Daria McKnight Bay Area Regional Director
Daria was raised in Brooklyn, NY, and has been an educator for 20+ years. Before coming to Trackers Earth, she taught in the historic Brooklyn Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood where she worked as the Director of Culture and Family Engagement in a local charter school. Daria has always worked to build access to resources and experiences for families that might not otherwise have them. She has created programming opportunities such as healthy cooking classes, plant sales for families to grow their own food, and meditation classes that help kids notice the little bits of nature poking out through the asphalt and concrete of the city. Daria’s passion inspires her to connect families of color to nature while promoting sustainability.
Daria has been working with Trackers Earth for three years. She loves to share the importance of being outdoors as a centering principle in reducing anxiety and being present. She tells kids “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Daria encourages kids and families to pay attention to nature everywhere, and draw from the life lessons that come with awareness.
Daria’s Favorite Outdoor Activity: Listening and watching wildlife.
Shields Micro School Teacher
Shields is from Redondo Beach, CA, and discovered a passion for nature connection in the diverse biomes of the Golden State. Before coming to Trackers Earth, they earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the San Francisco Art Institute and has used that creative experience in their professional life since. Shields has 6 years of experience as an educator for ages K-12 in the Bay Area working with various organizations. Their primary focus at these organizations were creating inclusive spaces, developing creative problem solvers as well as empathy
Shields leads their programs with the intention of attuning campers to the beauty of nature. They love to demonstrate the interconnectedness of all living things by teaching the unique uses of plants.
Favorite Outdoor Activity: Searching natural areas for plants to use for art, medicine, and cooking.
Brooke Mitschang Micro School Teacher
Brooke Mitschang has 10 years of experience as an educator in the Bay Area. Over the last 15 years, she has earned a Child Development Permit, an MA in Education, as well as a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She joined Trackers as a Lead Rover Instructor and is excited to continue as a part of the Micro-School team. Brooke loves reading, gardening, and appreciating nature. Her goal is to encourage the development of lifelong, empathetic learners who have the tools and resources to problem solve and work together to create positive, sustainable changes in our society that allows everyone to flourish.
Maggie Frantz Family Success Associate
Maggie is from Louisville, KY, and loves being in and wandering natural spaces. Maggie has been studying Outdoor Leadership/Education at Prescott College in Arizona for the past three years while taking advantage of her surroundings by rafting on the San Juan River and hiking in the Grand Canyon. She is incredibly passionate about building intentional communities for nature education and teaching/learning wilderness skills from various communities around the world.
Maggie worked as a Trackers Guide in 2019. Her #1 goal when working with students is to create safe, exciting spaces for them to explore and grow.
Maggie began guiding families to the perfect adventure with the Customer Success team in the summer of 2020. Her favorite part of customer connection is problem-solving with all of the families in our Trackers community. She approaches her work with families the same way she would if working with a group of students—with compassion, understanding, and patience. It definitely takes a village.
Maggie’s Favorite Outdoor Activity: Braving raging rivers while rafting.
Holly Noconi Family Success Director
Holly is from Pacific Palisades, CA, and is an avid proponent of all things outdoors. In addition to camping, hiking, and caring for animals, Holly has worked as an educator for Garden School and holds a certification in Herbology. She loves to share practical uses for wild plants and demonstrate the benefits of our connection to flora.
Holly brings her love for nature to her role as the Customer Success Lead by helping families find their perfect outdoor adventure.
Holly’s Favorite Outdoor Activity: Foraging for wild plants while hiking with her family
Mandisa Basarich Family Success Associate
Emma Conklin Family Success Associate
Emma was born and raised in North Carolina. Her Personal interests include traveling, all activities involving the beach/ocean, running/exercise, and being outside as much as possible.
Emma graduated from UNC Wilmington, majoring in Tourism Management, Recreation, & Sport Leadership and minoring in Spanish. She has previously worked as a kayak tour guide for 4 years and she has also worked numerous hospitality jobs in hotels, resorts, and restaurants.
Emma's personal interests in outdoor activities and my previous job as a kayak tour guide allows me to relate to our customers and assist them the best that I can.
Emma's favorite outdoor activity is swimming.
Esther Ikoro Culture Innovation Officer
Esther’s love of nature dates back to her childhood years spent watching National Geographic and the Science Channel. She got more involved in outdoor recreation while earning a Master of Public Health from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since then she has been dedicated to helping improve life outcomes for underserved groups, especially increasing access to natural spaces.
At Trackers, Esther’s role is to hold space for everyone in the community to feel heard, supported, and empowered; to identify opportunities for diversity, equity, and inclusion; and to engage colleagues, parents, and campers in programs and practices that are growth-oriented for Trackers.
Favorite Outdoor Activity: Canoeing
Tina Ewing Director of HR
Tina has been with Trackers since February 2021 and is excited to be a part of our team.
