2018 Trail Apprentices

To encourage young adults to become more involved in the National Trails System multiple agencies will fund a scholarships for young leaders to attend the 2018 National Trails System Conference. Young adult participants will be an active part of the dialogue about outreach and the future of these trails. Selected participants should come ready to explore, learn, and engage!

Alaina Dedo

Wausau, WI
Trail Operations Assistant, Ice Age Trail Alliance

A Wisconsin native and a lover of trails as a child, Alaina grew up near an old school forest provided her childhood with adventure and her adolescence with solitude. Her first backpacking trip along the Ice Age Trail sparked a love for hiking that she carried with her through her years at University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. She spent many days hiking, photographing, and identifying mushrooms in the nearby Schmeeckle Reserve. Frequent road trips to music festivals boosted her packing and camping skills. Upon graduation the realization was there: she wanted to be outside as much as possible.

After spontaneously filling out an application for a job in Salida, CO months after the due date, she received a call on a Tuesday from Southwest Conservation Corps asking her if she could be in Salida that Saturday. She agreed and spent the next few months in the backcountry of southwest Colorado. After her first trail season she packed her bags and went to Maine for several months to learn more about trail building and maintenance with Maine Conservation Corps. She then went to Bozeman, Montana where she lived for a year leading a crew with Montana Conservation Corps. She returned to Wisconsin to lead a trail crew with WisCorps, where she crossed paths with the Ice Age Trail Alliance. Alaina made it known that she wanted to work with the Alliance. Since early 2018 she has been the Alliance’s Trail Operations Assistant, working on trail building and maintenance, trail layout and design, event management, and outreach among other things. Alaina is currently a member of the Alliance’s Trail Development Committee, and is working with others to facilitate an Ice Age Trail Crew Pilot for 2019. One of Alaina’s missions in life is to encourage young people to get outside, as her time on the trail either working or for fun, have been the most formative times in her life.

What you can find Alaina doing when she’s not on the trail is cooking delicious vegan food, researching holistic health, listening to NPR, kayaking, dyeing textiles, gardening, doing home improvements, and daydreaming about Maine.

Alexis Puerto-Holmes

Santa Rosa, CA
Park Program Assistant 

Alexis has been working in the field of recreation for the last 4 years throughout the state of California. She is passionate about working with historically under served communities.

She has worked as a backpacking guide, various water sports guide, and assistant instructor. For the past year in a half she’s worked for Sonoma County Regional Parks leading programs, coordinating special events, teaching at schools, an creating county wide projects targeted towards under served communities.

Alexis plans to continue working in the field of recreation finding ways to bring individuals out into nature, that may otherwise not have the opportunity.

Ali Morgan

Choteau, MT
Seasonal Trail Crew Leader, Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation

Ali has been involved in trail maintenance of many capacities for most of her working career. Starting with AmeriCorps St. Louis, eventually working for Montana Wilderness Association on the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, and currently for the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation as a trail crew leader. She is passionate about working hard, learning new skills, and being out in the field as much as possible.


Amanda Wheelock

Golden, CO
Marketing & Communications Specialist, Continental Divide Trail Coalition / Next Generation Advisory Council Member, Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Amanda is a lifelong outdoors woman and proud Georgia peach. She first explored the National Trails System as a student at Dartmouth College, where she learned how to backpack and worked on an Appalachian Trail maintaining crew. After graduating with a degree in Geography modified with Environmental Studies, Amanda became an outdoor educator to introduce a new generation to the public lands and the wonder of the outdoors. She bounced from New England to California to the Southeast before deciding to stay put for a bit in Asheville, NC, where she worked for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy as an Office Administrator and Community Outreach Liaison.

In February, she moved to Colorado to work as the Marketing & Communications Specialist for the Continental Divide Trail Coalition. She manages all of CDTC’s public-facing communications, including traditional press, website, social media, and CDTC’s membership magazine, Passages. She continues to stay connected to her “home” trail by volunteering as a member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Next Generation Advisory Council and occasionally writing for A.T. Journeys.

Looking forward, Amanda is currently researching graduate programs in environmental science that will allow her to focus on public land management and policy. When she’s not on a trail or in the office, Amanda is probably whitewater kayaking, skiing, or playing ultimate frisbee.

