Ed has been volunteering with AHS for nearly 20 years. He started as a crew member and has been leading AHS Crews for the last 16 years. Ed lived in Colorado for nearly 20 years and now calls Northern Virginia home. He has led crews all over the country with his favorite areas being the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with Virginia and Georgia a close second. Now fully retired, he splits his volunteer time between AHS Volunteer Vacations, his local Habitat for Humanity Restore and the Habitat for Humanity Road Trip Crazies. Ed views each of these activities ways to meet new people sharing a common goal of giving back and helping others.
Ed professes to be unusual in the Volunteer Vacation participant world, he is not a “hiker”. So his favorite hike is anywhere his tools take him to work on the trail and where his youngest grandson wants to go in the Shenandoah National Park.
Walla Walla, WA
I am a retired middle school teacher. I taught 35 years and coached 30. My first volunteer project with AHS was in 2001 on Lemhi Pass in Idaho. I have also worked on projects in Montana, Oregon, and Idaho. I try to participate on at least 2 projects each year. I am a member of Washington Trails Assoc., Montana Wilderness, and AHS.
I live in Walla Walla Washington, but my heart is in Montana where I was born. When not involved in trail work, you can find me doing a variety of activities such as tying flies, fly fishing in a nice stream, spending time with my grandkids, teaching fly tying to kids and adults, playing my trumpet in our community band and traveling now that my husband is also retired.
Ken has been an avid day hiker for decades but in the last 15 years has been able to repay the work of others in terms of planning, creating and maintaining hiking trails. He has done this volunteer work with a number of organizations but especially with The Nature Conservancy on their Kentucky Palisades Preserves. For a number of years Ken has also worked each year on a Volunteer Vacation including serving as a crew leader for the last decade in projects across the United States. Ken is a retired planner focusing on capital project planning and campus master planning. He has recently moved from a large home on a farm adjacent to a nature preserve to a much smaller (and more manageable) house in town. As a result he values his time in natural settings even more.
Ken enjoys turning wood objects on a spring pole lathe. He built the lathe 10 years ago and it is a historically accurate configuration. It is treadle powered (by Ken’s leg) and was in use from the middle ages until it went out of use with the availability of first steam and eventually electric power. He demonstrates the lathe occasionally at historic settings.
Fort Collins, CO
After moving from New York State to Southern California, my parents loaded camping gear into a big old station wagon and took me and my sis to all the national parks in the West (Yosemite, Sequoia, Glacier, Rocky Mtn, Grand Canyon, Olympic, Yellowstone). I moved on to backpacking, then camped with my own kids in the parks and got them hooked on hiking. Through REI, I joined AHS and jumped into crew leading in 2005– digging camp latrines, for starters! It was a long ways from years spent studying classical keyboard music, human resources, and museum archives! But getting down and dirty, re-treading trails, and schlepping enormous rocks is cool too! Besides AHS, I get my kicks living near a spunky grandson and tiny dynamo granddaughter in northern Colorado, and hearing about the world travels of one son (a designer at Big Agnes), another son in sales in FL, and a third son working in London, and a daughter/son-in-law who are avid hikers/campers/runners!
Lake Orion, MI
Mary Chayka-Crawford’s first experience with the American Hiking Society was on a Volunteer Vacation in Alaska in 2011. Since that time, she has been Crew Leader on eight Volunteer Vacations. She is also an Adventure Travel Trip Leader for the Adirondack Mountain Club. Mary calls Michigan her home but travels half the year in the United States and around the world. Most of that time is spent hiking or volunteering for various projects and generally for trail construction projects. Mary considers the outdoors the best “office” location there is and her trail stewardship the best opportunity to give back.
