Meet The Staff
Lily Conrad - Guide and Support Staff
A Georgia native, Lily has been in Raleigh/Durham for almost 3 years now. When not traveling for work she is outdoors as much as possible. She begin leading trips in college while a part of the GA State competitive rock climbing team. Seeking to expand her guide knowledge she began leading hiking and backpacking trips for the GA State outdoors recreation program. After moving to Raleigh for a job she found Frog Hollow the perfect fit to match her love for the outdoors and major in hospitality to continue her learning and growing in the outdoor excursions industry. Her next career plan is to make outdoor excursions her full time career. Come find her out on the water!
Jesse Cox - Summer Intern
Jesse (on right) grew up in Rocky Mount, NC and has also spent time living SC and HI. He's lived in Raleigh since 2015 where he is finishing a degree at NC State in Park and Natural Resource Management. Jesse is a US Army Veteran, Eagle Scout, and Wilderness First Responder and he is passionate about environmental education and bicycle friendly infrastructure. He is phan of seeing live music and a life long baseball enthusiast who along with his father and brother, has been to every Major League Baseball stadium! Jesse loves recreating in the out of doors where he enjoys rock climbing, mountain biking, camping, and hiking with his dog, Liberty. He loves talking with and meeting new people and is excited to help facilitate your own adventure!
Banks Dixon - Original Frog Hollower
Banks began the first inception of Frog Hollow in 1998 as a very tiny side business. In 2006 he re-envisioned the business to become his full time work. Banks has worked as an outdoor guide, instructor, and environmentalist since the late 80s, doing work such as the Adventure Director for Camp Frederick in OH facilitating team-building workshops through low and high ropes courses, river trips and caving expeditions, and Stewardship Coordinator for the Triangle Land Conservancy managing land and volunteers. He is an Eagle Scout, a trained National Outdoor Leadership Schools (NOLS) Outdoor Educator, American Canoe Association (ACA) Kayak Instructor, and a Wilderness First Responder (WFR). His personal travels include numerous larger expeditions, highlights of these include: thru-hiking the AT, climbing Mt. Rainier, traversing the Baja, trekking the Annapurna’s in Nepal, and kayaking the Grand Canyon. Banks is committed to helping clients gain a greater respect and understanding of themselves, others, and their environment through outdoor adventure based activities.
Michael Feigin - Support Guide and Support Staff
Michael is the one with a strange accent. If you ask him where he is from he stumbles. Born in Hungary, grew up in Moscow, USSR, moved to Israel, and then to the US. Growing up Michael went flat-water kayaking and camping with his parents often and learnt early on that it doesn't matter how uncomfortable your sleeping arrangements are as long as it's outside. He enjoys everything snow related, he grew up going cross-country skiing at least twice a week during winter, and after he moved to the States he picked up downhill skiing. Michael came to Frog Hollow Outdoor after taking an Eno River trip and Kayak Fundamentals class. Michael is a graduate of Technion - Israel Institute of Technology and also has a MBA from NC State's Jenkins MBA Program. He speaks three languages - Russian, Hebrew, and English. He loves being outdoors and wants to share his passion with others. Michael lives in Raleigh area with his wife and kids. Usually, Michael is very quiet, but if you ask him where one can ski while avoiding the crowds, you wake him up.
Ben Herman - Lead Guide and Instructor
Originally from Asheville, NC, where he grew up backpacking, hiking, creek walking and playing outside. Ben is a graduate from NC State University in Parks, Recreation and Tourism with a minor in Outdoor Leadership where his love for being outside was given a purpose. Ben enjoys traveling the world, kayaking in every country he has been, and going on new adventures. In his spare time, Ben can likely be found climbing, kayaking/canoeing, hiking, planning trips across the state, and exploring what the Raleigh/Durham area has to offer with good friends. He looks forward helping people learn skills for a lifetime on the water!
Kelsey Kirwan - Support Guide ad Support Staff
Kelsey was born in Durham, NC. She grew up exploring the Eno River and surrounding areas. She graduated from Appalachian State University with a BS in Sustainable Development and Outdoor Experiential Education. She worked at a Non-Profit adventure program in Boone, NC for four years while in school, gaining experience creating and leading adventure programs for high school students. She loves all activities water related. Her passion is going on adventures with her water dog, Raven, whether it is rock climbing, hiking, lounging or swimming in the river.
Ethan Knowles - Guide and Support Staff
Ethan Knowles was born in Lexington, North Carolina but currently resides in Raleigh. He is an undergraduate at NC State University where he majors in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management and has a concentration in Natural Resources. Ethan loves everything to do with the outdoors and has many large trips planned for his near future, including an Appalachian Trail thru hike in 2018. When not at Frog Hollow Ethan can be found wandering about the Raleigh/Durham area searching for the best food NC has to offer.