Andreas Martinez

Eugene, OR
Student, University of Oregon

Andreas is a recent graduate from the University of Oregon where he majored in Environmental Studies with an emphasis on environmental philosophy and climate change research. Andreas has experience working as a Seasonal Habitat Technician for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife where he worked to restore seasonal wetlands, prairies, and oak savannas. Andreas also has experience as a student researcher for the University of Oregon where he contributed to the Heating of Prairie Systems to study the impacts of climate change on plant reproduction.

Andreas aims to apply his knowledge and experience to a career in public land management in the Pacific Northwest or elsewhere. His interest in habitat management and ecotourism will likely lead him to pursue a Masters degree in the coming years.

Ben Cosgrove

Cambridge, MA
Musician & Writer / Artist in-Residence, New England New National Scenic Trail

Ben Cosgrove is a traveling composer-performer whose music explores themes of landscape, place, movement, and environment in North America. Ben has performed in every U.S. state except Delaware and Hawaii, and held artist residencies and fellowships with institutions including the National Park Service, the National Forest Service, Harvard University, Middlebury College, the Schmidt Ocean Institute, and the Sitka Center for Art & Ecology. His nonfiction about place and the environment has appeared in Orion, Taproot, Northern Woodlands, Appalachia, and other publications. Currently, Ben is working as the 2017-18 Artist-in-Residence with the New England National Scenic Trail, in which capacity he has been performing in a diverse array of public spaces up and down the trail corridor and writing new music to reflect different moments along the trail’s path. More about Ben and his work is at www.bencosgrove.com.

Brewster Johnson

San Jose, CA
GIS Technician

Recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point with a B.S. in Natural Resource Planning, Brewster Johnson is currently building his career path towards becoming a Conservation Planner. As an upperclassmen, Brewster was the lead GIS technician for the University of Wisconsin – Extension’s Center of Land Use Education, Center of Watershed Science and Education, and Lakes Extension. Here he managed a number of different GIS projects from discovery to delivery including; a countywide groundwater study, a statewide transportation trends publication, a statewide forest trends publication, and a study on the relationship between parcel data and lakes data. Meanwhile, he was President of a student organization, Land Conservation Society, and Vice President of another youth organization. Conservation Leadership Corps, later being rewarded for these contributions with a Chancellor’s Leadership Award upon graduation. Brewster’s capstone project in college involved analyzing trail difficulty and trail values in the Shawnee National Forest to inform recommendations presented to the US Forest Service..

After graduation in May 2017, Brewster went on to work for the City of Salem, Oregon in an internship program called Stream Crew. As a Crew Lead, he ensured the safe and proper use of tools to achieve field work, primarily riparian habitat restoration, flood prevention, and water quality monitoring. Additionally, he had the opportunity of developing a map application tailored to gathering data necessary for managing streams in a multiple use context.

Now, Brewster has been working as a GIS Technician for Apple through a contracting agency, Apex Systems. Here he is honing in on developing his GIS capabilities to carry back into the environmental field with him. In August, Brewster was selected to participate in the Public Lands Foundation (PLF) and the Bureau of Land Management’s Student Congress. Here he collaborated with other participants and mentors from the PLF, BLM, and others to make recommendations about how to improve management of our National Trails System and our Wild and Scenic Rivers. This short biography just skims the surface of Brewster’s work pertinent to the National Trails System Conference.

Brian Salvesen

San Marcos, TX
Student, Texas State University / GIS and Planning Intern, El Camino Real de los Tejas NHT Trail Association

Brian was first introduced to GIS in the US Army as a GIS Analyst where he served in Korea and later in San Antonio. Upon being fulfilling his service requirements he thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2017. After hiking the Appalachian Trail, Brian started at Texas State University as a student of Geography with a focus in Urban Planning. In the Summer of 2018 Brian began his internship with the Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association.

Currently Brian is in his senior year and plans to graduate in Spring of 2019. Brian is continuing to volunteer with the Camino Real de los Tejas NHT Association. He enjoys using the skills he has learned to help better interpret parts of history and helping the trail community with outreach and advocacy. Current projects include a working Story Map to help better show the site of the Camino Real de los Tejas. As well as a georeferencing project to better locate the historical routes of the Trail.

Brian plans to graduate with a B.A. in Geography with a focus in Urban Planning and a minor in Political Science. After gradation, Brian hopes to attend Graduate School for either Urban Planning or Public Administration.