I spent 30 years working for Kentucky’s State Economic Development Cabinet. My last 16 years I dealt directly with new and existing industries that showed interest in various state and federal programs. After retiring, is when I really started enjoying hiking and backpacking. I’ve hiked in eight different states, in Northern England and successfully summited Mt. Kilimanjaro. I have participated in five American Hiking Society Volunteer Vacations. As a member of our local #530 Elks Lodge, I’m involved in many activities throughout the year that support of local veterans. I’m an avid baseball fan and enjoy traveling to different MLB and Minor League ballparks.
I once attended 18 Cincinnati Reds Home Openers in a row. I’ve been to about 25 MLB and Minor League ballparks.
St. Peters, MO
I discovered the volunteer opportunities with American Hiking Society two years ago when I worked on trailblazing at Henry Horton State Park in Tennessee. It was such a rewarding experience that I wanted to do more volunteer work and was encouraged to apply for the Crew Leader program as a way to make a bigger impact on my next trip. I do a lot of work locally with Missouri River Relief and am fortunate to live near the Katy Trail in St. Charles County, Missouri where hiking and biking opportunities are plentiful.
Chad is an avid outdoorsman who lives in Colleyville, TX. After spending 30 years serving the flying public as an Air Traffic Controller he decided to hang up the headset, leave the dark radar room, and get outside. He now serves as the Water Programs Coordinator at a large nature center. After a lifetime of hiking, he realized that it was time to give back to the trail system that he has enjoyed so much and began volunteering for AHS. He has done multiple trips and became a Crew Leader in 2014. His favorite place to hike is basically anywhere that he can see water. Besides hiking, he enjoys canoeing, fly fishing, woodworking, and wood carving.
Wayne has been working on trails with AHS since 2001, in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and South Carolina. All of these were within a day’s drive of his home base in Washington DC. And he has led trail weeks for the past five years in West Virginia and Virginia. He currently is working on his third career–owning and being the prime mover in a handyman service.
Terri and Robert Glick
About Terri and Robert
Robert and Terri have been involved with AHS Vacations since
2010. We started leading crews in 2012 and split the duties. Terri does the communication/menu planning, while Robert takes the reigns when trips occur). We currently reside in NW Ohio. We both are still employed and use our vacation time to participate in Volunteer Vacations. The vacations are great for learning new things, meeting new people and seeing other places.
Jolene Hartwick joined American Hiking Society in 2011—the same year she retired from teaching Mathematics. In addition to leading Volunteer Vacation crews, she leads Habitat for Humanity teams on international housing builds. When not traveling she enjoys hiking the Mississippi River bluff country near her home, gardening, cross-country skiing, and her grandkids.
I’m a Washington, DC transplant, originally from small-town Michigan. I’ve been camping and hiking with my family as long as I can remember. Meeting new people and building community is my favorite part of participating in AHS. I also enjoy the physical activity and time in the outdoors that I experienced during my two previous volunteer vacations.
I teach yoga and would love to teach a class or two... or more... to anyone interested during our vacation!
I have been on three Volunteer Vacations, all to Virgin Islands National Park (a great way to get away from Columbus, Ohio!) I’m eager to do more trips to different locations as a crew leader and team member. After 36 years in the Ohio National Guard, 28 as a full-time employee, I look forward to a retirement of bicycling, gardening, traveling, and volunteering!
Erin Maher joined AHS in 2011 and led her first Volunteer Vacation in 2012. She holds a B.A. in Mass Communication from Miami University and is working towards her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at The Ohio State University. Formerly, Erin managed the communication and social media efforts of an international nonprofit in the outdoor industry and led a women’s leadership and adventure conference in Colorado. She believes in being outside as much as possible and enjoys helping others get outdoors and build confidence in their skills. Erin lives in Columbus, Ohio. She loves being active in her church and enjoys cooking, gardening, and traveling, among many outdoor pursuits.
I have been volunteering since I was a child. When I discovered I could combine my love of travel and volunteering I have been all smiles. From Peace Corps to my two recent trips with American Hiking Society’s Volunteer Vacations, I am enjoying being able to give back while discovering new places and meeting new people.
