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Programs in Ecuador
at our sister school: Nahual Expeditions
Programs in California
with Frey Farm ("Kroka West")
Year Round NH Team
|Misha Golfman, Founding Director |
MISHA GOLFMAN, M.Ed. co-founded Kroka Expeditions in 1996. He graduated from the Soviet National Outdoor Leadership School and earned degrees from Leningrad Politechnical and Pedagogical Universities, Plymouth State College and M.Ed. from Antioch, NE Graduate School. As a child he spent every summer expeditioning on long Russian waterways with his mother, while foraging and fishing. Misha participated and led many expeditions including several in the Russian and Canadian Arctic. He founded several initiatives, including the Russian American Outdoor Educators Exchange, Adventures in Russia and Piermont Outdoor Program. Misha was a guide for Mahoosuc Guide Service for 15 years and Outward Bound for 3 years. He also was a public school and college teacher for 10 years.
|Nathan Lyczak, Systems Manager|
NATHAN LYCZAK is Kroka’s systems manager. He is responsible for financial management and organizational systems development as well as providing administrative support and training for all of the staff. He brings to Kroka 15 years experience in non-profit management, and youth development and holds a masters degree in Education from Harvard University. While not at Kroka, Nathan lives in Keene with lovely wife Hanah and two children Meg and Rye.
|Lynne Boudreau, Farm Educator
LYNNE, M.Ed. graduated from UMass, Amherst and Leslie College with degrees in Education and Creative Arts. Prior to founding Kroka, Lynne taught as a Special Education Teacher, Public School Classroom teacher and Waldorf Nursery Kindergarten teacher. Lynne also worked as a ski guide at Mahoosuc Guide Service. Lynne brings to Kroka a wealth of teaching and life experience combined with a deep understanding of child development and an unsurpassed compassion for all beings. Besides running Kroka and raising a family Lynne manages Kroka’s growing farm.
|Linda Fuerderer, Office Manager
LINDA FUERDERER is our amazing Office Manager/Administrator and she always steps up to do many other tasks. Until the sale in 2007, she worked along side her family in the family business, Jack’s True Value Hardware in Keene, New Hampshire. While working in the family business, she received a Bachelor’s Degree at Keene State College. Here she deepened her passion for archaeology. Linda has participated on many digs and regularly volunteers with the New Hampshire SCRAP program (State Conservation and Rescue Archaeology Program). She is a resident of Marlow and sits on the conservation commission as well as ARLAC (Ashuelot River Local Advisory Commission).
|Hanah LaBarre, Food Manager|
HANAH LABARRE was born in a country below sea level, learned to play on the flanks of the Himalayas, carve out fortresses in English and New English thickets and, after a detour in the jungles of New Jersey, set out running on The Great Plains. She gained full height and began growing her roots in the fertile Finger-Lakes region of New York State, sailing the mighty Hudson River and rambling deep shale ravines. Reed College pulled her west, but she pushed east again (on her trusty bike) to study eclectically at Cornell while honing expedition skills. She commenced to working with Longacre Expeditions, The Chewonki Foundation and The Shackleton School. After earning her M.Ed. at Lesley University, she embarked on a decade of teaching middle school sciences in beautiful Vermont. Now Hanah can be found nourishing or being nourished by the amazing community of Kroka or tending her small garden and family in Keene, New Hampshire.
|Emily Hughes, Director of Outreach
EMILY HUGHES gets to spend everyday making sure that all those wanting to come and give to Kroka get the opportunities to do so. Her masters degrees in Nonprofit Management (SU) and Environmental Studies (SUNY-ESF) along with years of experience in environmental education have prepared her for both organizational and backcountry adventures. She is glad to call the Haven her home with partner/custom bike welder, Joe, and dog, Journey. Outdoors, she enjoys exploring the peaks of the Northeast and indoors, she loves sharing a bowl of kettlecorn over a game of Innovation.
