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Staff Directory


Aaron Gingrich
Outdoor Educator

Alexander Cherry
Outdoor Education

Alex is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a B.S in Environmental Conservation & Sustainability. He enjoys backpacking, studying plants, and birdwatching. During the summer, Alex works as a Summit Steward protecting the rare alpine plant species in the Adirondacks. Working with all the other educators at the Ashokan center Alex hopes that through education he can inspire the next generation of stewards.
Angela Urbina-Medina
Education Administrator
(845) 657-8333 x27

In 1997, Angela made her first trip to the Ashokan Center as a teacher, accompanying 6th-grade students from Monhagen Middle School in the Middletown City School District. For most kids, it was their first time away from home, let alone for four nights with their teachers. The trip always left an indelible memory for the students and the staff who had the opportunity to accompany them. For many students, visiting the Ashokan Center was both a grade-level rite of passage and a multi-generational legacy trip for their families, with entire families sharing experiences such as crossing the wiggly bridge, weighing their food waste, or making a fire poker. What isn't explicitly communicated in these tales, but is woven through them, is the sense of empowerment, community, and connectivity felt by those fortunate enough to experience this very special place. This past June, Angela joined the Ashokan Center after concluding a 27-year career in education, with her last two years as a school superintendent. She takes pride in collaborating with schools to create experiences for their students and intends to continue collaborating to remove barriers to access, ensuring that opportunities for fostering community and inspiration in nature are plentiful. Angela looks forward to collaborating with you.
Bill Brantmeyer
Health & Safety Director
(845) 657-8333 x21

Bill is a school teacher, a paramedic, a wilderness skills instructor, and certified instructor of numerous medical certificate courses. He coordinates with school personnel before and during Ashokan School Field trips to help ensure students’ well-being and safety on campus.
Chris Zavras
Outdoor Educator

Chris has a deep appreciation for the natural world and takes pride in his ability to inspire young minds to foster an enduring connection with it. Chris has experience teaching in a variety of outdoor settings and specializes in wildlife and ecosystem sciences.
Clara Tyrel
Outdoor Educator

Clara is a graduate of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, with a Bachelors of Science in Conservation Biology focus in Environmental Education. She began teaching as a camp counselor early on, where she discovered her passion for education and connecting people to the outdoors. In the future she looks to complete a Masters of Science in Clinical Psychology to become a Nature Therapist.
Colleen Bailey

Colleen grew up in the Schoharie Valley. She has a love for the outdoors, animals and children her entire life. She was a member of the Adirondack Search and Rescue Team. Colleen worked as a dog handler with her air scent German Shephard, Aries, looking for missing persons all over the United States, prior to becoming a registered nurse and previously an EMT. She feels blessed and very fortunate to be able to combine her love of working with children and mother nature here at Ashokan.
Del Orloske
Outdoor Educator (on call)

Del was born in Ithaca, NY and grew up in New England and now lives in the Woodstock area. He received his graduate degree in sustainability and land planning at the Conway School in Massachusetts and holds an undergraduate degree in science and mathematics. For 12 years he has worked as a consultant for landscape architects, wetland scientist, engineers in NY and CT with a focus on mitigation, restoration, and storm-water management. Del is a licensed New York State D.E.C. Outdoor Guide as well. He has been teaching as an on-call instructor here at the Ashokan Center since 2015. He shares his love for the natural world with everyone he meets. His deep sensitivity and commitment to sustainability and the health of both the environment and the community add an integral aspect to our teaching staff.
Dennis Grant
Education Operations Coordinator

Dennis grew up with a love of all things nature, especially animals, both domesticated and wild! Originally from Long Island, he found himself outside on beaches, trails, or ballfields most times of the year. Dennis graduated from SUNY-ESF in December 2018 with a B.S. in Wildlife Science. Throughout university and soon after graduating, Dennis worked with shorebirds, namely piping plovers, and went on to publish his thesis on nest site selection. A variety of wildlife and environmental education positions eventually led Dennis to start as an educator at Ashokan in 2019. Since then, Dennis has taken on a leadership role in the education department, but he still very much loves getting out of the office and working alongside the educators teaching students in the outdoors!
Emily Masters
Outdoor Educator

Emily graduated from Stony Brook University with a B.S. in Environmental Biology. Having grown up in the Hudson Valley, she has always felt at peace in nature. After joining the Ashokan Center in 2022, Emily quickly fell in love with being an outdoor educator. Her personal teaching philosophy is to meet students where they are at, regardless of their backgrounds. In her spare time she enjoys encountering wildlife, discovering new music, blacksmithing, and napping in hammocks.
Hailey Luedtke
Education Supervisor

Hailey grew up in the Hudson Valley and lived in Stone Ridge, NY for most of her life. She attended the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse NY and earned a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Biology. While there she educated students as a teaching assistant for general biology lab and as a tutor for biology. After graduation she went on to work on the detection and tracking the of this emerald ash borer with different state organizations like the NYS DEC and NYS DAM. She loves working at the Ashokan Center and is passionate about environmental education!
James Boyd
Outdoor Educator

James graduated with a B.S. in environmental science from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and is currently working on his masters in education at SUNY New Paltz. He enjoys spending time outside, hiking, running, and rock climbing in the Mohonk, Catskills, and Adirondack mountains. He loves the opportunity to share his passion for the outdoors with students and families during education field trips and the various public events.
Julie Romano
Outdoor Educator

Mark McHugh
Outdoor Education

Patty Mooney
Outdoor Educator

Patty is a seasoned educator, outdoor enthusiast, practicing artist and a yoga instructor. Having taught art for 20 years at Saugerties High School, upon retirement she returned to the place where she first experienced teaching as a summer educator; the Ashokan Center. Patty digs deep with her students, encouraging them to learn by using their senses, asking questions and to "discover" the many lessons nature has to offer. Patty is as eclectic in her downtime as she is in her professional life, hiking, mountain biking, creating art, teaching yoga, stacking bluestone or walking her dog Skeeter on the Ashokan Rail Trail.
Rose Quinn
Outdoor Educator

Rose has always felt most at home whilst submerged in nature. She started working in Environmental Education while studying Geosciences at the University at Buffalo. She began by teaching students about renewable energy and how to build solar vehicles while working with New Yorkers for Clean Power. She has also worked as a Naturalist with the Appalachian Mountain Club and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Nowadays, Rose enjoys exploring waterfalls, researching botany and hiking as much of the Catskills as possible.
Samuel Hopson
Outdoor Education

Tom Raffaldi
Educator (on call)
(845) 657-8333 x14

Tom is an Ulster County native who has spent a lifetime exploring the Catskills with a particular love for the Ashokan Reservoir watershed. Graduating from SUNY ESF with a degree in Forest Biology, he worked many years in the Bureau of Wildlife with the New York State DEC. He is honored to have the opportunity to share his love of the outdoors and the natural world with today's youth.

To submit updates or corrections, please email tech@ashokancenter.org • Thank you!