OUR TEAM

Thom Henley

Executive Director

Thom Henley is the recipient of six national and international conservation and human rights awards.  In 1974 he launched the largest environmental campaign in Canadian history, the 13-year successful effort to save the southern third of the Queen Charlotte Archipelage from clear-cut logging.  Together with Haida friends and elders, he founded the Rediscovery program in 1978 to help youth from all cultures discover their inner strengths, celebrate their cultural differences, and renew a deep love and respect for the Earth.  Today there are more than forty Rediscovery programs throughout the world.

If there is an accomplishment for which Thom is most proud, it is the honor of being adopted and formally given names by indigenous peoples in many remote part of the world.  He has been adpoted by the Haida in Haida Gwaii (Canada), the Penan in Sarawak (Borneo), the Mentawai in Siberut (Indonesia), the Newari in Bhatapur (Nepal), as well as by families in Thailand and Tibet.

Nicole Lemmo

Business Operations Director

After a successful career in the financial markets, Nicole sought a different experience and in 2010 arrived to Thailand as a US Peace Corps Volunteer focusing on community based development.  Her work with ITWNE allows her to use her business skills for good and engage her continuing interest in educational tourism. Nicole’s deep passion for nature conservation, cultural immersion and Earth stewardship encourages her to share life’s diversity with others.

Napatch ‘Phat’ Phonthaisong

Executive Director Assistant

Pat has been working with ITWNE for the past 10 years. He received wilderness first aid certification and lifesaving training at United World College in Canada, and has been twice recertified in Thailand and at an ITWNE Training program in Lake Toba, Sumatra. In April 2016 he completed the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s guide training program for both yellow and pink card certifications.

THAILAND

Mana ‘A’ Sareewong

Thailand

Mana has been working with our company since its inception 15-years ago. He has completed formal leadership guide training at United World College in Canada in Wilderness First Aid and Bronze Medallion Lifesaving. He has completed the ITWNE Guide Training course in Sumatra, Indonesia on April 2014. In March 2016 he has received his second successful training in Red Cross First Aid and Lifesaving in Thailand.

Pisit ‘Oh’ Ponpakburanakit

Thailand

Pisit has been employed by ITWNE for nearly 15-years. He is a professional Tourism Authority of Thailand guide with daily experience looking after client safety on boat trips to Phi Phi Island. Oh attended Leadership Development Training at United World College in Canada where he was first certified in wilderness first aid and Bronze Medallion lifesaving. In March 2016 he has received his second successful training in Red Cross First Aid and Lifesaving in Thailand.

Petchrung ‘Aey’ Sukpong

Thailand

Aey has been leading trips for ITWNE for 1 year now and is a wealth of information.  She holds a MA in Environmental Planning for Community and Rural Development from Mahidol University in Thailand and has over 10 years experience in coastal planning and marine conservation in Southern Thailand.  Aey is a specialist in environmental education and awareness creation for youth.  In her free time she is an active member of Green Fins Thailand and an avid free diver.

Kamphon ‘Jaka’ Samphao-olan

Thailand

When he is not leading trips as a Tourism Authority of Thailand Guide, Jaka spends his time as the assistant village head-man of his Black Lahoo hill-tribe in Northern Thailand.  He is a father of two and resides in a beautiful hill tribe village nestled in the mountains outside of Pai.  He is fluent in three languages and always has interests games to play with students during trips. He is certified in first aid and a qualified rafting guide.

Silarit ‘John’ Sinsaithai

Thailand

John, a member of the Red Lahoo hill-tribe of Northern Thailand, is the newest member of the ITWNE staff and has lead trips for 1 year.  He a registered Tourism Authority of Thailand guide and have received certification in First Aid and Lifeguarding at Phuket in 2016.  John comes from a hill-tribe family in Northern Thailand that own and operates a thriving organic farm.

INDONESIA

Ratna Nisa Rahmatun

Indonesia

Ratna Nisa grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia in a warm and traditional Indonesian family culture, where her values and love of climbing and the outdoors developed. She has been climbing professionally since 2005 and working in environmental education since 2008. Her experiences include working as an assistant teacher specialist focusing on Green Study at the Green School Bali and a senior camp instructor at Green Camp Bali. She is certified in First Aid, AED, CPR, and as a Leave No Trace Trainer.  She currently resides in Bali and have traveled to the USA, Spain and Malaysia.

Bolmi Keluig

Indonesia

Bolmi Kelung is a young man of Minahasa tribal descent who assists with our “Super Natural Sulawesi” trips on his island homeland.  Born the only child to parents in northeast Sulawesi, he has completed his studies at Manado Polythenic Institute in English and Scuba Diving,  becoming a Dive Master and instructor in the growing ecotourism industry.

