We are a group of educators, activists, and environmentalists who work to proactively assist the Maasai community. Many of our efforts are focused on projects that will help educate and economically empower the Maasai girls and women in these areas. We are also concerned with the current human-wildlife conflict and the downward trajectory of wildlife populations and diversity in the Maasai areas. We are working with our Maasai partners the Government(KWS) to develop projects that will help to address these issues.


Alan Whitehead,  Executive Director

BA, Prescott College, Environmental studies with an emphasis 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, 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 got involved with the Maasai as an instructor for the Amboselli Guide School in 2007 and 2011, and has been involved with BCI since its inception in 2011.  Along with Maasai partners, Rafaelle founded the Naretoi Women's Expedition, the Maasai Girl's Education Project and NAWI, a Maasai women's beading co-operative.  Rafaelle is a professional outdoor educator and guide and has been working and teaching in the field for 14 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.

Rafaelle Abramovitz, Director of Naretoi Projects

Rafaelle got involved with the Maasai as an instructor for the Amboselli Guide School in 2007 and 2011, and has been involved with BCI since its inception in 2011.  Along with Maasai partners, Rafaelle founded the Naretoi Women's Expedition, the Maasai Girl's Education Project and NAWI, a Maasai women's beading co-operative.  Rafaelle is a professional outdoor educator and guide and has been working and teaching in the field for 14 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.

  Joseph Logela Melita  , Manager of Operations   Joseph Logela Melita is the coordinator for the Maasai Girls Education Project, Naretoi Women Initiative C.B.O (NAWI), as well as the Naretoi Women's Expedition. He is currently enrolled at the East African University in Kitengela and is pursuing a diploma in Project Planning and Management.  He is hoping to gain the knowledge and skills to enable him run the projects already at hand more effectively and efficiently.  He is also the manager for the Rocky Hill Limited Campsite.  He was born and brought up in a small village known as Olgulului, situated in Olgulului/Ololarrashi group ranch near Namanga, Kenya. He joined elementary school at Olgulului Primary School. He later attended Kiluani NewLife Secondary School which he completed in 2003. He has taught at Eluai Nursery School before he got employed as a tourist camp manager in 2004. He is always passionate about progress in his entire community, especially for girl's child education and women's empowerment. 

Joseph Logela Melita, Manager of Operations

Joseph Logela Melita is the coordinator for the Maasai Girls Education Project, Naretoi Women Initiative C.B.O (NAWI), as well as the Naretoi Women's Expedition. He is currently enrolled at the East African University in Kitengela and is pursuing a diploma in Project Planning and Management.  He is hoping to gain the knowledge and skills to enable him run the projects already at hand more effectively and efficiently.  He is also the manager for the Rocky Hill Limited Campsite.

He was born and brought up in a small village known as Olgulului, situated in Olgulului/Ololarrashi group ranch near Namanga, Kenya. He joined elementary school at Olgulului Primary School. He later attended Kiluani NewLife Secondary School which he completed in 2003. He has taught at Eluai Nursery School before he got employed as a tourist camp manager in 2004. He is always passionate about progress in his entire community, especially for girl's child education and women's empowerment. 

  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, the 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

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, the 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 works as a freelance wardrobe Stylist. 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.   During college, Katie studied abroad in Kenya and Tanzania where she studied Swahili, Politics, Biology, Marine Biology and Ornithology. She lived 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 traveled extensively getting to know people around the world. She truly understands the importance of conservation, education and what it means to collaborate with local communities based on their needs.

Katie Sugarman, Member of the Board

Katie has worked in commercial film and photography production since 2007. She works as a freelance wardrobe Stylist. 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. 

During college, Katie studied abroad in Kenya and Tanzania where she studied Swahili, Politics, Biology, Marine Biology and Ornithology. She lived 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 traveled extensively getting to know people around the world. She truly understands the importance of conservation, education and what it means to collaborate with local communities based on their needs.

  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 the University of Idaho in Facility Management and Outdoor Recreation.  Josh has had over ten years of experience managing outdoor programs for colleges and 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 Rope Site 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.   

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 the University of Idaho in Facility Management and Outdoor Recreation.  Josh has had over ten years of experience managing outdoor programs for colleges and 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 Rope Site 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.