Berkshire Staff 2012!

In 2012 the AMC Berkshire Trails program is expanding its reach beyond our traditional Ridgerunner and Berkshire Teen Trail Crew programs.  Two new programs- Americorps MassLIFT and Pittsfield Trail Crew- will expand our work by engaging youth from our local community in conservation work on a wide breadth of conservation lands.   The field staff looks to be excellent, and you can read all about them below.  Worth noting, though, that our three of our Berkshire Teen Trail Crew leaders, Amy, Pat, and Jesse, have amongst them a combined 27 weeks of experience as participants!  We’re ready to rock!

 Matt Moore
Regional Trails Program Manager
Hard to believe this is my fifth summer managing this program.  It’s been a gratifying job, and I’m excited to be at the helm as the program evolves and grows.  The most satisfying work is connecting with people- seasonal staff, volunteers, members of the community, youth- and each year has presented more opportunities to work in new places with new people.  I’ve been lucky to learn the Appalachian Trail in the area backwards and forwards, and now I’m enjoying exploring hidden gems on land trust properties and other roads less traveled.  I’m big into pick your own strawberries, blueberries, and apples, bicycle commuting, snowboarding, learning telemark skiing, kale salad, vinyl night, plaid and Settlers of Catan.    

Mike Leavitt
Americorps Mass LiftService Learning Coordinator
From AMC Trails Blog Amercorps Mass Lift:
"After working with the AMC Berkshire Teen Trail Crew system, I stepped into a new Service Learning Coordinator position in September.   It is an AmeriCorps MassLIFT position running from September to August that is split between the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Greenagers.  Since coming on in September I have been working to provide local youth with the environmentally based service learning opportunities that not only benefits them but the land that they work on.  At the end of April, a total of 139 volunteers had done a total of 858.5 volunteer hours on local conservation properties in Southern Berkshire County.  The AmeriCorps goal for Service Learning Coordinators is to have 200 volunteers and 1000 hours by the end of the year."

Caleb Jackson
Ridgerunner Field Coordinator 
From Marc Chalufour's AMC Outdoors article Walking the Talk:
"Jackson is a [28]-year-old student who fires his own pottery and always leaves a pack in his truck, in case he decides to stop driving and start hiking. He has a hard time settling in during his days off and often ends up sitting outdoors on his porch. But he's no loner. Personable and inquisitive, he enters into conversations smoothly.

On the trail Jackson sees everything. He bends and swipes up litter I wouldn't have noticed: candy wrappers, water bottles cast into the bushes, and flecks of blue foam shed from a sleeping pad. He collects it all in a plastic bag. The ridgerunners remove about 275 gallons of trash in three months, including an abandoned set of luggage and a 5-speed American Flyer bicycle that Jackson occasionally rides."

Mike Froehly
Trail Crew Field Coordinator

Round two! My Name is Mike, I was a Trail Crew Leader last season and I am excited to be back for another summer in the Berks. I am currently studying Adventure Education Leadership and Adventure Therapy at Unity College in Maine, I also graduated from the NOLS Outdoor Educator Semester this past fall.

This summer I will be the Field Coordinator. I will be training the Berkshire Teen Trail Crew leaders, planning projects and providing support to crews in the field.

During my free time I enjoy setting up camp in the rain, drinking chlorine water, and cooking over whisperlite stoves with my headlamp. I make pretty mean fried bagels and am super pumped to see everyone this summer!

Tristan Sprenkle
 From Rachel Goff's 2011 Blog Pop Tarts and Poison Ivy:

   "Tristan Sprenkle (a.k.a. T. Sprinkle) hails from the small town of Kramer, Pennsylvania. “We have a gas station and a pizza place,” he says. “If you want anything that’s not there you have to drive to the next town. But the pizza is pretty awesome.”

This statement illustrates Sprenkle’s optimistic, if sometimes contradictory, take on life: Sprenkle is a vegan hunter who won’t eat cheese but will eat squirrels if he killed them himself, and he has a giant Optimus Prime tattoo across his stomach but hates the Transformers movies. “I grew up watching the cartoons and I have the comic books,” he says. “They ruined my childhood with those movies.”

Sprenkle embraces an ultra-lightweight approach to hiking by designing and sewing his own his own pack and sleeping bag that weighs only 13.8 ounces… but carries around an 1,444 page copy of War and Peace. “I’m determined to finish it by the end of the summer,” he says."