Bryan Lesko - Lead Guide and Instructor
Originally from Central Illinois, Bryan moved to North Carolina in 1995 and joined the Frog Hollow staff in 2011. Although Bryan is an IT consultant by day, he finds his true passion in the great outdoors. He enjoys visiting the National Parks and cycling with his wife, Emily, backpacking with his friends, and kayaking with his Frog Hollow family. Bryan is also a certified Wilderness First Responder, so you’ll be in good hands with him around! Affectionately nicknamed Quiet Riot by Frog Hollow, Bryan is laid back, patient and meticulous, but don’t let his quiet demeanor fool you; you’re guaranteed to have a fun time on any trip he guides!
Jordan Ludwick - Lead Guide and Instructor
Jordan is an undergraduate student at NC State University currently studying Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management. He is an eagle scout and has always had a passion for outdoor recreation. Jordan grew up in Northeast Ohio, spending much of his childhood and adolescent years trout fishing and hiking in the central Pennsylvania mountains. Since then, Jordan has worked for North Carolina State Parks and Wake County Parks providing recreation opportunities for visitors and managing park resources. In his spare time, Jordan can likely be found riding his bicycle, backpacking in the Appalachian mountains, or dropping a line at a local fishing hole.
Sandro Mendoza – Guide and Support Staff
Sandro was born in San Pabilto Puebla, Mexico and grew up in Durham. He is very active in his community, always willing to help out and volunteer for whatever is needed (you can check out some of his volunteer handywork on the mural that is on the side of Torrero's at the corner of Main and Duke St). He speaks three languages: Otomi, Spanish and English. In his free time he enjoys being outside, playing soccer, and being in a kayak or canoe. Sandro enjoys working at our West Point Outpost, come by and say hello sometime.
Avi Mondragon - Guide and Support Staff
Avi is from Mexico, but grew up in Durham, North Carolina. She is a graduate of Durham School of the Arts and hopes to create a career in Media Studies. During her free time she enjoys reading all types of books, from East of Eden by John Steinbeck to the Harry Potter series. Sic-fi is her favorite genre of television, Doctor Who, Star trek, Star Wars and The X-files are among her most-liked. Being outside is somewhat like meditating for her, a long run with David Bowie music is her favorite way to think. She began working for Frog Hollow in 2016, and finds kayaking and canoeing a great way to enjoy nature and exercise.
Stephen Mullaney - Lead Guide and Instructor
Stephen Mullaney has worked internationally with schools, organizations and wilderness programs. His classrooms have ranged from dilapidated trailers at overcrowded, underfunded schools to the Himalayan mountains and lots in between. His students include K-12, former gang members/prisoners and education majors and professors . Stephen's philosophy is to focus on the development of positive working and learning environments. Stephen brings over 20 years of education experience and understanding of human nature to bring positive change to any organization, whether it is an education institution or a private company. He prefers to arrive by bicycle and sit in the dirt.
Julian Phelps - Guide and Support Staff
Julian began working at Frog Hollow in 2015. He was born Gainesville Florida and grew up in the Hillsborough-Durham area, residing in the country where he continues to explore the great outdoors through nature walks, gardening, camping, and paddling. He graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne University with a degree in Studio Art minoring in Art Therapy, Creative Writing, and Psychology and plans to pursue a Masters in Art Therapy Counseling. While not outdoors, he is painting and showing his art at his studio Phelps Phine Art in downtown Durham.
Jewell Pratt - Summer Intern
Jewell Pratt was born in Greensboro, North Carolina but she is currently living in Raleigh. She is an undergraduate student at North Carolina State University where she majors in Sport Management and minors in Business Administration. Jewell is passionate about utilizing sport and recreation as a means for social change. While not working, she spends most of her time volunteering with several community organizations and learning the art of graphic design. Jewell is a new member of the Frog Hollow team, joining in the summer of 2018. She is excited to gain valuable knowledge about the outdoor recreation industry and give people the opportunity to engage in exciting leisure activities!
Josh Prior – Rock Climbing Guide and Instruction
Josh has been working in the outdoor industry for over a decade. He has been a trip leader, lead instructor, and field director. He's spent over 1,000 days in the field with various age groups, primarily adolescents. He maintains a WFR certification and is aspiring to obtain his EMT. Currently he spends his time being a father of two handsome boys, managing a small residential woodworking company, and taking every opportunity to get out and explore.
Lauren Rouse - Support Guide and Support Staff
Lauren discovered her love for the outdoors a couple of years after college while attending the annual Festival for the Eno. From there, she started hiking around the Triangle at various parks; Sal’s Branch at Umstead became her first favorite trail. Lauren and her now husband, Matt, became guests of Frog Hollow in 2012 when they took an Intro to Kayaking class. In 2018, Lauren joined the Frog Hollow family. Lauren loves to be on the water whenever she travels, including kayaking around Belize, whitewater rafting in Costa Rica, and snorkeling the Florida Keys. When she’s not outdoors, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends, volunteering in the community, and learning new things.
