Board of Directors

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American Hiking Society Board Members enjoy a scenic hike in Arizona’s Peralta Canyon

Executive Committee

Jennifer Chambers pic
Jennifer Chambers
Board Chair
About
Organization: Hiking Along, LLC.
Title: Educator and Author
City: Silver Spring, Maryland
Biography

Jennifer Chambers is an Environmental Educator, middle school Science teacher, author and small business owner. In 2004, she started her own business, Hiking Along, LLC. to engage children in exploration of the natural world and encourage them to appreciate and learn about the environment and how humans impact it while hiking on scenic trails around the DC region. She is currently a middle school Science teacher at The Siena School; a private school whose mission is to educate bright, college-bound students with mild to moderate language-based learning differences.

Jennifer is a children’s book author of Watershed Adventures of a Water Bottle, published in April 2013 and soon to be published hiking guidebook, Best Hikes for Kids: Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. As a volunteer with Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, Jennifer helped lead PATC’s family hiking program, family weekend at Bear’s Den, created the grant-funded Student Trail Steward program at Northwood High School, and organized youth-focused trail building projects in her hometown.

She was also an Environmental Education Specialist with the Audubon Naturalist Societies’ GreenKids program. Jennifer is a Master Educator and the Maryland State Advocate for Leave No Trace.Jennifer loves to hike with her two children, husband and dog on her favorite trail, the Northwest Branch and Rachel Carson Loop in Silver Spring, MD.

Favorite Hikes
The Northwest Branch and Rachel Carson Loop in Silver Spring, MD
Scott Beckett Board Pic 2014
Scott Beckett
Board Vice-Chair
About
Organization: Insigniam Performance
Title: Partner
City:Minneapolis, MN
Biography

Scott has a long history with conservation, trail building and maintenance, and non-profit service. While in college, he helped launch a ground-breaking trail crew program at Philmont Scout Ranch, operated by the Boy Scouts of America. More than twenty years later that program has generated four similar conservation and trail building programs at the three other national BSA high adventure bases. Those programs have hosted more than 3000 Scouts who have built and/or repaired dozens of miles of trail and portages, as well as impacted marine environments throughout the the Boundary Waters and Florida Keys.

An Eagle Scout himself, Scott served as Program Chairman for the Boy Scouts of America’s ArrowCorps5 program, a 5,000 person service project conducted over five weeks in in five national forests. He served as co-chairman for the BSA’s SummitCorps program in 2011 with 1,500 Scouts and Scouters building 13-miles of trail in the New River National Park (WV). Scott has also served on the National Outdoor Adventures committee for the Boy Scouts of America.

Scott is an Advisory Board member of the Cottonwood Institute, a board member of the Denver Area Council (BSA), a national vice Chairman of the Order of the Arrow (BSA), and an avid outdoors person. His wife Adrienne currently reside in Minneapolis, MN. Scott is a partner with Insigniam, a world-wide consultancy in breakthrough performance and strategic and organizational transformation.

Favorite Hikes
Zion Narrows
tom johnson
Tom Johnson
Board Secretary
About
Organization: Great Eastern Trail Association President
Title: President
City: Vienna, Virginia
Biography

Tom Johnson has been active in foot trail matters for many years.  An avid hiker, he served as president of the Potomac Heritage Trail Association, an organization that works to complete the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, in 2002.  The next year he became president of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, serving for four years, and has also served for eight years as vice president.  He has been on the American Hiking Society Board of Directors since 1997, and has been recording secretary since 1999.  In 2003 he convened a coalition of hiking clubs to pursue the Great Eastern Trail, a new 2,000-mile hiking trail, and formed the Great Eastern Trail Association in 2007, becoming its first (and so far only) president.  He maintains sections of the Appalachian Trail and Great Eastern Trail and hikes whenever he can.

Professionally, Tom has worked in the intelligence community since 1964, and at present writes classified histories of clandestine intelligence programs for the Central Intelligence Agency.  He is a retired Air Force officer, and he and his wife Sharon have been married for 52 years; they have a married daughter who lives near him in Front Royal.  They live in Front Royal, about 3/4 mile from the Appalachian Trail, and maintain a hiker hostel and hiker shuttle service.

