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2022 World Trails Ambassadors

Twelve World Trails Ambassadors were selected to support a global trails movement and be community agents from their countries.

The awards were given through a competitive selection process by the World Trails Network and all Ambassadors will gather at the upcoming World Trails Conference in Skiathos, Greece this September 24-October 2. The emerging leaders, ages 20-35, represent communities across the world, including Ghana, Jordan, Paraguay, the Philippines, Nepal, South Africa, Indonesia, Canada, and the USA. They will fill these ambassador positions for two years.

Program Highlights:

  • Professional development and networking connections with leaders at the World Trails Conference
  • Community Action Plans for Trails — each ambassador will develop and execute a localized plan for trail advocacy within their community
  • A peer network for ongoing support within the cohort
  • Supports a web of localized stewardship projects in local communities
  • Donations to support Ambassadors: Make a donation and note code WTA2022.

Adiza Abdul-Rafiu Mohammed, Ghana  

Adiza is a passionate youth activist and climate and environmental protection advocate. Her interest in Environmental Management and Climate Change made her join the Trails Ambassador Network. She is excited about becoming a World Trail Ambassador because she believes Climate change is affecting indigenous communities and farmers and she has set up an initiative called Plastic4Education whereby solid waste are turned into innovative solutions for environmental issues and climate change, and Trails network will help her achieve her goal.

Alivia Acosta, United States of America

Alivia found her connection to the natural world in a New York high school after working for a non-profit organisation, Groundwork Hudson Valley. Prior to graduating from Unity College with a bachelors in Parks and Forest Resources and a minor in Psychology, Alivia took three years to travel the country following her passion for building connections to environmental landscapes through hands-on trail stewardship. Alivia is excited to continue working towards supporting and promoting volunteer stewardship of the Appalachian Trail.

Araceli González, Paraguay

Araceli is passionate about nature. As an Environmental Engineer, she worked in the area of communications for several years until she went to Mexico to study Management and Conservation of Natural Resources and discovered her love for Environmental Interpretation. She currently is the Coordinator of Volunteers for the Paraguayan Organisation for Conservation and Sustainable Development (OPADES) and leads the Environmental Interpretation and Sound Levels in Protected Areas. She developed interpretive scripts for the most visited national park in Paraguay, called Ybycuí, and has participated in the development of the first audio guides. What most excites her about designing the interpretation for trails is to give voices to those who currently don’t and to tell their story and to unite this with art.

Auran Buckles, USA and Hong Kong

Auran is the co-founder of Henro.org, a digital hub for the world’s pilgrimage trails. Auran is excited to advance her mission to build useful new technologies that support and elevate pilgrims, pilgrimage communities, conservators, and academics. Auran grew up in the dense bustle of Hong Kong, and later moved to the U.S. to further her education. Unsatisfied with the legal profession as an attorney in California, Auran taught herself to code and eventually became a senior engineer within a hyper-growth startup. Auran walked the Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage in Japan in 2014,  an experience which changed her life. Frustrated by the lack of pilgrimage resources – no doubt contributing to a decline in accessibility among young people – Auran built the first prototype of Henro.org in 2015. Today, Henro provides a platform that helps pilgrimages thrive in the digital age, and is growing rapidly.

Brooke Henry, Canada

A long-time lover of the outdoors, Brooke has worked for the Bruce Trail Conservancy (BTC), a land trust in Ontario working to protect and provide public access to the Niagara Escarpment, since 2018. Brooke promotes the Bruce Trail and the conservation efforts of the organisation through social media, creating promotional products, and the creation of other communications materials. Brooke grew up hiking trails around Hamilton, Ontario. Prior to working for the BTC, Brooke gained her Bachelor of Arts in History from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Bachelor of Education from Western University. After teaching abroad, Brooke found her passion working for not-for-profits in Ontario, eventually marrying this with her love of the outdoors. In addition to a love of hiking, Brooke enjoys taking photos, not only of nature but of her cats Winston and Salem as well.

Denise Ann Samson, Philippines

Denise graduated Cum Laude from the  University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Travel Management. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she served as a Guest Care Officer of a 

conservation project in Baras, Rizal. Being at the forefront of end-to-end guest experiences and arranging private nature-based activities at such a gruelling period allowed her to further realise the importance of trails to individuals and communities. 

Currently, she is a Sustainability Officer for Ten Knots Group which operates a collection of island resorts in El Nido, Palawan focused on low-impact tourism, environmental conservation, and community engagement. Denise’s strong interest in the dynamics of travel and sustainable development in local protected areas stems from her childhood summers spent in Dingalan, Aurora which is bordered by the Sierra Mountain Range and the Pacific Ocean.