Caitlan Dowling

San Diego, CA
Environmental GIS Analyst, U.S. Navy

Caitlan Dowling, originally from Maryland, was introduced to the world of outdoor recreation through the SCA program at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. After finishing an undergraduate degree at the George Washington University, she returned to Alaska with the Bureau of Land Management as the GIS Intern for the Iditarod National Historic Trail. Her time at BLM allowed her the opportunity to get out on the Trail, both during the winter in support of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race and as part of summer field operations maintaining remote safety cabins via helicopter. Caitlan then spent time with the Office of History and Archaeology at Alaska State Parks, during which she researched the history of Alaska while working on publications, National Register of Historic Places nominations, and storymaps. Caitlan now holds a master’s degree in Geographic Information Science and Technology from the University of Southern California, and resides in sunny San Diego, where she serves as the Environmental GIS Analyst for the U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest Region. She continues to volunteer with the Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance, and this year coordinated the donation of trail logos as ornaments for the Capitol Christmas Tree in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the National Trails Act. She hopes to connect with other trail lovers in the Southern California region.

Cara Glabau

Salt Lake City, UT
Recreation Site Design and Historic Trails Intern for the Bureau of Land Management 

Cara Glabau is a Recreation Site Design Intern through American Conservation Experience working in the Bureau of Land Management’s Utah State Office. She designs and develops conceptual plans for current and prospective projects throughout the state of Utah. This includes campgrounds, trail heads, parking lots, visitation centers, heritage sites, cultural viewing areas, and a variety of historic trail recreational amenities.

Her designs display the importance of recreational development, site opportunities, area restrictions, concept alternatives, and visual perspectives to aid the reader in understanding the space. Documents she produces are used for grant applications, public involvement, and recreation planning. She also supports the efforts of the Old Spanish National Historic Trail recreation and development strategies. This primarily involves mapping and conceptualizing use opportunities for communities to bring National Historic Trails to life and discover the possibilities of their local history.

Since receiving her Bachelors in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning from Utah State University in 2015, she has honed her passion for public land recreation both professionally and personally, by trail running, skiing, mountain biking, and exploring Utah with her dogs. Cara’s desire to bring history and recreation together on our public lands pushes her goals for the advancement of memorable and functional spaces forward each day.

Catherine Sullivan

Ashford, WA
EPM Graduate and Mount Rainier National Park NEPA Compliance Assistant

Connecting people to their environment and sharing how we can make positive impacts to protect our natural resources has been the main driver for Catherine’s work as a Sustainability

Manager for Sodexo at Northern Arizona University and as a river and outdoor educational hiking guide throughout the southwest. Be it, bringing people out into nature on their first rafting trip or leading projects that reduce the carbon footprint of the University’s dining program, her work’s focus has been on empowering individuals and organizations to be proactive and successful environmental leaders.
Living in the valley of Mount Rainier, Catherine is a recent graduate of the University of Denver with an MS in environmental policy and management. Exploring her new landscape’s mountains and rivers and understanding their ecological and cultural importance has been an exciting and a visual contrasts from the red rock desert and Ponderosa forests of Arizona. She aims to continue her work advocating for environmental conservation and engaging communities to protect our wild places here in Washington.

Chloë de Camara

Asheville, NC
Trail Education Specialist, Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Chloë de Camara is a native of Western North Carolina. After years of thinking she wasn’t the outdoorsy type, she made the decision to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) starting in March of 2015. A year before she started her hike, she began her relationship with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) as a volunteer. Volunteering led her to a seasonal position with ATC in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM). She worked and supported volunteers who chose to take time from their personal and busy lives to give back to something that inspires us all. The history, dedication, and humbleness of volunteers was awe-inspiring.

In August of 2015 she achieved her goal of thru-hiking the A.T. after 142 days. She made the choice to stay connected with the Trail and the ATC by volunteering as soon as she returned from her thru-hike by developing the Hiker Education curriculum. All this effort led to her current full-time position as the Trail Education Specialist with ATC that she assumed in late 2015. Within this job description she has worked three seasons during peak thru-hiker season as a Ridgerunner, an on-the-ground resource and educator for hikers in the GRSM. She has taught over 45 How to Hike the A.T. 1-3-hour long workshops, and successfully supported the S.W.E.A.T. and Rocky Top Trail Crews for four seasons as their camp coordinator. She has developed and continues to revise the material for the “Start Well” program, a 15-minute presentation for thru-hikers at Amicalola State Park before they begin their hike by encouraging stewardship of the Trail and minimal impact techniques. And in November will celebrate the one-year anniversary of developing the How to Hike the A.T. backpacking courses, which take novice hikers out for 3 days/2-nights to build confidence, share passion, and evoke a sense of stewardship for the Trail.