Favorite Hike
Tom’s favorite day hike is a short, 7- mile out and back to the Dragon’s Tooth on the Virginia section of the Appalachian Trail.
Kim Simpson
Kimball Simpson
Board Treasurer
About
Organization: Green Mountain Club
City: Westborough, Massachusetts
Biography

Kimball has been on the AHS board since 1999. He is a retired Environmental Engineer that spent most of his career with The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

He has been very active for many years with the Green Mountain Club in Vermont which is the “Founder, Protector and Maintainer” of the iconic Long Trail. He is also active with the Appalachian Mountain Club in Central Massachusetts and with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. He routinely works on trail maintenance projects in Massachusetts, Vermont, as a well as enjoying several of American Hiking Society’s Volunteer Vacations

Favorite Hike
The Mountain House Trail on Mount Wachusett in Massachusetts.
larry luxenberg
Larry Luxenberg
At-Large
About
Organization: Lexington Avenue Capital Management
Title: Financial Advisor
Organization: Appalachian Trail Museum, Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Gardners, Pa.
Title: Founder & President
City: New City, New York
Biography

Larry thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1980 and is the author of “Walking the Appalachian Trail.” He is the founder and president of the Appalachian Trail Museum in Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Gardners, Pa. The Museum also sponsors the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame.

For many years, National Trails Day, which is sponsored by the American Hiking Society, has been an important part of his life. In 2007 the Museum opened the first exhibit of the A.T. Museum on National Trails Day at ATC headquarters in Harpers Ferry. In 2010 on National Trails Day, the A.T. Museum held its Grand Opening in Gardners, Pa., before a crowd of 750 people. Each year the induction ceremony for the A.T. Hall of Fame is held on the weekend of National Trails Day.

For 15 years he was Trails Chair of Sierra Club, Atlantic Chapter and also served on the Sierra Club’s Atlantic Chapter Outings Committee, New York City Executive Committee and Atlantic Chapter board.

For many years he has been a member of the board of the Earl Shaffer Foundation. An honorary life member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association, he is also a life member of the Keystone Trails Association and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. In 2010 he was Grand Marshall of the Hiker’s Parade, Trail Days, Damascus, Va.

He married Frieda on Bear Mountain, the first section of the A.T., in 1984 and has three grown children.

Favorite Hike
Larry’s favorite hike is the Major Welch and A.T. circuit on Bear Mountain with its sweeping views of the Hudson River Gorge and Harriman Park.

Directors

Melissa Avery

 

Melissa Avery
Board Member
About
Organization: Chasqui Mom and Latino Outdoors
Title: Writer & Regional Coordinator
City: San Francisco, CA  
Biography

Melissa Avery is an outdoor family blogger based in the San Francisco Bay Area.  With camping, hiking and backpacking and anything outdoors among her activities she and her family are up for the challenge.  She is also a youth leader at her local church, where she has integrated a wilderness program into the church’s regular youth activities with much success.

She received her B.S. at California State University Hayward (East Bay) in Business Administration/Accounting and entered the world of federal law enforcement for the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.  Even though her work experience has been primarily financial and law enforcement, Melissa continues to explore her love of outdoors locally as well as adventuring down to South America to backpack the Salkantay and Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

She has been a church youth leader with her husband for nine years and has led many camping, hiking, backpacking and even international outreach/camping trips to Ensenada, Mexico with her Jr. High and High School students.  Melissa believes that with all the difficult and complex issues our society is confronted with, it is beneficial to give young people the opportunity to gain real perspective on the world, understand true poverty, understand true service and develop integrity and character.

After leaving the government and entering motherhood, Melissa understood that being outdoors was essential to parenting and continued her outdoor lifestyle with her children.  In August 2012, she felt the need to start writing about her family outdoor adventures because so many of her friends and family were curious how her family spends so much time outdoors.  She was given the trail name “Chasqui Mom” because of her Peruvian heritage and motherhood, but took this name as her blog identity because just as the Chasquis were the Incan Emperor mountain runners that relayed important information, she wanted to be a messenger of the outdoors to everyone and in particular Latino families and youth.

Favorite Hike

The Chochenyo and Lizard Rock Trail marsh pond hikes at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, CA.

Amy Csink
Board Member
About
Organization: Washington Trails Association
Title: Board Member
City: Seattle, WA 
Biography

Amy Csink has finally settled down in the Pacific Northwest after living in Georgia, Missouri, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. She has traveled throughout America and has hiked and backpacked in most of the states. After retiring from a career as a research geneticist and professor she joined the board of directors of Washington Trails Association (WTA) which is the largest state-based hiking organization in the country with more than 12,000 members and 108,000 hours/year of volunteer trail maintenance.