Etienne Basson, Africa

Etienne has been working in under resourced & violent communities in the Western Cape, South Africa for the last 9 years. He has worked for various NGOs focussing on Project Development and Management, Community and Stakeholder Engagement, Environmental Education and Training.

In 2020, Etienne founded Envirolove and co-founded Ida’s Valley Community Trails. Etienne’s NGOs aim to advocate environmental stewardship and community ownership of natural resources and natural spaces in marginalised communities and support the sustainable management thereof to provide environmental, economic and social benefits for communities. Etienne has been awarded Top 50 Young Global Changers 2022 by the World Policy Forum, the World Economic Forum Uplink Top Innovator, BIE Cosmos Prize Expo2020 Dubai Top 10 Finalist, and South Africa National Youth Development Agency Trailblazer.

Mohammad Khlefat, Hungary

During his master’s degree in the fields of Regional and Environmental Economics in Hungary, Mohammed worked with the World Trails Organisation through the Sustainability Task Team by attending meetings and working on a project called MediaWiki Toolbox. Mohammad happily mentioned that he might upgrade the intensive experience that he gained from this work, to future advanced studies and/or related job opportunities. He participated in different local and international hikes in Hungary and in some neighbouring countries and is excited to try the hiking experience in Jordan, his home country,  and other countries around the world and to share what information he gained with fellow hikers.

Nathan (Nate) Harris, USA

Nate is the co-founder of Henro.org, a digital hub for the world’s pilgrimage trails. As a World Trails Ambassador, Nate will further his work to promote and preserve pilgrimages for their liminal merits: the thrill of adventure, spiritual growth, ecopsychological immersion, and exposure to new cultures.

Once he was old enough to tie his shoes, Nate was making trails through the woods of his childhood home in Missouri. He earned a degree in Cultural Marketing from universities in New York City and rural Japan before leading teams at rapid-growth software startups in New York and Los Angeles.

On the recommendation of a haiku professor, Nate walked The Shikoku Pilgrimage, an arduous 40-day journey to 88 temples through Japan. Later, he trekked in Bavaria, Germany and climbed Croagh Patrick in Ireland. Inspired to help others experience the transformative impacts of pilgrimage, he launched Henro.org with his partner Auran Buckles. It has since become an important resource for pilgrims around the world.

Nazrin Garibova, Azerbaijan

Nazrin was born in Azerbaijan, raised in the U.S., and now finds herself back in the Caucasus region working as the project manager of Transcaucasian Trail for Azerbaijan. Beyond the excitement of developing a long-distance trail along old shepherd and caravan routes in a place as fascinating as the Caucasus, she is interested in the cultural and economic implications of contemporary rural tourism. She hopes that her experiences as a World Trails ambassador will allow her to better understand how to curb the consequences and improve the benefits of such work on local populations and environments. Nazrin graduated from the College of William & Mary in 2020, and has since worked with various universities, including on a Fulbright award. Before moving to Azerbaijan, she was also involved in the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club’s trail work in her home state of Virginia.

Prakash Poudel, Nepal

Prakash was born on the land of Himalayas, Nepal. He got interested in mountaineering, adventure and trail-running while pursuing a degree in Mountain Tourism Management at Pokhara known as the adventure capital of Nepal. Prakash has travelled across the country in Great Himalayan Trail and trekked the famous Annapurna Circuit while doing research in sustainability, eco-tourism and searching for adventure.

Working as a trekking guide in Himalayas allowed him to realise the importance of trails to local communities and governments which are now on the threats of destruction.

In this Ambassador role, he looks forward to connecting with the Network to support trail development, community involvement in conservation efforts as well as search of alternative trails for trekkers and adventurers.

Riza Anggraeni, Indonesia

Riza Annisa has hiked more than 15 mountains in Indonesia. She has a belief that by hiking and connecting to nature, it becomes easier to see the other side of the world. This helps to understand the environment and trails as part of the sources of life. Riza has built a project that focuses on the role of conservation for the environment, and how trail activities can contribute. Riza Annisa has a bachelor’s degree from Universitas Multimedia Nusantara and a master’s degree from Universitas Padjadjaran in International Relations studies. She was the recipient of “The Winner of Outstanding SDGs Concept” awardee and a “Global Action Ambassador” inaugurated by UN-Habitat official. She is also a Sustainability Leader certified by United People Global. Since 2019, she has been a constituency member of the United Nations Environment Program in Ecosystem Restoration policy coordination working group. Her subjects include Trails and Mountains, Global Conservations Policies, Indigenous Knowledge, Culture, Sustainability and Climate issue. You can find her writings in kumparan.com

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