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Kenneth Clarkson 


Director of Nature 

Kenneth grew up hiking the Appalachian Trail of the Blue Ridge Mountains and canoeing the rivers of southwest Virginia. This also explains why he often has a banjo in tow. After obtaining a degree in biology from James Madison University , he left to wander above the Arctic Circle for two summers as a back country wilderness ranger for the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska , where he proudly boasts that he lived in Anaktuvuk Pass which translates as “place of caribou dung.” He obtained a M.S. in Wildlife Management at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks , studying one of his favorite subjects, ravens.

To thaw out, he then sank roots in Hawaii, surfing, sailing, learning slack-key guitar, and working as a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 6 years, where he roamed the wet forests of Mauna Loa in search of endangered birds, plants, and the occasional mongoose, pig, or feral cow. He began teaching environmental education on the islands, a passion that has continued for over a decade, and has led him to the Bay Area. After teaching environmental education for several years at local outdoor education schools and also for the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Ken found himself at home here at the Riekes Center .

“The Riekes Center is a truly unique place. The instructors and students have an opportunity to go to a level of mentoring in nature that has no limits.”