EarthWorks Institute Forest Guides & Leadership Team Profiles

Our Guides

From Education to Ecology

 

 

EarthWorks Institute programs are lead by highly trained, diversely practiced Forest Guides, with over 20 years of combined experience in developing environmental and educational programs. Learn more about our Forest Guides in the profiles below.

 


 

lindsay cray forest guide

Lindsay Cray

Co-Founder & Executive Director

After completing a graduate fellowship with the National Science Foundation’s GK12 program, Lindsay earned a Master’s degree in Environmental Management and Risk Assessment from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. With her education and a decade of teaching experience both nationally and internationally, Lindsay has built a unique skill set for effectively working with under-served youth and families in the outdoors. Having spent nearly 14 years traveling throughout the US, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Panama, and Colombia, she has taught children from every walk of life, helping to build resiliency and advocating for equity and sustainability.

 

Lindsay is a wilderness survival instructor at Rochester Institute of Technology, a licensed NYS Hiking and Camping Guide, and holds a certified in wilderness first aid. She has incorporated her cross-cultural experiences and environmental knowledge into designing programs at venues such as Golden State YMCA in California and the Gandhi Institute for Non Violence in Rochester. Her teaching expertise includes inquiry-based programs in earth science, environmental science, teambuilding and wilderness skills. Lindsay’s own research focused on environmental management and has received funding from sources such as the National Science Foundation, Research Foundation, and the Melinda Gray Ardia Environmental Foundation. She has co-authored two publications on integrating science into high-school classrooms.

 

Prior to working as a Team and Leadership Facilitator at Cornell University, Lindsay most recently held the position of Education Director for a non-profit land trust in central California where she was tasked with bridging the education gap for the non-English-speaking youth of migrant farm worker families. In this capacity, she created education programs for over 2,000 underprivileged youth and developed Mentored to Mastered, a youth alternative education program for juveniles with criminal backgrounds, connecting them with professionals who provided mentoring. Lindsay does spend time teaching in the classroom, however, she would much rather see herself and her students outdoors, immersed in a world of sensory and experiential education. Her goal in developing the Earthworks Institute is to make simple but long-lasting, positive impacts on those with whom she works.

 


 

nick brown forest guide

Nick Brown

Co-Founder, Farm-to-School Educator & Program Design Lead
Nick Brown holds a B.A in Business Administration from Keystone College and a graduate degree in Natural Resource Management from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He is a conservationist by trade, and his focus has been on public land use management. With over 9 years of experience in landscaping, habitat restoration, land use planning, plant nursery operations, and plant propagation – as well as 6 years of business administration experience. Nick brings a dynamic skill set that allows for sound finance and budget management when planning and implementing conservation and land management projects.

 

Nick is passionate and knowledgeable about native plants, sustainable land use, wild edible identification, and environmental stewardship. He endeavors to take an innovative approach to all of his projects and ideas. His goal in developing the Earthworks Institute is to empower people of all ages to be proactive in making the world around them better for themselves and their neighbors.

 


Michael Kannard forest guide

Michael Kannard

Wilderness Skills Instructor
Michael Kannard became a Forest Guide with Earthworks Institute after attending two classes; Into to Wilderness Survival and Intro to Primitive Tools. He loves the concept of drawing people outside and away from electricity, so he decided to get more involved. In his professional life as a landscape architect, his focus has always been on the protection of the natural environment and on projects that encourage people to spend more time out of doors. Michael’s professional work includes ecological restoration projects and the design of parks, trails, kids camps and even a nature play area for kids at a nature center.

 

After having cut back on his “work” hours in the last couple of years, he had the chance to spend more time working with non-profits that focus on the outdoor environment, including several stints as a volunteer park ranger for the National Park Service at several parks in the Southwest. Michael is now excited to work with EarthWorks Institute to encourage the people of the Rochester eco-region, especially the kids, to spend more time outside getting familiar with their natural environment.

 


Suzanne Morgan forest guide

Suzanne Morgan

Forest Preschool Lead
Suzanne is a certified New York State Elementary Teacher, currently homeschooling her two children, while raising chickens and kale in her backyard. She holds a Masters in Education from Nazareth College and a Bachelor’s in psychology from SUNY Geneseo. She has taught children and teens in many different settings, from Prekindergarten in the Rochester City School District through teaching Swing and Lindy Hop in various community centers. Although a city resident for over 25 years, Suzanne is a country girl at heart and spends as much time as possible gardening, enjoying nearby parks, and camping with her family.

 

In addition to teaching her own two daughters, Suzanne is a teacher at Lilac Children’s Garden, a Waldorf-inspired home school program. She is excited to be sharing her love of the natural world with children and their families in forest preschool.

