Each quarter, Kite's Nest partners with amazing educators working in a range of fields to run workshops for children and teenagers. Since 2012, we have been lucky to work with the following inspiring people:
Nicole LoBue, co-founder, former Education Director. A professional chef, herbalist, and educator, Nicole LoBue is a co-founder of Kite’s Nest, and served as Co-Director from 2012 - 2016. Nicole also founded the Alimentary Kitchen, a commercially-certified kitchen serving as both a classroom for the children of Kite’s Nest and a site for catering special events, community dinners, and pop-up events. Nicole’s love for food-as-healing informs and permeates her practice across fields, and her work has always linked food, wellness, and education: from managing her own catering company and collaborating with renowned kitchens and chefs, to running cafés and apothecaries with children and teenagers. Nicole’s workshops integrate food-craft and food justice, nutrition and herbalism, history and power, fiber and textile arts, craft and shelter, outdoor education and ecology, magic and story, promoting and encouraging the health and autonomy of young people. At Kite's Nest she supported educators and developed curriculum and pedagogy, designing and teaching many classes, including: Guts Trees & Blueprints, Hi Fi Cli Sci, Extra Sauce: Cuisine Lab, Hidden Histories, Future Worlds, Re-Sound, Sound Studio, All Ears, Spin Weave Dye, Give Me Shelter, Myth, Potion Lab and Potion Camp, Umami, the Social Justice Leadership Academy, From Scratch, Exploded Axon, Wood & Wool, Viral, Alimentary Cafe, Salt to Taste, Hidden Forest, and Secret City.
Lucy Segar is an educator, writer and dancer, originally from Vermont. Lucy has worked as a Lead Educator at Kite's Nest, and served as our Interim Education Coordinator in 2016/2017, designing programs and curriculum, and developing pedagogical trainings for teachers. Lucy studied writing at dance at Oberlin College, and earned her MFA in writing from Columbia University. She relocated to the Hudson Valley after six years teaching movement, writing, and conflict resolution at a community-based school in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Teaching at Bard College. In addition to teaching classes at Kite’s Nest (workshops that include writing, movement, boating, science fiction, outdoor exploration and observation), she has also taught English at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and works with the Hudson Sloop Club. At Kite’s Nest, Lucy has taught Places & Spaces, The Book, the Notebook Club, Hi Fi Cli Sci, Field Notes, Future Worlds, Movement Lab, Potion Camp, and the Hudson Sloop Club Camp.
Sharece Johnson is the After School Coordinator at Kite's Nest, runs Space 2.0, and is a lead educator with the Social Justice Leadership Academy. Born in Queens, NY, Sharece moved to Hudson when she was eight years old. Sharece has a B.A. in Communications from the University at Albany, an Associate’s Degree in Arts from Columbia Greene Community College, and is a graduate of Hudson High School. Sharece has worked as a lead Educator for the Social Justice Leadership Academy 2016 and 2017 at Kite's Nest, and this summer served as the Chief of Staff for youth staff. Prior to joining Kite’s Nest, Sharece has had significant experience working with children and teenagers. She has worked as a Child Mentor for Americorps with the Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood in Hudson, a Youth Mentor with the Liberty Partnership Program in Albany, a Program Assistant at the Boy’s & Girls Club in Albany, a Counselor of the Catskill Kids Club in Catskill, and with the Hudson After School Program. In these programs she’s led classes in improvisation, facilitated girl circles, run glee clubs, led community games, and more. Sharece is a passionate educator, musician, singer, and community volunteer. With appreciation for the counselors and mentors in her own life, Sharece is dedicated to being a source of strength to the young people growing up in her community. Sharece has taught the Social Justice Leadership Academy since 2016.
Lia Friedman is an educator, farmer, and freelance writer and editor based in Hudson. She earned a degree in Russian Literature from Columbia University and continues to keep a toe in the Slavic studies world by editing and translating academic work. She began working with young people ten years ago leading summer backpacking, canoeing, and farm service trips, and most recently worked as a residential ecology educator on the Maine coast. She loves sharing experiences in nature with young people. Lia has previously taught Story Arts and Garden Club and currently teaches Talking Earth and Botany and the Body.
