Staff & Volunteers

The Folk School Program was developed by Friends of the Porkies volunteers.  Our goal is to provide useful arts classes that focus on traditional skills and teach through hands-on experiences. The volunteers are personally dedicated to sharing with others the natural and diverse beauty of The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park of Michigan. If you are interested in becoming a Folk School volunteer, please contact us.

Communications Coordinator

Coriane Penegor has lived her whole life in Ontonagon. In 2008, she graduated Ontonagon Area High School. She graduated Gogebic Community College in 2016 with her cosmetology certificate, and she passed her licensing examination to style hair in Michigan. She also began work on an associate’s degree in business. Coraine has worked for the non-profit Ontonagon County Historical Society for the last 4 years, and she is now the business manager. She is the assistant manager at the Holiday Station Store. Coriane and her 5-year-old daughter and mother are very involved in the community and committed to helping both the Friends and the Historical Society grow and thrive. The Friends feel fortunate to have a Communications Coordinator with such strong ties to the community.

Karen Berg – 2011 Friends Volunteer of the Year

040_40At the time of my retirement many asked what I was going to do…to keep busy.  The answer was easy: I will volunteer where there is much to be learned.  Little did I know at that time that in four years (2001) I would decide to pack up and move north to live near my favorite vacation place, where the Porkies and Lake Superior lay.  I expected to volunteer in the schools and in the local Ontonagon County Museum, but it was the Park and “The Friends of the Porkies” that was the greatest draw.
I’ve discovered I love to work on “Friends” projects that intend to bring people to the Park.  I find many ways in which to promote the Park as well.
It gives me the opportunity to get outside and to work with like-minded people who care deeply about each other and the environment they are privileged to live in.
Some of the projects I have worked on with the Friends:
Road side clean-up
Clear trails
Started fires at trail-side warming huts
Restarted the Porkies Folk School Program (begun in 2006 and continuing)
Schedule classes at the Folk School (on-going)
Managing the Folk School Program
Helped to build the Artist-in-Residence cabin “Dan’s Cabin”
Wrote a book about the 4 year construction process of Dan’s Cabin
Served on the Artist-in-Residence Program for 3 years
Work on the August Porkies 3-Day Music Festival (annual event)
Market the book “Discovering Lake Superior” by Tom Warren (all profits are given to the Friends of the Porkies)
Promote the Porkies wherever I am, to whomever I find (Pass out Porkies FS business cards)

Sally Berman

P3240003Sally Berman, Folk School committee member, with her late husband, Al, fell in love with the Porkies when they purchased their home “between the Cranberries” in 1976. Sally taught chemistry at a large Chicago suburban high school, and after she stepped through a golden early retirement window in 1994, she led workshops and graduate courses for educators for several years. While they were still in the classroom, she and Al spent all of their holiday and vacation time at their home on the lake and moved to the shore when they retired from teaching in 1994. A few years ago, Sally joined the Folk School Committee, and for the past several years she has been the weekend Ontonagon Lighthouse tour guide. Sally joined the Friends board in 2014, and her goal is to help the Friends grow and thrive.

Barb Braithwaite

Barbara Braithwaite has been on the Folk School Committee since 2009 and has participated as a classroom host, student, publicity agent, janitor, and anything else needed. She is also on the Executive Board of the Friends of the Porkies and on a couple other committees dedicated to serving the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. She and husband Dave are retired and live on Lake Superior just down the road from the park and enjoy the park year-round by kayaking, canoeing, skiing, hiking, and camping.


Joy Ibsen

JoySince April 2006 Joy Ibsen has served as the editor of the only Grundtvigian Journal in the United States, “Church and Life.” N.F.S. Grundtvig is known as the founder of folk schools. As an independent scholar, Joy spent two months in Fall 2013 studying N.F.S. Grundtvig and visiting folk schools in Denmark.

Joy graduated from high school in Viborg, S.D., attended Grand View University in Des Moines, IA, graduated from Shimer College and did her graduate work at the University of Chicago Divinity School. She holds a certificate in lay ministry from the University of the South.

Her career has been diverse and included social work in Chicago’s ghetto, teaching GED preparation for Viet Nam soldiers at Fifth Army Headquarters in Chicago, and English and Theatre in an Episcopal boarding school, St. Catherine’s/St Mark’s, Bettendorf, IA; urban planning for a Great Society program (Model Cities); fund raising for three hospitals as well as various education and art organizations; management consulting; and private piano lessons.

A writer who lives in the north woods of Michigan, Joy has three published books: Here and Hereafter, the Eternity Connection; Songs of Denmark: Songs to live By and Unafraid, co-authored by her father, Herald Ibsen. She and her husband Don Lenef have 5 children between them and 5 grandchildren; they live in a cottage on Lake Superior near the Porcupine Mountains.

Debby Kisor

Tina Davidson

Jane Rasmussen

I have been a member of the Friends for a number of years, even before we moved to the U.P. Since relocating here in 2014, I have been involved in the Folk School as a volunteer host, a member of the committee and a student. As an advocate of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, I enjoying hiking, cross-country skiing, participating in the park events and bringing our many guests to the Park. I have been assisting the Friend’s Treasurer with deposits for the past three years in order to have stronger internal controls and for the past year I have been volunteering my time as the accountant/bookkeeper.

Dave Rasmussen

Picture for WebI was introduced to the art of woodworking by my 7th grade woodworking instructor in Chassel, MI and it soon became my passion. Inspired by making my first spice rack, I learned to make lamps, tables, a crossbow and a 16’ catamaran sailboat in high school. I then graduated from the University of WI – Stout and found excellent teaching opportunities in Michigan, Australia, Minnesota and Wisconsin. After teaching Woodworking/Technology Education/Building Construction for 36 years I retired to the U.P. My current passion is creating chevron cutting boards, Greenland paddles and sharing my love of making wood come alive.

Bruce Rutilla

Marilyn Knuteson

knutesonOriginally from Wisconsin, I retired after a 32 year career with the State of WI Dept. of Corrections. I have been a Master Gardener volunteer since 2010 and have an innate love for the natural world. I am a member of the Friends of the Porkies and for the last two years I have been a member of the Folk School committee, a folk school host and student, and a music festival volunteer. I believe in the mission and vision of both the FOP and the Folk School and will work to continue to make them successful. The Porkies offers an abundance of outdoor opportunities to both local residents and vacationers, and I feel the FOP and FS offer unique and valued opportunities to enhance that experience.

Kim Sims