As a member of the WTA advocacy committee she has met with law makers to discuss issues important to hikers at both the state and national level such as fees on public lands, funding for trail maintenance and wilderness areas. She is particularly interested in advocacy because she believes that the relationship between citizens and the natural environment is important to our national character.

Favorite Hike
Obstruction Point to Deer Park, Olympic National Park, Washington
The northern most 100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail

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Jane Daniels
Board Member
About
Organization: Independent
Title: Professional Volunteer
City: Mohegan Lake, NY
Biography
Devoted to the outdoors and committed to the protection of open space, Jane’s hiking accomplishments include climbing the 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks and section hiking the 2175-mile Appalachian Trail. She and her husband are authors of two editions of Walkable Westchester, a guide to over 600 miles of trails and 200 parks in suburban New York City.

Jane is a retired reference librarian. She served on the Trail Conference board from 1990-2011, including six years as board chair and on the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) board from 1993-1999. In 2007, she chaired a committee hosting the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s 36th Biennial Confernece, an eight day event with over 850 attendees and 376 volunteers. Having built and managed trails, she understands trail issues from the shovel to the board room. In April 2013, she was named NY Trail Worker of the Year by American Trails. Jane is the president of NY State Trails Council, on the board of the Hudson Greenway Conservancy, the president of the Friends of FDR State Park and on the board of the American Hiking Society.

Favorite Hike
Sylvan Glen Park Preserve in Mohegan Lake, NY
AHS board photo Kathleen 2015
Kathleen Fitzpatrick
Board Member
About
Organization: CVL Consultants
Title: Director of Business Development and Marketing
City: Phoenix, Arizona
Biography

Kathleen has served with the AHS board since October 2013.  She met the AHS board of directors at their Spring 2013 meeting in Phoenix Arizona where she led the group on a hike up the Peralta trail in the Superstition Mountains. In 2005, Kathleen started and continues to lead a small hiking club on monthly adventures in and around  Arizona.  “We have a strict rule in the CVL Hike Club, NO work talk in nature!”  As Director of Business Development, Kathleen is responsible for creating strategic partnerships that will ultimately lead to mutually beneficial outcomes for all parties.  The Hike Club acts as a way to bridge the gap between work and play.  A majority of the hikers are clients and employees and she finds there is no better way to forge a relationship then in nature. There is no pretense or barriers when we are on the trail.

Kathleen was born and raised in central New Jersey. Hiking every Sunday after dinner with her grandmother along the Raritan River, became a way to connect with nature. As she became older, the trails became more challenging and the adventures drew her out west to Arizona.  “I found myself always coming back to Arizona to hike and camp on vacation, why only come on vacation, I should move to Arizona and hike every day.”  Kathleen met her husband David on a Grand Canyon rafting trip in 2001.  He was the trip leader and she was the ecological interpretive guide on that trip, the rest as they say is history!  They married at the rim of the Grand Canyon in 2010 surrounded in the beauty of the place that they both deem the most magical place on earth.

When not working or hiking, Kathleen can be found with her husband David and daughter Kylee either camping, rafting or behind her tripod photographing.  She is a published photographer with work gracing the covers of American Trails magazine and a feature in the AZ Highways blog spot. Kathleen holds a degree from Rutgers University in Environmental Health Science/Marketing and an MBA from Grand Canyon University.

Favorite Hike
Anywhere in the Grand Canyon. 
howard kern
Howard Kern
Board Member
About
Organization: UBS
Title: VP & Sales Manager
City: Westlake Village, California
Biography

An active hiker and outdoorsman, Howard has hiked and worked on many trail projects in his local area of Los Angeles as well as in the Golden Trout Wilderness in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. He has served as a member of the management committee for the Southern California Steelhead Coalition and currently is the Volunteer Project Coordinator for the state’s Golden Trout Restoration Project.