Chloë currently resides in Asheville, NC where she finds basic solace in coffee shops, hiking, and yoga. She’s also a brand new Aunt to a nephew, named Hawk, which pretty much trumps everything else. Chloë’s goals for this conference are to make connections, find inspiration, and tangible techniques on how the ATC can support communities and underrepresented groups on the A.T.

Chrysann Jaeger

Kamiah, ID
Resource Assistant Program Fellow, U.S. Forest Service, Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, Historic Routes Project

Chrysann is a Forest Service Resource Assistants Program Fellow who works with the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests to modernize interpretation and Special Uses. She is responsible for the development, planning, and implementation of the Historic Routes Project on the Forests, which integrates interpretation through digital technology with primitive backcountry experiences.

Chrysann is a certified Interpretive Guide through the National Association for Interpretation, and holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from the University of Idaho. Chrysann looks to continue her career in natural resource management, emphasizing modernization and innovation in management of National Trails.

In her off-time, Chrysann enjoys sharing most any outdoor activity with her husband, Lucas, two year old daughter, Alida, and second child of the canine kind, Phoebe.

Corinne Jachelski

Denver, CO
Public Lands Transportation Fellow

Corinne graduated from Clark University with a B.A. in Geography and a Masters in Environmental Science and Policy with a focus on sustainable urbanism (and dabbled in conservation field work abroad in Australia). She is passionate about the intersection of health, sustainability, and the built (and natural) environment. Currently, she works at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge on efforts related to biking and expanding access to federal lands. She hopes to continue working in sustainable/active transportation. In 2017, she biked over 200 miles through Glacier National Park with Climate Ride and fundraised $3,000 for the Glacier NP Conservancy.

Corinne is a new resident of Denver and has the ambitious, potentially impossible, goal of seeing every lake in Colorado. She enjoys cooking, yoga, hiking, rock climbing, biking, trying new restaurants, and embroidery.

David Laufenberg

Bozeman, MT
Montana State University Master’s Candidate / Montana Conservation Voter’s Board Member

David Laufenberg has a strong background in field research, conservation ecology and education. He is currently a graduate student in Dr. Andrew Hansen’s Landscape Biodiversity Lab at Montana State University studying whitebark pine in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

David is active outside of academia as well, and was recently awarded Montana Wilderness Association’s “Keep It Wild” award for his collaboration on a recent project, “Common Ground.” The project and short film showcased support and celebration for public lands near his home in Montana.

Following graduate in the spring, David will be keenly focused on pursuing opportunities that seek to conserve landscapes and wildlands for present and future generations.

Delaini Disher

Grand Rapids, MI
Next Generation Outreach Intern, North Country Trail Association

Delaini recently graduated from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, MI with her Bachelors in Environmental Biology and minors in Communication Studies and General Science. During college, Delaini was an intern for the Kent Conservation District, worked as a camp counselor and student director, and played softball for CU. She took field courses in South Africa and the Everglades, and spent a summer in the woods studying at the Au Sable Institute in northern Michigan. Following graduation, she began her internship with the North Country Trail Association, allowing her to gain a comprehensive understanding of how a non-profit organization works and what it takes to maintain public lands.

Following her internship she hopes to work for an environmental restoration and conservation non-profit doing field work and research on native plant use in environmental remediation. She wishes to continue her education and earn a MS in horticulture or environmental restoration. Her desire is to introduce people from all backgrounds to conservation practices, including Leave No Trace principles, volunteering on public lands, and urban farming. Delaini enjoys reading, rock collecting, and raising both her kitten Newt and indoor jungle. Her dreams include beekeeping, shepherding, vegetable farming and surfing.