Paige Gbasie. In addition to working with Kite's Nest as an educator, Paige was a core part of our team in 2016 as administrative assistant. At Kite's Nest, Paige taught Rising Up, Space 101, and two years of the Social Justice Leadership Academy (2015 and 2016). Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Paige Gbasie also worked with youth in Hudson as an Americorps volunteer and with the Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center. She has a B.A. in Social Action/Social Change from Bard College at Simon's Rock. She also practices jiu jitsu.
Tony Kieraldo is a freelance pianist, pen & ink artist, teacher, accompanist, composer and musical-director that lives in Hudson, NY. Tony has spent ten years freelancing as a musical-director for two non-profit children’s dance companies, National Dance Institute and Celebrate the Beat. He has recorded, performed, and toured internationally with various musical groups and performed genres of all kinds since 1998 including jazz, classical, rock, hip-hop, sufi, folk and avante garde. From 2010-2011, Tony was director/arranger/lead teacher for an American elementary school youth orchestral program based on the world renowned Venezuelan, El Sistema in Avon, Colorado. In 2014, Tony performed at the White House in Washington D.C. for first lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama as part of the President’s Council for Arts & Humanities called Turnaround Arts. At Kite's Nest, Tony has taught Re-Sound and Sound Studio.
David Eustace is a painter and mixed media artist born and educated in Toronto, Canada. Through paintings on canvas and site-specific installations, his work deals with tracking and recording such phenomena as celestial movements and seasonal change. (You can learn more about his work here.) He currently lives and works in Germantown, NY. At Kite’s Nest, David has taught Time Lapse, Hi Fi Cli Sci, and Places & Spaces.
Lavender Suarez is a sound artist and healer living and working in Hillsdale, NY. After touring North America performing sound art compositions for over ten years, she went on to study sound healing with the founder of the Sound Healers Association, Jonathan Goldman. She became a certified sound healer in September of 2014 and opened a private practice shortly after. At her office she provides services based on sound and energetic methods of healing to people of all ages and backgrounds. Lavender has also studied the sound and music-based philosophy "Deep Listening" with its founder Pauline Oliveros. She has spoken about the healing properties of sound and the affect sound has on one's mental state at MoMA PS1, Oral History Summer School, EMPAC and others. She has a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in artistic therapies from St. Thomas Aquinas College. At Kite's Nest, Lavender is teaching All Ears. www.lavenderhealer.com
Kaya Weidman is a co-founder and co-director of Kite’s Nest, where she oversees all day-to-day operations, teaches classes, and runs the River City Garden. Kaya began living in Columbia County twelve years ago as a land steward and farmer, when she started a collectively-run CSA called Germantown Community Farm on land where she continues to live. After traveling throughout Mexico and the US teaching about radio production and transmission as a tool for organizing and empowerment, she co-founded the local community radio station, WGXC 90.7-FM, Hands-On Radio in 2008. Growing up, Kaya was supported to make choices about her own educational path, and she’s passionate about supporting young people in having the power to make choices about where and how they learn. At Kite's Nest, Kaya has taught Rising Up, Roots & Rebels, PB&J: Print, Broadcast & Journalism, Woodworking for Girls, Lens, Fork & Trowel, Winter Writer's Group, Status Update, the Social Justice Leadership Academy, and Math for Explorers.
Sam Merrett is a mechanic, an engineer, a boat captain and an educator living in Hudson, NY. He runs Full Circle Fuels, and alternative fuel business; works as the engineer for Hudson Cruises, a local company that runs three commercial boats; and is currently working on a 68-foot steel sailboat, called the Apollonia, a project with future possibilities for local freight, environmental tourism, and education. Sam graduated from Oberlin College with a degree in Environmental Studies; he is also red cross CPR and First Aid certified, and ASA level 101 and 103 certified. Sam is a boating enthusiast, a parade enthusiast, and an all-around enthusiast for ambitious, seemingly-impossible collaborative projects. A founding member of the Hudson Sloop Club, Sam has worked as a lead educator for afterschool programming at the public school, and helps run the Hudson Sloop Club Camp 2015 & 2016 at Kite's Nest.
