Instructors

Photo of John Peirce

John Peirce

John began woodworking in earnest in 1985 when he apprenticed with Maine furniture maker David Margonelli. About the same time he discovered green woodworking. Guided by books by Drew Langsner, J Alexander and Roy Underhill, he started with post and rung chairs and snowshoes. Over the years has made spoons, kuksas, wooden skis, and other items beginning with a freshly cut tree rather than lumber yard wood.…Read More

John began woodworking in earnest in 1985 when he apprenticed with Maine furniture maker David Margonelli. About the same time he discovered green woodworking. Guided by books by Drew Langsner, J Alexander and Roy Underhill, he started with post and rung chairs and snowshoes. Over the years has made spoons, kuksas, wooden skis, and other items beginning with a freshly cut tree rather than lumber yard wood. Currently John does cabinets and carpentry as Boreal Woodworks to pay the bills, but for fun he works on boats, bowls, and bodgers benches!

Photo of Marisa Peña

Marisa Peña

Marisa Peña, Program Manager, Stone's Throw Born and raised in the Philippines, Marisa and her family moved to Chicago in 1998, where she earned a BAS in Culinary Management. Over the next decade, she worked in professional kitchens from fast food to fine dining. Marisa came to the village of Tok in 2013 for a summer job but soon fell in love with Alaska and decided to make Fairbanks her new home, where she currently lives with her significant other (who is also a chef), their dog Hagi and cat Izzy.…Read More

Marisa Peña, Program Manager, Stone’s Throw
Born and raised in the Philippines, Marisa and her family moved to Chicago in 1998, where she earned a BAS in Culinary Management. Over the next decade, she worked in professional kitchens from fast food to fine dining. Marisa came to the village of Tok in 2013 for a summer job but soon fell in love with Alaska and decided to make Fairbanks her new home, where she currently lives with her significant other (who is also a chef), their dog Hagi and cat Izzy. The Bread Line is Marisa’s first venture into the non-profit world and she is honored and excited to be part of an organization that makes positive changes in the Fairbanks community.

Photo of Don Pendergrast

Don Pendergrast

Don and Tracie Pendergrast are co-owners of the Alaska Canoe School. Don has been recreating in Alaska for 45 years. They have been enjoying Alaskan adventures together for over 25 years. Both on personal, work, and guided trips, they have organized many remote and road-based adventures; from weekend trips to multi-week expeditions. Their goal is to help others gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to get out and experience Alaska.Read More

Don and Tracie Pendergrast are co-owners of the Alaska Canoe School. Don has been recreating in Alaska for 45 years. They have been enjoying Alaskan adventures together for over 25 years. Both on personal, work, and guided trips, they have organized many remote and road-based adventures; from weekend trips to multi-week expeditions. Their goal is to help others gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to get out and experience Alaska.

Photo of Tracie Pendergrast

Tracie Pendergrast

Don and Tracie Pendergrast are co-owners of the Alaska Canoe School. They have been enjoying Alaskan adventures together for over 25 years. Both on personal, work, and guided trips, they have organized many remote and road-based adventures; from weekend trips to multi-week expeditions. Their goal is to help others gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to get out and experience Alaska.…Read More

Don and Tracie Pendergrast are co-owners of the Alaska Canoe School. They have been enjoying Alaskan adventures together for over 25 years. Both on personal, work, and guided trips, they have organized many remote and road-based adventures; from weekend trips to multi-week expeditions. Their goal is to help others gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to get out and experience Alaska. Tracie has also been combining two of her favorite things, food and wilderness canoe canoeing, for over 20 years. Whether it be on a journey for two over a long weekend journey, or a longer fly-in expedition for 10, she is dedicated to never eating another pre-packaged, freeze-dried meal again.

Photo of Tony Perelli

Tony Perelli

I’m excited about art and handcraft, teaching and learning, and about nature and wild places.  To me, all of these things are connected and influence each other in my life. Most recently I’ve been working on wooden plates, bowls and spoons, objects for daily use.  I love working with wood as a way to interact with nature and also a way to create objects for everyday use at the same time.…

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I’m excited about art and handcraft, teaching and learning, and about nature and wild places.  To me, all of these things are connected and influence each other in my life.
Most recently I’ve been working on wooden plates, bowls and spoons, objects for daily use.  I love working with wood as a way to interact with nature and also a way to create objects for everyday use at the same time.
I’m interested in including more handmade, natural objects in our lives as well as the process of teaching and learning together.
I have studied and carved with Bill Coppertwaite & Jarrod Dahl and have a teaching degree & teaching certificate from the state of Alaska. I have taught carving skills in Eagle River, Anchorage, Fairbanks, McCarthy, Homer, Seldovia, Tatitlek & Nuuciq culture camps.
I also do work with clay, making functional ceramics that complement the wood work I do.
My path to art and craft has included living and working in various residencies with potters, woodturners, carvers, and homesteaders.
I’ve been an educator at all levels, teaching woodcarving, packrafting, wilderness travel, and special needs physical education. Originally from Wisconsin, I currently live in a small home on the edge of the Chugach mountains with a yurt that serves as my workshop.
When not making things I like to explore and adventure by foot, ski, & packraft all over Alaska.
See more info and work at tonyperelli.org

