Nicole Jones

LATIN AMERICAN INSTRUCTOR

Nikki grew up in a family of scientists and teachers and has kept the family traditions strong, moving education out of the classroom and into the wide world. Family vacations focused on hiking, camping, and road trips to National Parks and natural wonders gave her a thirst for exploring. She first left the United States at age 3 to visit Canada, got a taste of Europe at age 9, and has kept moving ever since. Calling on a lifelong love of learning, Nikki immerses in history and nature to explore new cultures and wilderness around the world to translate and introduce them to travelers of all backgrounds.

As an educator, Nikki got her start leading outdoor programs at Girl Scout Camp. From there, she moved into interpretive guiding with the National Park Service, 3rd grade elementary education in a classroom fondly known as “The Center of the Universe,” and hands-on environmental education in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. She keeps 3rd grade in a special place in her heart but has found her calling in active, experiential education for youth and adults.

Through years of school summers and precious work vacations, Nikki continued to explore new places and communities in Europe, Australia, Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, and Latin America. Rolling up her sleeves any chance she gets, she seeks ways to learn from and get involved with grassroots projects dedicated to protecting natural environments and empowering local communities to maintain access to their natural resources. Nikki has worked in organic agriculture and permaculture in Nepal and Belize, reforestation efforts in Guatemala, wildlife rehabilitation and protection in Cambodia, and genetic research supporting near-extinct trees species in the Eastern United States. It was through involvement in such organizations that Nikki bumped into a crew of Dragons, and she immediately set out to learn more about this travel organization that would guide students so deep into off-the-beaten-track communities. She is thrilled to be a part of the Dragons team and to work with the kind of students it attracts and partners it supports.

At home in Colorado, Nikki lives in a tiny cabin in a remote, roadless canyon of the San Juan Mountains. She spends her time there teaching, reading, and writing in environmental education, hiking, making friends with elk, and filling her friends’ kitchens with the smells and tastes of her travels. B.A. History, Environmental & Social, University of North Carolina at Asheville