Staff

Year-Round NH Team

Silvano Biffis
SILVANO believes that growing good food will help heal people and the earth. Food is love and love must be the way! He believes that it is our obligation to heal and preserve the earth for future generations. For this reason Silvano joined a pacifist movement in Italy in 1977. In 1983 he began his experience with organic and biodynamic farming, working full-time on organic and biodynamic farms and dairies from 1989 to 2004 and part-time from 2005 to 2012. Both modes of farming not only aid the earth in repairing its many damaged elements and promoting new healthy life, but also produce good food that contributes positively to the development of human thought. To Silvano, his is a fundamental element to evolution. Even at 56 years old, Silvano believes that he can still contribute valuably through his work to the preservation of the earth for the future. Read more…

Tricia Bennett
TRICIA is an inspired outdoor educator from the neighboring town of Washington, NH. She holds a degree in Outdoor Education from the University of New Hampshire, where she competed in lumberjack events, and spent a semester with the National Outdoor Leadership School sea kayaking and mountaineering in Chilean Patagonia. Tricia has spent her recent years working with students for NOLS, Global Routes, True North, and recently running an adventure after-school program near Boston. Tricia finds joy in spending her time with family, traveling, and practicing pottery. She is excited to give back to her local community, immerse in organic farm life and build life-long connections with everyone she meets as the School Program Coordinator.

Hannah Billian
HANNAH Billian graduated from Warren Wilson College with a degree in Environmental Science, and a concentration in Sustainable Forestry. She was also a member of the first ever Ecuador Semester in 2007. Since graduating, Hannah has worked on the Maine Coast, leading wilderness trips and teaching in many capacities for the Chewonki Foundation, Farm and Wilderness, and the Juniper Hill School. Hannah has spent the last three years coordinating, teaching, and guiding on our semester programs.  Hannah’s friendly smile and passion for education bring vigor to the role of Semester Coordinator. Read more…

Lynn Boudreau
LYNNE Boudreau, 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 “Happy Hens” Chicken Farm.

Theresa Darling
THERESA grew up on a homestead farm in rural Connecticut. Her family moved to New Hampshire in 1986 and she never left. She settled in beautiful Acworth, NH on the Cold River with her small family. She has spent many years working in finance and business. Theresa also enjoys spending time with family, gardening, hiking, foraging, making maple syrup, mushroom hunting, learning about medicinal plants, and raising animals. Theresa also has a passion for sharing great cooking, and has a small frozen food business making homemade, from scratch entrees called TC’s Pantry. Read more…

Ezra Fradkin
A New England native, EZRA grew up in an intentional community in Amherst, Massachusetts. Highlights from his childhood include a semester abroad in the Basque country in northern Spain, making maple syrup, and building forts in the woods. Ezra attended Kroka’s Ecuador Semester as a high-school student and went on to graduate from Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, VT where his studies focused on sustainable food systems. Before returning to Kroka as a member of the year-round team in 2016 Ezra spent time in Ecuador, Israel, Mexico, and Lopez Island in Washington’s Salish Sea. When not in the Kroka office, you can find Ezra exploring the underground world and performing in a local theater group. Read more…

Linda Fuerderer
LINDA is our amazing Office Manager/Administrator and always steps up to do many other tasks around the Kroka campus. Until it’s sale in 2007, she worked alongside her family in the family business, Jack’s True Value Hardware in Keene, New Hampshire. While working there, she received a Bachelor’s Degree at Keene State College, where 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).

Misha Golfman
MISHA Golfman 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 was also a public school and college teacher for 10 years. Read more…

Taylor Huntley
Born and raised in nearby Peterborough, TAYLOR’s roots are deep in the southern New Hampshire soil. He is excited to return to his native land to share his passion for personal growth through outdoor adventure. Taylor studied Adventure Education at Plymouth State University. After guiding on the Colorado Plateau and in the Rockies for several years he returned to academia to earn his M.S. in Experiential Education from MNSU, Mankato. In recent years Taylor has been leading extended backcountry expeditions and semesters for NOLS, St. Lawrence University and Plymouth State University. When Taylor returns from skiing, mountain biking or hiking he can be found by water, playing his drum set or fueling his love of board sports.

Hanah LaBarre
HANAH 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 her expedition skills. She commenced 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. Read more…

Leah Lamdin
LEAH LAMDIN is the Kroka West Program Coordinator based out of Sonoma County, California. A New England native from Pelham, MA, Leah’s parents were both teachers and outdoor educators, instilling in her a passion and appreciation for transformative nature-based experiences with young people. Leah received her BA in Global Studies from Warren Wilson College and completed a NOLS semester in New Zealand. For seven summers, Leah taught at the Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center in Shutesbury, MA and joined the Kroka community in 2011 as Summer Programs Coordinator, holding that position for three years. Leah then traveled across the U.S., directed an outdoor education non-profit in Alaska, and continued her professional development through a year-long program with Weaving Earth: Center for Relational Education. Excitedly re-joining the Kroka staff in 2017, Leah coordinates and leads all Kroka West trips, and is developing new expedition programs and partnerships with schools and youth organizations on the west coast.