Photo of Liann Peryea

Liann Peryea

Liann Peryea, Production Chef, Stone's Throw Liann has 15 years experience in the food service industry and has been an avid home cook all her life. After graduating Stone’s Throw in December 2015, she went on to work with the Chartwell Team at UAF. She also has been involved in several high profile local food event such as Arctic Science Summit Week 2016, Arctic Interchange 2017, and Sotomayor 2016.…Read More

Liann Peryea, Production Chef, Stone’s Throw
Liann has 15 years experience in the food service industry and has been an avid home cook all her life. After graduating Stone’s Throw in December 2015, she went on to work with the Chartwell Team at UAF. She also has been involved in several high profile local food event such as Arctic Science Summit Week 2016, Arctic Interchange 2017, and Sotomayor 2016. She now leads the Fairbanks Summer Food Program through Stone Soup and is the Production Chef for the Stone’s Throw Program.

Photo of Robert Prince

Robert Prince

Rob Prince is an Associate Professor in the Communication & Journalism Department teaching courses in video production and documentary film making. In 2014 he created Dark Winter Nights: True Stories from Alaska with the goal of sharing the real Alaska with the world. Since then the live show has drawn audiences of over 800 to Hering Auditorium and the podcast has over 1000 subscribers.Read More

Rob Prince is an Associate Professor in the Communication & Journalism Department teaching courses in video production and documentary film making. In 2014 he created Dark Winter Nights: True Stories from Alaska with the goal of sharing the real Alaska with the world. Since then the live show has drawn audiences of over 800 to Hering Auditorium and the podcast has over 1000 subscribers.

Photo of Leila Pyle

Leila Pyle

Leila Pyle is a local artist and outdoor educator. She teaches environmental education at Calypso Farm in the summers, and she is passionate about connecting people to nature and the place where they live. In her free time loves to experiment with a variety of different art mediums. These include drawing, painting, bookmaking, printmaking, and fiber arts like knitting and felting.Read More

Leila Pyle is a local artist and outdoor educator. She teaches environmental education at Calypso Farm in the summers, and she is passionate about connecting people to nature and the place where they live. In her free time loves to experiment with a variety of different art mediums. These include drawing, painting, bookmaking, printmaking, and fiber arts like knitting and felting.

Photo of Nita Rae

Nita Rae

I'm a musher and I love living in Fairbanks, Alaska. I've always enjoyed hand crafts of every type and anything done outdoors. Raised on a farm in NC, I learned early in life to make do with what was on hand - gardening and processing foods and taking care of farm animals.Read More

I’m a musher and I love living in Fairbanks, Alaska. I’ve always enjoyed hand crafts of every type and anything done outdoors. Raised on a farm in NC, I learned early in life to make do with what was on hand – gardening and processing foods and taking care of farm animals.

Photo of Jim Richardson

Jim Richardson

Jim is a retired general contractor. Most of the work he did was residential.Read More

Jim is a retired general contractor. Most of the work he did was residential.

Photo of Jess Rykken

Jess Rykken

Jess Rykken has been exploring and documenting insect diversity in Alaska for more than ten years. Currently she manages the insect collections at the Museum of the North. She has also worked as an entomologist for the Alaska Center for Conservation Science at UAA and for Denali National Park. Over the last ten years she has led field surveys for insect pollinators across the state, from the Stikine River to the Brooks Range.…Read More

Jess Rykken has been exploring and documenting insect diversity in Alaska for more than ten years. Currently she manages the insect collections at the Museum of the North. She has also worked as an entomologist for the Alaska Center for Conservation Science at UAA and for Denali National Park. Over the last ten years she has led field surveys for insect pollinators across the state, from the Stikine River to the Brooks Range. Jess also enjoys sharing her fascination and enthusiasm for insects with a diversity of audiences, including school kids, teachers, conservationists, musicians, artists, tourists, and bus drivers.

Photo of Chelsea S.

Chelsea S.

Chelsea S. grew up in Southern Appalachia and began teaching nature-based education as a teenager while working for a North Carolina State Park . Through 20 years of educating in outdoor classrooms, she has gained a deep love for the wonders of nature that enter our daily lives in countless ways. She enjoys sharing her discoveries about the connections between the natural world and our personal experiences in everyday life.…Read More

Chelsea S. grew up in Southern Appalachia and began teaching nature-based education as a teenager while working for a North Carolina State Park . Through 20 years of educating in outdoor classrooms, she has gained a deep love for the wonders of nature that enter our daily lives in countless ways. She enjoys sharing her discoveries about the connections between the natural world and our personal experiences in everyday life. Upon moving to Alaska, Chelsea began cultivating a growing interest in fiber arts, from sheep to loom and beyond. As a volunteer and Farm and Forest Educator at Calypso Farm, she has taken every opportunity to share her growing knowledge and skills. Chelsea believes that everything- from family growth and heritage to cooking and crafting or even spirituality, contains an element of nature to be acknowledged and cherished. As the owner of Cultivate Family Support Services LLC, she strives to help families understand and embrace this simple but empowering truth as a doula, health coach, childbirth and nature-play educator.