Evan Morgan

Sacramento, CA
Trail Operations Intern, Pacific Crest Trail Association 

Evan started interning with the PCTA in August 2017. After working in the tech industry for a year as a GIS technician, he decided to shift his focus into the environmental field. Evan graduated from UC Santa Cruz where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Environment Studies with a focus in policy. Originally from Santa Barbara, he has been able to explore the beautiful state and national parks throughout California. In his spare time he likes to boulder, swim, cook, and explore his local scene. His interest in philosophy and the environmental field has shaped his perspective of land stewardship, and remains an important cornerstone in his lifestyle and career.

Faith Morgan

Gainesville, FL
Student, University of Florida

Faith is a 21 year-old third year student from Miami, FL studying Wildlife Ecology and Conservation (WEC) with a focus in Wildlife Management at the University of Florida. She has always had a weird attraction to the outdoors and all that dwelled in it. In elementary and middle school, she was known for always reading books about animals. She could name any dog, cat, cow, pig breed I saw and could tell anyone, anything, about most animals. She had hopes to become a Veterinarian until her sophomore year of college. After working as a Vet tech for about 1 year, she discovered that was not the career path for her. Her advisor introduced her to the WEC major and she fell in love. On the management track, she has taken environmental policy and law classes that have sparked her curiosity to possibly become an environmental lawyer. Also, her management coursework has exposed her to thinking about attending graduate school and pursuing wildlife management.

She got the opportunity to be a part of a student congress for the Bureau of Land Management in August and is a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar.

Gabriel Chevalier

Northampton, MA
New England National Scenic Trail Data Management Associate, Appalachian Mountain Club

Gabriel Chevalier, of Northampton MA, began working with the Appalachian Mountain Club in 2017 as a Data Management Associate. Her work is focused primarily on efforts related to the New England National Scenic Trail (NET). She is currently putting all of her energy into the NET Hike 50 Challenge, launched to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System. Through this challenge and her work with AMC, Gabriel is helping to increase the visibility and accessibility of the NET by connecting challenge participants to local landowners, artists, hikers and community members.

Gabriel’s interest in the National Trails System is rooted in her desire to create systems that provide better access to natural landscapes for diverse and unexpected users. Her own experiences along the NET as a Western MA native heavily shaped her enthusiasm for increasing access to outdoor recreation. These experiences influenced her desire to preserve the natural landscapes in this region. She is working to merge several years spent as a middle school teacher with her background in environmental policy through building programs, curriculum and systems that engage under-targeted youth in the outdoors community. In her free time she can be found exploring New England by bicycle, working on home improvement projects or eating a large bowl of ice cream.

Gustavo Vasquez

Rohnert Park, CA
Park Project Leader, Sonoma County Regional Parks

A San Francisco Bay Area native, Gustavo Vasquez is currently a Park Project Leader with Sonoma County Regional Parks, assisting with the Volunteer Program, Marketing and Community Engagement division.

His previous positions includes being an Administrative Assistant for the Office of the Provost at Sonoma State University, An AmeriCorps VISTA member with Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County and an instructor for the College for Kids Program at Diablo Valley College.

He currently holds a BA in Studio Art from Sonoma State University, as well as an AA in Fine Art from Diablo Valley College. Gustavo is currently applying for his Masters in Public Administration at Sonoma State University and working towards a career in government or the nonprofit sector, with a focus in shaping public policy.

On his free time, you can find him behind a camera taking photographs, riding his bicycle around town or hiking the trails and parks in Sonoma County.

You can find his work at www.GustavoVasquez.com

Halle Goldstein

Tallahassee, FL
Gateway Communities Coordinator/Florida Trail Association

Halle is working at the Florida Trail Association as the Florida Trail Program Intern. She is starting up and leading the trail’s new Gateway Community Program. This gets small Florida towns and local businesses involved. The goal is to generate awareness and accommodation to our hikers, the towns, and their local businesses. It also provides advertisement of the Florida National Scenic Trail, and economic growth to the towns and businesses.

Another project Halle is working on with the Gateway Community Program, is a passport project. The town, and 3 businesses within each town will be housing a passport stamp for thru-hikers to collect along their journey. This provides a memento and fun way for the hikers to go along the trail, and provides incentive for them to stop in the local businesses.

Halle ultimately works on multiple projects to lead the Gateway Community program, but she also works diligently on administrative work within the office as well.

Her future goals include learning more about marketing and leadership. She also hopes to continue her working in the environmental sector because she would love to give back to something she enjoyed so much in her childhood.

