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Event Details

Team Amazon

The real heroes of the impossible2Possible Youth Expeditions are the Youth Ambassadors. They not only defy any perceived physical or mental barriers in their own lives, but they truly inspire the thousands of students who follow their every step during an expedition.

These Youth Ambassadors will lead positive social action and are therefore ideal role models for today's youth. They are joined by the i2P Expedition Team; see links below for details.

Youth Ambassadors
Expedition Team
Education & Research Team
Logistics Team

Youth Ambassadors

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Expedition Team

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Education & Research Team

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Logistics Team

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Youth Ambassadors

Sierra Smith

Sierra is currently a freshman at New Mexico State University. She just graduated from Bosque School, a small liberal arts high school in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She graduated high school with high honors, participating in both Latin and Spanish for all four years. She was the recipient of the Bobcat award which is given to a student who is a competent multi-sport athlete, who demonstrates academic excellence and is a prominent figure in the Bosque School community. Throughout her four years in high school she played both Varsity Volleyball and Varsity Tennis, winning three tennis state championships and volleyball metro player of the year. She was in two community service groups for over three years, Key Club and Operation Smile and was also an active member in two additional groups, Model United Nations and Spanish Honor Society. In the summer of 2009, she went on a 30-day back packing trip through the Wind River Wilderness where she collectively hiked over 117 miles and climbed a total of 19,505 ft with a pack weighing as much as 60 lbs. Also during this trip she successfully completed a 72 hour fast while challenged by the harsh conditions of the wilderness. She was the winner of the Aldo Leopold Essay Contest in which participants were asked to write a letter to Aldo Leopold, the great naturalist and author, explaining why his ideas are relevant today. "Mr. Leopold, although what you wrote so many years ago seems ancient to the modern generation, the message holds a deeper meaning today, as we battle ourselves in trying to preserve a world where things are less trivial and where a gust of wind may be telling us more than we know. We live in a world where we have sought to deprive our surroundings and give little back in return. This is the time to educate humanity on the positive effects of preservation, not for us but so that our children's children can have the opportunity to see perfection in something that is not man-made."

Isaiah Gilson

Hey there! My name is Isaiah Gilson my traditional name is Duthala; I am a 20 year old Southern Tutchone from the Yukon Territory. I am a member of the Kluane First Nations. I come from a very diverse background, also being Southern Tutchone; I am Powwatan, Tlingit, Norwegian, and English. As far back as I can remember I have always been adventurous and the explorer type. There are even a couple of stories of when I was child of me running away from home, during my bath time. All my Mom saw was my little bum running down the street. Growing up I was on the land hunting frequently. And so I was always curious about "What's behind that mountain?!" or "Where does this trail lead to?" be it I'm in a city looking for cool and interesting places to hang out, or looking into a direction I want to go straight into the bush, I love exploring and reaching new heights. My biggest role models in my life are the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, my Mom, one of my other father figures Francis, and much more of course. I am a grade 12 graduate of Amiskwaciy Academy; the school incorporates a lot of the Cree culture into the curriculum. During my time there I learned a great deal about Native culture and spirituality. I believe that life needs balance, I am very traditional with my heritage, but also I live in a modern society; as I like to say "I walk with a moccasin on one foot and a sneaker on the other". I try to be a open minded individual, as I see it if we are open to the world around us, then we can fully utilize opportunity, if we close out minds to the world around us in life we close that opportunity to learn from it. I do find value in a higher education, but at the moment I'm taking the time to learn about life and my heritage. Having an Aboriginal background my culture is a big part of my life it teaches me to respect the land, mother earth, and all life around me. My goal in life is to help my people in a great aspect, as well as just people in general. I identify as being part of the human race, as well being Aboriginal, side by side. "My purpose in life is to help my people, once I fulfill that purpose, so will my purpose in life" Nelson Mandela. I am stoked for the opportunity that i2P has given me; I know it will help assist me in my life journey.

