Staff

At Buffalo Cove our staff creates the core of our program. We are constantly working to improve our skills, and serve our clientele following the guiding principle of respect.

Nathan Roark

Nathan Roark, Director

Nathan Roark has been learning from the Southern Appalachians since he was a boy and professionally teaching in these mountains for twenty years.  He has worked as a private outdoor educator; teaching at many types of scholastic facilities, public & private organizations, and educational workshops.  He has been involved as a leader (from small groups to directing whole programs) in many outdoor education programs.  Some of the more influential along his path have been: Medicine Bow Wilderness School (Dahlonega, GA), Eagle’s Nest Foundation (Brevard, NC), Hampshire College Outdoor Programs (Amherst, MA) and Turtle Island Preserve (Boone, NC) - before starting Buffalo Cove in 2001.  Nathan loves rivers and is an avid and experienced paddler - both of the canoe and the kayak. He has paddled water from the small mountain creeks in the Southeast to the Colorado River flowing through the Grand Canyon. Adventures across this continent have provided him a solid foundation for his outdoor living skills. He has learned from the deserts of the southwest and the winters of the northeast – from the gentle hills of the Great Plains to the sky-high Rocky Mountains. Still, his path has always led home to the Southern Appalachians. He is a diligent student of the history of the Blue Ridge and has a degree in American Indian Studies – his specialty being the history and lessons of the Cherokee Nation. Nathan first began his training in Wilderness Medicine in 1993 and still maintains his certification as a Wilderness First Responder.  He has been a dedicated student of Martial Arts for many years and is a Master Instructor at the Blue Ridge Kung Fu Arnis Academy.

 He lives, with his wife and two daughters, on their small homestead close to Base Camp. There they have built their own home, an octagonal log cabin, using trees from their land. What little power they have in their house is created by several small solar panels. They have a horse, chickens, dairy goats, pigs, dogs and cats. Many of their vegetables come from their organic garden or are gathered from the woods. Their meat is raised on their homestead or hunted in the forest - not bought from the store. Whether strolling on a nature hike, paddling a roaring white water river, or disappearing into the woods for a week with only a knife, you’ll find Nathan there both as a patient, veteran instructor and as an avid student. It has become his life’s work to help others see the beauty and wisdom in the Southern Appalachian Mountains and the strength that we all possess within ourselves.

McNeill Mann

McNeill Mann

McNeill joined the BCOEC staff in 2010 and has helped lead the spring, summer and fall programming since then.  She grew up in the Florida Keys where she spent time exploring coral reefs and sailing around mangrove islands.  Eventually her adventures took her to the Southern Appalachians where she attended summer camp as a child and later worked as a counselor.  Inspired by her childhood adventures and wanting to provide opportunities for young people to learn from the natural world, McNeill began leading white water canoeing, rock climbing, sailing, and backpacking trips in the southeast.  For the past ten years she has worked with youth in a variety of contexts such as summer camps, wilderness expeditions, and boarding schools. Whether leading a group of excited children on their first canoeing trip or teaching advanced whitewater canoeing to experienced teenagers, she enjoys learning from and teaching in the outdoors.  On her personal trips she has been backpacking and rafting in the southwest deserts, canoeing in the Adirondacks, and hiking as far north as Denali, Alaska.  She has traveled to Costa Rica, Ecuador, New Zealand, and Australia, and she spent 6 months backpacking around Southeast Asia.  Recently McNeill settled into a small cabin in the mountains near Boone, NC where she is learning about small scale homesteading and enjoying her first garden. When she is not in programming or out on the trail she spends time caring for her animals, making handcrafts, experimenting in the kitchen, and learning traditional woods living skills.  McNeill graduated from Prescott College, Prescott, AZ in 2007 with a degree in Environmental Education and Writing and Literature, and a Secondary English Teaching Certificate. She is a certified Wilderness First Responder and holds a Coast Guard Captain’s License.

