Leader Bios! Meet Garth, Grace, Erik, and Lucia!

Leaders! Leaders! Read all about them!

With only six weeks and two days (but who’s counting?) before our leaders arrive in Brunswick, ME for Staff Training, we can’t wait to introduce the next batch of our talented staff to the world. Here they are: meet our 2018 Maine’s Downeast Explorer crew!

Garth Robinson – Maine’s Downeast Explorer

Garth Robinson hails from Newburyport, Massachusetts, where he grew up exploring beaches, marshes, and the deep woods of nearby state parks.  With a long-held fondness for reading and nature, Garth finds that the quiet, solitary adventures he’d embark upon as a kid helped him develop a love for storytelling early on. Now a rising senior at Hamilton College pursuing a degree in Creative Writing, Garth finds his passion for the outdoors and for connecting with people to be ever expanding. At Hamilton, Garth is a Trip Leader for the Adirondack Adventure Orientation Program and also regularly leads excursions as a Leader for the Outing Club. In summer 2016, Garth worked as a Guide on the Matanuska Glacier in Sutton, Alaska, where he admired slowly deepening crevasses, towering seracs, and the rippling horizon of mountains and ridges. Needless to say, Garth’s summer in Alaska only deepened his reverence for nature. Most of all though, Garth enjoyed connecting with students and children during his tours and found his interactions with young people to be most rewarding. We can’t wait for Garth to bring his storytelling prowess and connect with his Apogee students on our Maine’s Downeast Explorer trip this summer!

Grace Freeman – Maine’s Downeast Explorer

Grace Freeman is a graduate of St. Olaf College with a B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies. She grew up an active member of a church and youth group in the suburbs of Minneapolis, through which she worked with local kids in southern Alabama to help with BP oil spill recovery, volunteered at a day camp in Chicago, taught Ultimate Frisbee and group games to kids at a reservation in northern Minnesota, and worked with families on housing projects to rebuild an impoverished rural town following a tornado in North Carolina. As if she wasn’t busy enough, Grace also pursued her passion for biology and understanding connections that naturally occur in the great outdoors through various travels. In high school, Grace worked with a community in Costa Rica to study leaf cutter ants’ effect on crops and sought a natural solution to the devastation they caused to farmers. She also worked with local community members to build a clinic for the small town. Beyond that, Grace has worked as a Research Scholar in Panama, The Bahamas, and Costa Rica. She also has experience working with kids as a Counselor and Guide for weeklong backpacking, rock climbing, kayaking, and camping trips in Colorado, Idaho, and Montana. We’re excited for Grace to tell us more about sea turtle nesting patterns, and we know she can’t wait to explore Maine’s beautiful outdoors with her Apogee students on Maine’s Downeast Explorer this summer!

Erik Johansson – Maine’s Downeast Explorer

Erik Johansson grew up in a small town in southern Vermont with his parents, older sister, two cats, a dog, and ten or so chickens. Inspired by his parents, Erik developed an interest in sustainability at an early age, which later influenced his educational and recreational pursuits. As a young child, Erik would investigate the wildlife surrounding his home. From learning to identify animal tracks to spending hours sitting by a woodland pond quietly watching the behavior of beavers, Erik has since developed a passion for field research. Now a rising senior at Hamilton College majoring in Biology and minoring in Philosophy, Eric is an Adirondack Adventure Leader, for which he leads freshmen on an annual orientation hiking trip in the Adirondacks. Erik’s passions for hiking and traveling have taken him to Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, China, Slovenia, Denmark, and much of Western Europe on trips dedicated to community service, backpacking, cultural and arts exchanges, and personal discovery. On a more local scale, he has enjoyed hiking the White Mountains and the High Peaks of the Adirondacks over the past few years. Erik is always looking for ways to give back to the communities he visits and has volunteered as a Researcher for the Morigenos Center for Dolphin Research and Conservation in Slovenia, a Scorekeeper for the European Ultimate Frisbee Championship in Denmark, a Farmhand at the Rose Lily Farm in Vermont, a Camp Counselor for summer youth programs in Vermont, and at an orphanage in Mexico. After his extensive experience, we’re thrilled to have Erik as a leader for our Maine’s Downeast Explorer trip this summer, and we know he can’t wait to explore Acadia National Park and hike the Appalachian Trail with his Apogee students!

Lucia Hunt – Maine’s Downeast Explorer

Lucia Hunt loves a good dose of adventure, challenging herself, and seeking connections with people who encourage her to be her best. She has played sports her whole life and has enjoyed soccer, lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, and running cross country. Lucia is currently wrapping up her senior year at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, where she majors in Geography and Hispanic Studies. At Macalester, Lucia is the Conditioning Captain of the Club Frisbee team, leads trips with the Outing Club, and participates in the African Music Ensemble. She has also acted as the Coordinator of Macalester’s Macward Bound Pre-Orientation Backpacking Program, served as a Resident Assistant for Residential Life, volunteered as a mentor to a 4th grade “little sister” through Big Brother Big Sisters, and taught English in Thailand. Lucia has previously chaperoned and led camping, kayaking, and rock climbing trips as an Alumni Board Member of POST84, a student-led outdoor education program. In her free time, Lucia loves cooking meals together with her friends, and she has of late taken to perfecting the art of homemade granola (though we won’t share her recipe secrets)! She loves traveling and has been to Mexico, Nicaragua, Thailand, Argentina, and Chile. We can’t wait for Lucia to share adventures and homemade granola with her Apogee students this summer as they kayak Isle au Haut Bay and hike Mount Katahdin together on Maine’s Downeast Explorer!