Valerie Searle Lewis has enjoyed Ryerson Woods ever since she and her husband Michael moved to Bannockburn 35 years ago. The farm animals used to be a big attraction for her two daughters. Now the birds that visit Ryerson draw Valerie, as do many of the programs offered by Brushwood Center. As a competent Spanish speaker she has volunteered with the Mano a Mano program. In 2008 her husband had a photography show at Brushwood. Many of those photographs came out of the extensive travels of Valerie and her husband on all seven continents, including a number of birding trips. For several years Valerie worked as a volunteer at the Field Museum, first in the Mammals Prep Lab and then in the Ornithology Department. She has been a member of the Field Museum Women’s Board for more than thirty years.Valerie earned a B.A. in geography from Edinburgh University (U.K.). She taught geography in Ghana, in the British Voluntary Service Overseas program, as well as in Argentina and Switzerland. Her travels in many parts of the world led to her teaching English as a Second Language and to an M.A. in linguistics from Northeastern Illinois University. She now teaches English to adults in a program at Oakton Community College.
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