AMC Berkshire Trails Staff 2011

In 2011 we are bigger and better in the Berkshires! The Ridgerunners and Berkshire Teen Trail Crew Leaders are here and they are awesome. This year we again have a great core of Berkshire Program experience- Leavitt, Jackson, and Goff- and some great new folks including Administrative Powerhouse Alison Violette ready to rock the trails of western Mass and NW Connecticut. The Ridgerunners will be patrolling our beloved Appalachian Trail while more Berkshire Teen Trail Crews than ever before perform reconstructive trail work on the AT and Mt. Greylock with 90 volunteer teenagers!

Matt Moore
Regional Trails Program Manager

It’s my fourth year as the captain of this ship, and I am so grateful for all the talent that has passed through and made lasting contributions to our growing program.

My goal as manager is to facilitate for all these folks as rewarding and memorable an experience as those I had living and working in the woods in years past. I thru-hiked the AT in 1999, worked as a Ridgerunner in 2004 & 5, joined AMC’s pro trail crew in 2005 and 6, and for several years strung together a series of seasonal dream jobs from Yosemite Trail Crew to Spring Caretaker at RMC’s Gray Knob. I’ve got a BA in English from the Evergreen State College which I utilize in peppering emails and documents with a touch of flourish. I volunteer for our local Low Power Community Radio Station, WBCR-lp, DJ, ski and snowboard in my spare time. As we are pretty late in getting this blog up I can verify that this staff is tremendous and this summer is going to be a great one!

Alison Violette
Programs Coordinator

Hello! This is my first season with the AMC and I am excited for the opportunity. I am a native Mainer and last year completed a 6-month Americorps term with the Maine Conservation Corps as an Environmental Educator. During this term I hiked the trail on Mackworth Island and removed many non-native invasive plants like Oriental Bittersweet and Japanese Barberry. While I decided the outdoors is a much more interesting place than a cubicle, I regularly pull from my past Human Resources experiences and will do so for the AMC. My first week on the job entailed completing a Master Educator Leave No Trace course and I look forward to sharing this information with the teen trail crews! When I’m not on the trail or in the office you will find me kayaking, playing music and singing, taking pictures, and gardening!

Mike Leavitt
Projects Coordinator

Mike is bringing his strong leadership skills and experience as a Crew Leader to his role as Projects Coordinator. He’s taking the lead on training the Berkshire Teen Trail Crew Staff and planning great projects for the crews.

He’s also newly graduated from Keene State and on the hunt for a new driving hat for the van as last year’s sombrero was pretty wrecked.

b Jackson
Ridgerunner Field Coordinator

Caleb has extensive backpacking experience and will be featured soon in an AMC Outdoors article about the 2010 Ridgerunners. But you may not know that Caleb has a storied past as
an art school student at the MFA in Boston and he has some pretty funny stories to tell about performance art. He’s got his own pottery studio, has a banjo he made with a cookie tin and a dessert fork amongst other materials, and this year he is in charge of ensuring that the Ridgerunners out in the field have all they need to execute the program’s mission to “mitigate the impacts of high use through outreach and education” all while keeping morale high and staying classy. He hails from nearby “NoHo:” Northampton, MA.
photo credit Marc Chalufour, AMC

Rachel Goff

Back again after a season as Trail Crew Leader, the interim school year was a busy one for Rachel Goff, AKA Ridgerunner Zissou.

Rachel spent five months in Spain honing her excellent writing skills, learning Spanish, and keeping her tumblr well-stocked with astute and humorous cultural observations. She’s a rising senior at Colby in Maine and an advocate for brightly-colored clothing.

Melody Feo

Teen Trail Crew Leader

Hola! I'm Melody. After a year of hopping the globe from Niger to France, England, and Ecuador, I'm really glad to have found my summer resting place in the Berkshires. I've done a fair amount of backpacking abroad, but I'm excited to start a different kind of adventure working with trail crews on the AT.

Besides hiking, I love taking my bike on midnight rides in the city as well as out on long bike tours.
On my free time, you'll probably see me reading a good book. I love good music and good eats.
Hopefully, we'll have a lot of both throughout the summer.

Rob LaChance

Hey Y’all! My name is Rob and I am between my junior and senior years at Columbia University majoring in Environmental Engineering. I am from Columbia County, NY and I am planning on having a blast this summer Ridge Running for the AMC!
When I am not hiking, I can be found either fishing local streams or getting fed up from not catching anything and going swimming. My new favorite hobby is cruising into town on my ‘70s ten speed rather than making the drive. This is my first summer working with the AMC and I am looking forward to every moment up on the ridge. Last summer I was starved for land, having spent my time sailing across the Pacific Ocean on the Robert C. Seamans, so this summer I plan on keeping both of my feet firmly planted in the Berkshires. See you on the trail!

Mike Froehly

Teen Trail Crew Leader

Hey all!

My name is Mike and this is my first year with the AMC. I was born and raised in Gambrills, Maryland.

I just finished my first year at Unity College in Maine where I am double-majoring in Adventure Education Leadership and Adventure Therapy.

Rock climbing and backpacking are where it's at. Super stoked to get out on the trail and work with everyone this summer!

Donna Delisle-Mitchell “Nature”

Donna is not the name I prefer,
When I am hiking you can call me Nature
My children were grown, had jobs, and were set
Was it time for a dream of mine? You Bet!
In September 2009, my first AT thru hike was done
by reaching the top of Mount Katahdin

A repeat in 2010
Had others questioning "Again?"
My dream job was to get paid to hike
Never imagined I'd be spending time doing what I like
So a ridge runner I am for the AMC
If you need assistance or hiking tips just come out and find me.

Savannah Cummins

Teen Trail Crew Leader

Hey guys! My name’s Savannah, also known as Starch. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is my first time spending much time on the East and working with AMC, and enjoying it so far! I just finished a semester studying Wilderness Medicine at the University of Montana. My first trail crew experience was working with the Montana Conservation Corps on an Immersion Crew last season and loved it! I love hiking and the outdoors.
I can’t wait to spend some more time in the woods and on the AT this summer.

Tristan Sprenkle


NPS AT Ranger Eric Barron came up from West Virginia to train the Ridgerunners in how to deal with sketchy characters out in the trail. As his slide show progressed, it became apparent that a disproportionate amount of these characters were from Pennsylvania, the state that Tristan calls home. Although Tristan does own an AK-47 (which he keeps at home, fret not), he is out there on the trail drawing from his extensive solo backpacking experience and his time last summer monitoring the Emerald Ash Borer, doing hard work to keep the trail in shape, interacting with visitors in a friendly and professional way and doing his part to restore the reputation of his beautiful home state. Tristan makes his own lightweight backpacking gear, including his sleeping bag and pack! In this picture, he is dragging a sled full of trash that he found and carried out of the woods.

Matt Merullo
Teen Trail Crew Leader

Hello everyone. This will be my first season with the AMC, and I'm stoked to be here. Im
currently studying Outdoor Education at Johnson State College in VT, but I originate from New Fairfield, CT. I grew up always being outside and continue to take my life into the outdoors. During the winter you can find me at Jay Peak, this season Ill be working park crew at the resort. I love adventure sports such as mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, snowboarding, climbing; basically anything you can get hurt doing outdoors. The A/T is fairly new to me but so far it’s been nothing but fun. Thanks AMC, looking forward to a great summer.