Group Sucessfully climbed mountain Group Sucessfully climbed mountain

Staff

Bryan Martin Executive Director

Bryan Martin

Executive Director

Bryan brings over 15 years of experience in the recreation and conservation space as both a practitioner and an advocate. Bryan began his career working for The Nature Conservancy in Washington, D.C. and in Colorado.  He then went on to become the Field Operations Manager for the Continental Divide Trail Alliance, and later, Director of Conservation for The Colorado Mountain Club. Most recently, he was the Western External Relations Officer for the Land Trust Alliance, the national convener, strategist and representative of more than 1,200 land trusts across America. He is deeply passionate about the outdoors and what outdoor experiences mean for kids. He believes that meaningful experiences in nature have tangible benefits for communities all over the country. Whether it’s a walk in the city park or an extended backcountry experience in Wilderness, the outdoors has the potential to change your life for the better.

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Jason Yale

National Program Director

Jason arrived at Big City Mountaineers after spending a decade working as an Outdoor Educator and Summer Camp director.  Jason has a passion for leading people in the outdoors, especially if that experience involves cooking copious amounts of cheesy pasta.  Over the years, Jason has had the pleasure of living and working in some of our most treasured wilderness areas in the country.  During that time, Jason took up Conservation Photography and continues to use his pictures to try and preserve our natural wonders.  He holds a bachelor’s degree from Montana State University and is a NOLS and Outward Bound alum.  Jason earnestly believes that skills learned in the wilderness are completely transferable to one’s daily life, and Jason always urges his students to ponder ways in which they can take and utilize their wilderness experience back home in order to better themselves and their communities.

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Doug Sandok

Doug Sandok

Corporate Relations Director

Born and raised in Minnesota Doug’s first outdoor experiences were canoeing and camping in the Boundary Waters. He has a B.A. in Sociology from Colorado College and a minor in Urban Studies. Doug has built his life around being in the outdoors, traveling the world, and creating opportunities for others to learn and grow from challenge and adventure. Since early, pre Gore-tex, backpacking trips in the Rockies, to guiding and instructing in the Himalayas and South America, Doug has been shaped by the wild places and the people he shares those experiences with.  “There is no substitute for a wilderness experience – the growth that comes from a hard day moving through challenging terrain, and working with a team to reach a goal. Sometimes, it can be as simple as exploring your own ‘backyard’. and sleeping on the ground under the stars. Those are the elements that foster personal growth and deep friendship.” Doug’s professional background includes work with Outward Bound,  Where There Be Dragons, the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, Doctors Without Borders, and Paradox Sports. Doug takes his skills learned in these experiences and puts them to work empowering organizations to have greater impact through improving systems and program delivery, and through meaningful partnerships with supporters.

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Kandace Soiland

Kandace Buehrle

Director of Finance

A native of Denver, Kandace spent her childhood exploring the great outdoors with her family. Kandace is delighted to work for an organization that offers outdoor experiences for children who may not have the opportunities she did. ‘My earliest and best memories are exploring the forest with my grandmother. The greatest gift she ever gave me was a love of nature.’ Kandace’s career includes raising two children while creating and growing a business and volunteering with various community organizations. Kandace holds a technical degree in Computer Information Systems and a BS in Finance.

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Megan Aranow

Megan Aranow

Summit for Someone Program Manager

Megan began her journey with Big City Mountaineers as a volunteer adult mentor on a weeklong backpacking expedition with Denver teens. An avid believer in the power and magic of experiencing challenges in the outdoors, she is fiercely dedicated to supporting people – and teenagers in particular – in getting outside and connecting with nature. Prior to coming to BCM, Megan directed a teen leadership development program for five years through a camp in California. In her role as the Summit for Someone program coordinator, she is thrilled to have the opportunity on a daily basis to encourage others to get involved with engaging, fun, and meaningful programming at BCM.

Hailing from Colorado, Megan grew up immersed in the Rocky Mountains and continues to seek adventure and reflection here. A graduate of the University of Colorado in Boulder with degrees in Environmental Studies and Peace & Conflict Studies, she’s chosen to pursue work that is geared toward physical and mental wellness since then. She is an avid hiker, practices yoga, and is an amateur aerialist and ukulele player.

