Our Team

Julie Rogers

Executive Director

Julie’s passion is to help humanity change the course of her story. Her current work is creating an immersive learning center to model the future - a future where humans have a symbiotic relationship with Mother Earth. She began her career in the lab, a DNA sequencing center at the Whitehead Institute. Feeling uneasy with being indoors and the culture of laboratories, she moved to Hawaii and began her work in Environmental Science. There she was faced with an alarming extent of pollution from human activity beneath the surface of paradise. Her career in education began with a mentorship program under the guidance of John Stokes in the Tracking Project. There she learned about indigenous philosophies and realized much was missing from our education system. She became a student at APLP G11, during which she began her volunteer work at the Gross National Happiness Center in Bhutan and volunteered as an educator at the Green School. She has since been working on her degree in education at the University of Hawaii, served on the board of Hawaii Nature Center for 9 years and crewed the Hokulea on her world wide voyage. 

Jeff Fuchs

Resident Explorer & Program Coordinator

North Face Ambassador and award-winning Canadian explorer Jeff Fuchs, has led journeys along cultural highways and trade routes in Yunnan and the Himalayas which National Geographic Traveller described as “One of the top 50 Journeys of a Lifetime”.

 

Recently voted one of Canada’s Greatest Explorers by the Canadian Geographic Society, longtime resident of the Himalayas, Fuchs was the first westerner to have travelled by foot the legendary Tea Horse Road over the Himalayas – a 5,000 km journey that took over 7 months. He subsequently became the first westerner to journey along and document  the nomadic Route of Salt through the eastern Himalayas and the Hor-Lam, The Route of Pashmina, through Ladakh. He authored Penguin’s ‘The Ancient Tea Horse Road’ chronicling his journey along the Himalayan trade route.

 

For a decade Fuchs lived in ‘Shangri-La’ a Tibetan community in northwestern Yunnan province, documenting Himalayan trade routes, with his work centering on indigenous mountain cultures, oral histories with an obsessive interest in tea. His photos and stories have appeared on three continents in award-winning publications’ National Geographic Traveller, Outpost, UNESCO, The Huffington Post, Condè Nast, Financial Times and The South China Morning Post amongst others. He has led journeys throughout Yunnan and the Himalayas for University and high school students from International Schools, immersing travellers into cultures and their relationships to the land they live upon.

 

Fuchs’ recent documentary, ‘The Tea Explorer’ focuses on his life amidst the origins of all tea in the world, southwestern Yunnan province, and the Ancient Tea Horse Road.

 

Along with his wife, Julie Rogers, he is helping to open a Nature School on Hawaii’s Big Island to provide a space where children can grow up in harmony with Nature.

Liana Macdonald-Kainoa

Community Outreach Coordinator and Cultural Liaison

Liana is a modern kanaka maoli from Hawaiʻi island, whoʻs deeply passionate about embracing aloha ʻāina and the Hawaiian culture. Sharing this passion with others is what she enjoys the most. Her mantra is “become one with nature”.  She believes that everyone needs the opportunity to connect with nature in a deep visceral way. Those experiences change who we are on a fundamental level and stimulate a deeper commitment to being stewards of the earth.  

 

Her love for nature, culture, and historic studies led her to study Liberal Arts at Hawaiʻi Community College, where she learned the importance of outreach, grassroots movements, and community organizing. From there, she later graduated from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with a B.S. in Natural Resource and Environmental Management with a specialization in Planning. 

 

Her background in conservation has led her to work for State and Federal agencies. She was involved with the initial USDA Emergency Response Team that was tasked with eradicating the invasive Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle from Oʻahu. More recently she served two-terms as an Americorp/ Kupu member with the Nāpuʻu Conservation Project, helping to restore the native dryland forest of Puʻuwaʻawaʻa. Upon completion she continued working with the project, where she organized volunteer groups and service learning projects at the State Forest Reserve. She sees the importance of environmental education and outreach, and is committed to engaging with keiki and the community to expand ʻāina based learning.

Samantha Smith

Director of Edible World Institute

Samantha’s culinary style is an amalgamation of her interest in culture, creativity, survival and love. For her, food is a way to connect; cooking is energizing and inspiring. Being a chef is a path of curiosity and experimentation and Samantha’s cooking and teaching style emanates these core values.

Antonio Wuttke

Landscape Artist & Permaculture Specialist

Antonio has been working as an independent consultant on a wide variety of land restoration and building projects since 1990, applying low-impact methods, and developing innovative ecological land management strategies. 

A background in landscape architecture, 35 years of experience as a builder & farmer living close to the land,  and projects in diverse environments and social contexts combine to a unique understanding of the human place on the planet.

 

          Projects include:

        - Vegetation- and biomass management in coastal California

        - Permaculture-based reforestation in coastal Jalisco, MX

        - Equestrian landscapes, ponds & stonewalls, in New England

        - Orchard management (& Old World Integrity) in Germany

        - Preservation of olive groves in Toscana and Liguria, Italy

        - Passive solar homes -- design & construction 

        - Roof Gardens in New York City

        - Hawaiian ranch-to-farm conversion (since Spring 2014)

 

The wide-ranging interactions with land, soil, and vegetation have consistently confirmed that the best designs interpret and echo nature and local preexisting conditions, rather than aim at control. The most beautiful environments are 'sustainable' by being solidly anchored in natural processes, rather than imposed from the outside. The experiences  have led him to the insights and ecological methods that Antonio applies in his projects today.

 

Antonio's work intends to help re-define human interaction with nature, replacing impositions of ego and preconceived notions with sequences of adaptive responses. 

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Staff Certification

All of our staff have been trained in First-Aid and Child Safety. 

In compliance with ACA certification, our staff has undergone background checks and precamp staff training. 

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808-781-4563

72-3667 Hawaii Belt Rd
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii County 96740
USA