She grew up in the PNW and appreciates so much of what it has to offer. Being an avid traveler, seeing and exploring the world, Tina couldn’t imagine not having this as my homebase.
Prior to Trackers, Tina was professionally in the financial institution industry. Starting as a teller, loan officer, branch manager and finally as the compliance director.
Tina thrilled to change her focus to be more involved with individuals and grow within this community.
Tina considers herself a low scale thrill seeker! She loves to go ziplining, parasailing, rafting, all with a qualified lead of course. She's always down for a hike with her ruck as long as she gets assistance with navigation or have a GPS.
Kyle Shaw Global Programs Director
Kyle grew up in Juneau, Alaska. It was there, exploring the forests, mountains, glaciers, and waters of The Great Land, that he fell in love with nature’s interconnectedness. When teaching Guides and kids alike, he enjoys pointing out the quiet relationships between animals, plants, and ecological systems.
With over a decade of working in outdoor environments, Kyle delights in the revelatory ""Aha! moments"", like seeing a new climber traverse a difficult route; the look of mutual understanding between a wild bear and a visitor; and a kid’s excited celebration of a successful fishing expedition.
Kyle has been with Trackers Earth for three years, as a key leader in amplifying our mission of inspiring kids and families outdoors for a lifetime of connection and adventure. He has an unending commitment to giving space and fostering confidence in young people so they may have their own experiences outdoors, as he did in his youth.
Kyle’s Favorite Outdoor Activity: Carrying the adventure with him while Backpacking
Tony Deis Founder
Tony Deis is the founder of Trackers. He dropped out of high school school and trained in the arts of awareness, forest-craft skills, primitive skills, and tracking. Since then, he has learned to run a business in order to make a profound impact on the educational world.
Tony believes that kids are far more capable than the modern world allows. He fosters the opportunity for them to be given greater freedom and greater responsibility so that they can create a better and more wild world.
Tony runs Trackers as though it were an extension of his large Italian family. Every member is responsible for creating a better world for the other members to live and bring new members into.
Fred Voelkel People & Experience/PNW Program Director
Raised on the Oregon Coast, Fred spent most of his non-school time outdoors on forest trails, camping, crabbing and collecting mussels, or catching salamanders. Early exposure to mountaineering and rock climbing from his mother left a lasting impression; Fred has been a volunteer mountaineering instructor and is helping guide his children’s interest in climbing and the outdoors at large.
Fred spent over a decade in China working in education both as a teacher and administrator before returning to Oregon in 2016.
Fred is utilizing his enthusiasm for outdoor pursuits and respect for the importance of thoughtfully designed, learner-centered experiences to guide staff training and develop new programs and opportunities for learning in our community.
Outside of Trackers, Fred is most likely spending time raising small livestock and vegetables or spending time outdoors with family.
Fred’s Favorite Outdoor Activity: Exploring hiking trails with his family.
Travis Hughes VP of Programming
Travis began his career in youth education as a Marine Science Instructor for the Education and Conservation Department of SeaWorld San Diego. He helped teach thousands of students about marine conservation by conducting hundreds of school assemblies across the country, hosting educational shows for up to three thousand field trip students per day, and teaching summer day camps, sleepovers, and resident camps. During his 17 years with SeaWorld, Travis has participated in numerous American Camping Association conferences becoming familiar with and helping to develop numerous camp best practice guidelines.
In 2014 Travis left his position as Camps manager at SeaWorld to become the Director of Safari Experiences at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park located in Escondido, California. Here Travis led a team of over 200 educators who conducted numerous daily programs, helping to educate over 1.5 million guests per year on how to help end extinction one species at a time. During his seven years with the zoo Travis built a world class team of educators working with participants of all ages on public tours, camps, sleepovers, animal presentations, and youth/elder outreaches. While with the San Diego Zoo, Travis presented several times at the annual American Zoos and Aquariums conference on youth programs. He currently sits on the Board for the San Diego East County YMCA and helps advise three YMCA locations on their youth programs and camps.
Travis joined Trackers Earth in the summer of 2021, leveraging his experience and industry knowledge to continue the long standing Trackers commitment to safety, quality, and fun by building highly resilient individuals through tracking.
Travis moved to Oregon from San Diego, California where he attended San Diego State University graduating with a degree in Environmental Geography and a minor in Ecology. While in San Diego, Travis enjoyed the numerous outdoor activities available such as surfing, kayaking, diving, sailing, fishing, hiking, and camping. He and his wife have two wonderful children who also enjoy the great outdoors.
Molly Deis Founder
A native Oregonian, Molly received her Bachelors degree in German from Davidson College in North Carolina and spent a year in Germany, also traveling throughout much of Western Europe.
She spends her time between Portland and Sandy, where she and her husband (Tony) live with their children. She keeps busy herding goats, wrangling chickens, planning gardens and wandering the woods with kids in tow.
