WHO WE ARE 

BAY AREA WILDERNESS TRAINING, PROJECT OF EARTH ISLAND Institute 

BAWT is unique – no other organization on the west coast is designed to support youth workers in the way we do. We enable youth to get outdoors with leaders they already know, trust, and can relate to. 

Andrea Fraume

Outreach Coordinator, South Bay

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Andrea has been calling San Jose home since 2005. Raised in Manizales, a growing city in the Colombian Andes, Andrea’s grandmother taught her from a young age to appreciate and respect nature and the environment. She got her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz. There, she not only learned about the importance of community organizing and social justice, she also enjoyed hiking to class every day. She has outreached for the Eviction Defense Network to promote renters’ rights in Los Angeles County and helped bring critical services to affordable housing residents living in San Jose through Project Access. If you live in the South Bay and want to talk about taking youth outdoors or just want to go on a woodsy hike, hit Andrea up!  She enjoys kayaking, hiking, camping, gardening, and just about anything fun in the outdoors.

Phone: (408) 797-0087

Email: andrea@bawt.org

 

Ellie Gertler

Development Associate

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Ellie grew up in Oakland and spent her childhood hiking in the East Bay Hills and exploring the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains. She went to college in San Luis Obispo where she studied sociology, competed on the Cal Poly Triathlon Team, and spent weekends backpacking, climbing and camping in many of California’s wilderness areas. In 2016, Ellie spent four months hiking 2,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail where she realized that her love for the outdoors was something that she wanted to share with others. She has worked for various non-profits in the Bay Area, including Running for a Better Oakland who train Oakland youth to participate in the Oakland Running Festival’s 5K and Half Marathon races, and most recently worked for Alameda County Community Food Bank’s development team. She is passionate about the work that BAWT is doing and is excited to help get more youth outdoors!

Phone: (510) 452-2298 x 304

Email: ellie@bawt.org

Liza Dadiomav

Program Director

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Liza spent her childhood exploring the beaches and deserts of Israel, and later relocating to the lush and mountainous Pacific Northwest. She fell in love with the outdoors on Orcas Island, where she spent her summers as a camper, later joining as a staff member during summers in college, and then returning as an outdoor educator after graduating from Santa Clara University. From then on, she was hooked on creating access to the outdoors to all youth. She went on to teach outdoor education to 5th graders, lead middle and high school students on backpacking trips, and spend a year in the North Cascades National Park as a resident in a graduate program focusing on environmental education and non-profit administration. Liza then returned to the Bay Area, working at several non-profit organizations in environmental education, most recently as a Program Manager at Education Outside, greening schoolyards in San Francisco elementary schools. Liza is passionate about skiing, backpacking, reading, food, and spending time with friends and family. She is trained as a Wilderness First Responder.

Phone: (510) 452-2298 x 301

Email: liza@bawt.org

Sierra Lawe

Director of Development

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Sierra Lawe was born in Santa Clara and spent her childhood shuffling around Northern California. A member of the Karuk Tribe, she attended Haskell Indian Nations University, majoring in American Indian Studies before transferring to the University of Kansas and completing a degree in Political Science. Her passion for civic engagement and serving her community led her to complete a master’s degree in Public Administration with a focus on Nonprofit Management. A lifelong adventure seeker, she’s moved up and down the Pacific Coast, most recently living in Seattle, WA before returning to the Bay Area. An avid outdoorswoman, she has previously worked as a rock-climbing instructor, hike leader, and is currently certified as a Wilderness First Responder. What brings her to Bay Area Wilderness Training is her commitment to dismantling structural racism, her desire to see marginalized folks experience the transformative power of the outdoors, and to celebrate authentic diversity in all spaces but most especially in outdoor spaces.

Phone: (510) 452-2298 x 303

Email: sierra@bawt.org

 

Tigre Velarde

Gear Library & Operations Manager

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 Tigre grew up in Ohio where she spent her youth trying to be outside as much as possible.  She spent much of her childhood exploring the woods behind her house and staying out until the very edge of sunlight.  She found her way from the flatter parts of Ohio to the hills of Athens to attend Ohio University where she studied Communication and explored everything the hills and river had to offer.  From there, she has been working at several camps and outdoor education facilities from Ohio to Missouri, Florida, and finally California.  She has spent the past 3 summers living in the Oakland Area and fell in love with it.  Tigre is excited to jump right in to BAWT and help get the youth of the Bay Area outside! 