Julia Burak
Trail Crew Leader
Hi everyone! My name's Julie, I'm originally from New Jersey, and I've recently graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Urban Planning. I've spent the last few summers doing internships and odd jobs in New Orleans, which I am happy to now call my home.

I've been crazy about the outdoors ever since I was a kid, and now spend most of my free time having adventures outside with my scruffy little mustachio dog. I love running long distance, swimming, cooking, reading, hiking, camping, riding bikes, and indulging my terrible case of wanderlust. Life has been really good to me over the past few years, and each new chapter has been even more exciting than the last. I feel so lucky to have landed such a dream job this summer, and I can't wait to meet everyone!

Ben Mayer
Pittsfield Trail Crew Leader
Hey Everybody!
I am so very excited about working my first season with the AMC.  I am looking forward to leading and guiding at risk youth in building and restoring trails out in the Berkshires.  I was born and raised in Huntington Woods, MI.  While growing up in a suburb of Detroit I always found time to go on adventures with the family and or friends out in nature.  Creating rewarding experiences for others in the outdoors to make them feel empowered and to gain confidence to lead a healthy life is something I take great pride in doing.  For four years Michigan State University was the place I called home, where I majored in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism resources.  During my time in college I spent my summers enjoying the wilderness as a guide, mentor, and leader to young people.  Traveling, meeting new people, and the outdoors are my passions.   When not on the go hanging out with friends, listening to music, cooking, and enjoying all the little things make life fun and dynamic. I cannot wait to be a part of the AMC team this summer!

Connor Timpone
In civilization/society I go by Connor, but since you’ll probably run into me in the woods, I’ll respond to Flora. I thru hiked the AT in 2010 (which is where I picked up the trail name, Flora) right after I graduated high school, and now I’m studying at the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!). What am I studying? That is an excellent question- I’m still trying to figure that out. What I do know is I love the outdoors! I enjoy backpacking, biking, kayaking, running, and playing in the sun (which sometimes doesn’t end well since I’m a red head). I absolutely cannot wait for this summer to start and be back out on trail, so see you out there!

Amy Krause
Trail Crew Leader

Hey All!
My name is Amy Krause and I am from Westchester, NY. I just finished my first year at Washington University in St. Louis and currently am pre-med with an undecided major. I have been volunteer on crews for the past three summers and I have loved it more each time. I am super excited to be a leader this year and look forward to working for the AMC!

Alex Manfred
I go by Alexander, Alex, or Ember (if I’m on the trail).  I am a North Carolinian, who grew up in the mountains of Asheville and just graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill – GO HEELS!   I can’t imagine a better way to spend my summer than hiking on the AT, while Ridge Running for the AMC.  I have more hobbies than I often have time for.  So when I don’t have on a backpack, I enjoy road biking, rock climbing, woodworking, shooting, homebrewing, playing tennis, driving/working on my convertible, and doing yoga.  I’m eager to meet you, so get out and hike!

 Tess Andrew
Trail Crew Leader 
 Hi y'all!
My name is Tess Andrew and this is my first time working with the AMC. I am originally from Arlington, Virginia, but now live in New York, New York. I am currently between my sophomore and junior years at Barnard College of Columbia University and am majoring in Urban Studies and Education. During the summer I love to get out of the city and spend my time in the wilderness camping, hiking, backpacking, and working on trails. I am really looking forward to working with the AMC this summer and can't wait for the season to start!

 Pat Chastant
 Trail Crew Leader

 Hey, I'm Pat or Patrick from Patterson New York and I am stoked for my first 
season of leading crews and learning new ideas about backpacking and camping. 
I like to meet new and interesting people so I hope this summer I get to meet new 
interesting people.

One of my favorite things to do to other than backpack is to ski, slackline,
and just toss around a frisbee. I'm usually a laid back kinda person and these activities 
I think fit that kind of life style.

Jesse Samdahl
Trail Crew Leader
How-do-you-do? My name's Jesse Samdahl. I call Princeton, Massachusetts my home town. This will be my fourth year with the Berkshire Chapter of the AMC, but my first as a Crew Leader. I've been looking forward to this job since my first day doing trail work. 

When I'm not in the Berkshires I try to spend as much time as I can outdoors; be it fishing, hiking, snowboarding, rock climbing, mountain biking or taking the old tin family canoe out for a trip on the local lakes.
I'll be a freshman at Unity College in the fall where I plan to major in Adventure Therapy and I hope to get even more engaged in the outdoors.

I'm stoked to spend another season in the Berkshires.