Nathan Lyczak
NATHAN is Kroka’s managing director. 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 his two children Meg and Rye, and spends his time enjoying music, dancing, gardening, and having people over for dinner.

Morgan Urquia
Raised in the woods and waters of both Richmond Virginia and mid-coast Maine, MORGAN studied theater and activist art at NYU then leaped out in to the world to hone her skills and passions as a traveler and trip-leader. She has lead trips throughout Maine and the UK, as well as explored Patagonia first as a student of NOLS and then on her own bicycle. She has been an urban farmer in NYC, studied permaculture in New Mexico and WWOOFed her way through New Zealand. We welcome Morgan’s steady energy, bountiful experience and tremendous leadership to Kroka, both as a Seasonal Wilderness Guide and as the assistant teacher in our Ecuador Semester.

Eliot Witten
ELIOT grew up in an intentional co-housing community in Western Massachusetts. He spent his weekends as a child camping in Vermont and climbing New Hampshire’s White Mountains. He came to Kroka in 2009, and has moved through the ranks first from summer to semester student, and then from apprentice to summer staff member. He especially enjoys fishing, camping, singing and canoeing with young students. Now part of Kroka’s year round team, Eliot supports the Summer and School programs as Kroka’s Programs Assistant.

Year-Round Ecuador Team

Dammer Family

Mathias Dammer
Co-Founder of Nahual Expediciones, MATHIAS, who is a graduate of Thomson River University in Canada, was born and raised at Palugo Farm in the core of the Andes Mountains, where he learned to love nature and developed a passion for outdoor sports. Mathias is a professional mountain guide, farmer, and father, and has been teaching at Kroka since 2004. His  legendary strength and determination have inspired generations of Kroka students. Mathias is an Ecuador Semester Senior Lead Teacher, and lives with his partner Nicole Marchan and their daughter Ayra in their homemade tent at the top of Palugo Hill.

Michael Dammer
MICHAEL is one of the founders of the Ecuador Semester and has been involved as a teacher, coordinator, and climbing specialist for all Ecuador semesters. Born and based on Palugo Farm, he has been a key part of Kroka for many years. In both countries, he has been a driving force behind the development of education systems at Kroka. Michael has been involved in agricultural initiatives, as well as sustainable and traditional building projects. He is a professional mountaineer and rock climber. He lives with his partner, Marcela and sons Koru and Antu in their handmade home on Palugo farm. Read his blog here.

Thomas Dammer
Senior Lead Teacher THOMAS, who received a Bachelor of Science from the San Francisco University in Ecuador, was born and raised on horseback at Palugo Farm. Through wrestling with his brothers, roping horses, climbing trees, hunting, shooting bows, and racing wooden boats, he developed an understanding of community and a deep appreciation of 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 and bio-construction is another one of his interests. He and his wife 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 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.

Nicole Marchan
Accomplished climber, Galapagos guide, herbologist, and mother, NICOLE 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.

Marcela Restrepo
Marcela, who is also based in Palugo Farm, is Colombian born but has lived 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 and 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 both restoration and alternative agriculture. She has a diploma in Waldorf education from Taruna college in New Zealand. Marcela is currently immersed in many farm projects, runs an artisanal cheese and yogurt industry as well goes on wonderful expeditions with husband Michael and sons Koru and Antu.

Seasonal Staff and Guides

Roberto Pupiales 
ROBERTO 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.

David Silva Alvarez 
DAVID, 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, David can be found collecting poison ivy while exploring new heights and terrain. Read more…

Maria Cimonetti
MARIA is a teacher at the Lake Champlain Waldorf School in Shelburne, Vermont. She is an avid sailor, explorer, and lover of all things water. She is especially excited to boldly jump in the ocean and explore the Maine coast with students by boat.

Claudia Danford
CLAUDIA began at Kroka as a Vermont Semester student in 2016. She was an apprentice during the summer of 2017, scrambling up rocks and sailing and rowing our beloved boat Uma on the St. Lawrence river. Claudia loves exploring mountains by ski and bike, and the water in any kind of boat. Claudia is spending her year before college surfing, scuba diving, hiking, and being a part of a sustainable development project led by her cousin on a remote island in the Western Pacific. It turns out the ships that passed Uma on the St. Lawrence are the same kind of ocean-going vessels that bring goods to Kosrae (the island in the Pacific)!