Phone: (510) 452-2298 x 308

 Email: tigre@bawt.org

Tyler Gholson

Programs Associate

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Tyler grew up in Oregon’s coast range. Living in a house tucked in between old growth and clear cut, he spent most of his time rummaging through the forest, looking beneath logs and wondering about the world. Thanks to a remarkable high school science teacher, Tyler discovered a true passion for the study of nature. He went on to earn a degree in ecology from The Evergreen State College, an alternative school nestled into the forests of Washington State. Here, he studied a wide variety of ecosystems including temperate rainforests, deserts of the southwest and marine habitats. Following graduation, Tyler became a backpacking guide in the Trinity Alps of northern California. Here he discovered his passion for environmental education. Tyler has worked a variety of EE programs in places like the Sierra Nevada, Santa Cruz Mountains, beaches in Santa Barbara and most recently the Bay Area. Tyler’s drive towards this work is rooted in his fundamental belief that everyone deserves access to nature. He began working with BAWT in May of 2019 and is very excited to be a part of an organization dedicated to allowing underpriveleged folks to get outside and have a great time!

Phone: (510) 452-2298 x 312

Email: tyler@bawt.org

Faculty Instructors

Zotunde Morton

Lead Instructor

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Zotunde Morton was born and raised in San Francisco, California.   He received an Associate Degree in Business Administration from Laney College, and after working in various public schools throughout the Bay Area, he co-founded Ujimaa Foundation.  He currently works as the Secretary and a Program Coordinator for Ujimaa Foundation. His interest of nature and human rights led to his involvement in community activism and outdoor education.  In 2012 and 2013 Zotunde completed the Triple Crown of Bay Area Wilderness Training courses by participating in the Frontcountry Leadership Training, Wilderness Leadership Training, and the Camping at the Presidio Training in one 12 month period.  Now, Zotunde is one of our top instructors with experience leading all of our courses.  Zotunde is a Wilderness First Aider.

 

Zak Klein

Lead Instructor

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Originally from Pennsylvania, Zak’s foundational outdoor experiences were fishing with his father, building forts with friends, followed by more frequent and farther-flung backpacking and boating trips as an adolescent. In 2000, Zak thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, an experience which solidified his desire to share with others the delights of backcountry travel and outdoor living. After early work establishing two student-outing organizations and environmental initiatives, Zak worked as a field instructor for NOLS and Outward Bound USA across the country from the Florida keys and the Appalachians to Yellowstone highlands and nearby Big Basin. Zak has instructed whitewater canoe, alpine backpacking, climbing, sailing and caving courses. Serving students from the public school systems in Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Oakland, Zak has witnessed the acute impact of expedition living and experiential learning for students not often exposed to a natural classroom. The simplicity of outdoor living fosters friendship and connection among people in a way that’s elusive among 2016’s gadgetry and distractions. Knowing that he can reveal a special nook for a camping experience right in San Francisco’s Presidio is very unique, exciting and keeps Zak motivated!

Miranda Fry

Lead Instructor

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Miranda is a Sierra Foothills native who came across BAWT just after her graduation from San Jose State in 2012. After reaching the summit of Mt. Shasta (a gift for fundraising +$4,000 in Climbing For Kids) in June 2012, her outdoor leadership path began. “I have become so empowered by my own experiences outdoors that I have to give it back to all communities. There’s no reason why such beauty and power should be kept from anyone, especially young people. I can be a catalyst for thousands to find themselves in the outdoors.” She has led outdoor adventures for multiple organizations in the Bay Area including honorable mentions REI Outdoor School and Blue Water Foundation nonprofit. She has also been a youth worker and teacher in the Bay area for multiple school districts, serving all youth K-21. Some highlights of her adventures in educating youth and adults in the outdoors were: teaching kids how to surf for the first time in a hail storm (no one wanted to stop they just paddled harder) and utilizing games to let adults play, have fun and learn. On her days off, you can find her SUP-ing, backpacking with her dog Argo or in the studio drawing. She is a Wilderness First Responder and active Instructor on all courses with a knack for WLT’s and Instructor Retreat curriculum. 

Terry Williams

Lead Instructor

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Terry integrates a wealth of experience in adventure-based learning, leadership and organizational development in her work with people from diverse backgrounds within schools, non-profit organizations, and corporations throughout the U.S. and internationally. Her work focused on strength-based experiential curriculum and facilitated programs emphasizing participatory processes, performance, and teamwork. She has a PhD with a specialization in Leadership. Her doctoral studies began with several intensive international community studies and service projects with the Mayan people and their villages including a 40-mile trek through the backcountry of western Guatemala and climbing the highest peak in Central America. Terry has also traveled over 15,000 miles on a bicycle, including a solo 8,000 cross-country journey for a national youth advocacy project, meeting with the President, representatives, U.S. senators, governors, mayors, and community leaders of over 24 states and 150 communities.

