Mary Bennington - Executive Director
Mary has lived and played the Tahoe area for over 30 years. She brings to the Tahoe Rim Trail Association over 20 years of non-profit experience. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Carson Valley Trails Association as a 501(c) 3 and served on the CVTA board for over seven years. She was elected twice to the Douglas County School Board and served on the board of the League of Women Voters for over 5 years. She serves as both a crew leader and guide and completed her second Thru Hike of the Tahoe Rim Trail last September. Be on the lookout for Mary’s new companion this summer – McLeod the Marmot!
Laurie Buffington - Office Administrator
Being raised in Northern California in a family that spent most free time hiking, backpacking and skiing in the Sierras, it is only natural that I remain passionate about those pursuits. A degree in Geography from Sac State helped me land permanently at the north shore of Lake Tahoe over 25 years ago. I have lived with my husband Michael in Alpine Meadows for those 25 years where we have raised our three children Tayler (now 20 and a junior at UCSB) Lindy and Tara (both 17 and seniors at North Tahoe High School). I became a member of the 165 Mile Club after completing the trail in 2001, and still enjoy getting out on the trail whenever I can. If I had more free time, I would love to complete the trail on skis?maybe some day!!
Having grown up on California’s Central Coast, Mikenna was lucky enough to have parents who introduced her to outdoor adventures from an early age. Family vacations always included lots of camping, hiking and backpacking trips, teaching her to love and appreciate the natural world, and develop a thirst for further exploration. After graduating from U.C. Santa Cruz with Majors in History and Film & Digital Media, she embraced her desire for adventure, and set out to see what the world had to offer. After conquering mountains in New Zealand, Australia, South East Asia, and the Middle East, Mikenna returned to the U.S. two years later, ready to share her excitement for the outdoors with a younger generation. She spent two summers leading backpacking trips in Yosemite National Park for Camp Tawonga and Children’s House Montessori School of Atascadero, CA. Now, she is thrilled to continue her passion for introducing people to the backcountry with the Tahoe Rim Trail Association.
Morgan Fessler - Director of Operations
An avid hiker and backpacker, Morgan’s adventures with Tahoe Rim Trail started many years ago. Now, as the Director of Operations, Morgan gets to enjoy the Tahoe Rim Trail full time and is responsible for the development, coordination and management of trail operations including trail building, trail maintenance, volunteer recruitment and support, and program administration. Morgan is a native of Northern California and comes to the Tahoe Rim Trail Association most recently from the Sierra Nevada Alliance where she directed the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership which places twenty-seven full time AmeriCorps volunteers throughout the Sierra Nevada each year to conduct watershed restoration, watershed education, and volunteer recruitment and support. Morgan has also worked with various conservation organizations including the Student Conservation Association, Northwest Youth Corps, and the National Park Service as well as a stint as a professional ski patroller. Morgan holds a B.A. in Sociology and Global Peace and Security from U.C. Santa Barbara. During her free time, she can be found taking advantage of the snowy playground out her backdoor, attempting to cook something gourmet, or lacing up her boots for her next backpacking adventure.
Marcus Perry - AmeriCorps Volunteer: Trail Operations Coordinator
Marcus grew up in western North Carolina, where he developed an affinity for the outdoors, traveling, and community service. In addition to taking part in all sorts of outdoor activities, Marcus was also on his high schools’ soccer, wrestling, and track and field teams. While attending Tulane University, he also picked up ultimate frisbee, cycling, and biked across the country to raise money and awareness of affordable housing issues in the U.S. After college, Marcus worked with AmeriCorps and the Student Conservation Association as a member of the Desert Restoration Corps in southern California and on the USFS Gardiner Ranger District Trail Crew in Montana. He is excited to explore the Tahoe basin via the Tahoe Rim Trail and looks forward to working with TRTA volunteers and staff.
Tom Rodriguez - Director of Trail Use
Tom was born and raised in the small town of Hampton, Connecticut. He spent most of his time playing in the woods with his 3 brothers, and later joined his friends in Boy Scouts to backpack and camp. In 2011, he received an M.A. in International Development and Social Change from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. While in Worcester, he spent two amazing summers interning for YouthGROW, a youth development program where inner-city teens work in urban organic gardens. He realized that he would like to further pursue outdoor education jobs and knew that the western wilderness should be his next stop. He spent the next two years as an AmeriCorps Volunteer at the TRTA developing, coordinating and instructing youth programs, Youth Backcountry Camps and many other Trail Use programs. He is extremely excited to continue this work as the Director of Trail Use.
Shannon Skarritt - Director of Membership and Outreach
Shannon’s adventurous spirit and love for travel led her westward in 2007 from her home state of Michigan. Having previously lived on the Irish Sea and near the Mourne Mountains of Northern Ireland, she was naturally drawn to Lake Tahoe. Shannon served for two years with the Incline Village Parks & Recreation Senior Programs as an AmeriCorps volunteer. Following her AmeriCorps service she worked as the Community Outreach Coordinator for Senior Programs. Her enthusiasm for recreation and the outdoors eventually led her to the Tahoe Rim Trail Association as Outreach Coordinator and now the Director of Membership & Outreach. Shannon’s greatest joys in life are having adventures in the great outdoors, playing tennis, traveling, mission work and spending time with family and friends. She is excited to be a part of this great organization and the exciting adventure that lies ahead.