Photo of Megan Schulze

Megan Schulze

Megan Schulze is the business owner and full time farmer behind Frontieress Farm. With sustainablity at heart, she strives to feed both body and soul with the growth of local produce while exploring and delving deep into the beautiful world of specialty cut flowers. She dedicates a portion of her field to being harvested and dried into material used for artistic, handmade crafts that endure well past the short Alaskan growing season.…Read More

Megan Schulze is the business owner and full time farmer behind Frontieress Farm. With sustainablity at heart, she strives to feed both body and soul with the growth of local produce while exploring and delving deep into the beautiful world of specialty cut flowers. She dedicates a portion of her field to being harvested and dried into material used for artistic, handmade crafts that endure well past the short Alaskan growing season. Visit http://www.frontieressfarm.com for more information.

Photo of Christie Shell

Christie Shell

Christie is an avid knitter, fiber enthusiast and one of the farmers at Calypso Farm and Ecology Center.  She has been teaching knitting and other fiber arts at Calypso for several years.Read More

Christie is an avid knitter, fiber enthusiast and one of the farmers at Calypso Farm and Ecology Center.  She has been teaching knitting and other fiber arts at Calypso for several years.

Photo of Katie Skotnicki

Katie Skotnicki

If there is a craft to be made, Katie has probably tried it! However, embroidery is a strong constant in her life, with over 10 years of experience. Relatively new to Fairbanks, Katie takes the wilderness around her as inspiration into her decorative embroideries. With the mindset of "using what already exists," most of her embroidery art is low to no waste and made from recycled materials.Read More

If there is a craft to be made, Katie has probably tried it! However, embroidery is a strong constant in her life, with over 10 years of experience. Relatively new to Fairbanks, Katie takes the wilderness around her as inspiration into her decorative embroideries. With the mindset of “using what already exists,” most of her embroidery art is low to no waste and made from recycled materials.

Photo of Frank Soos

Frank Soos

In Memoriam Frank Soos was the 2015 Alaska State Laureate Writer and instructed creative writing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for nearly two decades. Frank was author of several books, including several Bamboo Fly Rod Suite (essays) and a book of essays from the University of Washington Press.Read More

In Memoriam

Frank Soos was the 2015 Alaska State Laureate Writer and instructed creative writing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for nearly two decades. Frank was author of several books, including several Bamboo Fly Rod Suite (essays) and a book of essays from the University of Washington Press.

Photo of Brian Sprague

Brian Sprague

Brian Sprague is a lifelong woodworker and hand tool enthusiast. Brought up in rural Michigan, his occupations have ranged from white collar engineer to aircraft mechanic to fuels crew sawyer, and counting. He is particularly fond of tree work and began running a saw at the age of 12 (It was a Stihl.).Read More

Brian Sprague is a lifelong woodworker and hand tool enthusiast. Brought up in rural Michigan, his occupations have ranged from white collar engineer to aircraft mechanic to fuels crew sawyer, and counting. He is particularly fond of tree work and began running a saw at the age of 12 (It was a Stihl.).

Photo of Marianne Stolz

Marianne Stolz

Marianne was born and raised in Germany where she completed a wood carving apprenticeship. Her passion for mountains and ice climbing brought her to Alaska in 1985. She now works as a professional wood carver, ice carver and artist.Read More

Marianne was born and raised in Germany where she completed a wood carving apprenticeship. Her passion for mountains and ice climbing brought her to Alaska in 1985. She now works as a professional wood carver, ice carver and artist.

Photo of Christin Swearingen

Christin Swearingen

Christin Swearingen is a volunteer mycologist for the Fungal Diversity Survey. She has degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies from Oberlin College, and earned a master’s degree from UAF from 2013-2016. There she learned mushroom identification from the esteemed mycologist Dr. Gary Laursen. She works at the Northern Alaska Environmental Center and Interior Alaska Land Trust to protect habitat for all types of wildlife, including fungi.Read More

Christin Swearingen is a volunteer mycologist for the Fungal Diversity Survey. She has degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies from Oberlin College, and earned a master’s degree from UAF from 2013-2016. There she learned mushroom identification from the esteemed mycologist Dr. Gary Laursen. She works at the Northern Alaska Environmental Center and Interior Alaska Land Trust to protect habitat for all types of wildlife, including fungi.

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Danielle Symons

Hi, my name is Danielle Symons. I moved to Alaska back in 2017 and fell in love with its beauty. I picked up a crochet hook for the first time in 2020 and since then have developed a passion for fiber art. My craft grew into a business where I make cute little stuffies and home decor items, but I must say my passion is making and designing clothing.Read More

Hi, my name is Danielle Symons. I moved to Alaska back in 2017 and fell in love with its beauty. I picked up a crochet hook for the first time in 2020 and since then have developed a passion for fiber art. My craft grew into a business where I make cute little stuffies and home decor items, but I must say my passion is making and designing clothing.