Dave Smith

Himalaya and South America Instructor

M.Sc. in Environmental Forestry Bangor University (Wales, UK)
B.Sc. in Environmental Science, Newcastle University (England, UK)

Dave grew up in rural northeast England, spending his free time out of school climbing trees and playing about in the creeks near his house. Spending most of his time outdoors he has always been fascinated with the interactions between humans and the natural world.

At university he developed his understanding of natural resource management. He studied how conflicts can occur between wildlife and humans and amongst human stakeholders. Taking a year off from his studies he worked as an Environmental Consultant, interacting with a range of stakeholders and large multinational companies to ensure compliance with environmental regulations.

He was first introduced to rock climbing in high school and has been climbing ever since. He became very involved with his university rock climbing club, taking groups to local crags and gyms to share his passion. After graduating he worked as a coach at a rock climbing gym, mentoring and training young children to adults. He holds the professional Single Pitch Award (UK equivalent of SPI) and has received Mountain Leader training.

After 2 years as a climbing instructor he went back to university to receive a Masters in Environmental Forestry. Following this he worked as an ecologist, surveying forests throughout Scotland for a year before becoming a forest manager in Herefordshire, England. In his spare time he learned bee keeping and completed a Permaculture Design Course. He left his job to travel around the UK and Europe to learn more about permaculture.

He moved to Nepal in 2013 to work with Rupantaran Nepal – a local Nepali NGO working in resource management. He then travelled around Latin America for 8 months staying at permaculture farms to further his understanding of permaculture and its interpretation in a variety of environmental and social contexts. Dave is very passionate about this type of cross-cultural emersion, avoiding the beaten track and staying with local communities is something that he thinks can be hugely beneficial to everyone. Dave is excited to share this passion with Dragons students through experimental and experiential education, core to Dragons’s programs.

He worked as a camp counsellor in the High Sierras of California in 2015 and as the Director of Outdoor Living Skills in 2016 at the same camp, teaching campers how to build fires and cook and navigate to enable them to spend time in the wilderness safely whilst empowering them to understand some of the risks and develop danger avoidance skills.

Dave finally settled in Nepal in 2016 after marrying his long term Nepali girlfriend. They are now living in Pokhara, Nepal where they have started a small business together called Khali Khutta, making natural products with wild fibres and materials sourced from rural communities throughout Nepal. They also recently started a permaculture farm/learning centre called Three Trees Permaculture where they aim to disseminate permaculture and cooperative management of shared and natural resources to Nepali farmers.

In his spare time he enjoys trekking in the Nepal Himalaya, combining this with researching traditional handicraft skills and materials to incorporate into new designs for Khali Khutta. He is also very involved with the fledgling rock climbing scene in Nepal, co-running climbing competitions and events and developing new climbing areas.