KRISTOPHER YOUNG – Founder/Executive Director
In 2002 Kristopher received his BS in Forestry as a member of the Xi Sigma Pi, National Forestry Honor Society. With an emphasis in fire ecology Kris strived to ensure fire-safe living for communities in Wildland-Urban Interfaces. Kris also taught natural resource management to Native Americans on reservations across the Western US. In 2006 and 2007, with a team of 100, Kris vaccinated over 10,000 trees in New York City’s five boroughs to prevent Asian long-horned beetle outbreak.
Following NYC he linked with Sri Lanka’s Foundation of Goodness to create an environmental committee and spearhead projects in subsistence agriculture and ecopreneurship in the coastal village of Seenigama.
2009-2011, Kris co-taught undergraduate courses in Fire Ecology, Restoration Ecology, and Social Entrepreneurship at Prescott College. In May 2011 he finished a thesis discussing the need for disaster-affected people to participate in their recovery. He received his MA from Prescott College in Sustainable Disaster Management and Development.
PAUL SMOTHERMAN – Vice President
Paul joins to our team as an educator, scientist, and community development worker. Paul spent 3 years in the Peace Corps in Papua New Guinea focusing on youth development projects including the start up of a Global Roots School. This two-dimension school was made of two major components: standardized global curriculum, and a traditional tribal education program.
Paul earned a Zoology degree from the University of Georgia and worked as wildlife biologist for many years on projects in Alaska, Georgia, South Dakota, California and Antarctica.
Currently Paul works as garden educator for Classroom and Bloom; a working farm operated by the elementary and high school students of the Methow Valley contributing over 3000lbs of produce each year to the school’s cafeterias.
ARYN LABRAKE – Secretary
Aryn received her BS in Conservation Biology from Prescott College. In that time she fostered an interest in working in the nonprofit sector. Aryn now works for Prescott College as a fundraiser. Her work also includes teaching subsistence farming with Azafady in Madagascar; jaguar conservation with Conservation SOS and Pro-Natura in Alamos, Mexico; helping Widecast Gondoca in Costa Rica to protect nesting sea turtles; and researching conservation of our nation’s aquifers through spring preservation with the Grand Canyon Wildlands Council.
Aryn is also a co-founder of a small entertainment business that focuses on honoring the existence, and preserving the indigenous cultures of the world and integrating them into modern music culture by creating innovative and ethics-based music festivals.
Aryn will start a Master’s program in Fall of 2011. She aims to use systems thinking to understand current global complexities and to engage in collaborative learning and leadership actions that build partnerships across diverse organizations, cultures, and sectors.
DILIP KUMARA DE SILVA – Sri Lanka Representative/Project Coordinator
Dilip hails from neighboring villages of Kalupe and Seenigama on Sri Lanka’s southern coast. His dedication to community service and leadership is exemplified by his roles as Children’s Club Volunteer in Werellana, and President of both the Geography Association and Senior Sinhalese Literature Association at his High School in Hikkaduwa.
Since, Dilip has held jobs as Accounts Clerk for Arthacharya Foundation, and Announcer at local events. After the tsunami of December 26, 2004 Dilip was hired by the local faction Foundation of Goodness where he was a computer instructor and now runs Business Skills and English departments.
Since 2007 He is also the Coordinator of the foundation’s Environmental Committee. This consists of managing a team of young volunteers, The Green Team, organizing initiatives such as home garden project, beach clean-ups, recycling programs, and leading environmental issues workshops for local villages.