 

David Pon

Instructor

Growing up, David spent his summers backpacking through the Sierras, where he cemented a lifelong love for nature. He studied Environmental Science at UC Berkeley and earned his undergraduate degree in in 2012. Since then, he has focused his career on community building, youth development, social justice, and environmental restoration. Currently, David works for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy leading teenagers in outdoor shenanigans. He lives in his hometown of San Francisco with his partner and five apartment mates.

Jen Antonuccio

Instructor

Jen is a Middle School counselor at Willard in Berkeley. She loves combining outdoor education with her work as a school counselor where she prioritizes getting kids outdoors whenever possible. She has been on the BAWT Faculty since 2002 and has experience instructing all of BAWT’s courses. Jen is Wilderness First Aid certified. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, backpacking, camping, kite boarding, and climbing.  

Kyle Macdonald

Instructor

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Kyle grew up in Somerville, MA and Ann Arbor, MI where he kindled a love of the outdoors. His favorite activities include hiking, camping, skateboarding, tele- and cross- country skiing, and snowshoeing. He is currently the Founder and CEO of Outdoors Empowered Network (OEN) after having served as Founder and CEO of Bay Area Wilderness Training for more than 13 years. Kyle has instructed over 30 WLT and FLT training courses with BAWT and continues to be involved as a Faculty member.  His passions include sharing the BAWT model (train and support) with the world and watching his kids Sofia and Miles learn and grow.

 

 

Eduardo Gonzalez

Instructor

After growing up in Sacramento, Eduardo now works for Latino Outdoors as a Sacramento Outing Leader. He enjoys backpacking and learning about local geology and natural history. His passions include working with youth, getting people outdoors, and outdoor education. Eduardo first got involved with BAWT as a participant of a Wilderness Leadership Training (WLT) course in July 2014. He is a member of the Program Committee.

Tony Passantino

Instructor

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Tony has been involved in watershed conservation and environmental education for the last decade all over the West. An AmeriCorps alumni, California Naturalist instructor, youth backpacking guide for Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and most recently a volunteer trekking guide serving youth in a non-profit based in Western Guatemala. He is an excited gear junkie and addicted to the Sierra Nevada. He currently manages the Education program for Sonoma Ecology Center teaching in classrooms and at varied field sites, and oversees a teen “Enviroleader” program. 

Chris Hawthorne

Instructor

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Chris grew up just outside Louisville, and discovered his love of the woods and mountains from a very young age. At thirteen, his family moved him down to Tampa Bay for more warmth, sunshine, and adventure. There, he graduated from high school and college, and afterward worked as a reading teacher and eventually as the Education Program Director at Sweetwater Organic Community Farm. In 2015, never having been out west, Chris decided he wanted to move to a place with mountains, so he packed up his car, and travelled across country to live in the Monterey area. Now an educator at Seaside High School, Chris enjoys nothing more than taking youth outside to explore the wilds of the central coast. He serves on the board of The Outdoor Collective, a project of the Children Are Our Future Foundation that like BAWT, works to train youth workers and leaders to get young people outdoors. He is honored to be a part of this outstanding community of leaders, and looks forward to continuing to work with BAWT in the future. 

Jenna Topper

Instructor 

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Jenna graduated from Sonoma State in 2016 with a degree in Environmental Studies. She began facilitating youth in the outdoors as a young teen, and over the years she has developed a strong skill set and comprehensive understanding of what it takes to ensure a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable experience for participants in the outdoors. Jenna has expertise in environmental education using informal learning settings and immersive experiences. She coordinates kayaking, rafting, backpacking, hiking, zip lining, and camping trips for high school youth. Jenna is Wilderness First Aid and Wilderness First Responder Certified and has been a participant in all of BAWT’s educator trainings. Jenna is constantly seeking adventure, new experiences, and new relationships. She looks forward to exploring the outdoors and learning together with you! 

Katie Gialketsis

Instructor

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Katie grew up in Southern California where she first learned to love the outdoors. She attended UC Davis, where she spent many weekends adventuring to the Sierra Nevadas, and eventually received a degree in Environmental Science. She continued her graduate work at UCSB, where she received a masters in Education. Now a science teacher at Seaside High School, she loves organizing trips to get youth outdoors and connected to their environment. She also serves on the board of the Outdoor Collective, a project of The Children Are Our Future, working to inspire educators to get youth outdoors. She looks forward to exploring the outdoors on BAWT’s wonderful trainings with you!