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:
Mrs. Pamela Badila is a community leader and elder in Hudson, best known as the matriarch of the Badila clan, a family of visual and performing artists. Mrs. Badila is the Executive Director of her family-based production company, Diata Diata International Folkloric Theater, which she founded in 1985 with her husband, Elombe ‘Andre’ Badila, of The Congo, Central Africa. A resident of Hudson for over twenty years, Mrs. Badila has created and directed 13 years of community theater productions in Hudson. Across mediums -- art, music, dance, theater, education, storytelling, community-building -- Mrs. Badila’s work is deeply rooted in an appreciation of ancestral heritage, and grounded in the ideals of friendship, integrity, courage, love, acceptance, compassion, and loyalty. As an educator she has taught people of all ages, from age 0 to 90, in dozens of organizations and institutions: as an Adjunct Professor in the Afro American Studies Department at the State University of New York, Nassau Community College; as an Instructor in the Hudson After School; as the former Artistic and Cultural Director of Perfect Ten After School; and in partnerships with Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, Columbia Greene Community College, SUNY Albany, Berkshire Pulse, the Multi Cultural Arts and Technology program, and the Hudson Area Library. We are honored that Mrs. Badila is part of the Kite’s Nest family of educators, too! At Kite's Nest Mrs. Badila has taught Move, Dance Sing!, the Mobile Classroom, Paper Arts, and En Français.
Heylan Tsumagari grew up in one of the most magical places, Barrytown, NY - a Hudson River hamlet of Red Hook, NY. She was always encouraged to go outside and to nurture her creativity through nature, whether it be through camping, walking, swimming, fishing, or going into the woods. Having grown up in the Hudson River and by the Catskills, she has always felt connected to the area: she's made many art pieces and built forts from found river objects, and enjoys collecting bugs and plants. As a student, Heylan studied medical anthropology and the intersectionality of health at CUNY Brooklyn. Heylan is passionate about equal access to a healthy body through healthy food: she farms at Hawthorne Valley farm with vegetables and cows, and works for the gleaning organization, Long Table Harvest, working to address immediate food insecurities in Columbia and Dutchess County. She has been working with children since the age of ten, and values spaces that cultivate imagination -- but don't tell you how to imagine. Now part of the Kite's Nest family, Heylan has assisted in teaching Story Arts and Bricks, Buttons, and Banks, and Exploratorium. Across all of her work Heylan is interested in all the ways communities can help each other stay healthy and strong, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and economically. Heylan has taught Story Arts, Exploratorium, Myth, the Science of Doctors and Spa Science.
Ngonda Badila is an educator and artist from Hudson, and part of the Badila family clan. Also known as Lady Moon, Ngonda is a singer/songwriter and the leader/founder of Lady Moon & The Eclipse, a multi-dimensional performance arts production; she is also a multidisciplinary artist, seamstress, hair designer and sculptor, painter, healer, (future herbalist), crystal collector, wife, Renaissance woman, and Moon Goddess. A long-time educator, Ngonda began teaching at the age of 15: she’s taught dance/movement, music, art, creative writing and hair in after school and summer intensive programs in both Connecticut and New York, has led programs in partnership with numerous youth organizations for over a decade; and has worked as a preschool teacher, nicknamed a “child whisperer” for her ability to release anxiety from babies and toddlers. Ngonda is the founder of the (forthcoming) Infinity Program, a new community action plan to connect less fortunate youth with CPS, Mental Health, or social work case referrals with professionals in the community as an opportunity to empower, encourage, and inspire youth. Ngonda is certified as a Full Spectrum Doula, and studies psychology at Columbia Greene Community College, and Music Theory and Performance at Hunter College. Of her teaching practice and pedagogy she says, “I like to work in the present time, because there is so much that the day has to teach us… I try not to ask, what has been done? Or what can we prepare for?, but, what can we do now? At Kite’s Nest Ngonda has taught Myth, Fashion Studio, and Hair Art.
David Eustace is a visual 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, Places & Spaces, Bricks Buttons & Banks, Paint the City, Give Me Shelter, and CheckMate: Analog Game Design and How We Got to Now.
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, has taught the after school Spotlight: Improv Club, and leads Space 2.0.