Bolmi has been working with Nature Ed for over 5 years with diving and rafting trips, where he has honed his skills with one of the world’s best rescue teams.

Dedi Brunoto ‘Jungle Edie’

Indonesia

The son of a poor rubber tapping family in Sumatra, Dedi Brunoto was bitterly disappointed when his family could no longer afford sending him to school where he was excelling as a student.  At age 13 he made the tropical rainforest of Gunung Leuser National Park his  new classroom and started guiding to help support his family.

Dedi came up with his own costume of jungle leaves and adopted the name ‘Jungle Edie’ to become the iconic figure that is known and loved by students on our “North Sumatra Safari” adventures.

Revolo Neki Caniago ‘Neki’

Indonesia

Neki is a young man of Minangkabau ancestry who grew up fishing off the shore of West Sumatra with his father.  An accomplished surfer and ocean explorer, Neki has worked as a guide since he was in his teens.

Now an official Indonesian tour guide, Neki joined the Nature Ed team in 2011.  He helps lead our trips on the island of Sumatra and is know for his playful sense of humor and competent leadership, making a trip with Neki a fun learning experience.

Ishan Junaldi ‘Sunny’

Indonesia

Ishan’s personal motto “Do the best!” seems to influence every aspect of his life.  Holding a Bachelor of Law Degree and a black belt Taekwondo 2nd Dan, Ishan has disciplined himself to a high level, and loves sharing his passion with the local youth.

Speaking Dutch and English, as well as his native Bahasa Indonesian, Ishan is in demand as an interpreter, having served in that capacity with relief organizations and the Australian Defense Force in Padang.

Gonsales Mbagar

Indonesia

Gonsales Mbagar is a native of the Manggarai tribe of Flores Island who grew up in a traditional village rich in ancient customs and traditions. A graduate of the Tourism High School on Flores, Gonsales apprenticed for four months at a travel agency in Labuan Bajo and has worked as a freelance tour guide for several years.

A young, well-informed and reliable guide on our “Islands of Hobbits & Dragons” trip, Gonsales lives firmly by the motto that customer satisfaction is his main priority.

BHUTAN

Pelden Wangchuk

Bhutan

Pelden is the beloved Bhutanese “brother” that has been the leader of our adult trips and student groups over the past several years. With his soft-spoken manner and Bhutanese warmth, he welcomes our guests into his country and into his heart.  Pelden has worked as a professional guide in Bhutan for many years for his uncle’s company ‘Bhutan Classic Tours & Treks’ and knows every aspect of Bhutan’s rich natural and cultural history. He had the distinct honor of attending the Royal Coronation of Bhutan’s King and is held in high esteem in the communities we visit on our Bhutan ‘Lessons From the Land of Happiness’ trips.

CAMBODIA

Ty An

Cambodia

Khmer brother, Ty, has helped to guide and impart Cambodia hospitality and culture on our trips for 2 years.  Born just outside Siem Reap, he comes from an eight person family who work as rice farmers in a very rural area.  While studying to finish his university education in Stung Treng, Ty also works with our partner Mekong Bird Resort.  He is an avid kayaker and teaches extra curricular English at a local school on the Mekong as part of an ITWNE service project!  He has been certified in Lifeguarding and First Aid in Phuket, Thailand.

UGANDA

Tumwesigye Tomas

Uganda

Tomas is proud to welcome guests to his country, Uganda, where he hails from the Mukiga tribe.  His work experience in tourism, with the Uganada Wildlife Authority, helps him while leading trips on safari and to pursue his passion of environmental and cultural conservation.  Tomas has received a bachelors degree in Development Studies with a focus on law, especially environmental and constitutional law as well as winning awards for addressing geology and ecology restoration, poaching and conservation issues within Africa’s National Parks and the rights of Batwa People (also know as African Pygmies.)

SRI LANKA

Kasun Jayawickrama

Sri Lanka

Karuna Durayalage Kasun Madushanka Jayawickrama, nicknamed ‘Kasun’ certainly has the longest name of any of our staff. Born in March1992, this young Sri Lankan man has had a wealth of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry having worked as a waiter, cook, receptionist and guide at prestigious hotels throughout his native island.  Certified as a professional guide since 2014, Kasun now leads our student trips in Sri Lanka…sharing with them his love of culture, history and nature. Diligently attending to every detail on our trips, Kasun is a master at solving logistical problems and easy to embrace as a Sinhalese ‘brother’ and friend.