Year Round Ecuador Team
|Michael Dammer, NH-Ecuador Semester Coordinator
MICHAEL DAMMER is one of the founders of the NH-Ecuador Semester and has been involved as teacher, coordinator, climbing specialist and support staff for all Ecuador semesters. Born and based in Palugo Farm, he has been a key part of Kroka for many years. In both places he has been a driving force for the development of education systems. He has been involved in agricultural initiatives and sustainable and traditional building projects. He is a professional mountaineer and rock climber. He lives with his partner, Marcela and son Koru in their handmade home in Palugo farm.
|Marcela Restrepo, Ecuador School Program Coordinator
MARCELA RESTREPO, also based in Palugo Farm is Colombian born but has been based in Ecuador for more than 25 years. She has been working with Kroka for eight years as a lead teacher both for the Ecuador Semester, as well as school and summer programs. Before this, she was based in New Zealand, where she worked with a small, experimental theatre company. She has been part of several projects in ecological reserves and communities in Ecuador involved in restoration and alternative agriculture. She has a diploma in Waldorf education from Taruna college in New Zealand. She is currently immersed in many farm projects, runs an artisanal cheese and yogurt industry as well goes on wonderful expeditions with Michael and Koru.
|Mathias Dammer, Senior Lead Teacher
Co-Founder of Nahual Expediciones MATHIAS DAMMER (Thomson River University, Canada) was born and raised at Palugo Farm in the core of the Andes Mountains, where he learned to love nature and developed passion for outdoor sports. Mathias is a professional mountain guide, farmer, and father. Mathias' legendary strength and determination has inspired generations of Kroka students. Mathias is an Ecuador Semester Senior Lead Teacher. He lives with his partner Nicole Marchan and their daughter Ayra in the homemade tent at the top of Palugo Hill. Mathias has been teaching at Kroka since 2004.
Accomplished climber, Galapagos guide, herbologist, and mother, NICOLE MARCHAN (BS, Biology, Universidad Catolica, EC) has a deep respect and knowledge of Andean nature, people and traditional ways. She teaches yoga, studies the magical healing properties of herbs and coordinates the Ecuador Semester Program. Nicole lives with her partner Mathias Dammer and their daughter Ayra in the homemade tent at the top of Palugo Hill. Nicole has been teaching at Kroka since 2008.
|Thomas Dammer, Senior Lead Teacher
Senior Lead Teacher THOMAS DAMMER (BS San Francisco, EC.) was born and raised on horseback at Palugo Farm. Through wrestling his brothers, roping horses, climbing trees, hunting, shooting bows, and racing wooden boats, he developed an understanding of community and a love for nature. He has an independent personality and a great talent for different sports; he is a passionate paddler, climber, biker, and an overall adventurer. He has done much traveling and has dedicated a great deal of his life to being outdoors, guiding, and working with young people in nature. The practice of permaculture encompasses much of his interests, with bio-construction as part of it. He and Marcea MacInnis enjoy living in their hand built wood and adobe house at Palugo Farm with their daughters Naya and Nina. Thomas has been teaching at Kroka since 2004.
MARCEA MACINNIS (BA, Marlboro College) is a native Vermonter. Growing up immersed in nature, she developed an understanding of the beauty, forms, and cycles of the living Earth. While traveling, she developed her expression through crafts, music, and art. Marcea moved to Ecuador in 2006. She lives with her partner Thomas Dammer and their two daughters Nina and Naya in their hand built wood and adobe house at Palugo Farm. She has worked at Kroka since 2005, teaching students the beauty of nature through leaves, flowers, and roots, both as a teacher during the summer and for the Ecuador Semester. In addition to teaching Marcea runs a medicinal herb and balm company called Yuyos.
|David Silva Alvarez
DAVICHO SILVA ALVAREZ, a rambling rock climber, originates from Colombia, but has lived and raised his beautiful daughter, Violeta, in Ecuador for the last decade. At the age of twelve, he earned enough money selling hot dogs on the street to buy his first pair of climbing shoes. He has gone on to become a professional mountaineering guide as a member of the Asosacion de Guias de Alta Montaña of both Ecuador and Bolivia. In Ecuador, he works as a high-altitude mountaineering guide for Nahual Expediciones. Around Kroka, Davicho can be found collecting poison ivy, while exploring new heights and terrain.
ROBERTO PUPIALES was born at 9,000 ft. in the Ecuadorian Andes. From that height he could see Kroka and his future working there so many years later. Roberto was a student on the 2010 Ecuador semester and has been an apprentice then teachers on many of the semesters since.
|Emily Turner, Vermont Semester Lead Teacher
EMILY TURNER was born and raised in the town of Starksboro, VT. She first came to Kroka at the age of 11 and has been a devoted Kroka-ite ever since. She completed the 2004 Vermont Semester and was the first ever Kroka Apprentice. She then took time to study at Fosen Folk School in Norway, where she lived for three years shoveling manure, sailing boats, and strapping her skis to her bicycle so she was always prepared. Her time abroad continued for another three years spent living outside of London studying theater, and exploring Europe as a traveling milk maid. In 2013 Emily led the Vermont Semester and has since become a lead teacher for the semester program. She is continuing her education as a student of the Antioch Waldorf Teacher Training.