Zebi Williams is the Education Director at Kite’s Nest. At the age of eighteen, Zebi founded the Lil Ragamuffin Summer Camp in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica where she grew up. The camp grew to be recognized as one of the top arts programs in the country. Zebi has also worked as a community organizer in a range of contexts, advocating for young people to be agents of change in the development of their communities. She is a founding member of the Sista-2-Sista Youth Summit, an annual event built to empower and connect young women of Pan-African descent in Brooklyn, Jamaica, and Ghana. And she has worked with public housing residents and small businesses in the Lower East Side to organize against gentrification. Zebi’s education methodology emphasizes teaching to different learning styles, creating platforms for both indigenous and western based knowledge systems, celebrating teachable moments, redesigning community approaches to conflict resolution, and promoting community rituals to help ground children in local stewardship at every age. A lifelong learner, Zebi’s skills and interests are truly wide-ranging. She has a degree in Applied Anthropology, holds a certificate in UX Design and Design Thinking Methodologies, and recently won her first hackathon. Coming from a family of artists, Zebi’s own art includes poetry, fashion/jewelry design, filmmaking, graphic design and interactive data art. Zebi is also the mother of a teenage daughter, Zia! At Kite’s Nest Zebi has taught Bricks Buttons & Banks, How Stuff Works, the Social Justice Leadership Academy, Language Resilience, Jewelry Design, Camp Cardboard, Biomimicry, Fashion Studio, Data Worlds, among others!
Kristen Jones runs the after-school Roots & Rebels Garden Club at Kite's Nest, where she teaches urban gardening to dozens of kids of all ages. Born and raised in the Hudson Valley, Kristen has 7 years of experience as a landscaper, and is also the co-owner of the floral design company Roots and Stems. In addition to her work as an urban gardener and floral wizard, Kristen has a B.A. in journalism from Purchase College and a graduate certificate in non-profit management from LSU Shreveport. Kristen first dipped her toes into community service as a youth, when she spent 6 years as a 4H member. Since then, she has volunteered and worked for numerous local non-profit organizations, and in 2009, spent a year of national service with AmeriCorps NCCC. Kristen has worked with a wide variety of youth, including teaching a Summer-long journalism class at Camp Manitou in Maine, and providing direct care for at-risk teens through Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth. Kristen has a deep connection and love for the Hudson River, and currently resides in Catskill, where she enjoys spending time on her planted-up porch, overlooking the creek. In her free time, you can find her snuggling with her cats, traveling, catching live music, journaling, kayaking, camping, cooking, and cross stitching.
Kevin Bose has an endless supply of curiosity for bird language, wild plants, tracks, critters, stories, and any other natural mystery. He is grateful to have shared this enthusiasm with young people, as a mentor for eight years at Forest Floor Wilderness Programs in Asheville, North Carolina, and as an educator at Flying Deer in East Chatham, NY. Kevin sees nature connection as a powerful tool not only for bringing out an individual’s gifts, but also for rebuilding the "village" in the human community. Kevin is graduate of the Regenerative Design and Nature Awareness Program, focusing on nature mentoring, culture repair, and permaculture design, and holds a master's degree in Culture, Ecology, and Sustainable Community. At Kite's Nest Kevin has taught Biomimicry, How We Got To Now, and Outdoor Adventures.
Sheridan Alexander is an actor and educator, currently co-teaching the after school Spotlight: Improv class at Kite's Nest. Originally from Peekskill, NY, Sheridan graduated from the University at Albany where he studied communications, sociology, and theater. He's interested in acting professionally, and is currently taking classes to be a stunt double. In addition to his passion for theater, Sheridan has worked as a carpenter at Bard College, likes to spend time outside, does jiu jitsu, and competes on a dart team!
Emmanuel Carr-Hinds is a graduate of Catskill High School, Questar III BOCES, and Hudson Valley Community College. Born in Hudson and raised in Catskill, Emmanuel is a passionate and skilled illustrator and painter, a fisher, and a friend to all. He has worked as a maintenance assistant at the Catskill Housing Authority for 4 years, and was an intern at Main Care. Emmanuel believes everyone has a good side, but they just need someone with a positive attitude to bring it out. He worked as a Senior Youth Fellow at the Social Justice Leadership Academy, a mentor with the after school Space 2.0, and an educator with Outdoor Adventures.
Ingrid Romero is an educator, media-maker and organizer, and a Sister Sol Chapter Leader with the Brotherhood Sister Sol in New York City. Ingrid grew up in NYC, with deep roots in the Andes of Colombia, and has been active in grassroots organizing, movement building and youth-led social change since she was 14 years old. She rose as a feminist youth worker at Sadie Nash Leadership Project, and has completed trainings from the School of Unity & Liberation (SOUL), the Highlander Center and Theatre of the Oppressed NYC. At Kite’s Nest Ingrid is a lead educator with the Social Justice Leadership Academy.
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.
EDUCATORS FROM PREVIOUS SEMESTERS:
Nicole LoBue, co-founder of Kite’s Nest, former Education Director and Educator. 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.
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.
Ken Reichl has a background in Physics and worked on building experiments that very precisely measure greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere via the U.S. Department of Energy for 7 years. While growing his music career in parallel all the while, he left DOE in Fall 2017 to jump off of that plateau into music business land where he is the drummer with Lady Moon & The Eclipse, based in Hudson and Brooklyn. Bringing his unlimited energy and enthusiasm for engaging in youth empowerment, Ken started co-teaching/learning at Kite’s Nest in Fall 2017. Ken is also working with the Youth Center to establish the Hudson Youth Bicycle Cooperative, a youth-driven full bike repair workshop at Oakdale Park set to launch in Summer 2018, as well as building an artist-owned music management and media company, Star People Co. At Kite's Nest Ken has taught Sci Fi Notebook and Math in Music.