Travis Boswell

Travis Boswell

Travis Boswell hales from the land known as Americas Hi-five; Michigan.  As a matter of fact he has slapped at least one person five in each of the 48 continental states.  After graduating from Saginaw Valley State University with a BA in Theatre, he took his Acting career to the high rises of Boston and Denver.  After having his fill of the city life and spending much of his free time studying nutrition, he found himself ducking into the woods at Buffalo Cove Outdoor Education Center.  Here, he has lived in a tipi for seven months a year in each of the past three, doing his best to educate, nourish and form meaningful relationships with each of kids and educators at camp.  He has found a great deal of himself in the solitude of Appalachian Wilderness and the togetherness of the Buffalo Cove community.  

Dan Horseman

Dan Horseman

Dan Horseman is a full time student at Georgia College and State University where he is studying Outdoor Education and Psychology. Much of his time is spent running, as he is on the cross country team at his school. Dan also enjoys spending time backpacking, mountain biking, playing ultimate frisbee, rock climbing, paddling, and caving. Buffalo Cove has sparked his interest in sustainable and natural ways of living. Dan is a Wilderness First Responder and is currently helping with the facilitation of challenge course and group development programs through his school. His curious spirit and love for the outdoors often leads him to seek fellowship with nature on long quiet trail runs or deep in the middle of the woods. When he graduates he plans on leaving society as he knows it and spending about six months hiking on the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. He began working for Buffalo Cove in 2010.

Rachel Tutwiler

Rachel Tutwiler

Rachel Tutwiler is studying at Warren Wilson College, pursuing a degree in Outdoor Leadership. Her dream is to work with kids in the outdoors and show them a side of themselves that they can only see from being close to the earth and creating a relationship with nature. She grew up in the warm loving community at Buffalo Cove as a camper and has been on staff since 2010.

Marlowe Crews

Marlowe Crews

Growing up, Marlowe spent most of her time exploring maritime forests and windswept marshlands on the island she calls home, part of the Outer Banks chain off the North Carolina coast.  When she graduated high school she felt a gravitational tug towards the rugged but nurturing power of the Appalachian Mountains.  Currently Marlowe is pursuing an interdisciplinary degree at Appalachian State University, exploring how to incorporate understanding of the juvenile justice and social welfare systems, expressive arts, wilderness experiences, and sustainability to create a practical approach of providing aftercare to youth who have survived commercial sexual exploitation.  Her curiosities that propel an intense desire to learn also fuel a thirst for adventuring in the natural world.  Small details of life provide considerable inspiration- a notion that Marlowe weaves into conversations with others and her artistic dabbling. 

Rae Filsinger

Rae Filsinger

Rae is driven by the power of images as a vehicle for social change and community action. Upon graduating film school in August 2005, she worked with many non-profits and grassroots organizations, including Common Ground Relief in Louisiana, where their motto “Solidarity Not Charity” resonated. Her current goals are to remain active in youth advocacy, community development and documentary arts. Rae is now nuzzled in the Appalachian culture of North Carolina and for the first time, feels roots sprouting down from her ramblin’ wheels.

Dani Destiche

Dani Destiche

Dani Destiche is an Outdoor Education student with a love for animals and nature and an adventurous spirit. She has worked at Buffalo Cove for two summers and already calls camp a home away from home. Although she is in her twenties, at gatherings you will most likely find Dani at the kids table; she loves working with and being around kids and their youthful spirits! Dani has a keen interest in physical activity and the human body and is an avid distance runner. She is currently living and studying in Australia, but she plans to return to Buffalo Cove in the future!

John Pasquina

John Pasquina

John Pasquina first came to Buffalo Cove during the summer of 2008. He is sort of a jack of all trades and has spent many hours working close to the land, building cabins, working wood, always trying to deepen his understanding of the universe through interaction with people and places. John is a pursuer of knowledge on his quest for truth.  He has hiked many miles in the back woods, owned his own “pedi-cab” business (that’s bicycle driven taxis), and studied healing arts from elders in the Peruvian mountains.  His experiences in life allow him a wonderful perspective in his relationships with others.  When not working with kids, you will most likely find John meditating in some secluded place of natural beauty.  He is currently beginning his studies along the path of becoming a certified Yoga instructor.