I am a nurse which is a profession which also lets me wander and see new places. My nursing is presently based in a hospital but I have worked in Public Health positions. Presently I’m based in Reston, Virginia but have spent the greatest portion of my life in Maine, which I call home.
Colorado Springs, CO
Phil Meinert has been participating in volunteer vacations since 2002. He has now done 15 volunteer vacations, 8 of them as the crew leader. Phil has lived over 50 years in Colorado Springs and is a retired systems analyst and bank data processing executive. He considers Arkansas as his first home state and has done 5 of his trips at the Buffalo River. His favorite backpacking location is the Venable Falls trail near Westcliffe, CO.
My first Volunteer Vacation trip was in March and was planned to be a break from the Colorado winter with a nice warm trip to Arizona. After backpacking ten miles through the rain, sleet and snow the group experienced freezing temperatures every night. That was so much fun that I decided to keep doing them.
Brian grew up on a dairy farm in western New York State. After traveling extensively during his younger years has settled back near his hometown. As retirement approached, Brian researched volunteer opportunities and subsequently found the American Hiking Society. He has been volunteering since 2005 and since 2010 has taken on the role of Crew Leader.
Brian tries to spend each summer hiking and climbing in the Adirondack Mountains, a state park in New York State that contains 6.1 million acres of flatlands, rolling hills, and high peaks.
Sondra Morison has been volunteering with American Hiking Society for six years, four years as crew leader. She grew up in the San Bernardino Mountains of southern California and has extensive wilderness experience through backpacking, hiking and skiing, in the United States as well as Europe, South America, Africa and Australia. Among her achievements are thru-hiking the John Muir Trail and the Lost Coast Trail, as well as numerous ascents of Mt. Whitney. She is a former CPA and lives in Carlsbad, California with her husband, a retired professor. They enjoy beach walks, travelling and giving back to the community. Sondra loves the outdoors and sharing its wonders.
My trail name is "Bear Bouncer."
Brenda has been volunteering with AHS for 3 years, the past 2 in the role of Crew Leader. Brenda calls Worcester, MA home and loves to travel see the rest of the U.S. Brenda is a Fitness/Wellness Manager at several corporate sites and teaches group fitness classes. When not on the trail hiking or running an ultra, you can find Brenda biking, traveling, and doing almost all outdoor activities (except rock climbing).
I am from South Carolina, living most of my time in the upstate region in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Escarpment. I love to hike and backpack in the region, including the Foothills Trail, Pisgah National Forest, and the Smoky Mountains. I have been on Volunteer Vacations since 2011, and Crew Leader since 2013. I find that participating in this program gives me a great opportunity to backpack in regions and environments other than the Southeast, but also to do so while giving back to the trails with the skills that I have been blessed with. I also relish the chance to get into the backcountry, away from the “always on” switch of the digital world. Now fully retired, I spend my time hiking and backpacking, volunteering with local organizations, and being active in my church. I have been married for 40+ years and have tthree granddaughters to keep me active and entertained.
I love to take a dip in just about any water when I am backpacking. One AHS trip it was a 40 degree glacier fed lake. On another trip it was 6 different Alpine lakes.
The Volunteer Vacation program provides us with an opportunity to see our country’s natural beauty, build new friendships, and “GIVE BACK” for future generations. This is my 8th year as a crew leader for AHS Volunteer Vacations. Being a Flat-lander from Illinois I’ve enjoyed my trips to the mountains— Appalachian, Sierra-Nevada, Rocky, Chugach-Alaska, King Range-Northern California, and last year in the Beartooth Wilderness. There is not a better feeling than GIVING BACK with AHS Volunteer Vacations knowing that some of your efforts will outlast your life.
