Our Ambassador community brings together folks who are dedicating time to supporting each other and our mission to expand outdoor access for girls and young women. Through adventure fundraisers and storytelling, Ambassadors raise awareness of the critical importance of girls-only outdoor programs. And among the crew of Ambassadors, there’s sharing and learning that builds our bond as a “Get Out, Give Back” team.
Stephanie Kichler is a teacher, hiker, and lover of the Colorado Plateau committed to shepherding in the next generation of outdoor advocates and enthusiasts who appreciate and steward the land, water, air, and everything in between. Stephanie fell in love with the Colorado Plateau the first time she saw the towering walls of Vermillion Cliffs National Monument and the Paria River Canyon. She calls New Mexico home but hails from Indiana, where she earned her B.S. in Environmental Science and Biology from Ball State University. Stephanie lives her life in the spirit of one of her favorite quotes from poet Mary Oliver, “joy is not made to be a crumb,” and for her, being outdoors is the greatest source of joy.
Roxanne Dawson was born and raised on the east coast but found her true stride rolling around the west in a van. She is part community manager, part journalist, part editor and now splits her time between her van and Golden, Colorado, where she lives with her husband, adventure pup, and son. She is most alive when her community is close, the environment is thriving, and nature is truly accessed by all that wish to enjoy it.
Lucia Tonachel is a farmer, educator, and activist who lives and runs in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Equitable redistribution of access to both wild spaces and nourishing, local food are central to Lucia’s work both on and off the farm. Originally from urban Massachusetts, Lucia earned her B.A. in Anthropology and Global Studies from Grinnell College in Iowa. Lucia fell in love with running on the rolling farm roads outside Grinnell, where she trained and fundraised through a blustery Iowa winter for her first marathon as a Cairn Project Ambassador.
Maya Sullivan is a queer Japanese-American raised in the beautiful Pacific northwest, where towering volcanoes defined her skylines. Although her family would casually camp in the summers, it wasn’t until her early twenties that Maya discovered her love and passion for outdoor spaces, and a determination to help make access to the outdoors more equitable for those who also identified as minorities. In 2021, Maya walked the John Muir Trail as a Cairn Project Ambassador fundraiser. Today, Maya still resides in the state of Washington where she splits her time between working at a humanitarian organization and backpacking, climbing, and learning how to ski and mountaineer. Maya received her B.A.s in Economics and International Studies from the University of Washington, and received a Fulbright scholarship in 2019.
Hailing from the prairie lands of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Liz Pham is an American-Vietnamese adventure woman, who enjoys climbing, hiking, and mountain biking. Liz was first introduced to climbing at a local gym after making the move to Minneapolis, MN five years ago. This was the catalyst to her adventures into outdoor climbing and beyond. For Liz, the outdoors and its supportive community has become a boundless source of inspiration for her approach to leadership in her personal life and in the workplace. It has taught her to manage her fears of the unknown. Importantly, it’s taught her courage and how to build trust in others and with herself. With a B.A. biology, art, and psychology from Augustana College, Liz has spent her career helping organizations create agile processes and products that focus on people first. She currently works as an IT Manager for a software services company. Previously, Liz owned and operated an urban agriculture business growing and distributing bean sprouts in South Dakota. When she’s not busy with work, you’ll either find her reading a book, mentoring young women in technology, or enjoying the outdoors with family and friends.
"I've always known I wanted to help others, but never knew exactly how. What I do know is that I enjoy mentoring and learning from others. When rock climbing came into my life, it became a space for me to connect with others, especially women. I want to empower women through rock climbing and the outdoors."
Born and raised in Minnesota, Janet Dalton grew up playing outside, swimming in lakes, camping on an island and walking through the woods in all kinds of weather. A professional chef with thirty-five years under her belt in the restaurant business, Janet loves to wield her knife and culinary skills in the wilderness – she takes gourmet dehydrated meals to the next level. Having embarked on mountain adventures around the world, Janet’s superpower is being OK being uncomfortable, and she is the most herself outside.
“The Cairn Project exemplifies all of the qualities I value, and I am thrilled to support an organization that helps offer young women the same chance I’ve had to find happiness through outdoor adventure. Challenge builds strength!”
Some of Collette’s earliest memories are of waking up in a sleeping bag and exploring the dirt, trees, lakes, and streams of the Midwest on one of her family’s many camping trips. Collette has spent much her career working with land conservation groups, believing that the connection people have with our environment is of utmost importance for happiness. Currently, she is an Individual Giving Officer at the SF Symphony – she is also passionate about music and the arts – and spends time hiking as much of California as possible. Collette holds a B.A. in Biology from Smith College.
“The chance to reflect in the woods, spend a night on a mountain, or kayak a river are what bring me joy and limitless strength to see more beauty in the world than anger and fear. I support The Cairn Project’s mission to give more girls around the country the chance to connect with themselves and the world through nature.”
A lifelong student of nature, Laura Wildenborg grew up climbing the limestone of southeastern Minnesota, paddling the backwaters of the Mississippi, and refining the skill of building a one-match fire. Equipped with a B.A. in Environmental Studies from College of St. Benedict and well-honed expertise in outdoor education, Laura introduces students to the outdoors as a field instructor at the Red Wing Environmental Learning Center. As an Ambassador for The Cairn Project in 2018, Laura completed a 10-day canoeing trip on the Bloodvein River in Manitoba as an adventure fundraiser.
“The value of shared outdoor experiences can be measured in increased self-confidence, environmental appreciation, and lasting friendships. The Cairn Project extends that value by enabling more girls across the country to access outdoor programs.”
A Minnesota native, Olivia calls Minneapolis home, where she lives just four blocks from Lake of the Isles. Olivia works at West Monroe Partners, an employee-owned management consulting firm, where she advises companies in the consumer and industrial products industries. While her work travels have taken her on adventures all around the country, her passion for the outdoors was first sparked at a young age during family trips to the Rockies. Olivia is an avid skier, hiker, backpacker, and cyclist. If Olivia isn’t outside, you’ll find her baking or exploring breweries and coffee shops.
"My experiences in the outdoors have helped shaped my values and empowered me to become who I am today. I want all young girls to have the opportunity to experience what the outdoors has to offer for them."
Sarah Castle grew up in a small mountain town west of Denver, Colorado, and has spent most of her adult life a stone’s throw away from the Rocky Mountains. Though she held a fascination for wild places at a young age, it wasn’t until late high school that she became captivated by the high elevations and unbeaten paths of the mountains in her backyard. Merging her love for both exploration and grit, Sarah pursued a career in soil science, studying the effects of global change and land use on natural and managed ecosystems. Currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota, you’re likely to find her either trail running or logging one of many 70mi. weekend bike rides. Sarah holds B.A. and M.S. degrees from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. from the University of Montana.
A San Francisco native, Alison grew up in a family that enjoyed the privilege of outdoor access – many memories were made in California’s iconic mountain and coastal landscapes. Alison has spent her career in the philanthropic sector, advancing initiatives for justice and empowerment internationally and closer to home. In addition to her leadership at The Cairn Project, she directs the Environmental Defenders Collaborative at Global Greengrants Fund, channeling support to frontline environmental activists around the world. Alison is a board member of the AWE Summit Scholarship Foundation and Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide; she holds a BA from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a JD from Seattle University School of Law. Alison lives with her family in Sonoma County, California.