Meet the Staff
Kent Orr is the Executive Director for Rising Appalachia. He arrived in SE Ohio in 2012 to attend Hocking College's Ecotourism and Adventure Travel program. Since he has transferred to Ohio University and graduated with a Bachelors in their Recreation Studies Program. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Recreation Studies while working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant leading trips and expeditions for the University's outdoor skills classes. He has been involved in the summer camp world as a camper and then staff for the past 22 years. He has worked as a counselor and a trip and expedition director at summer camps in Texas, California, and Ohio. He has two cats, reads entirely too many fantasy novels, and is huge fan of the breakfast burrito.
Carrie Vieland is an Athens native, raised by the woods in Shade, Ohio. She received a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University in Outdoor Recreation and Education and minor in Environmental Studies. She is currently working on her master’s degree in Outdoor Education at Ohio University. Carrie discovered her love for outdoor education as an AmeriCorps volunteer with the Rural Action Environmental Education program in 2012. Carrie then honed her skills as an educator at the Nuhop Center in Ashville, Ohio. She has also been a skills specialist for Ohio Military Teen Adventure Camps and spent 2 summers as a trip leader for the adventure travel company Backroads. Carrie is passionate about fostering connections to the natural world in children, rock climbing and exploring the wonders of our beautiful planet!
Trips Program Director
Katey Patterson is a Meigs County native. Growing up in Southeast Ohio her formative years were spent outside exploring the creeks and hills of her family's own slice of Appalachia; gaining a deep appreciate for the beauty of nature. Her current hobbies include knitting, kayaking, rollerblading, hiking, gardening and medicine making. She has years of experience as an outdoor guide including zip lining and overnight kayaking expeditions. She has also interned with local United Plant Savers where she earned a Conservation of Medicinal Herbs Certification. Her knowledge local edible and medicinal plants, professional experience in adventure recreation, and love of the community make her a perfect fit for Rising Appalachia.
Madison Donohue found her way to South East Ohio in 2016 when she attended Hocking College to study Ecotourism and Adventure Travel. While studying she worked as an Environmental Educator in Hocking Hills and spent her summers working at Montessori School Farm where she was able to observe first hand that the natural world is our earliest and most efficient teacher. Upon graduation she started working as a guide in Athens county where she lead kayak excursions and women's retreats. She recently returned from a 5 month backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail where she completed 1,460 miles before returning home to Athens (trail name: Sunshine).
Sophie Relitz is from Lakewood Ohio, a bustling suburb right next to Cleveland. It was there that she discovered the complex relationship between cities and wildlife, which lead her to Ohio University to pursue a bachelors degree in Environmental Health, with a minor in Plant Biology and a certificate in Ecotourism. She hopes to someday be an environmental lawyer, and advocate for all the wonderful things that can’t speak for themselves. She has a deep appreciation for nature, and wants to share that with as many people as possible. She loves her kitty Yoda, probably likes dirt more than the average person, and adores anything that contains cheese.