Meet the Accreditation Council

News: AEE Accreditation Council Annual Meeting

AEE Accreditation Council GroupThe AEE Accreditation Council meets for its annual in-person meeting at the Eagle Rock School each June. The focus this year, guided by Accreditation Council Chair Mike Pigg, was to reflect on accomplishments from the year prior and continue to stay focused on the priorities established by our strategic plan. The purpose and goals of AEE Accreditation were reviewed, and the blueprint for carrying out the work was created. Members of the Accreditation Council are Aaron Funnell, Clare Dallet, Aaron Leonard, Brent Bell, Andrew Farris, John Nordquist, Katie Baum Mettenbrick, Jose Gonzalez, Katelyn BeVard, Margaret Kelso, Maurie Lung, Mike Pigg, and Steve Pace AEE’s Director of Accreditation and Certification.

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The AEE Accreditation Council consists of volunteers that are experts in the field of Adventure Education and/or Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare. Each member of the council brings complimentary skills to the table. 

The Council is responsible for:

  • Setting policy and procedures for the Accreditation Program.
  • Developing, adopting, maintaining, evaluating and revising Accreditation Program standards.
  • Granting or denying accredited status in accordance with Accreditation Program policy.
  • Establishing policy and procedures for the selection, training and evaluation of volunteer personnel to conduct the accreditation process.
  • Facilitating the development of educational materials related to the Accreditation Program.
  • Periodically assessing the success of the program, revising it as necessary to achieve its mission.
  • Attend two face-to-face meetings per year and monthly meetings via video-conference.
  • Review agenda and other materials (i.e., liaison reports, etc.) prior to each meeting.
  • Serve as a liaison to 5 or more accredited programs and follow through on all liaison duties associated with those programs.
  • Periodically review accredited organizational annual reports and prepare and deliver oral report to Council.
  • Serve on committees as needed or requested by the chair.

headshot of Steve Pace

AEE Staff: Director of Accreditations & Certifications

Steve Pace, M.S.W.

Pronouns: he/him/his
Contact: steve@aee.org 303-440-8844 x102


Council Members

Mike Pigg headshotMike Pigg - Chair
OBUSA
mpigg@outwardbound.org
Mike Pigg has been involved in the experiential education industry for over 15 years as an educator, trainer, and administrator. He has a long history with Outward Bound (OB) Australia where he served for several years as the Safety Director, and then General Manager. In addition, his experience in Australia includes extensive work within the tertiary/vocational training sector. Mike joined OB in the US in 2015, first as OBUSA Associate Safety Director and then Director of Operations at Colorado Outward Bound. Today Mike is the OBUSA National Safety Director, a member of the OB International Risk Management Committee and serves as the chair of the Wilderness Risk Management Conference Steering Committee.

Aaron Funnell headshot
Aaron Funnell - Secretary
Alinta Educational Services, Outward Bound International
aaronfunnell@hotmail.com

Aaron is the risk management consultant for Outward Bound International, overseeing risk management reviews across the global network of Outward Bound schools in over 35 countries. He is also director of Alinta Educational Services, a consultancy providing support to adventure programs in the Asia-Pacific region. He has been working in outdoor education for nearly thirty years, including roles as Head of Operations, School Director, and Executive Director at various Outward Bound schools.

 

Aaron also serves on the Global Research Advisory Committee for Outward Bound International, and the Asia Pacific Regional Council for AEE. He lives in Sydney, Australia.


John Nordquist headshotJohn Nordquist - Past Chair
Cross-Perspective Consulting
john.nordquist1@gmail.com
John was one of the founding teachers of Crossroads School in Santa Monica, in 1971. Since then, he has helped create exemplary OE programs at 3 different independent schools and has served on the board of the Boojum Institute.  Before recently retiring from the Chadwick School, John was the Director of Global Opportunities and led the development of a more globally engaged curriculum and program. John specializes in global education, risk management, and brings the perspectives of teacher, parent, instructor, and administrator to the Accreditation Council.  He is also an accomplished climber and mountaineer. 