Molly is also an avid cellist and one of the "voices of Trackers" you probably spoke with her regarding any one of the Trackers programs.
David Kacena Technology Architect
Hailing from Los Angeles, California, David has been helping get families get into outdoor adventures with only a few clicks since 2018. David is inspired by the experiences available at Trackers Earth.
He loves that because his son has grown up going to Trackers camps, he is now more knowledgeable in outdoor skills than David is!
When he’s not working his web wizardry, you can find David playing music and coaching soccer.
Favorite Outdoor Adventure: Backpacking
Christina Codino Executive Operating Officer
Chris joined Trackers full time as our EOO in 2012 after 17 years in the credit union world. She has been involved with Trackers off and on from the beginning and is thrilled to be part of the community full time. When she isn't processing registrations or assisting parents and staff, she enjoys camping, baking, cooking and hanging out with friends and family. She is actively involved in her daughter’s school and a strong supporter of her husband’s ultra marathon running.
Randall Chalawsky Chief Strategy Officer
Randall has held senior production and programming roles at CBS and HBO, on multi-year, multi-platform franchise media properties -- including Everybody Loves Raymond and the HBO Aspen Festival. He was instrumental in building Levity Live-IMPROV, which sold to Madison Square Garden Entertainment / Azoff and AMC Networks, for its industry leading media and customer acquisition platform. Chalawsky is a first adopter of consumer digital technologies, building fans through video, social, and mobile; an early strategic partner at Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Netflix, amassing global audiences for enterprises such as Trevor Noah, Jeff Dunham, and Jackson Galaxy. His creative and operational leadership created a multi-channel network of 100M+, generating hundreds of millions in revenue.
Chalawsky is an industry leader in connecting digital marketing to live events across Europe, South Africa, and Australia, with partners such as Sony, Viacom, and Universal, introducing an entire ecosystem of content monetization and concert ticket sales at tentpole venues including London’s famed O2 Arena. His brand work includes Norwegian Cruise Line, Jameson, Clorox, Pepsi, and Toyota. He is the publisher of a top 10 iphone app, and a development partner with Amazon, Google, and Apple, among others, with dozens of web / mobile / SW products to his credit. He has produced over 90 hours of primetime television programming.
Previous board level roles include PIAS Belgium, a unit of the leading independent European music distribution company.
He is a mentor at SDSU and WeWork Labs, a volunteer member with ThinkLA and LA 2028, and part-time faculty with CSU-Fullerton in the College of Business and Economics. He is a principal organizer of Southern California’s largest data focused conference, DataConLA. Having started four companies, sold two, incubated and accelerated dozens, Chalawsky also advises a number of startups in LA and the Bay Area working in direct-to-consumer, future of work, and social impact -- including Wisdom Labs, Religion of Sports, BackFlip, and Defy Ventures, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, running life saving entrepreneurship programming for the incarcerated.
He earned his MBA from USC, where is he’s a mentor and program leader at the USC Marshall / Grief Incubator.
Randall joined Trackers Earth in 2020 as a key leader in amplifying the organization's work in this golden age of outdoor education. He has traveled through the PNW all of his life, including high school in Alaska, where he spent summers during childhood and as a commercial fisherman during college.
Jackson Jones Marketing and Outreach
Jackson Jones was born in the Rocky Mountains and adventured through his young life in the highland terrain of Utah and Colorado hiking, biking, and hitting the ski slopes.
He moved to Portland, OR to study Marketing at PSU and graduated in 2019 with a degree and an Athletic and Outdoor Industry Certificate. Impressed by the roving bands of kids with bows and firemaking kits in his neighborhood of SE Portland, he applied for a position at Trackers Earth and has been working there to inspire families outdoors ever since!
Favorite Outdoor Activity: Shredding Gnar (skiing)
Michelle McCann Editor in Chief
When Michelle R. McCann was a girl, she dreamed of creating books. She would disappear at birthday parties, only to be discovered hours later hiding in a closet with her friend’s books. She studied children’s lit at Brown University, got an MFA in Writing for Children at Vermont College, and has been working in publishing ever since. For the past 30 years she’s edited and art directed hundreds of books for kids, and for 13 years she taught Children’s Book Publishing at Portland State University.
Michelle grew up in Oregon doing all kinds of outdoorsy activities—rock climbing, hiking and camping, whitewater rafting, snowboarding. Trackers brings together her two passions: books and the outdoors. She writes an outdoor parenting blog for Trackers, and has helped create how-to outdoor skills books for families, fiction novels for kids set in the Trackers universes, and lots of super cool Trackers comics!
When not at Trackers, Michelle writes her own award-winning children’s books including Girls Who Rocked the World, Finding Fairies, Reading Together: Share in the Wonder of Books with a Parent-Child Book Club, and an upcoming book about women’s soccer. And she still loves to do all the outdoorsy things she did as a kid—now with her own kids.
Michelle’s favorite outdoor activities are snowboarding and rafting.