NEPAL

Harish Koju

Nepal

A Newari of Bhaktapur, Nepal, Harish is the master guide on our Nepal adventures.  Harish has led people from all over the world on extensive treks through the high Himalayas but is most admired for his charming manners and open-door-hospitality.  Harish doesn’t just guide our groups, he takes them into his home as family and into his heart as friends.

Harish and his family are highly respected in their community for housing and feeding over 300 residents of Bhaktapur for many months that were left homeless following the most destructive earthquake in Nepal’s history.

Ariestotle Raj Maharjan

Nepal

At age 13, Aristotle is by far our youngest apprentice staff person. The nephew of our Nepal trip leader Harish Koju, this young man has already impressed guests on our Nepal trips with his comprehensive knowledge of his Newari culture and history.  A student at Kathmandu’s Premier International School, Ariestotle has been the winner of several essay competitions as well as an award winning athlete in soccer, cricket and basketball.  His goal in life is to grow tall enough to ‘dunk’ and to become a professional guide sharing his love and enthusiasm for his homeland with visitors from around the world.

CANADA

Wade Charlie

Canada

Wade Charlie descends from the Gwa’sala-Nakwaxda’xw tribe of coastal British Columbia.  The proud father of five, Wade has been firmly grounded in his First National Culture his entire life.  He was a participant on the Rediscovery program at the Rediscovery International Foundation’s “Outdoor Leardership Development Training” held annually at United World College of the Pacific.

Rosalyn Starr

Canada

Rosalyn is a hereditary chief of the Fireweed Clan of the Gitksan Nation whose ancestral lands embrace much of northern British Columbia.  Rosalyn is our First Nation lead facilitator on our “Grizzlies and Glaciers” expedition.  Rosalyn has served as program director of Anspayxw Rediscovery for many years in the wilderness areas of northern British Columbia.  She has a wealth of traditional knowledge and is open to sharing her rich culture with others in a gentle and motherly fashion.

GUYANA

Kevin Edwards

Guyana

Kevin is a Makushi tribesperson from Guyana that had the rare opportunity to travel to Canada as part of an indigenous exchange program. There he met Thom Henley and attended the opening ceremony of the Soaring Spirits Camp in northern British Columbia.  Now the father of two children, Kevin grew up at the famous Kanarabu Lodge where his parents worked for Diane McTurk, a local woman that gained international recognition for her work in saving the endangered Giant Otters of the Amazon.

Kevin’s life-long knowledge and passion for his traditional territories along with many years professionally guiding visitors from around the world to the region, makes him an outstanding addition to our team.

Elwin Williams

Guyana

Elwin is a young Arawak man from Guyana who hails from the Amerindian settlement of Santa Mission established along Kamuni Creek in 1858. Firmly grounded in his indigenous tradition, Elwin is the Arawak guide on our “Going Wild in Guyana’ trip. He teaches students how to fish, hunt with bow and arrows, find edible plants and traditional medicines in the rainforest and how to prepare cassava.

When not working with ITWNE, Elwin is employed as a professional Guide at Arrowpoint Lodge, an eco-tourism lodge run by the people of Santa Mission.

TRIP LEADERS

Thom Henley

Trip Leader

Having founded ‘In Touch With Nature Education’ Thom has scouted every trip we offer, developed 45 itineraries and leads student and adult groups on most of them. A hopeless wanderer himself, he has traveled to 133 countries and loves sharing his enthusiasm for different destinations and cultures with others.

The author and co-author of 13 books, Thom Henley has presented leadership, cultural and environmental education workshops in schools throughout the world and been a keynote speaker at international conferences on four continents.  He has been adopted and formally given names by eight indigenous tribes in six countries… tributes he values more than any other.

Nicole Lemmo

Trip Leader

Nicole has been leading ITWNE trips for over 5 years.  Her  7 years experience of living in Thailand and fluent Thai language skills, have made her well equipped to lead trips in Thailand and Laos.  She is currently expanding her capabilities to include leading trips in Cambodia and Malaysia.  She enjoys sharing the benefits of her experience of moving from a financial career in the big city to working in educational and eco tourism in the outdoors with students on each trip.

Alex Arbess Joy

Trip Leader

Alex has been leading trips for Thom Henley’s In Touch With Nature Education programs since 2010 in Indonesia and Thailand. Having been a participant in Mr. Henley’s Rediscovery camps since a young child, he knows first hand the benefit of outdoor education. Alex has extensively explored Indonesia on land and by sea since he was a child.  He currently resides in Bali working in the music industry.

Alex specializes in leading trips to North Sumatra and Sulawesi, where his Bahasa Indonesian language skills allow him to work with the local community on service projects with groups.

Contact Us