Kayla Carter

Johnson City, TN
Outdoor Development Manager, Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership

Kayla is the Outdoor Development Manager for Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership (NETREP). Make sure you call Kayla by her trail name – Blossom – when she is hiking on the Appalachian Trail. She earned that trail name during her successful completion of the entire AT in 2014. Since then, Kayla has spent most weekends either maintaining her three-mile section of the AT along the Elk River, keeping it rubber side down on some local mountain bike trails or playing cover songs on her ukulele. Her goals are to inspire the next generation of stewards to give back to our public lands and to also bring more awareness to all the outdoor recreation opportunities in Northeast Tennessee. A current project that she is most excited to be a part of is assisting the National Park Service with converting the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail from a motor route into a footpath.

Kayla Fermin

Astoria, OR
Park Ranger, Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, National Park Service

Kayla graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelors in Geography in 2017. She began working as a biological technician intern through the Mosaics in Science Diversity Internship and Northwest Youth Corps at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. During her internships, she complied and analyzed ten years of herbaceous plant monitoring data from tidal wetland restoration projects at the park. She conducted elk pellet surveys, invasive species removal, and assisted with water quality monitoring.

She currently works as a Bilingual Park Ranger at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park where she engages with visitors from all over the world. During guided kayak tours and trail walks, she shares stories from the Lewis and Clark Expedition and native coastal peoples’ uses of plants. While dressed in buckskins at the Fort Clatsop reconstruction, she demonstrates how the Corps of Discovery navigated using scientific instruments, preserved plant specimens and survived using flintlock muskets to hunt for food.

In her free time, Kayla volunteers at a wildlife center and enjoys kayaking and hiking. She hopes to engage new audiences in outdoor activities, provoke deeper thought and action through storytelling and encourage diversifying the workforce to better reflect the diverse peoples who hike trails, visit parks, and public lands.

Lauren Manning

St. Joseph, MO
Intern, Oregon California Trails; Historic Preservation and Planning Consultant, City of St. Joseph, MO

Lauren Manning is currently working with the City of St. Joseph to help incorporate multiple historic trails histories into the current city landscape. Lauren is from St. Joseph and attended the University of Missouri at Kansas City to study Neighborhood Development and Housing with an emphasis on historic cities and neighborhoods. Born and raised in St. Joseph, Lauren is thrilled to be back in St. Joseph.

As an intern, Lauren is working to collaborate with numerous individuals and organizations to revitalize the historic areas of St. Joseph that were associated with the Lewis & Clark, Oregon, California, Pony Express, and other westward trails throughout the nineteenth century.

Lauren hopes to have a long career working to strengthen appreciation for the historic fabric of urban areas and continue to educate how critical moments in history like the westward migration changed the landscape of our country.

She has two rescue dogs, a love for historic buildings, tacos, classic rock, driving through mountain passes and has personally road tripped all 48 contiguous states and plans to visit the final two, Hawaii and Alaska, within the next few months

Madison Vandersee

Sante Fe, NM
Student Conservation Association Intern, National Trails System Intermountain Region

Madison recently graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL with her Bachelors in Geography and Environmental Studies and set out to find an internship through the Student Conservation Association that would provide work experience in a field of interest. Currently, she is working as the Signage and Partnerships Intern with the National Trails System Intermountain Region office in Santa Fe, NM. This internship is focused on increasing the visibility and public education of 9 of the 19 National Historic Trails through signing of accessible pedestrian and road segments which follow or cross the trails. She is able to work with partners and colleagues to put together sign plans that bring the history of these trails and the people who used them to the modern landscape around us.

Madison has previously worked as a Counselor, and then Program Director, at a summer camp and enjoyed providing unique outdoor and social experiences for people of all ages. She sees summer camp not only as an opportunity to break away from everyday life, but as a chance for people to learn about themselves and the world around them by getting out of their comfort zones and working with others. In the future, Madison hopes to continue to educate and inspire others to learn about the world and people around us through hands on learning experiences and unique outdoor education opportunities.

