June 01, 2022

The Fresh Air Fund’s Sharpe Reservation: Meet Jill Eisenstein, The Nature Expert

As summer 2022 approaches, The Fresh Air Fund’s Sharpe Reservation, a more than 2,000-acre property in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley, is preparing for New York City children and families to enjoy the sunshine and discover the outdoors!  

One Sharpe team member, Jill Eisenstein, is a master naturalist who is passionate about sharing her love for the outdoors with children. For the 16 years, Jill has been part of bringing the joy of exploring and learning about nature to NYC kids.  

Being raised on a farm in the Adirondacks, Jill shares, “Outdoor education is something that comes naturally to me.” 

Soon after joining the Fresh Air team, Jill started leading the summer planetarium shows for our Fresh Air campers to learn about the wonders of the night sky.  One camper she remembers to this day is an eight-year-old boy who was astonished by the show and quickly overcame his fear of the dark, and showed his gratitude by thanking Jill with a hug at the end of the show.  

“I think the impact that we make on kids’ lives can last a lifetime,” shares Jill. “I get to feel like I’m doing something important by introducing kids to the outdoors, to things that they are unfamiliar with and helping them overcome fear.” 

Jill was excited to continue her Fresh Air journey and started a position to teach many of Sharpe Reservation’s classes – ranging from pond and forest ecology to tracks and traces to learning all about the wildlife living in the area.  

One class Jill enjoys teaching is Wild Edibles, a nutrition class focused on exploring the edible vegetation growing throughout the area.  

“The wild edibles are more nutritious than most of the things we buy in stores for many reasons,” Jill states. “We take walks, and we try to find things that are edible, and we encourage people to taste their surroundings… carefully and with guidance.” 

Jill shares her favorite memory from teaching Wild Edibles was when she was leading a class of campers and showed them that they could eat dandelions! Together, they made dandelion fritters for every camper to try! 

In 2020, Jill was excited to be part of The Fresh Air Fund’s Family Wellness Program where New York City families enjoy an overnight trip where they can try new camp activities including archery, fishing, boating and swimming! 

“I think it has revealed to parents who have not seen this place, how incredible it is for their kids, and it was a great bonding experience for a lot of the families,” Jill said. 

Learn more about The Fund’s Sharpe Reservation and stay connected with The Fresh Air Fund by following us on Instagram: @theFreshAirFund, Twitter: @FreshAirFund and Facebook: @FreshAirFund!