|Oliver Mednick, Vermont Semester Coordinator
OLIVER MEDNICK graduated from the Vermont Semester in 2010, came back as Semester Teacher in 2014 after graduating from Warren Wilson College with a degree in Environmental Education, he then coordinated the 2015 Vermont Semester, and just finished as the Building Assistant for the Barn Building Apprenticeship this summer. Oliver grew up in nearby Nelson, New Hampshire, and when not chopping wood or tanning hides, you can find him buried in projects involving woodworking, blacksmithing, sewing, throwing pots, making knives, drawing, knitting, crocheting, and weaving hats and baskets. His favorite award was winning a wood-chopping competition in college. Oliver is continuing his education in boatbuilding this year at the Fosen Folk School in Rissa, Norway.
OWEN CUNNANE, originally from Maine, has always been mesmerized by fire. He has lived by an active volcano in Hawaii and worked extinguishing forest fires in Maine and Canada. This spring, the flame of Kroka caught his eye and he now spends his days with fire more peacefully cooking and spending time with students and friends, and at night he can be found reading by candlelight. His passion for life and the outdoors is strong, and he shares this with all he meets.
LISL, M.Ed. was born and raised in a small village in the Austrian Alps in the family of a forest ranger and teacher. She climbed, backcountry skied, and hiked extensively. Lisl has been a teacher all of her adult life, having taught elementary as well as high school grades. After moving to the United States in 1985 she studied at the Rudolf Steiner College in California. For 13 years she taught at the Kimberton Waldorf School in Pennsylvania, where she carried the Movement and Outdoor Education Department. Lisl devoted seven years of her life as director of Kroka's semester programs, building Vermont and Ecuador semesters, and mentoring hundreds of young adults through life-changing experiences. We are grateful that she continues to serve Kroka as a guest teacher and mentor. Her son Stefan is an alumnus of VSP ’04 and has taught many programs at Kroka.
TRINA hails from Keene, New Hampshire, where her education at the Monadnock Waldorf School and the Putney School awoke in her a deep passion for many mediums of art. After experiencing the New Hampshire-Ecuador Semester as a student in 2009, Trina decided to come back to teach at Kroka in the summers. Trina’s love of exploration and adventure has led her on many journeys, most recently to Ireland, where she spent four months traveling the coast by bicycle. Trina now attend the Rode Island School of Design.
STEVIE DEMBOWSKI was born at the Limestone Airforce Base and grew up on Sebago Lake in Casco, ME. She spent the first year of her adulthood hiking the Appalachian Trail and across Ireland. She brings to Kroka her solid, fun-loving, compassionate self and many years of working with young people, especially girls, in the woods.
ELIOT WITTEN grew up in an intentional co-housing community in Western Massachusetts. He grew up going to Night Eagle Wilderness Adventures, and has moved through the ranks at Kroka, from summer to semester student, and then apprentice to summer staff member. He especially enjoys fishing, camping, singing and canoing.
AJA MATHEWS graduated from the College of the Atlantic and hopped right onto the trail. First the Appalachian Trail on the east coast, and then the Pacific Crest Trail on the west coast. Aja grew up in Silicon Valley and is enlivened by sharing stories of her home using rhyme.
TOM ROSENBURG hails from the coast of Maine, and grew up playing with dogs in salt marshes and lazy rivers. In 2006, Tom graduated from Kroka's Vermont semester. Inspired by the beauty of winter camping, Tom then spent two winters working at a dog-sledding guide service in Maine--Mahoosuc Guide Service. Tom returned to Kroka to be an assistant teacher on the 2008 VT-NH semester, and has led summer and school programs ever since. When he's not leading trips, Tom works as a wood-worker and timber framer. He lives with his wife Lily in Mt. Shasta, CA.
A native of Northern California, LILY FREY grew up exploring the woods and waves of her home and developed a deep connection to the land. She graduated from Kroka's Vermont semester program in 2006 and spent a year in Norway developing her wilderness and expedition skills at the Fosen Folk School. Since 2009, Lily has been a lead instructor at Kroka and has brought an unwavering commitment to the quality of our programs. Lily is also an avid farmer, and when she's not leading trips she can be found milking cows or pruning fruit trees. She lives with her husband Tom in Mt. Shasta, CA, where she is completing a teacher training.