Forrest Stavish – Rock Climbing Guide and Instruction
Forrest grew up in western North Carolina, and currently resides In Hot Springs North Carolina. He was introduced to the outdoors at an early age, his father would take him backpacking and hiking as a young child. Forrest's first memory of backpacking was during a trip to Linville Gorge at the age of nine. Around the same time his father introduced him to rock climbing by taking him to the local climbing gym. It wasn’t until 2004 that he became serious about rock climbing, when his older brother took him bouldering at Rumbling Bald, later they went on a trip to Table Rock in Linville Gorge where he got on the rope for the first time, and he was hooked. In 2012 Forrest began instructing in the rock climbing discipline as well as working as field staff in the backcountry and is an American Mountain Guides Association Single Pitch certified instructor. He is a wilderness EMT as well as a NC registered EMT-B. He also volunteers with the Spring Creek Fire Department as Assistant Chief. He is also a National Association for Search and Rescue SARTECH II. Other than rock climbing his interests are in wilderness medicine, pre-hospital care, wildland and structural firefighting as well as search and rescue. He spends most of his free time with the fire department, rock climbing or just enjoying the outdoors, and also work for the NC Forest Service as a wildland firefighter.
Carly Stines - Guide and Instructor
If you want to know where Carly is, just look in the water! She is an avid year round competitive swimmer, summertime surfer, and kayaker. Her relationship with Frog Hollow started at age 11 taking Frog Hollow's Basic Kayaking classes, all the way up to Intro to Whitewater, later progressing to Guide in Training, and now a Junior Staff member. When she's not in the water, she loves all things outdoors, has a passion for keeping plastic out of the water, playing the Irish fiddle, and studying studying studying. Her soulmate is her dog Dingo, who is with her all the time (who loves the water too). When working at Frog Hollow, she can be found assisting with summer camps, night paddles, and some guided day trips. Future plans include college and more water, of course.
Susan Stines - Support Guide and Support Staff
Susan has spent the last 18 years raising Frog Hollow’s Carly Stines and her brother Ryan, along with keeping her toe in the waters of employment as an educator, nonprofit manager, or volunteering as a Girl Scout leader. In past career lives she has taught natural childbirth, cleaned up after 100 different species of animals, fought for clean water and air, and designed workshops on everything from environmental risk assessment to track and scat identification to inclusive play. On or in the water is her happy place with her favorite Frog Hollow memories being whitewater kayaking with her kids and Full Steam paddles with her husband. She just learned to surf and became a certified Paddlefit Core coach. She loves to learn and hopes to continue her collection of random certifications as a hobby. She might get a puppy when Carly goes to college…
Laura Stroud - Guide and Support Staff
Laura Stroud is a North Carolina native and grew up on the coast where she intermittently camped and kayaked and hiked. She has had the great pleasure of living in NC’s coast, piedmont, and mountains and has loved getting to know rivers in each part of the state. During a few years spent in Oregon, friends somehow convinced her that raft guiding, rock climbing, and snow camping were all reasonable and fun things for a human being to do. They were right, and she is eternally grateful to them. She’s learned that sharing with others your passion of outdoor pursuits is one of the best ways to fall even more in love with an activity or a place. She is so excited to have the privilege of sharing local lakes and rivers with NC’s residents!
Cathy Teasley – Lead Guide and Operations Support Staff
Cathy is a Durham native and fervent defender of her hometown. She has fond memories of exploring the Neuse River as a teenager before it was under Falls Lake. She was a Girl Scout leader in Durham for over 20 years, during that time she took great pride and pleasure in instilling a love of the outdoors in girls and other leaders. In addition to paddling she enjoys hiking, camping, gardening, snow skiing and animal rescue. Cathy can often be found on the Moutains-to-Sea trail or Kerr Lake. Her favorite Frog Hollow trips are the Paddle Under the Stars and Exploring NC river trips. When she is not working for Frog Hollow her favorite paddling trips are the Three Rivers Area and Tuckaseegee and Cashie Rivers as well as a few places she calls her "secret spots".
Natasha Teasley - Operations Guru & Jane of all Trades
Tasha is a Durham native. She is a graduate of Western Carolina University with a degree in Parks and Recreation Management with a concentration in Outdoor Leadership and Instruction, and is a member and alumni of the Wilderness Education Association. Although she was an active Girl Scout growing up it wasn’t until she joined the Canoe and Kayak team (on a dare) in college that she discovered her love of paddling. The next year she was helping teach for the team. Since then Tasha has guided caving and backpacking trips in the western part of North Carolina, as well as paddling trips all over the state. Her favorite Frog Hollow trips have been the overnights on Lake Jocassee and in the lower Roanoke River basin. She joined the Frog Hollow team in 2004 when working in the office meant sitting on the floor at a computer in a closet. When she isn’t in the office or on trips with Frog Hollow she enjoys snow skiing, running road and obstacle races, music festivals, and playing dress up with and throwing sticks for her rescue pit bull, Dove.
Rainbow Teasley - Lead Guide, Instructor, and Camp Programs Coordinator
Rainbow is a certified Recreational Therapist. She spent her childhood summers at Girl Scout Camp Graham on Kerr Lake, eventually becoming a staff member at camp, teaching canoeing, kayaking, sailing, and swimming. Rainbow graduated from Durham School of the Arts and Western Carolina University with a degree in Recreational Therapy. Rainbow brings to Frog Hollow years of experience as camp staff and a true love of the water. Her other interests include; cooking, gardening, singing, playing in the mud, baby sitting and playing with kids, and spending time with family