We are a group of outdoor educators and conservationists who wish to act proactively and assist the Maasai community of Ololgului/Olorashi in meeting the challenges of economic depression, the lack of educational opportunities, and limited employment. We are concerned with the current human-wildlife conflict and the downward trajectory of wildlife populations and diversity in the Maasai areas. We see ways in which the Maasai people and wildlife can receive mutual benefit and thus thrive in these challenging and turbulent times. Ecotourismand community conservation are the platform on which we build to reach our objectives.
Alan Whitehead, Executive Director
BA, Prescott College, Environmental studies with an emphasis and interest in Conservation Biology, Minor in Indigenous Cultural Studies., 2009. Alan is a dedicated Conservation Biologist and has worked as a Wolf Management Technician, Ecoguide Instructor, Wrangler, Sea Kayaking Instructor, Adventure Trip Leader, and Martial Arts Instructor. His professional qualifications include African Guiding, Wilderness First Responder, Desert Survival, Scuba, and Emergency Management. He has field experience in the United States, Mexico, Scotland, Norway, Shetland Islands, South Africa, and Kenya.
“My passions and interests lie in addressing the current biodiversity and cultural diversity crisis by collaborating with indigenous communities throughout the world on conservation, human-wildlife conflict and threatened species issues. I believe that one of the most sustainable ways to conserve Biocultural ecosystems is by empowering local communities through education, conservation and ecotourism.”
Rafaelle Abramovitz, Director of Naretoi Projects
Rafaelle was an instructor for the Amboselli Guide School and has been involved with the project since its conception in 2007. She teaches ornithology and ecology and has been active in many other facets of running the school. Rafaelle is a professional outdoor educator and guide and has been working and teaching in the field for 9 years. Currently, she instructs wilderness courses for Outward Bound California and Prescott College in Arizona. She graduated from Prescott College in 2007 with a B.A. in Adventure-based Environmental Studies.
Walt Anderson, Chairperson of the Board
PhD Candidate, University of Michigan, Resource Ecology,1976; MS, University of Arizona, Wildlife Biology, 1974; BS With Highest Honors, Washington State University, Wildlife Biology, 1968 . Walt has been referred to as “the naturalist of old cast in modern times, the next generation of a proud and ancient lineage.” His field experience spans the globe: East Africa, Madagascar, Brazil, Ecuador (including Galapagos), Argentina, Australia, Mexico, Alaska, American West, and beyond. Walt teaches and advises on natural history, ecology, wildlife management, wetland ecology and management, interpreting nature through art & photography, ecotourism, and field biology. His writings, illustrations, and photos grace his latest book, Inland Island: the Sutter Buttes. His articles, reviews, chapters, photographs, and drawings appear in hundreds of publications, including Co-existing with Urban Wildlife, California’s Wild Gardens, Wonders of the World: Madagascar, Natl. Audubon Soc. Field Guide to SW States, NAS Guide to African Wildlife, Ecology, J. of Wildlife Management, Condor, American Birds, Desert Plants, New York Times, National Wildlife.
Katie Sugarman, Member of the Board
Katie has worked in commercial film and photography production since 2007. She currently does wardrobe for commercials and photo shoots. Katie has a B.A. from Lewis and Clark College where she majored in Photography. She is primarily focused on the Maasai Girl's Education Project, empowering women though education and strength not only changes their lives, but has a positive impact that reverberates throughout the whole community.
During college, Katie studied abroad in Kenya and Tanzania where she studied Swahili, politics and culture, Biology, Marine Biology and Ornithology. It was during this time that Katie fell in love with that part of the world and its amazing people. She got to live with a Maasai family then, and jumped at the opportunity to go back and be a part of the BCI Naretoi women’s trip to Mt. Kenya. She joined BCI shortly after that trip. Katie has spent a significant part of her life in the great outdoors and with people around the world and truly understands the importance of conservation, education and what it means to collaborate with local communities based on their needs.
Joseph Logela Melita, Manager of Opporations
Josh Stratman, Member of the Board
Josh Stratman is the Director of the Health and Human Performance Center at San Juan College. Bachelor of Science from the University of Wyoming in Parks and Recreation Administration Master’s of Science degree from theUniversity of Idaho in Facility Management and Outdoor Recreation. Josh has had over ten years of experience managing outdoor programs for collegesand universities. During this time Josh worked as the Coordinator of Outdoor Leadership where he coordinated the Associate of Arts degree program in Outdoor Leadership for San Juan College. Prior to this he was the Assistant Director of the Outdoor Program at Illinois State University. Josh is a certified AMGA Top RopeSite Manager, ACA Raft, Sea Kayak, and Whitewater Kayak Instructor, Wilderness First Responder Instructor, Leave-No-Trace Master Educator, and an Emergency Medical Service Instructor for the State of New Mexico.