Maianna Taylor

Kailua-Kona, HI
Park Ranger, Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park

Maianna Taylor graduated from Konawaena High School with an Honorary Career and Technical Education Diploma Certificate, with a strong emphasis on Arts and Communications. Taylor started her national park career through the Hawaii Island Youth Ranger Program, which encourages local youth to become interested in conserving national parks. She was hired at Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park as an interpretation Park Ranger, where she was able to assist and educate visitors about Hawaiian culture, history, and natural resources. While working at Kaloko-Honokōhau NHP, Taylor organized employee and volunteer appreciation events, and coordinated the annual Independence Day parade theme decor and parade volunteers.
She has been the go-to designer for the annual children’s cultural festival t-shirts and hat logos.

Taylor has received the National Park Service Special Thanks Achievement Award (STAR) for proving to be a valued employee with exceptional organizational, interpretive and customer service skills, and this award recognizes her enthusiasm and friendliness. She continually strives to meet the mission of the National Park Service and does so with a spirit of aloha and helpfulness. She is a passionate communicator and works to encourage dialogue to help others understand Hawaiian culture. Taylor hopes to pursue a career with the National Park Service and is thrilled to learn more about the trails, culture, history, and nature of the Continental US.

One of Taylor’s favorite park activities is lauhala weaving, and she has enjoyed weaving bracelets, turtles (honu), journal covers, and she created the first lauhala journal strap. She hopes to someday make a lauhala hat!

Michela Williams

Atlanta, GA
Greening Youth Foundation Resource Assistant/Partnership Coordinator, U.S. Forest Service

Michela is a recent graduate from Georgia State University where she obtained a degree in Economics with a minor in Marketing.​ She has experience volunteering on the International Rescue Committee in Atlanta, Georgia where she assisted refugees in building resumes and planning budgets. She also conducted counseling sessions and helped with researching grants for refugees.​ Her current position title is Partnership Coordinator for the Georgia Mountains Children’s Forest Network.​ In this position she networks with different organizations and provides environmental education programs to students and youth organizations. Her passion is to expose underrepresented youth to opportunities they are simply less informed about.

Nate Zantzinger

Warren, TX
Community Volunteer Ambassador, Big Thicket National Preserve

Nate Zantzinger was born and raised in the temperate, deciduous forests of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Spending much of his youth exploring the woods and terrain, Nate quickly developed an appreciation for the wilds and their inhabitants. Nate has always enjoyed hiking trails including parts of the Appalachain Trail and sees potential in using trails for a variety of purposes for the greater good. Throughout schooling, Nate remained intrigued by wildlife and the ever-important need for conservation as well as the importance of reconnecting humans to the natural world. After competing in the Pennsylvania Envirothon, a science-based skills competition, Nate attended Prescott College in Prescott, Arizona to pursue an Environmental Studies degree.

In February 2018, Nate trekked south once more to serve as the Community Volunteer Ambassador (CVA) for Big Thicket National Preserve in Southeast Texas, where he currently presides. As CVA, Nate leads volunteer crews and service days, conducts public outreach and delivers interpretive programming to the preserves visitors. Other responsibilities include creating new and leveraging existing community partnerships, expanding volunteer opportunities and developing lifelong stewards and future leaders. One of the many joys Nate receives from his current position, is the ability to foster relationships with the outdoors to a diverse audience. At Big Thicket, he spends a majority of time working with low-income communities, a challenge he embraces as he works to connect locals to the outdoors.

In September 2018, Nate will be serving as Base Camp Director for the National Public Lands Day “Signature Site”, in partnership with National Environmental Education Foundation. This event will be a clean up along Pine Island Bayou, in response to Hurricane Harvey. Nate also is an American Canoe Association certified paddler and member, and has been trained in a variety of capacities, including Wilderness First Aid. He is enthused by the power and potential of our national trails and is interested in learning more about how he can apply himself to the National Trails System, now and in the future.

Robin Bruns

Marlinton, WV
Student, University of Kentucky

Robin is originally from Chiang Mai, Thailand. She has served on seasonal trail crews with Southwest Conservation Corps in Colorado. During that time, she gained exposure to the National Trails System and the long-distance hiking community. Since then, she has hiked the entirety of the Colorado Trail and the Appalachian Trail. Recently, she completed a term working in partnership with the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia on trails, tourism and cartography projects. She is currently a graduate student at the University of Kentucky studying Digital Mapping. Her interests are in the application of GIS in public lands management and expanding the role of trails in rural tourism development.

