OEC Staff

Jon McDonald, Director, Outdoor Education Center

Hometown: Champlain, NY
Favorite Place: Any mountaintop at sunrise
Favorite Food: Home-made pad thai
Favorite Mountain: Noonmark Mountain
Favorite Books: A Song of Ice and Fire, A Sand County Almanac

Hobbies: Hiking, camping, travel, trail running, reading, basketball

Education:

  • BA in Adolescence Education at SUNY Oswego
  • Wilderness First Responder

Employment: 

  • Counselor, Section Head at Pok-O-MacCready Summer Camps
  • Peer Mentor Coordinator at Transitions college and career Apprenticeship program
  • Instructor, Intern & Outreach Coordinator, Assistant Director      at Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center
  • Overseas Educator at Carpe Diem Education

Adventures:

  • Jon has visited a total of 12 different countries and has more trips in the works
  • Jon only has 30 miles left of hiking to finish the 273 mile “Long Trail”, traversing the State of Vermont
  • Jon has climbed all 46 of the “Adirondack High Peaks” and is currently working on hiking them all over again during the Winter months

Favorite Quote: “Then there is the most dangerous risk of all–the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” -Randy Komisar

Other Interesting Information: He never had his 28th birthday. If you see him, ask him how that happened!

Feel free to contact Jon for any questions about visiting Poko,  employment, and general inquiries: [email protected]

Tree Knight, Assistant Director

Hometown: Lincoln, NE
Favorite Place: On a summit at sunrise
Favorite Food: Pizza!
Favorite Mountain: Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park
Favorite Book: The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey

Hobbies: Eating pizza, trail running, searching for truth, skiing

 Education:

B.A. in Liberal Arts from Wyoming Catholic College, Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Master Educator, AIARE Level 1 

 Employment:

NOLS Field Instructor, NOLS Headquarters Operations Coordinator, Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center Instructor, Experience Learning Instructor

 Adventures: 

Running a 50K trail race in the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming. Navigating life with my husband and our dog Bernie!

 Favorite Quote: “There is water at the bottom of the ocean!” – The Talking Heads

 Other Interesting Information: Youngest child of eight. Made tacos on Mt. Marcy. I love love haikus.

Marissa Lathrop, Instructor

Hometown: Baldwinsville, NY
Favorite Place: Anywhere in the Adirondacks!
Favorite Food: Buffalo chicken wings
Favorite Mountain pass: Avalanche Pass, Keene, NY
Favorite Books: Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv, Wildly into the Dark by Tyler Knot Gregson, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Hobbies: Long distance running, baking, hiking/camping, writing poetry, exploring, hugging trees

Previous Education, Employment, and Adventures:

Graduated from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in May, 2019. I was a naturalist at Beaver Lake Nature Center for 4 years, Outdoor Educator at Clark Reservation for one year, Research Assistant on the American Chestnut Research Foundation at SUNY ESF for 3 years, Assistant Programmer at the Adirondack Interpretive Center for 2 years, Trip Staff Guide at Adirondack Camp for the Summer 2019. Most of my adventures have happened in the Adirondacks, climbed several fire towers, 46ers, portions of the Northville-Placid Trail, whitewater rafting/kayaking, canoed most of Lake George and exploring the less popular trails and mountains of the Adirondacks.

Favorite Quote: “Tell me, what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.” – Mary Oliver

Other Interesting Information: I was the first woman at my college to individually win a cross country nationals race. I work on big block modified racecars. My nickname is “Mars”.

Evan Knight, Crux Director

Hometown: Charleston, WV
Favorite Place: My bed
Favorite Food: Pizza
Favorite Mountain: Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming!
Favorite Books: The Sigma Force Novels

Hobbies: Skiing, watching ranching and rodeo videos and telling my dog he’s a good boy.

Education:

B.S. Geology West Virginia University, Outdoor Emergency Care, AIARE Level 2

Employment: 

Guide Manager/Rental Shop Manager/Avalanche Specialist at Sleeping Giant Ski Area Cody, WY. Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center Instructor 2014-2015

Adventures: 

Multiple ski descents in Mt. Rainier National Park, Rafting The Grand Canyon, Took a train from San Francisco, CA to Charleston, WV.