Jessie Lilly

Jessie is going into grade 12 at Parkland Composite High school in Edson, AB, Canada. She is a member of the Edmonton Triathlon Academy and hopes to race elite at a National level. Jessie believes in living a active and healthy lifestyle. Aside from triathlon she enjoys being in the outdoors and participates in activities such as hiking, scuba diving, cross country skiing, and cross country running. Jessie likes to challenge her mental and physical limits, and believes nothing is Impossible. Jessie's other passion is philanthropic work. She believes that we all have the power to create change. Jessie started a group called Create a Better Future at age 14, the idea behind the group was to think of creative ways to fundraise locally as well as globally. Their motto is 'Youth Helping Youth'. The first initial fundraiser was a student art auction for Help Sudan; through this fundraiser $12000 was raised to build the first water well in Thawnwei Sudan. The local Rotary Club got behind the idea and the first Interact group was created in Edson Alberta. Jessie is currently the president of the local Interact club and there is over 30 youth involved between the ages of 12- 18. In June 2010 Create a Better Future raised an additional $10 000 to help complete the school in Thawnwei Sudan. They are well on their way to achieving their goal of raising enough money to make Thawnwei a self sustained community in Sudan. One of Jessie's goals in life is to educate youth about the current issues that face our world, and inspire them to create change. Jessie is very passionate about environmental issues and hopes to pursue a career in Biology. In the future Jessie hopes to be able to help solve some of the environmental problems facing the world. Jessie is thrilled to be given this opportunity of a lifetime.

Bridget Beury

Bridget has been competing in volleyball and basketball for most of her life. It is from playing these sports that she has learned the importance of dedication, responsibility, and hard work. She will be embarking on her third year as a member of the Lake Erie College volleyball team. Going into college Bridget was not sure what type of career she wanted to pursue, but has now declared a major in environmental science and plans to dedicate herself to conservation efforts. With this mindset, she has involved herself in a number of activities dealing with these interests. She is president of Students Acting For the Environment and a member of Students Making a Difference at Lake Erie College. She also gives her time as a volunteer for Lake Metroparks Penitentiary Glenn Wildlife and Rehabilitation Center. This past summer Bridget has worked extremely hard on improving her endurance; by competing in a half marathon, the Johnny Cake Five Mile Jog, and a sprint triathlon. Bridget also rode in a 100K bike ride for the American Diabetes Association in honor of her Baba (grandma), who was just recently diagnosed with diabetes. In the spring of 2011 Bridget intends to study abroad in South Africa to strengthen her awareness of conservation efforts. Her plans for after completing her bachelor's degree is to join the Peace Corps and help communities understand the importance of the environment and preserving it. Bridget feels so excited and blessed to go on the expedition and believes it will be a life changing journey that will open her eyes to new and different experiences.

Expedition Team

Ray Zahab

Ray has won numerous international ultra marathons of distances from 100 to over 200 miles in length in some of the harshest conditions on the globe. He and two other runners recently ran the entire width of the Sahara Desert-7500 kms (4600 miles) in 111 days with no rest days-and in the process learned of the seriousness of the water crisis in Africa. The run was documented in a film directed by Oscar winner James Moll and narrated by Matt Damon. One of the goals of the film is to raise awareness for the water crisis in Africa. Ray is an established ultra marathoner and speaker who uses his athletic career to support intiatives and causes he believes in. Ray is official Athletic Ambassador for the ONEXONE organization and is a board member of the Ryan's Well Foundation. Ray has completed 7 major expeditions to date and was recently a member of the South Pole Quest and Siberian Express teams. Visit

Kevin Vallely

In 2003 he was named one of Canada's leading adventurers by the Globe and Mail. His adventuring resume is stacked with compelling expeditions to all parts of the world including skiing Alaska's 1,860-kilometre Iditarod Trail; scampering over Vancouver Island's West Coast Trail in record time (10 hours, 13 minutes); attempting to bike and climb the island of Java's 13 -10,000-foot volcanoes (a trip cut short when post-9/11 Indonesia became too dangerous); competing on the only Canadian team to finish the last and most difficult Eco-Challenge adventure race held in Fiji in 2002 and retracing a 2,000-kilometre Klondike-era ice-bike route through the dead of an Alaskan winter. Most recently, as a member of the i2P team, Kevin joined forces with Ray to break the world record for the fastest unsupported trek to the South Pole in 2009 and to make the fastest traverse of Siberia's frozen Lake Baikal in 2010. As the i2P videographer Kevin brings a wealth of filming experience from of the most challenging environments on earth.