Ryan Jansen

Cross Plains, WI
Seasonal Lands Intern, Ice Age Trail Alliance

Born in Madison and raised in Cross Plains, Ryan grew up hiking, camping, and skiing with his parents and two brothers. Inspired by everything outdoors, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received his Bachelors of Science in Biology in 2016. With broad interests in Cells, Entomology, and Mycology he moved to Colorado to live with his brother and look for work. After a year working a few jobs that felt passionless, he took a 10 week crew member position with WisCorps, the new Wisconsin Conservation Corps based in LaCrosse, WI. One of their sponsors was the Ice Age Trail Alliance (IATA), hiring his crew for help with a re-route of trail in the north woods. Here, Ryan met a lot of interesting, like-minded, and welcoming folks.

When the WisCorps season ended, he started volunteering with the IATA, where he later accepted a seasonal position. Fortunately, he was able to take off work to volunteer at all of the 2018 Mobile Skills Crew events, where he gained skills and passion for the trail. He can be easily picked out of the crew because he is usually carrying around insects or slime molds and playing show and tell.

Mid-internship he decided to head off for a Thru-Hike of the IAT, where he will be until the October Conference.

Slide Kelly

Somerville, MA
GIS & Mapping Specialist, Continental Divide Trail Coalition

Slide grew up in the Denver foothills exploring the outdoors and reading atlases in his down time. He was first introduced to the National Trails System through a backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail as a first-year at Tufts University, where he studied Architectural Studies and Economics. After graduating, he found a role perfectly at the intersection of his interests first as a GIS Seasonal and now as the GIS & Mapping Specialist for the Continental Divide Trail Coalition.

His work at CDTC combines GIS data management and conservation research with his love of cartography and representations of place. In the coming year, he hopes to pursue projects directed at making trail information more freely and easily accessible, as well as research regarding the increasing impacts of wildfire to the CDT corridor.

Outside of CDTC, Slide works as a GIS Specialist for a landscape architecture firm in Cambridge, MA and is a part-time circus artist specializing in aerial acrobatics.

Treven Hooker

Tucson, AZ
Youth Outreach and Education Coordinator, Seeds of Stewardship Director – Arizona Trail Association

Treven Hooker has worked for the Arizona Trail Association, directing the Seeds of Stewardship program for nearly three years. He is deeply passionate about connecting people to the local natural landscapes around Tucson Arizona. His role as the Seeds of Stewardship coordinator has brought him into education, driving a new realized passion for education in the outdoors. Combining outdoor learning and adventure, Treven finds himself facilitating some of the most important bonding experience in our modern time. He sees the value and unarguable need for understanding and connection to the natural places that seems so distant to people. It is a compelling force to help create those bonds, in an all-inclusive and easily accessible manner.

Outside of his work with Seeds of Stewardship, Treven teaches multiple yoga classes a week. His is an active student, working to complete 500 hours of Yoga Teacher Training. Beyond the minor and basic wage based motivation, Treven’s passion for yoga and natural learning comes from the same taproot – offering kindness, compassion, love, and education, through guidance of the self and of our natural places. This is his mission.

Treven intends to continue expanding and evolving the Seeds of Stewardship program so it can reach more schools and more youth. His interest in this is to develop curriculum and programming not only for Seeds of Stewardship, but for schools all over Arizona, so that they may develop and adopt reliable, consistent, and perceived permanent outdoor education opportunities for their students. In addition, the interest to develop and open his own school for natural learning exists, and is slowly manifesting.

Tyler Lee

Basalt, CO
Lead Wilderness Ranger, Aspen Sopris Ranger District

Tyler Lee has worked in the outdoor conservation industry for seven years and in 10 Wilderness Areas throughout Idaho, Montana, and Colorado. He currently works for the U.S. Forest Service as the Lead Wilderness Ranger on the Aspen Sopris Ranger District, White River National Forest. His contemporary focus is Integrative and Public Land Management in the Master of Environmental Management program at Western State Colorado University. For his master’s project, he is assisting the Aspen Sopris Ranger District of the White River National Forest with the strategic implementation of an overnight limited use permit system at Conundrum Hot Springs in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.

Tyler has a deep connection to the outdoor community and wild places; he is currently striving to become a key decision maker on public lands issues with the federal agencies that manger the National Trails System. When he is not on the trail, you can find him off the trail or with his skis in the high alpine.