Charles (Reb) Gregg headshotCharles (Reb) Gregg, LL.B - Emeritus Member
Charles R. (Reb) Gregg is an attorney in Houston Texas, active in outdoor recreation law. Reb has been legal counsel to and represents a number of leading outdoor recreation and education programs and associations. Reb writes and lectures frequently and serves on the Wilderness Risk Managers Committee, the Accreditation Council and the Boards of Directors of The Student Conservation Association and Friends of Big Bend National Park. Reb advises the Council on a wide range of topics but no longer attends every meeting.

Jose Gonzales headshot


José H. González
Overlake School
jgonzalez@overlake.org
Dr. José H. González is a Faculty and the Director of Experiential Education at The Overlake School in Redmond, Washington. He is a Boricua, born and raised in Puerto Rico. He started his outdoor education professional career in the 90's working for major organizations, including Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, Thompson Island Outward Bound Center, Sail Caribbean, Dartmouth College Outdoor Programs, Plymouth State University, SDSU Mission Bay Aquatic Center, and NOLS. In addition, he was an assistant professor at California State University Northridge and an associate faculty at Prescott College. He has co-author two books (one of them in Spanish) and several articles for the canopy tour and zipline industry. He is an active instructor trainer for the American Canoe Association with several certifications in sea kayaking and stand up paddleboarding.  

Katelyn BeVard headshot
Katelyn BeVard
Evoke Entrada
katelyn@evoketherapy.com
Katelyn began working in wilderness therapy at Evoke at Entrada in 2009 as a Field Instructor. She has held jobs in almost every department in the company since then and currently serves as the Program Director. Katelyn earned her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Journalism in 2008. She has been an active member on the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council since 2017 and currently serves as the Secretary of the council, as well as the chair of the Best Practices committee. Katelyn is an alumnus of the North Carolina Outward Bound school and has been an AEE accreditation reviewer since 2018. In her spare time, Katelyn enjoys the many outdoor activities Southern Utah has to offer.

Paul Wolf headshotPaul Wolf, M.A. Ed.
Southwestern Community College
pjwolf@southwesterncc.edu
Paul is an Instructor and Program Director of Outdoor Leadership and Wilderness Therapy at Southwestern Community College in Sylva, North Carolina.  He is a long-term volunteer with AEE having served in various leadership positions in the Accreditation program and in the Southeast’s Region. He is also a member of the Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group’s Certification Standards Committee.  Paul was a Course Director and Climbing Technician with the Voyageur Outward Bound School, and has worked for a variety of therapeutic and educational programs throughout the United States.  He is a current Trainer, Tester and Inspector with Alpine Towers International and is a Technical Rope Rescue Instructor Candidate with Rescue 3 International. Paul is chair of AEE's Accreditation Council Standards Committee.

Katie Baum Mettenbrink headshotKatie Baum Mettenbrink
NOLS
katie_baum@nols.edu
Originally from Portland, OR, Katie has worked in outdoor education since 1999, most of that time at NOLS. She currently leads NOLS Risk Services, which provides risk management training and consulting for organizations around the world, and co-chairs the Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC). She is a senior NOLS field instructor, with experience leading extended wilderness expeditions in the backpacking, rock climbing, caving, and mountaineering programs. Before landing in her current role, she worked at NOLS Custom Education, led the program team at NOLS Alaska, taught environmental education, worked on a political campaign, and served in a variety of positions in Princeton University's Outdoor Action program. She lives in Lander, Wyoming with her partner and young son.


Maure lung headshotMaurie Lung, PhD
Life Adventures Counseling and Consulting, Prescott College
dmlung@lifeadventurescc.org
Dr. Maurie Lung is the CEO of a community organization that provides adventure-based mental health therapy and consulting. She has over 25 years of experience ranging from therapist, business owner, author, speaker, trainer, evaluator, and university instructor. She has co-authored two books for mental health professionals as well as a variety of articles about how to experience nature and adventure in order to heal our hearts and restore dignity. Maurie integrates her knowledge and experience of recreation, education, psychology, and evaluation to experientially provide services with a diverse client population. She also is Associate Faculty at Prescott College teaching graduate courses in mental health counseling and overseeing the Adventure-based Psychotherapy and Ecotherapy programs. 