Christin Ripley, originally from St. Petersburg, FL, is a professional artist and mariner. She studied sculpture at the Cooper Union '06. She has a 100-ton Inland USCG captain license, and is a certified US Sailing Instructor, having taught at sailing schools in NY Harbor, Baltimore, and Cape Cod with both youth and adults. She has also worked on several traditionally rigged "Tall Ships" and at "South Street Seaport Maritime Museum". She feels that sailing can be a vehicle for a visceral understanding of physics, trigonometry, and appreciation for our natural world. She now runs a freelance design and fabrication business out of Catskill, NY called "Studio 'n the Round," focusing on sign-painting, sewing, marbling, printmaking, woodworking, and "Community Supported Editions," a subscription-based art project following a farmer's CSA model. Ripley works with the Hudson Sloop Club, and helps run the Hudson Sloop Club Camp at Kite's Nest.
Brianna Pope is the Program Coordinator for the Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center. She has previously worked for Solidarity Strategies, a political consulting firm in D.C. that focuses on the campaigns of POC candidates, as well as free legal clinics in her hometown. She is an author of primarily fiction, but has become passionate about the personal essay, free-form poetry and creative non-fiction. By using the personal essay as an anchor, she created women of color writing groups in order for the young women of Simon's Rock to have a place to create art and share their truths. Originally from San Diego, Brianna landed in Hudson after obtaining her B.A from Bard College at Simon's Rock in Political Studies and Modern Literature. At Kite's Nest, she has taught the Social Justice Leadership Academy.
Chris Weidman, PhD., recently retired marine scientist from the Woods Hole area on Cape Cod, was the Director of Research for the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (sister Reserve to the nearby Hudson River NERR) for the past 15 years. In his twenties, he worked as a commercial fisherman on Cape Cod before moving with his young family to an intentional community in upstate NY in the early 1980s, where he ran the maple sugaring operation and taught science and math to the community’s kids. He received his BS in Water Resources at SUNY-Oneonta, and his PhD from the Joint Program of MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. His doctoral research focused on reconstructing ocean climate histories over the last 1000 years, using the chemical composition of clam shells and fish ear bones. For the last 10 years he has run the maple sugaring and forest management operations at the nearby Germantown Community Farm, home to his daughter and Kite’s Nest Co-Director, Kaya. Inspiring kids to learn, love and use mathematics as a way to deeply experience the world around them has been his passion for the last four decades. At Kite's Nest he has taught Math for Explorers.
Jalal Sabur is a farmer, activist, educator, herbalist, and the co-owner of a vehicle cooperative. Jalal has worked with WESPAC Foundation, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), and the Potential 2 Power Project in East New York, where he taught young people gardening and cooking, and led Know Your Rights Trainings. He farmed at the Wassaic Community Farm, and co-founded the Freedom Food Alliance, a collective of small rural and urban farmers, activists, artists, community folks and political prisoners who use food as an organizing tool. With the Alliance, Jalal also co-founded the VROOM Cooperative and Victory Bus Project to connect urban and rural communities and to support families of prisoners with transportation and a box of farm fresh food. Jalal lives in Columbia County and is continuing the work of the Alliance, and runs Sweet Freedom Farm in Germantown. At Kite's Nest, Jalal has taught Space 101, Roots & Rebels and the Social Justice Leadership Academy.
Cara Turett is a graphic designer, artist, teacher and aspiring carpenter living in Hudson, NY. Her design work focuses on supporting community-based businesses and non-profit organizations, often combining handcrafted imagery with digital tools. Her art focuses on collections, and the ways that objects tell stories and hold memories. Cara has taught horticulture, environmental education and art in Hudson, New York City, and Ohio, and is currently teaching art classes at a local detention facility. At Kite’s Nest, Cara has taught classes in science & storytelling and woodworking. She holds a BA from Oberlin College in Art and Environmental Studies. She is passionate about trees, biology, and exploring Columbia County. At Kite’s Nest Cara has taught Field Notes, Woodworking for Girls, and Wonder & the World.
Claire Cousin. Born and raised in Hudson, Claire is a passionate advocate and organizer for youth in Hudson, working to give young people growing up here the support and mentorship to reinforce their purpose and passions. Claire is the Community School Parent Coordinator for the Community Schools Initiative in Hudson. She has worked as an Education Mentor with the Hudson Promise Corps (Americorps), Chair of the Youth & Young Adult Committee of the Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center, a Family Team Meeting Facilitator with the NYS Office of Children & Family Services, and a member of the Columbia County Youth Advisory Board. Claire is also a singer, poet, and a young single mother of Ilicia, (Stookie), age 3. At Kite's Nest, Claire founded and runs the weekly teen-space Space 101, and teaches with the Social Justice Leadership Academy.
