spent over 20 years working and playing at Far View as a camper, counselor, director, and now board member. He holds a PhD in music from USC and lives in Los Angeles. He is an avid musician and advocate for the role Far View played in his life and the potential it has for other young people.
Ruth Palmerlee owned and operated Far View Ranch Camp, co-founded Friends of Far View with her husband Peter Lea, and has a lifetime of experience at Far View. Her parents, Chuck and Joy Palmerlee, ran camp for 29 years and Ruth was often a staff member before moving to Olympia, Wa to teach performing arts at the Evergreen State University. She is a faculty member at CSU Chico, where she lives. She shares the vision of her parents and grandparents, that Far View be a resource for young people to explore, learn, and grow.