Staff and Volunteers

Eric Ahnmark
Educational Program Facilitator

Eric is from Columbus, Ohio, and is a recent transplant to the Bay Area, having moved here just two years ago. An outdoor junkie since childhood, Eric has been a domestic vagabond, visiting 46 states and living in three of the most beautiful -- Arizona, Colorado, and now California.

Though a History major, Eric served as an Environmental Education Intern with the Student Conservation Association, worked as a Researcher and Restoration Crewmember for the National Park Service, and recently interned with the Sierra Club's Deputy Director of Conservation Effectiveness and Training. Aside from his work with Outdoor Hostel Adventures, Eric works as a Recreation Leader with the East Bay Regional Park District. He is an avid outdoorsman and cyclist, and is always looking for the next adventure!


Madeline Armstrong
Speakers Bureau

Madeline comes from (and adores) the San Francisco Bay Area, but she has spent most of the last four years traveling and living abroad. She received her B.A. in Communication and Art History, and she is also certified in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Madeline lived abroad in Thailand for a year and Peru for 10 months, teaching English and gaining a great deal of cultural awareness. She was also able to travel to India, Australia, Egypt, Laos, Cambodia, and several countries throughout Europe and South America.

Now focusing her intentions on teen leadership and service learning nonprofits, Madeline works with Global Leadership Adventures as a teen mentor abroad, and as an ESL Teacher in downtown San Francisco. She's passionate about languages and cultural immersion among foreigners in America, as well as teen engagement in projects abroad.


Daniel Brady
Educational Program Facilitator

Daniel Brady has been teaching ever since he started explaining complicated concepts like Batman, Ninja Turtles, and Star Trek to his parents when he was a child. While studying physics at UCLA, he discovered why he was really there: to lead outdoor trips and play Ultimate Frisbee. Between both of those, he played a little music and drank a lot of coffee. For the last five summers, Daniel has led outdoor trips for inner-city youth in the San Bernadino and Santa Monica Mountains, as well as backpacking trips in Yosemite, rock climbing in Joshua Tree, and hiking in New England.

Since living in Los Angeles, Daniel has returned to his Bay Area home, where he first learned to love tidepools, chaparral, and redwoods. He drives a Subaru, listens to Paul Simon daily, and does not own an iPhone. Yet.


Neysa Budzinski
Educational Program Facilitator

Neysa began learning about the natural world from an early age from her father, a botanist, and her mother, an avid gardener and animal lover. She loves nothing more than to comb the wild for her favorite medicinal plants and then show them to anyone who will listen and look. She thrives on traveling to places that have proud ancient cultures and excellent food. Her favorite thing about traveling, besides eating and gawking at architecture and art, is meeting people along the way -- usually in hostels. She loves to create, dabbling in photography, origami, and knitting, as well as the fine arts.

Neysa currently resides in the Bay Area because she enjoys the culture and diversity that it offers, but would love to eventually end up in a cabin in some place not worth a bomb.


Greg Lakes
Educational Program Facilitator

Greg Lake has worked for Hostel Adventures since 2007. He received his Bachelors degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon, and has also been certified in Environmental Education by the University of Washington. He is currently in graduate school, working towards an MBA in Sustainable Enterprise from Dominican University of California, located in San Rafael.

Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, Greg's work/living experiences have led him through Southern California, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, and New Jersey; he currently lives in Marin County.


Kristina Lee
Speakers Bureau

A native Californian, Kristina is from Los Angeles and but now calls San Francisco home. Having traveled internationally since childhood, she was bit by the travel bug at a young age. She has been around Southeast Asia twice, notably when she taught English in Thailand. When she was not hopping around its islands, she backpacked through Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and even visited long-lost family in Myanmar (Burma). She’s also been to Hong Kong numerous times.

Kristina has also traveled through Europe twice – one trip of which was during the World Cup.  She spent a month traveling down the coast of Australia, she most recently flew down 200-foot waterfalls in Costa Rica, and now she is trying to see the gems of the United States.

When not traveling, Kristina works in experiential marketing; she believes in the educational power of experiences and thinks there is the possibility of adventure every day, at any destination.


Ehren Reed
Community Walls Coordinator

Ehren Reed is thrilled to be joining the Golden Gate Council as the Community Walls Coordinator! In addition to being a practicing mixed-media artist, Ehren has worked with a variety of community-based arts organizations, bringing her energy, compassion, and creativity to support arts education for underserved youth throughout the Bay Area.

Pursuing an interest in foreign languages and cultural studies, Ehren left her hometown outside of Chicago to earn a degree in Latin American Studies from Kenyon College in Ohio. She arrived in San Francisco in 2000 and was soon inspired to follow her passion for art, returning to school to earn a degree in Painting and Drawing from the California College of the Arts. Ehren lives and creates her art in San Francisco's Mission District.


Rachel Ruach
Educational Program Facilitator

Native to Sonoma and Marin County, California, Rachel Ruach grew up exploring the wilds of serene redwood forests, expansive mixed chaparral, magical oak woodlands, and rugged California coastline. Infused with the love of adventure, in her late teens she began traveling and living in other countries. Over the last 15 years, Rachel has traveled through Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America working on goat dairies, permaculture farms, kibbutzes, and intentional communities. Her curiosity led her to get a B.S. in Physics and B.A. in Religious Studies.
 
For the past eight years Rachel has focused her attention on what it is to become at home in her own bio-region. Working with earth-based cultural traditions, she has trained in wilderness awareness, tracking, survival skills, wildcrafting, and the traditional art of mentoring. She holds the question dearly, "What is it to know that we have everything we need inside; to be able to wander free and feel at home?"


Margaret Seelie
Speakers Bureau

Margaret Seelie is a native Ohioan who learned the awesome power of her passport at the age of 15. Since then she has lived on sailboats in the Bahamian Islands, traversed the Australian coast in her Volvo, lived the high life in Thailand (a few times), spent some time in Central America, seen most of the United States, and traveled overland through China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. Her solo journeys include moving to China, backpacking across Japan and Europe, and trekking through New Zealand.

She recently hitchhiked from Anchorage, Alaska, back to San Francisco, the city she now calls home. When Margaret is not traversing the globe she spends her time surfing, cycling, freelance writing, and graphic designing.


Illena Takahashi
Educational Program Facilitator

Passionate about fostering positive schooling experiences, Illena is a progressive career educator. Since starting out in early childhood education, she has taught English abroad, been an elementary school advisor and mentor to at-risk youth, and substituted as a special education classroom aide.

Illena has a master's degree in transformative learning -- she has researched various learning styles, trained in expressive arts therapy, and developed a deep regard for different ways of knowing. Her work in outdoor and environmental education for more than 10 years is the fulfillment of a beach-ecology childcare business plan she developed as a teenager, and allows her to share her love of nature with children, youth, and adults. Illena enjoys meditation and volunteers extensively in habitat restoration and native plant nursery work.