AYERE MCALICE, born in Switzerland, has been a part of the Kroka community for the past five years. When not at Kroka, Ayere lives in New York with her family speaking German, taking care of her siblings, and taking on crazy sewing projects! Like many staff, she started as a student, completing the Ecuador Semester in 2012, and then spent two summers as an apprentice before becoming staff here at Kroka. Her laugh is contagious, her wisdom is true, and in her free time she can be found controlling the elements while lounging on the top of mountains.
ANDY NOTOPOULOS was born in Massachusetts on horseback. With the winds from the West, Andy blew in last spring to lead programs for all ages into the wilderness.
CAROLIN WORTER skied from a small mountain town in the Tyrolin Alps in Austria to the U.S., where she was found at the Logan airport and brought to Kroka four years ago. She is a master geologist, rock hugger, and climber. Carolin is working towards pursuing a P.H.D in sports science, and will be working this summer as an assistant teacher for Kroka's climbing programs. In addition to this, Carolin is aspiring to be able to pack out food for an expedition on roller skates!
ROBYN AVERY, (better known as the "Paddling Wiz Kid") is famous for making the cover of the 2014 Kroka brochure celebrating its 20th anniversary. He is not too young, not too old, and during his years has traveled from the Ashuapmashuan River in Canada to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The Paddling Wiz Kid lives in Brattleboro, VT, where he goes to school and loves to white water kayak. He is also an expert worm digger!
|Pasha Belenky, Paddling Specialist
PAUL BELENKY, known as Pasha, has been with Kroka since he was a little boy. Practically born into a kayak, he grew up paddling with his family, and is now one of Kroka's prized white water specialists. His Russian fisherman roots run deep, and on trips he can often be seen with a fishing rod in one hand and paddle in the other. Pasha is a total goof ball and always brings a light humorous energy with him wherever he goes. When not at Kroka or paddling down a river, he can be found making art in the greater Boston area.
|Hannah Miller |
HANNAH MILLER first came to Kroka in 2009 as a student on the Ecuador Semester. Born and raised in Vermont, her initial experience with Kroka launched her into further explorations of the globe. Over the past several years she has spent time traveling through South America, Europe, and the U.S. She has lived in coastal Maine studying at College of the Atlantic, and has consistently pursued various musical, agricultural, and food-related endeavors. Most recently she has been bike touring and farming in France, paddling in the Grand Canyon, and exploring the southwestern U.S. She has worked seasonally for Kroka in New Hampshire and Ecuador since 2011. The 2015 Ecuador Semester will be her third semester as a part of the teaching team.
Rimas "RIMAI" Kalvaitis, was born in 1966 as an identical twin into a Lithuanian family in Santa Monica, California. At age five he moved to Ireland, to learn English, and then at seven to Belgium to learn French. Since returning to the United States in 1976, he has spent his time growing up in New Hampshire, and graduated from New England College with a triple major of psychology, biology and education. An avid traveler, he has toured the country's climbing areas, always on the lookout for more of a wilderness flavor in life. He discovered the Hawaiian islands and returned to live there every winter for almost a decade, whereupon he met his wife, Traceymay and since has been busy raising his four children. Rimai has worked in numerous outdoor education programs including Outward Bound, and recently has developed a love for white water paddling.
|Grandfather Ray Reitze
Raymond Reitze Jr. is the founder of Earthways School of Wilderness Living and a Master Maine Guide. As a young boy living on a dairy farm, Ray was an apprentice to Grandfather Joe, a Mic Mac Indian, who guided him on the physical and spiritual path of his people. Later in his life and after returning from Vietnam, Ray had to abandon his work as a farmer and a backhoe operator and followed the call of Grandfather Joe. He became a guide and a teacher. Ray has incredible skills in living on the land. The wisdom of the Earth radiates through him. A teacher to Chris, Ashirah and Misha, Ray leads students in several courses at Kroka.
An active guide for over 35 years, KEVIN has traveled extensively in the north by canoe and dog team with Natives. This has provided him with a deep respect and understanding for the people and their culture. Kevin has done numerous canoe expeditions in Maine, Quebec, Labrador and a pioneer descent of the Grand Canyon. He is an excellent teacher and a certified instructor-trainer for the American Canoe Association. Kevin has been a registered Maine Master Guide since 1976. He is a former Program Director for Outward Bound and taught at the University of Maine where he received a Masters of Education degree in 1984. Kevin is a true craftsman who takes great pride in what he produces from his workshop. In his rare moments of free time, he enjoys listening to Celtic music and writing occasionally for Mushing magazine.