Claudia Abbott-Barish is an Herbalist and Certified Restorative Practitioner. She has cultivated an avid fascination with and love for plants since she was small. In her adult life she has extensively studied and applied Botany, Herbal Medicine, Ethnobotany, Sustainable Agriculture, Popular Education, Anti-Oppression and Social Justice. She lives in Milan, NY on "The Herbal Acre", part of a 5-acre mixed forest and apple orchard. Here, she grows medicinal plants for personal and public use and teaches adult herbal medicine making classes. She also makes medicine for local practitioners and is training as a Transformative Mediator in Poughkeepsie. Her long-term goals include the development of an integrated women's health and justice collective. At Kite's Nest, Claudia has co-taught Potion Camp and Potion Lab.
Ira Marcks is an artist and educator. He draws, writes and inspires creativity through his home-base, Tiger Trap Studio in Troy, NY. He works with libraries, schools, museums, art centers and other educational institutions to develop workshops with a focus on visual storytelling as a tool for sharing ideas and information. At the 2012 National Art Education Convention, he presented his work on integrating visual art and mathematics. His work has appeared in various national publications and comic anthologies. For a time he was a regular contributor to Hugo Award Winning strange fiction magazine, Weird Tales. His latest artworks and workshop dates can be found at iramarcks.com. At Kite's Nest, Ira has taught Comics Club.
Jennifer Wai-Lan Strodl received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Princeton University, where she studied fiction with writers such as Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, and Russell Banks. She has been a comic book editor at Marvel Enterprises and is currently a writer for Bard College. She holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from Smith College and has traveled the world teaching kids in China, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. She now lives in Ghent, New York. At Kite’s Nest, Jenny has taught Hidden Histories, Myth, and Story.
LJ Amsterdam is a youth worker, political action organizer, and dancer from New York City. One year ago, she moved to Millerton, NY to support the development of The Watershed Center, an education and retreat space for social justice activists. Her academic background is in African-American Studies and Ethnomusicology and she received her B.A. and M.A. from Columbia University. She has worked with indigenous communities on the front lines of climate change, homeless groups and homeowners fighting foreclosure, young people in and outside public schools, and as a heavy metal DJ. Currently, she also organizes youth in Great Barrington, MA, and writes about hip-hop and decolonization. At Kite’s Nest, LJ has taught Rising Up, Movement Lab, We Are Hudson, and the Social Justice Leadership Academy.
Margot Becker is a textile artist and educator living in Hudson, NY. She works at a sheep and goat farm in Columbia County called Buckwheat Bridge Angoras, where she works with animals and in the farm’s solar and wind-powered fiber mill, making and dying yarn. Margot earned a BA from Bard College. She is passionate about being a part of the making process from start to finish, from the birth of a lamb to finishing a woven wool shawl, and sharing her work with young people. At Kite's Nest, Margot has taught Spin Weave Dye, Give Me Shelter, and Wood & Wool.
Ngounga Badila is an artist, performer, boxer, fisherman and educator in Hudson, NY. Ngounga performs with his family and the Diata Diata International Folkloric Theater. He has worked with children and teenagers through the Hudson Afterschool Program and Kite’s Nest. At Kite’s Nest, Ngounga has taught Rhythm, and fishing with the Hudson Sloop Club Camp.
Nick Pomeroy. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Nick is an artist and educator living in Germantown, NY. Nick studied sculpture in the U.K., and has since worked with a range of crafts, materials and trades, as a restoration carpenter and as a sculptor. As an educator, Nick has worked with children, high school students and people with special needs, teaching sculpture, drawing, art history, and history of architecture. Throughout his work, he’s interested in experience: the universal aspects of how we experience materials, colors, shapes, and the natural world around us. At Kite’s Nest, Nick has taught Geographies of Stuff.