 


 

Dan Ruede forest guide

Dan Ruede

Wilderness Skills Instructor
Dan earned a Bachelor of Science

in Expeditionary Studies and a minor in Environmental Studies at SUNY Plattsburgh. He received his Associates Degree at SUNY Adirondack, where he studied Experiential Education. In the past, he has worked with SUNY Adirondack, leading backpacking trips in the Adirondacks, as well as New York State Parks, as an Environmental Educator. Most recently he was part of Primitive Pursuits Wilderness Skill Instructor Certification Program and is currently working with the West Irondequoit Central School District at the Helmer Nature Center, as a Naturalist Educator.

 

In his free time, he likes to discover the mysteries of nature, go backpacking, back country skiing, and find out ways he can give back to the earth and local communities.

 


Rose Richter forest guide

Rose Richter

Instructor, Wilderness Skills, & Forest School
Rose is a recent biology graduate from the University of Rochester where she was a recipient of the de Kiewiet Research Fellowship. She conducted research in molecular genetics focusing on the transfer of bacterial genes to invasive pest insects. In the summers, she worked at a nature center in her home state of NJ, serving as an environmental educator and introducing students to natural history. Through these experiences, she has developed a substantial scientific understanding of the environment and a passion for environmental education.

 

Additionally, Rose is passionate about living sustainably and has lived in several sustainable living communities and coops, serving as President. More recently she has developed an interest in environmental humanities and is excited by this new perspective of using art and literature as a lens to understand our world, our environment, the interactions between the two. She hopes to further pursue this interest through a graduate degree in the future, though in the meantime shares her interests in and knowledge of the natural world with children as a Forest Guide with EarthWorks Institute.

 

 


 

Mary Coburn forest guide

Mary Coburn

Licensed Mental Health Counselor & Nature Therapist
Mary is a holistic psychotherapist with a Ph.D. in psychotherapy from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA. and a Master of Science in Counselor Education from Alfred University.   Her work focuses on promoting growth and healing through the facilitation of awareness of the mind, body, spirit connection which, has taken place in a variety of settings: through graduate student teaching, in workshops, and in individual psychotherapy.

 

Until retirement, Mary served as a Global faculty member at Sofia University (formerly The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology) in the Spiritual Psychology Masters specialization. Today her workshops and work with Earthworks Institute focus on self-awareness through creative expression/movement and mindfulness in nature. Her individual client and volunteer work encompass nature therapy, talk therapy and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy (for which she is also a certified instructor), a mind/body approach to wellness and wholeness. Aside from her work in therapy, Mary has also been a lifelong hiker-member of the Adirondack Mountain Club, has a deep spiritual connection to nature and has joined EarthWorks Institute as a Forest Guide to “help others fall in love with our amazing earth and let it help heal them.”

 


 

Alex Suzba forest guide

Alex Suzba

Instructor, Wilderness Skills & Forest School
Alex is a recent graduate of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF).  Last summer he worked as a summer staff at Primitive Pursuits in Ithaca NY, leading children ages 6-14 into the wooded property and mentored them in a variety of hard and soft skills, team building, and games. Before graduating from  SUNY-ESF he was the club president for Roots and Pursuits, a club the focuses on traditional ecological knowledge and skills such as primitive skills, and wilderness and survival skills.

 

Alex has led many workshops in the past such as bow making and hide tanning and tries to regularly practice skills to become proficient with, including fire by friction, shelter building, stalking, camouflage, tracking, plant id and uses, foraging, and archery.

 


 

Jordan Dube forest guide

Jordan Dube

Instructor, Wilderness Skills & Forest School
Jordan is a Mohawk Native, traditional story-teller and lover of all the gifts nature has to offer. He has several years of experience teaching time-honored,  outdoor skills with children and adults and has honed his primitive skills over the years by sharing time and trade with like-minded practitioners in the state of Florida. Jordan has worked for the past four years with New York State Office of Historic Preservation at Ganondagan State Historic Site leading tours, serving as an interpretive guide, participating in re-enactments and caretaking of the land.

 

Before becoming a Forest Guide with Earthworks Institute, he also taught during the year at the Jewish Community Center after school program, served as a Nature and Adventure Specialist for their summer camp programs. Jordan is currently a student at Monroe Community College, working towards his Associates Degree in Psychology where he intends to use his degree to eventually work as a wilderness therapist.

 


 

ashley fantigrossi forest guide

Ashley Fantigrossi

Marketing Director
Ashley is an active community member who gives much of her time to social justice initiatives involving gender equality, human trafficking, and sustainable development. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Marketing, a minor in Fine Arts, and a certificate of completion from the Women’s Leadership Academy at Alfred University, she dedicated several years of her career to marketing for startups and emerging technology companies. During this time she worked with individuals based in European, Middle Eastern, and African countries, and with organizations including the United Nations, to share innovative technologies to advance development in developing countries and remote areas of the world.

 

As part of her dedication to continued learning, Ashley is pursuing education through the SDG Academy and EarthWorks Institute Forest Guides. In her free time, Ashley likes to travel, read, craft, and explore the wonders of nature.