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, Wood & Wool, Give Me Shelter (II), and Fashion Studio: Weave & Stitch.
Bryan Lauas, originally from Los Angeles, is one of the founders of the Catskill Maker Syndicate, an organization dedicated to capacity-building, reskilling, and endless pranksterism based in Catskill, NY. Bryan has pursued a life of permanent semi-retirement; he has worked in various capacities as a carpenter, electrician, mechanic, broadcast engineer, system integrator, programmer, fabricator. He's a machine whisperer, with a newfound interest in the human machine - exploring what makes our body-mind-spirit tick as individuals and collective organisms. At Kite's Nest, Bryan has brought his appreciation for glorious chaos to the classroom, helping with How Stuff Works and co-teaching the after school Robotics at the Catskill Maker Syndicate.
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.
Isa Coffey is a mother of two, a long-time sex educator, a nurse, and the Founder and Director of WiseBodies, an organization dedicated to real sex education based in Chatham, NY. Isa began formal training in healthcare at 19, when she worked at Womancare Feminist Women's Health Center in San Diego, California. She’s worked at the Chelsea Women’s Health Center, a neighborhood women’s community clinic; helped to develop and run Womancap, a women’s cervical cap site in midtown Manhattan; worked as a Registered Nurse in Labor and Delivery at Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn; and created a position to teach health and sexuality to high school students and run a small in-school clinic at Satellite Academy High School on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Since moving to the area in 2000, Isa has taught whole-being sexuality classes and workshops to pre-teens, teens, women, and men at local public and private schools, yoga centers, private homes, in community centers and with youth organizations. Isa also provides mentorship and training to young educators, and guidance to Kite’s Nest and other organizations in navigating conversations and conflicts around sexuality, gender and consent. Isa and WiseBodies have partnered with Kite’s Nest to run Teach It, Know It, Write It; Know!, Botany & The Body, and Hudson Girls Alive.
Matt Bua makes small scale improvised buildings, hand-built people's museums and roadside attractions. His recent work takes form in fantastical spaces that redefine and re-imagine found objects and sustainable resources as functional elements in architecture. Bua's present project is the collaborative construction of small scale examples of vernacular, experimental, and visionary architecture on a piece of land in Catskill, NY which also contains lithic remains from cultures from the past. This led him to write his most recent book "Talking Walls: Casting Out the Post-Contact Stonewall Building Myth, published in 2016 by Publication Studio. Bua has shown work internationally at exhibitions and public spaces including Mass MoCA, PS1/MoMA, Brooklyn Museum, Lake Coniston in the UK, and on Roosevelt and Governor's Island. The book "Architectural Inventions: Visionary Drawings" which grew out of the on-line active archive was edited in collaboration with Maximillian Goldfarb and published by Laurence King in 2012. Be on the lookout for the Awaken Rip Van Winkle sculpture in Catakill and the Prankster Peoples' Museum in the Prattsville Arts Center. You can see his work here, here, and here! Matt Bua has taught Design Build and Paint the City at Kite's Nest.
Shanekia McIntosh is a writer, poet, programmer, and educator born and raised in Brooklyn and now based in Hudson, NY. Shanekia is the Youth Services & Programs Assistant at the Hudson Area Library, where she designs and coordinates the library's youth programming. Shanekia has performed her writing at the New Museum, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art’s TBA Festival, September Gallery, Powrplnt, and Basilica Hudson, among other places. Her writing has been exhibited in shows at the 511 Gallery in Portland, Basilica Hudson, and the New Museum. McIntosh has programmed for a variety of art spaces and educational institutions, and worked as the Program Director of WGXC: Hands-on Radio, a participatory media project and community radio station serving Columbia and Greene Counties. At Kite's Nest Shanekia has taught the Media Arts & Technology Winter Break Camp.
Kaya Weidman is a co-founder and the Executive Director of Kite’s Nest, where she oversees all day-to-day operations, administration, and organizational development, 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.
Sara Kendall is the Assistant 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. Sara has an interdisciplinary M.A. (in geography, oral history, and education) from Concordia University, and teaches Geography at Dawson College in Montreal. 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.
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.
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.
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, and has. been a guest teacher with Story Arts.
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. Originally from 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 2015, SJLA 2017 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.
Albert Flores has been taking stuff apart since he was a kid. His first love is math, the discipline in which he holds a B.A. As an educator and creative problem-solver Albert is passionate about sharing knowledge, and helping to demystify aspects of daily life. For fun he plays golf, practices sleight of hand, and learns things both practical and esoteric. Albert is part of the Catskill Maker Syndicate, and at Kite's Nest has taught How Stuff Works and Robotics.
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.
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 has taught All Ears. www.lavenderhealer.com