Nick Zachos. Born and raised in Columbia County, Nick attributes his love of the outdoors to the countless hours he has spent exploring the wild spaces of this region. Nick was trained in boat-building at the Carpenter’s Boat Shop in Pemaquid, ME, and is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). A craftsman, boat-builder, and educator, Nick is the founder of the Hudson Sloop Club. At Kite’s Nest, Nick has taught Hudson Sloop Club Camp, Wood & Wool, and Hidden Forest.
Peter Nowogrodzki. A native of upstate New York, Peter Nowogrodzki is a writer and poet. His writing draws on a diverse background of experience that ranges from research on the behavior of tree swallows at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, to the production of a documentary about resident peregrine falcons on the skyscrapers of Cleveland, Ohio. In the summer of 2013, he co-facilitated a writer's workshop in the old Hudson TK school. He recently read and enjoyed Ursula Le Guin's Gifts, the first book in the Annals of the Western Shore series. At Kite’s Nest, Peter has taught Status Update, Winter Writer’s Group, and the Hudson Sloop Club Camp.
Cedrick Fulton is the Deputy Director of the Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center, a grassroots, non-profit organization leading a movement for racial justice in Hudson, NY. Cedrick a lifelong resident of Hudson, dedicated to empowering young black men and women to resist the marginalization of their communities. He is also an organizer, educator, writer, speaker, and a devoted father of two. Formerly incarcerated, his work comes from his own lived experiences of systemic injustice with an intimate understanding of the systems most impacting peoples; lives. He holds an A.A.S. from Bronx Community College, and a degree in Political Science from Framingham State. In addition to his work with SBK, Cedrick has worked with ReEntry Columbia, Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood, and a wide range of individuals and organizations working together to create long-term, transformative change. At Kite's Nest, Cedrick has taught the Social Justice Leadership Academy and Space 101.
Rob Kalin works at the Catskill Mill, where he makes furniture, bakes bread, and is learning how to sew clothes. Rob grew up in Boston, dropped out of school, and moved to Brooklyn -- and has since vowed to never live in a big city again. He lives on land just outside the town of Catskill, where he’s learning how to farm. He has two incredible and almost-overwhelming daughters, Zia and Kora. They speak little and understand everything, which is something Rob is striving towards. They also love to sing and dance, two more of Rob’s aspirations. At Kite’s Nest, Rob has taught Give Me Shelter.
Sara Kendall is the Program Director at Kite's Nest. She's interested in the way cities change, how people can participate in shaping their neighborhoods, and the things young people say on the radio. She helped to start Kite’s Nest, and has been working on organizational and program development, visioning, communication, and fundraising, as well as teaching. In addition to her work with Kite’s Nest, she is currently pursuing an M.A. in urban development and oral history and Concordia University, and works with Hudson’s Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center. Sara was the founding station manager of WGXC: Hands-on Radio, a community radio station and participatory media project serving Columbia and Greene Counties. In 2012, She helped to launch the Oral History Summer School 2012 in Hudson. At Kite's Nest, Sara has taught Secret City, the Geographies of Stuff, PB&J: Print, Broadcast & Journalism, On The Street, and the Social Justice Leadership Academy.
Tara Lisa Foley is originally from Manhattan, where she went to LaGuardia High School for art and later went to Sarah Lawrence College for her BA. Her teaching career started in Japan, where she taught English for three years while traveling much of Asia. For the following ten years, Tara lived and worked as an artist and an art educator in San Francisco. As a recent graduate of CalArts with a Masters in Fine Art (class of 2013), Tara is now located in Los Angeles, but joined Kite’s Nest for two quarters in 2014. At Kite’s Nest, Tara has taught Exploded Axon and On the Street.
Tess Diamond is passionate about cooking, agriculture, experiential learning and education. Originally from California, Tess holds a BA from U.C. Santa Cruz, with a focus on Community Studies. Her interest in cooking and garden education began during her time at The Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley, she has since worked as a food systems and gardening educator in Los Angeles, at Bard High School in NYC, Simon's Rock College in Great Barrington and at Kite’s Nest. Tess has years of commercial vegetable and herb cultivation experience and is particularly interested in food preservation. She currently runs North Plain Farm and Blue Hill Farm with her partner in Great Barrington, and is a new Mom. At Kite’s Nest, Tess has taught Salt to Taste and From Scratch.