A big proponent of youth education, Howard has served on the Boy Scouts of America’s Order of the Arrow National Committee. He was a contributor for the BSA’s Fly Fishing merit badge pamphlet and was instrumental in the writing of a new fishing ethics book published by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.  Howard has been the recipient of a number of national conservation awards including recognition by the California Department of Fish and Game, US Forest Service, the Boy Scouts of America and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Favorite Hike
 Hiking up Devil’s Slide Trail to the peak of Mt. San Jacinto in southern California.
Dennis Lewon Photo
Dennis Lewon
Board Member
About
Organization: Backpacker Magazine
Title: Editor in Chief
City:
Biography
Coming soon.
Favorite Hike
Coming soon.
danielle piscatelli
Danielle Piscatelli
Board Member
About
Organization: Independent & Volunteer Vacations Crew Leader
Title: Development and Events Professional
City: Phoenix, Arizona
Biography

Growing up in Boston, Danielle’s love of the outdoors began by hiking and exploring the woods behind her house.  As an adult she turned that love into a passion, hiking many of the mountains in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

She first became involved in American Hiking Society by participating in volunteer vacations.  After spending the week working on the Iron Goat Trail in Washington State, she was hooked.  Since then she has volunteered in Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, and Virginia. Even taking a trip overseas to work on the Great Baikal Trail, which aims to circumference Lake Baikal in Siberia.  In 2008 she became a crew leader, leading trips in Alaska, Hawaii, Utah, Maine and US Virgin Islands.

Professionally Danielle has worked in the Development field for over fifteen years. For an array of non-profits including the Sierra Club.  However, it was during her tenure at The Elizabeth Stone House where she directed The Wilderness Heals Hike, bringing women with mental illness to the outdoors as a means of therapy that her true passion evolved.

She has served on the board of MassRecycle. She has a B.A. in Political Science with a concentration in Public Administration from Wagner College.  Plus a MPA in Non-Profit Management from Suffolk University.  Additionally she is WFR certified.

Favorite Hike

Currently she lives in Phoenix where she enjoys hiking the numerous trails throughout Arizona.

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Kevin Thomson
Board Member
About
Organization:
Title: Certified Public Accountant
City: Ligonier, PA
Biography

Kevin lives and works in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of western Pennsylvania and enjoys the many hiking, camping, backpacking, and kayaking opportunities available in the area.

Kevin volunteers with his local outdoors group, Venture Outdoors as a trip leader and as a member of VO’s Trip Leader Council.

He has participated in AHS Volunteer Vacations in various parts of the United States, and volunteers locally with the Ridge Runners, a trail maintenance group that works in conjunction with the Pennsylvania DCNR, helping to maintain the 70-mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.

Favorite Hike
West Highland Way and Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail

ExOficio

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Gregory Miller
President
About
Organization: American Hiking Society
Title: President
City: Silver Spring, Maryland
Biography

Greg has served as President of American Hiking Society since 2005 and has more than thirty years of experience in biodiversity conservation, sustainable recreation, and natural resources program and policy development. This includes a strong track record of exemplary conservation and recreation planning, public-private partnerships, non-profit management and capacity building at all levels. Prior to joining American Hiking, Dr. Miller led a distinguished executive career as Vice President at The Nature Conservancy, where for more than 15 years he developed the Conservancy’s conservation strategy and biodiversity project portfolio for South America and co-managed the Latin America and Caribbean Parks in Peril program. Under his leadership the Conservancy undertook landscape scale projects and best practices globally in energy and biodiversity, debt-for-nature swaps, and forest protection and climate change.

He has served on the boards (including as board chair) of the U.S. Agency for International Development-funded global Biodiversity Support Program, Global Energy and Biodiversity Initiative, Outdoor Alliance, The International Ecotourism Society, Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, National Park Service Over-flight Advisory Group, and served as an environmental adviser for the Latin America and Caribbean Bureau of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

A native of California, Greg is fluent in Spanish and English. He graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a bachelor’s degree in botany and holds a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Connecticut. Dr. Miller was awarded a prestigious Science, Engineering, and Diplomacy Post-Doctoral Fellowship through the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Greg lived and worked in the Galapagos Islands and the Andes for many years and has held a lifelong commitment to environmental stewardship, hiking, and the outdoors. He is a long-standing volunteer leader for the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America.

Favorite Hike
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, Virginia
Yosemite National Park, California
Grand Canyon National Park
Chuck Sloan
Charles Sloan
General Counsel
About
Organization: Sloan & Swedish
Title:
City: Vienna, Virginia
Biography
Coming soon.
Favorite Hike
Coming soon.