Saint Paul, MN
I have lived in Minnesota for the majority of my life, also lived in California and Arizona. I have been hiking, backpacking, canoeing, kayaking and anything outdoors my entire life. I started my volunteering experience with the AHS last year and look forward to many more team member and crew leader adventures in the future. I enjoy working on outdoor projects, meeting new people, volunteering, and of course vacationing in the outdoors. I have spent a lot of time in the Boundary Water Canoe Area, Quetico, on the Superior Hiking Trail, MN State Parks and traveling to many National Parks throughout the US. I am retired state police and now work as a financial crimes investigator. Looking forward to meeting you on the next AHS adventure.
First treat after coming back from outdoor adventure is a Snickers and Throwback Mt. Dew.
While working for American Hiking Society as Director of Development from 2011-2014, Leigh enjoyed leading Volunteer Vacations and has been happy to lead additional trips since then. Leigh has recently earned a Chef's Certificate in plant-based cuisine and operates a food blog under the name of OlivetheThymeKitchen. She also enjoys outdoor photography, and she exhibited her pictures for the first time in early 2018.
Leigh's list of Ten Essentials of hiking has been expanded to 11 items so that the list includes her trusty Canon DSLR camera!
Sharing her love of the outdoors with others is Saveria’s passion! Living in Pasadena, CA, she is lucky to have the Angeles National Forest in her backyard and iconic outdoor places only a few hours away. Depending on the time of year you will find Saveria exploring and volunteering as a trip leader for overnight backpacking adventures in Joshua Tree National Park or the Eastern Sierra. Also as an REI Outdoor School Instructor, Saveria teaches a variety of classes including kayaking, SUP, biking, climbing, map and compass/navigation, hiking, backpacking and more. Saveria has partnered with AHS on various events since 2010 and is excited to be an AHS Hike Ambassador and Crew Leader. You can learn more about Saveria and her adventures at www.TheAdventurUs.com
Tina Temple has been an avid trail maintainer since 2005 and thoroughly enjoys the challenges and joys of making our walks in the woods a little easier. Besides improving the trails, the food and meeting great people who share her love of the outdoors are her greatest joys of these trips. She lives in Owensboro, KY retired, and loves to travel and really likes sleeping in a tent! As a crew leader I really relish pleasing the crew with great food and nutritious menus – you’ll never be hungry.
Port Saint Joe, FL
Over her career, Linda has worked as a shepherd, a cook, a lawyer, a forest ranger, and a research scientist. Still not quite retired, she’s transitioning away from leading biological field crews in Montana by being an AHS crew leader in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. She is an avid hiker, and has backpacked throughout the US, Canada, Chile and Nepal. She spends half the year in Montana, and half the year on the Forgotten Coast of northern Florida.
Unless she’s deep in the desert, Linda always has a fly rod handy, and she gets twitchy if she goes more than a couple of days without fishing.
Meredith Webster has been on 5 AHS Trail Trips, the past 3 in the role of Crew Leader. Meredith grew up in the North Cascades and has lived in several locations in Washington, Oregon, and Montana. She currently resides in Missoula, MT. She is an avid backpacker, with almost 50 years of boots-on-trail experience. Meredith is a soon to be retired forest soil scientist. When not on the trail, Meredith keeps a garden, skis, and crochets.
Libby joined American Hiking in 2009 and oversees the organization’s programs including Volunteer Vacations, Alternative Break, National Trails Day, and the National Trails Fund. She holds a B.A. degree in Marketing from James Madison University. Prior to joining AHS, she worked for over five years with a consulting firm as a recruiter and marketing specialist. A Navy upbringing has instilled a love of travel in her and she enjoys discovering new cities and landscapes and the cultures that they represent. Participating in her first “Volunteer Vacation” in college many years ago sparked a passion for traveling with a purpose. Since then she has participated in dozens of stewardship trips across the US. Libby is an experienced and seasoned outdoor recreation group leader, leading volunteer crews since 2010. In her free time, she takes advantage of any opportunity to hike, run, beer taste, and explore the mountains of western North Carolina.