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Lance Tsosie

Colorado Program Manager

Born and raised on the Navajo Nation, Lance grew up immersed in his ancestral tradition, culture, and with a deep connection to nature. He grew up herding his grandmother’s goats, riding horses, and exploring the canyonlands surrounding his home – it was here where his sense of wonder grew. Lance received a B.A. from the University of Denver in Political Science and a minor in International Studies, he is an active member of the Denver Native American community, and a strong advocate for social justice. He has professional experience with college access and success programs for underserved communities and is excited to bring those skills and apply them to BCM. He believes so passionately in the power of the outdoors and how it can widen the scope of possibilities for youth. On his personal time, Lance enjoys bouldering, trail running, summiting 14ers, backpacking, fitness challenges, camping, and everything Colorado.

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Dan Hernandez

California Program Manager

Growing up the youngest of six in an immigrant, single parent household, playing outside has always been an escape for me.  Even after lots of learning in schools (BS from Wake Forest and MS from U. Missouri – St. Louis) and even teaching in them, I can say the strongest lessons I’ve learned were on rope, on trail, and on a boat.   

After working as a conservation biologist for a decade in the US and abroad, and outdoor educator (cycling instructor, team facilitator, climbing guide, wilderness therapist, and sea kayak guide in California and Alaska) for the past decade-plus, I realize these lessons were made stronger because they reinforced the strong values I learned growing up in my family.  

These days I try to give back, including volunteering in state prisons, tutoring math in after school enrichment programs, and playing phone tag with the wonderful BCM volunteer community 😊 as I try to create exceptional outdoor experiences so kids like me can leverage the lessons learned as part of a team outdoors and use them to flourish in all parts of their lives.  

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Anne Hayward

Pacific Northwest Program Manager

Anne was nine years old when she went on her first backpacking trip with her dad, sister, and cousin, and while she hated that first experience—think epic amounts of mosquitos—she never gave it up. Since then she has section-hiked portions of the PCT, walked the Camino de Santiago with her mom, and finds reasons to sleep under the stars as often as possible.

Anne came to Big City Mountaineers first as a trip agency leader and then as an expedition instructor. She had amazing experiences with BCM youth and fell in love with the expedition model and curriculum. Through her 10 years’ working with youth outdoors as a wilderness therapy instructor and conservation leader, she has seen youth persevere through tough mental and physical challenges and then bring those life lessons home. She is excited to get to provide those experiences to BCM youth in the PNW.

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Fred Sproat

Minnesota Program Manager

Fred is passionate about connecting young people to wild places and has been working to ensure that teens everywhere can explore our public lands for over a decade. Growing up in northern Minnesota he has been exploring the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness his entire life. His early experiences there prepared him to guide and later organize month long canoeing and backpacking trips throughout North America. 

When not supporting other’s wilderness experiences Fred has organized several bike supported backcountry ski trips in the Cascade Range, explored the Boundary Waters on ice skates, and is currently volunteering with the organization Superior Highland Backcountry working to establish a backcountry ski trail and hut system along the north shore of Lake Superior.

Fred’s musings and photos from both personal and professional outdoor experiences have graced a handful of publications and websites. He’s continually interested in exploring the lessons and revelations we can learn from time spent out of doors. 

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Seasonal Program staff

Dana Matsunami, 
CO Overnight Camp Manager
Mira Barney,
National Program Coordinator
Marley Miller,
CO Expedition Instructor
Lucila Gambino,
PNW/CO Expedition Leader

Four Legged Staff

Loki Dog

Loki

Hailing from a small mountain town in Colorado, Loki fosters an avid interest in snow and weather that is sub-50 degrees. He enjoys fetch, but is honestly more interested in having you chase him while he runs away with unreasonably large sticks in his mouth. A peacekeeper among the office dogs, he is always willing to share his bones. Loki responds most readily to the sound of a squeak toy.

Ruby

Ruby is a CO transplant, originally hailing from the great state of Texas.  While she refuses to go outside in the rain, she generally enjoys outdoor activities.  When not adventuring with her buddies, she enjoys chewing and sleeping.  She is the youngest of the BCM pack, and full of mischievous energy.  She is also extremely spoiled…

Ember

Ember was bred to be a sled dog in northern Minnesota but an insatiable appetite for belly rubs and an imperfect gait forced her into early retirement. Now day she spends her free time tearing up the Duluth single track and bounding through open forests in pursuit of squirrels and deer.   

Juniper

Juniper has a hard time choosing which she likes better; running through the waves on the beach with a frisbee, catching snowballs and making snow angels, or chasing sticks into mountain lakes and rivers, as each makes her tail wag and puts a smile on her face. She truly loves every adventure the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Most days you can find Juniper lounging. She has no qualms about rearranging pillows on the couch to fit her high maintenance needs.  You will likely hear her try to give her opinion during phone meetings, as she usually has something to say or an announcement to make.