Camp Staff


Carlisle Rankin, Camp Muddy Sneakers Director, WNC Field Instructor
Carlisle Rankin
Camp Muddy Sneakers Director, Camp Muddy Sneakers Instructor, WNC Field Instructor

A native of NC, Carlisle was excited to return to the Blue Ridge Mountains after three great years teaching third grade in Nashville, Tennessee. After two years working in fundraising at Asheville School, she began working with Muddy Sneakers in the spring of 2014. Carlisle received her BA in Elementary Education from Centre College and is currently a graduate student in Environmental Education at Montreat College. Her thesis work focus is on developing an integrated science curriculum for community garden programs in public schools.

Carlisle spent summers as a camper and sailing counselor at Camp Seafarer in coastal NC. She was also a farmer and cabin counselor at Gywnn Valley Camp in Brevard. As a high school student at Asheville School, Carlisle further developed her love of the outdoors through their mountaineering program. She is thrilled to be able to meld her teaching and counselor skills into her work with Muddy Sneakers. Carlisle lives in Asheville and enjoys hiking with her dog Nali, gardening, rock climbing, canoeing, and live music.

Camp Instructors

Lee Choubane, WNC Field Instructor
Lee Choubane
Camp Muddy Sneakers Nature Explorer Instructor, WNC Field Instructor

Lee acquired a love for science and the outdoors at a young age! Originally from north Florida, her family vacations to Western North Carolina inspired her to attend high school in Franconia, New Hampshire where her love for the mountains were enhanced by her new found love for snow! She attended the White Mountain School whose curriculum widely involved environmental education and lots of time playing in the outdoors. In between the school year she worked her first job on an organic farm where her love for natural systems and growing vegetables soared! After high school she moved to North Carolina to attend Brevard College. Following her first year, she decided to fill her passion for learning and farming in a more untraditional way. Through the WWOOF program she found a small organic farm in the Andes of Argentina where she learned about different dynamic farming and building methods. She also learned about the history and culture while hitchhiking over the Andes into Chile and down into Patagonia. On her return to the states, she moved to Crested Butte, Colorado where she searched for the best powder stashes and worked as a jewelry maker and a dog handler. She returned to Brevard, North Carolina in 2012 and has worked as a fishing guide for a local outfitter and trek manager for Cherokee Creek Boys School. She is delighted to take her love of science, the outdoors, and children and bring them together while serving as a Muddy Sneakers Instructor. In her spare time, she cares for her sweet new baby boy Sawyer, hikes, gardens, canoes, fly fishes, and if she’s lucky snowboards!

Deborah Davis
Camp Muddy Sneakers Nature Explorer Instructor, WNC Field Instructor

Deborah has a BA in elementary education as well as a Masters in guidance counseling from Clemson University. She grew up exploring the mountains and creeks of western NC on her grandparent’s farm in Madison County, so it was a natural fit for her to make the move from classroom teacher to Muddy Sneakers field instructor. After teaching science for 21 years in the Greenville SC area, Deborah would tell you that she has found her dream job because Muddy Sneakers allows her to combine her passion for the outdoors with her expertise in teaching science. As a science teacher, she led school trips on the barrier islands of SC, the Everglades in Florida, and in the mountains of WNC. In her final years of teaching, she implemented the Trout in the Classroom program which led her to putting more emphasis on teaching environmental education in her 6th grade classes. Eventually, Deborah developed a program called Taking It Outside which provided the opportunity to take all 90 of her students on science expeditions to a local nature park. As Deborah watched her students interact with nature and the impact of using experiential education to teach science, she realized it was time to make a change. Therefore, she moved to Brevard, NC and pursued a position with Muddy Sneakers. When not teaching with Muddy Sneakers, she can be found, hiking with her golden retriever, paddling, or taking art classes.

Chelsea Rath, WNC Field Instructor
Chelsea Rath
Camp Muddy Sneakers Trail Blazer Instructor, WNC Field Instructor

Born and raised in North Carolina, Chelsea grew up in the Piedmont where her love for the outdoors began simply as exploring the woods behind her house. Her appreciation of and interest in the natural world was truly cultivated in her time spent at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC where Chelsea earned her BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, with a minor in Geography. Along with many field courses taken at ASU, a year-long position as a wildlife technician with the Blue Ridge Parkway allowed Chelsea to begin honing her naturalist skills. There she spent time exploring bogs and wetlands along the entire stretch from Virginia to NC and was surrounded by the diverse flora and fauna of WNC. After graduation, various other adventures eventually led Chelsea to Asheville, NC and into the AmeriCorps Project Conserve program, where she served 2 terms at the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy as the Hickory Nut Gorge Associate. During her time there, Chelsea pursued her NC Environmental Education certification and first learned about Muddy Sneakers. She is looking forward to exploring the area now through the eyes of a child and getting to learn from her fellow educators. Chelsea enjoys yoga, hiking, biking, and paddling.

Nadia Razavi, WNC Field Instructor
Nadia Razavi
Camp Muddy Sneakers Nature Explorer Instructor, WNC Field Instructor

Growing up in Iowa City, Iowa, Nadia discovered an interest in science and wildlife early on. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University where she spend many days in the forests, prairies, and wetlands of Iowa learning about and exploring the natural world. She has worked teaching kayaking in North Carolina and as an instructor and administrator at an outdoor education program in Texas, all the time enjoying helping youth discover and experience their surroundings. Visiting western North Carolina at many points throughout her life, she is so excited to now be living in the mountains teaching science with Muddy Sneakers. Some of her favorite things are forests, thunderstorms, frogs, and sunshine and she spends as much time as she can outside continuing to learn, play, and grow.

Allie Showalter, WNC Field Instructor
Allie Showalter
Camp Muddy Sneakers Instructor, WNC Field Instructor

Allie is thrilled that she spends many of her days in the forest mentoring 5th graders as they uncover the magic inherent in the topics they study in science and engage with the innumerable mysteries of the natural world. There is nothing that makes her heart sing more than connecting with people doing the good work of creating a culture that is mindful and place-based. She studied naturalism, permaculture and education at The Evergreen State College, University of Vermont and finally earned her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Education at Warren Wilson College right here in Western North Carolina. These days, she focuses her studies on gaining a deeper understanding about the astounding diversity of life in our region; helping other people with their land projects; tracking the patterns of weather and the stars; and ultimately pursuing a lifeway close to the cycles and resources in nature. Allie is a child at heart who loves to practice ancient crafts, grow food, tell stories, sing and roam with curiosity in her beloved Southern Appalachian home.


Camp Muddy Sneakers Intern, Madison Barlow
Madison Barlow
Camp Muddy Sneakers Intern

Madison Barlow grew up in Asheville, NC with her parents, younger brother, and three dogs. Her childhood in Asheville largely shaped her passion for the outdoors, experiential education, and environmental preservation. She is currently in her third year at Appalachian State University pursuing an undergraduate degree in Recreation Management, and hopes to work with a nonprofit organization that uses the outdoors for youth outreach in the future. For the past two summers, Madison has worked as a residential camp counselor at Rockbrook Camp for Girls. She enjoys intentional, reflective service, and works closely with Appalachian State’s Appalachian Community Together (ACT) office. When she is not studying, Madison can be found exploring the parkway or hiking with friends and her Golden Retriever, Riley.

other ways to give »

Donate to Muddy Sneakers

Each $50 donation sponsors one student’s participation in Muddy Sneakers for a full school year! Learn more »