Karina DeJesus
KARINA De Jesus is an assistant leader at Kroka. With 15 years of experienece in the education field including Waldorf education she brings her energy and passion for teaching to Kroka. Living by the land and respecting it is one of her core beliefs ever, and has been ever since her upbringing in the Dominican Republic, which allowed her to connect to nature in this way.

Jackson Ennis
JACKSON also known as WABUSH, related to the Innu word for rabbit, came to Kroka at age eleven. He has been back every year since. Born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, he completed the Kroka whitewater progression and embarked on five Canadian Expeditions, which brought him from the wildernesses of Ottawa, Quebec and Labrador to the Arctic Ocean. Since apprenticing in the summer of 2015, Jackson now works as a teacher on White Water Paddling programs. He is an American Canoe Association certified Whitewater Kayak Instructor. When not paddling whitewater or hopping around, Jackson runs, often in circles. Jackson is a student and a track athlete at Williams College in Western Massachusetts.

Carlo Fumagalli
CARLO is a 25 year old Brazilian who loves and believes deeply in nature as a great inspirer of human spiritual growth. He graduated from NOLS Semester in the Amazon in 2011 and as an Outdoor Educator on Outward Bound Brazil in 2018.

Miron Golfman 
MIRON has called Kroka home since the school’s birth. He currently lives in the Pacific Northwest. Miron is a full-time instructor and guide throughout the country. Dividing his time, Miron works for a number of organizations including the Colorado Outward Bound School, Big City Mountaineers, and Kroka. Miron’s passion lies at the intersection of outdoor education and social justice. He is constantly striving to diversify and expand the outdoor industry. Miron believes that it is the responsibility of outdoor education to promote an industry that is fully inclusive. Historically Miron has been a whitewater specialist at Kroka, more recently returning as a guest teacher on periodic programs. When Miron is not teaching you can find him mountain biking, paddling, canyoneering, and participating in various social and community action.Watch Miron in action.

Michel Goncalves
MICHEL is from Brazil, where he started to rock climb when he was 14 years old. Michel worked as a guide, studied tourism and in 2013 completed the instructor course in Outward Bound Brasil.He then started to work as a backpacking, paddling, and rock climbing instructor. In 2017 he completed the professional instructor course at NOLS. Michel has done many trips involving solo climbing and hiking in Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina.

Tessa Hannigan
You might find TESSA climbing a tree, playing a guitar or on a trail out West with a big back pack on. She was born in Boulder, Colorado where she lived with her family going on the occasional ski trip and having a blast participating in the more than occasional theater performance. She graduated from Tara High School in 2016 and now studies at Swarthmore College where she is exploring Peace and Conflict Studies, Education, Creative Writing and Environmental Studies. She loves to back pack, canoe, bike and sing.

Jodi Harris
JODI enjoys traveling nearly as much as she enjoys staying home and tending to her backyard homestead in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she grew up. She has hiked in all fifty states and six continents, often backpacking or bikepacking. She has been a Waldorf teacher for 20 years and has relished four 8th grade class trips with Kroka Expeditions. Her son Malcolm completed both semester programs, and she has led the Introduction to Adventure program at Kroka for two years now. When not traveling she is an avid reader, hiker, knitter and contradancer.

Grant Hawkes
GRANT has been both a Semester Student and Apprentice, and returns now to lead programs in his own right. He grew up in Southern Maine with his four siblings building forts and crafting in his backyard. As a young homeschooler he began studying with Chris and Ashirah Knapp at Koviashuvik Local Living School, where he apprenticed and worked, furthering his wilderness and crafting skills.He enjoyed three years of summer trips at Kroka as a camper before becoming an apprentice and completing the Winter Semester. He has a strong belief that everything he uses should be beautiful as well as functional and strives to apply this philosophy to all of his pursuits. Grant enjoys canoeing down quiet rivers, carving wood, tanning hides, blacksmithing, and singing songs. He can often be found wandering the wild woods, a handmade knife on his belt and an axe in hand, throwing a song to the wind. A masterful craftsman, he infuses every project with a reverence and wonder which are felt by all around him.

Lynn Horowitz
LYNN is a passionate paddler and sailor who has traveled on numerous Canadian Expeditions as a student, and apprenticed on Uma’s Maiden Voyage. She takes great care and pride in supporting the students on her programs and introducing them to the Kroka wonders she experienced as a student.