Favorite Quote: “I’d say a 70 pound dog is a pretty big dog.” – Kenny Gasch, Northwest Powder Guides

Other Interesting Information: My Subaru’s name is Josie

Emma Palermo, Instructor

Hometown: Rochester, NY
Favorite Place: South Beach, San Juan Island
Favorite Food: Peanut Butter and Banana sandwiches!
Favorite Mountain: Penobscot Mountain, Acadia National Park
Favorite Books: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Peace Like a River by Lief Enger

Hobbies: I love running, backpacking, swimming (in lakes and oceans!!), reading, poetry and having potlucks with friends

Previous Education, Employment, and Adventures:

I received a B.S. in Environmental Health and Food Studies from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in the Spring of 2019. Throughout my time at university, I was able to conduct research with the USDA in Nebraska, work on an organic farm on San Juan Island in Washington, and take a semester to travel and research in California, Malawi, India and Italy. I recently finished a busy season life guarding and instructing hiking and outdoor survival skills classes for a summer camp in Maine. My latest adventure was exploring my first National Park; Acadia, and being one of the first people on the east coast to see the sunrise on the summit of Champlain Mountain!

Favorite Quote: I read the classics but I didn’t read thoroughly.

Other Interesting Information: I make really good vegan banana bread!

Gage Slachciak, Instructor

Hometown:  Rome, NY
Favorite Place:  Any place that has cats
Favorite Food:  Chicken Parmesean
Favorite Mountain: The summit of Blake Peak in the Adirondacks
Favorite Books: The Ruins by Scott Smith, Pet Semetary by Stephen King, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Hobbies:  Keeping up to date on Taylor Swift’s career. Crocheting, seeking waterfalls and mountain tops at sunrise and reading anything I can get my hands on.

Previous Education, Employment, and Adventures:

Adolescent Education degree from SUNY Oswego. Camp Counselor and Section Head at Camp Pok-O-MacCready. ESL Program Assistant.

Favorite Quote: “If you’re not careful, you can reach a point where you’ve made choices without thinking. Without planning. You can end up living a life you’ve not meant to. Maybe one you deserve, but not one you intended.” – Scott Smith

Other interesting information: I once was four feet away from Taylor Swift. I am on the cover of a Stephen King novel.

Jessica Roth, Instructor

Hometown: Blythewood, South Carolina
Favorite Place:  Hendersonville, North Carolina
Favorite Food: Queso!
Favorite Trail and it’s location: Raven Cliff Falls in Caesars Head, South Carolina
Favorite Books: The Remarkable Ordinary by Frederick Buechner, Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
Hobbies:  Reading, writing, playing card games, pretending like I know how to crochet, finding new adventures to go on with my pup

Previous Education, Employment, and Adventures:

I graduated with a B.S. in Business Management with an Outdoor Leadership Minor from Winthrop University. I’ve been in several different camp positions since starting my degree. I started at Camp Bob in Hendersonville, NC as a counselor and then as Head Female. After that I worked as an Adventure Guide at Camp Canaan in Rock Hill, SC. When I graduated, I was offered a position as an Adjunct Professor for the Beginning Rock Climbing course at Winthrop University. Then I decided to make a little move to Dublin NH to work as an Assistant Program Director at Camp Wa-Klo for Girls.

Favorite Quote: “I don’t know how much value I have in this universe, but I do know that I’ve made a few people happier than they would have been without me, and as long as I know that, I’m as rich as I ever need to be.” -Robin Williams

Other interesting information: My dog is way cooler than I’ll ever be.

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Contact Us

To find out more about The Outdoor Education Center, contact us directly:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (518) 963-7967
Fax: (518) 963-4165

Where to Find Us

TRANSLATE

Pok-O-MacCready Camps
1391 Reber Road, Willsboro, NY 12996

Located in New York’s Adirondack Mountains

800.982.3538 (within the U.S.)
518.963.7656
[email protected]

ABOUT OUTDOOR EDUCATION CENTER

The Outdoor Education Center is located on over 400 acres of land with a beautiful Adirondack lake surrounded by forests, trails and wilderness.

The Center is within an hours drive of the High Peaks Adirondack Region, three miles from Lake Champlain and across the lake from Burlington, VT.

For the past 50 years our mission at the Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center has been to create and encourage a sense of awe in the presence of nature, to build self confidence, to nurture self worth and to promote teamwork, communication and tolerance for students of all ages.

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