Meet Our Founders

 
 
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Erin Mcbride

FOUNDER

This is my life. Mother of two and friend to many. I'm a surfer and a dreamer. A soul searcher, climbing over tall peaks and through expansive valleys to reach clarity. I come from alpine-loving parents. At the age of three I moved to a place that my heart never left, Kirkwood. In my youth, being held and comforted by her strong and majestic beauty, I guess you could say my blood runs thick with the back country. It's home.

I have a deep-rooted dream to open the eyes of my own kids as well as those less fortunate. My heart's desire is to help guide each participant through the healing whispers and shouts of the great outdoors.

 
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Sarah hughen

CO-FOUNDER

Sarah was born in rural Wisconsin. Her upbringing was deeply rooted in nature, and her draw to wild places has led her all over the world. A desire to connect, and not just move through places found her on numerous extended expeditions including a 100 day kayak and first-ascent mountaineering trip in Southern Patagonia, a 90 day paddle across Northern Canada, and a photography expedition down the Mackenzie River for 1,000 miles documenting local villages in the Arctic. Sarah received a formal degree in photography from Montana State, and currently lives in Encinitas with her husband of 15 years and two young boys Oliver and Evan.

Living in Southern California, Sarah made a deep connection to the lessons that surfing brings, and is hopelessly addicted to the ocean. Her most recent project (A Wave A Day) involved an awareness campaign for breast cancer in which she vowed to surf every single day for a year, while documenting her inspiring personal challenge. Sarah is excited and honored to be a part of Foster the Earth, and hopes to bring all facets of her life experiences to the program and continue to inspire the youth of our world.

 

Meet Our Team

 
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Ryder England

DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS

Ryder was born and raised in Southern California. He spent five years living in Lake Tahoe where he realized that the mountains are something everyone can heal and grow from. When not working with Foster the Earth he is a photographer, writer, and documentary filmmaker. He recently spent three months cycling through southern Mexico, climbing the highest peaks of the Mexican Alpine, and documenting the family values and Mayan traditions of the Yucatán Peninsula.

The trails have always been a place of security for Ryder. Something about the melodic rhythm of one foot in front of the other allows him to tune out the world’s distractions and open himself up to the natural world around him. His first backpacking trip was in high school and from that first day on trail he’s been hooked. It is now a priority of his to share the values of minimalism and the importance of setting aside time to reconnect with nature.

 
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BECCA ZAK

Development Coordinator

I grew up in Carlsbad, CA where I spent most of my days on the beach and in the ocean—my true happy place. I caught the travel bug at an early age which led to a four year stint on the east coast for college, half a year in Denmark, country-hopping through Europe, and hitch-hiking across New Zealand. Eventually, I landed in San Francisco and got hooked on hiking around the Bay Area. I experienced the healing power of nature and totally fell in love with the outdoors. Then in 2018, my boyfriend Zach and I decided to jump way outside our comfort zone and hike the Pacific Crest Trail. We leveraged our PCT hike to raise funds for a charity similar to Foster The Earth, and I instantly realized the value of giving back. It is my passion to encourage and help those around me to get outside, try something different, and learn something new. I’m stoked to be back in San Diego as a part of the Foster the Earth team where my peers share that passion and are devoted to helping everyone achieve their dreams!

 
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ZACH SOLOMON

Partner Relations

I was born and raised in Encinitas, CA on the beach. I had my first experiences in the mountains when I moved to Colorado in my early 20s and was instantly hooked! My time exploring the backcountry opened up my world to what types of adventures were available in my own backyard. It provided a platform that allowed me to escape the noise of everyday life and build my self-confidence to heights I had only dreamed of before. I eventually became so hooked that I decided to leave my corporate job to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. At the time I had literally no prior experience backpacking but figured why not, it's just walking! Now that I have completed the PCT, my goal in life is to never stop exploring the world while enthusiastically encouraging others to grow through outdoor recreation.

 
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MOLLIE SYMONS

GRANT WRITER

Hailing from a tiny village called Port Williams in Nova Scotia, Canada, Mollie has delighted in a life spent close to the radiant ocean. It is her happy place, her thriving place, her favorite place where she feels entirely alive. Currently working for the YMCA as rural immigrant settlement staff member, Mollie will soon be returning to university to study ocean sciences with a focus on climate change science, environmental protection, and sustainable aquaculture practices. Mollie stumbled upon Foster the Earth's Instagram page one day and instantly became excited and deeply inspired by it. That inspiration only continues to grow and flourish day by day and she is beyond thrilled and honored to be a part of this incredible, uplifting, and huge-hearted team as a grant writer.

 
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JENNA FABIAN

GRANT WRITER

Growing up living with my Sicilian grandmother and listening to her stories, I always yearned to know what life was like in another part of the world. I grew evermore curious throughout the years, picturing myself living in a far away land, meeting people from all walks of life. This desire to connect with others and my intense travel bug led me to live and backpack around Europe and Oceania. Each of my travels were inspiring in its own way, however, it wasn't until the very end of my last trip when I went swimming with humpback whales off the eastern coast of Australia that I realized what all my experiences had finally led up to: one short moment in the wild—the purest, most simple, peaceful moment of my life. A moment that could have healed all wounds. One moment in the wild changed my life, and I am proud to be part of an organization that offers life-altering moments like this to a community of people who may need them the most.