Andrew Farris headshotAndrew Farris
Summit Achievement
andrew@summitachievement.com
Andrew graduated from Green Mountain College with a bachelor’s degree in Adventure Recreation.  Andrew is currently the Program Director at Summit Achievement.  Andrew began his journey at Summit as a Wilderness Therapy Guide in 2009.  He has held many roles within the organization since that beginning.  Prior to arriving at Summit, Andrew facilitated adaptive recreation opportunities for people with physical and cognitive disabilities at Bradford Woods in Indiana.  Andrew has a penchant for a well-placed pun and enjoys spending his time in nature hiking, fishing, skiing, and gardening.

Aaron Leonard
Another Summit

Aaron Leonard is a retired U.S. Army officer with over 35 years of leadership experience. He now leads the therapeutic outdoor adventure program Another Summit at Guardian Revival in New York's Hudson Valley. Additionally, he is the founder and chair of New York’s Outdoor Rx Coalition, an education and research coalition of more than 180 private and public organizations. The coalition works to reduce barriers New York's one million-plus military service members, veterans, and their families may face when accessing state parks and other public lands and waters. Aaron's involvement in therapeutic outdoor adventures began in 2012 after he began experiencing post-traumatic stress symptoms during his military service. It was during an Outward Bound expedition that he felt whole for the first time in years, inspiring his career shift from the military to outdoor adventure and experiential education. Aaron holds degrees in Physical Science, Communications, and Outdoor Education and Leadership. He resides in Cold Spring, New York, with his wife, Leslie, and together they have eight adult children and one grandchild.


Margaret Kelso headshot

Margaret Kelso
Talisman Camp
margaret.ae.kelso@gmail.com
Margaret is currently the Executive Director of Talisman Camp, which serves adolescents and young adults with ADHD and Autism and is based in Asheville, NC. Prior to that, she started her wilderness therapy journey in 2010 at Alaska Crossings as a Field Guide. She moved to many roles, including Field Mentor, Case Manager, Medical Officer, and Program Director at Open Sky as a Medical Case Manager and Health Director and at Blue Ridge Therapeutic Wilderness as their Director of Operations and Risk Management Director. She has been a Wilderness EMT since 2013, trained through the San Juan Ambulance in Silverton, Colorado, where she was also able to volunteer with their local SAR. Having attended an experiential high school on the Minnesota Zoo property, her love of the wilderness and learning through experience began. She loves being a part of growing the industry and creating systems and culture for both clients and employees to thrive. Her preferred method of transport is by canoe. 

Manjul Prateeti
The Outdoor Education Group
Manjul Prateeti is the General Manager of Educational Delivery and Outdoor Education Professional Development at The Outdoor Education Group, Australia. Her core responsibilities include ensuring highest standards in program delivery with a focus on education, consistency, quality, and safety. She has an MSc in Outdoor Education from Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh. Manjul is an adventure enthusiast and passionate outdoor learning facilitator. She has spent the last thirteen years working internationally from India to America and now Australia, helping to develop and facilitate quality outdoor education programs. Manjul continually works to support, inspire, and facilitate individual growth in young people.

Vic Kerr
Outward Bound USA
Vic Kerr (she/her) serves as the HR Director for Outward Bound USA, bringing over twenty years of experience as an outdoor educator. Her expertise spans many facets of outdoor education, from field leadership and staff training to program administration. Starting her career as an adjunct college professor at a college outdoor program, she has held roles as an instructor, trainer, Safety and Program Operations Director for the Colorado Outward Bound School, and as Head of HR and Risk Management for an Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare organization. Vic is an HR Certified Professional. Born and raised in the wilds of Scotland, Vic has a love for walking in the rain, sharp wit, salted caramels and haggis. 

 

Kim Sacksteder
Prescott College and Adventure Therapists, LLC
Kim Sacksteder is Associate Faculty in Prescott College’s adventure-based and nature-based counseling certificate program and co-owner of Adventure Therapist, LLC, which provides training, consulting and supervision for practitioners wanting to incorporate adventure therapy into their work. In 1999, Kim was hired to build an adventure therapy program at Camp Mary Orton. She became involved with AEE’s Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group and was lucky to find her “professional home.” Over the next 20 years, Kim gained experience in many aspects of adventure therapy – direct practice with diverse population groups, program development and management of community-based programs, training and supervision for emerging professionals, and leadership within professional organizations. Kim has served AEE as TAPG Best Practices Committee Chair, TAPG Leadership Council Secretary and Chair, and AEE Accreditation Council Member and Chair.