Chris Knapp
CHRIS has been with Kroka since 1999. He spent many years as a student of Ray Reitz and as a teacher at Earthways School of Wilderness Living. He has a wealth of wilderness knowledge and experience to share. Chris and his wife Ashirah have been an integral part of Kroka’s development, designing and creating curriculum, as well as teaching the Vermont Semester in 2004, 2006 and 2008. Most of the year, Chris and Ashira can be found in Maine at Koviashuvik Local Living School. Based on their homestead in Temple Maine, Koviashuvik teaches a blend of folk arts, wilderness crafts, permaculture, and sustainable technologies.

Nate Lucas
NATE is new member to the Kroka staff in 2018. Nate has spent his last few years in Burlington, VT working in a variety of fields that include Education, Arboriculture, and Ski Patrol. Nate enjoys climbing and snowboarding and is excited to work on his photography skills as he leads Kroka students in beautiful environments.

Adam Marcinkowski
ADAM is a phenomenal break- and hiphop dancer. He graduated from Lake Champlain Waldorf High School in 2016 and spent a gap year working at a hostel in Puerto Rico and as a motorcycle/trekking tour guide in northern Vietnam. He enjoys climbing, swimming and dancing as well as any kind of unexpected adventures. Currently, Adam attends St. Lawrence University in Canton New York.

Oliver Mednick
OLIVER knows the Vermont Semester upside down and inside out. He was a student in 2010, came back as Semester Teacher in 2014 after graduating from Warren Wilson College with a degree in Environmental Education.  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.

Mary Kate Norton
MARY KATE hails from Ohio, where she currently studies biology at the College of Wooster and works to build more sustainable practices there. She has been a part of the Kroka community since a rainy 8th grade trip years ago, and was a student on the 2014 Ecuador Semester. She enjoys backpacking, berry picking (and berry eating!), drinking tea and singing in harmony.

Andy Notopoulos
ANDY hails from Massachusetts, where she grew up filling her backpack with treasures found under the giant chestnut and maple trees that she would pass on her walk to elementary school. After finishing school in Maine, she and her bicycle headed to Wyoming and then to Idaho, working as a field technician for a wildlife biologist, a farmer, and an outdoor educator. She soon crossed into the heart of the Appalachians, where she worked at a mountain school while learning to call square dances in the mountains of West Virginia. The pull of snowy mountains then brought her to Anchorage, Alaska, where she worked as a guide and a ski coach, and played by the light of the Aurora Borealis. However, with the coming of another autumn away from fiery maples and apple trees sagging with fruit, she decided that it was time to head back to New England. She has spent her recent days rediscovering the feeling of sphagnum moss squishing under her toes in the northern forest, leading school and camp programs with Kroka, teaching on the Vermont Semester program, and falling in love once again with the New England community. Read more…

Rob Palmer
Born and raised in Alexandria, VA ROB worked as a builder focusing on historic restoration before moving to WV to remodel his father’s pre-Civil War home. While in WV, Rob guided rafting and kayaking trips on the Shannendoah, Potomac, and Upper Yough rivers. In 2014 Rob received a BFA in Fine Woodworking and Furniture Design from Burlington College and The Vermont Woodworking School. He currently teaches woodworking at Lake Champlain Waldorf School and is a teacher and artist in residence at the Shelburne Craft School.

Ella Richardson
ELLA was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia where she spent her first years hiking in the woods on her Mom’s back. As soon as she could walk, she spent her time filling her backpack with rocks and identifying plants. She moved to Keene, NH at age 5 and joined the Kroka community at age 12 as a member of the first ever Wild Girls. She returned again to do the Ecuador Semester in 2015. Outside of Kroka, Ella has spent extensive time on a farm in the mountains of Southern France milking sheep and making cheese. This year Ella spent five months working on a sheep and beef farm in New Zealand. Ella is happiest in the garden.

Nora Spicer
NORA arrived at Kroka by bike from Virginia in April 2017. She has led backpacking and whitewater canoeing expeditions with the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School for five summers, and brings outdoor leadership experience from Naturalists at Large in California and Camp Glen Brook in Marlborough, NH. Nora fell in love with outdoor adventuring during five years of living in England while in high school and while studying at Oxford University, exploring wild places in Wales and northern Scotland. Nora completed a Master’s degree at Harvard University in Environmental History and strives to integrate academic teaching in an outdoor, experiential environment. Nora loves long-distance cycling, creative writing, navigation challenges, and baking over fire.

Lara Weis
LARA grew up in Germany and moved to Kimberton, Pennsylvania with her family when she was ten years old. There she attended the Kimberton Waldorf School, and began coming to Kroka summer camps when she was 12. In 2014, Lara participated in Kroka’s Ecuador Semester. She especially enjoys all types of dancing, working with horses, gardening, and white water paddling. Lara is now a student at Sterling College studying Outdoor Education and Sustainable Agriculture.