Bob Cox

Bob Cox has been in athletics all of his life (a lifelong surfer with nearly 10 years in the surf industry) and has recently found his stride in endurance endeavors such as the Canada OnexOne, the Oceanside 70.3 Triathlon, multiple 50k's, and the San Francisco 24hour footrace race with a top ten finish. He spent much of his youth surfing in the Pacific Ocean and from those experiences his passion for our big blue planet was formed. Bob earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science with an emphasis on Public Policy from California State University, Northridge. His appreciation for clean drinking water grew from his profession as a potable and recycled water Cross Connection Specialist in California. In October 2007, Bob met Ray at a Livestrong event in Texas and from that moment he knew his life had changed. From that day forward the two men have dedicated their lives to the message and ideals of i2P.

Hannah McKeand

Having got a degree in Classics at Lampeter University and working as both Marketing Manager then Head of Touring for the Watermill Theatre in Newbury for seven years, at 31 Hannah finally fully committed herself to her primary passion - exploring.

In 2001 the urge to explore began to develop with an expedition to the Western Desert on the borders of Egypt, Libya and Sudan with a Hungarian lead expedition in search of prehistoric rock art. This extraordinary adventure took Hannah to the centre of the second biggest wilderness on the planet, an uninhabited area the size of India, and the sand and space got into her head. For the next three years Hannah continued to return to the deep desert twice a year.

In 2004 Hannah joined a British expedition to explore the isolated Wakan Corridor in the northeast of Afghanistan in search of the source of the River Oxus. The upper regions of this remote mountain valley can only be reached on foot by crossing several high altitude passes and has rarely been visited by westerners.

Later in 2004 Hannah finally turned to a cold desert and discovered her true calling. in an epic 56 day expedition skiing the 690 miles and 10 degrees from the coast of Antarctica to the geographic South Pole, crossing the vast and monotonous expanse of one of the harshest environments in the world, the team of five battled with physical and mental exhaustion, frostbite, injury, hunger and some of the lowest temperatures on earth.

In 2006 Hannah and her partner David Pryce founded Blizzard Expeditions and has ever since been mounting high latitude sailing expeditions with the 65 foot aluminium schooner The Blizzard all around Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. In 2007 The Blizzard completed a full circumnavigation of Antarctica.

In November/December 2006 Hannah returned to Antarctica and once again skied from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole, but this time solo and unsupported. She set a new world record for the journey of 39 days 9 hours and 33 minutes.

In 2007 Hannah was made a North Face Team Athlete; won the Sue Ryder Woman of the Year award and featured in the Guinness Book of Records.

In March 2008 Hannah set off from Ward Hunt Island in Canada in an attempt to become the first woman to ski solo and unsupported to the geographic North Pole. Unfortunately she fell into a crevasse and injured her shoulder and had to be evacuated. She intends to return to the Arctic in March 2010 for another attempt. This expedition is the ultimate challenge in polar travel and one of the last great expedition firsts left in the world.

Hannah now works as a polar guide and consultant and hopes that by writing and speaking about her experiences in the world and sharing them, then she will inspire people to go after their own dreams and achieve their own goals.

Marshall Ulrich

In 2008 at the age of 57, Marshall Ulrich completed a 3,063-mile run across America, equal to 117 marathons in 52.5 days, breaking the Masters and Grand Masters record; the third-fastest crossing ever on the San Francisco to New York City route. He is the only person in the world to complete the Triple Crown of Extreme Sports: 121 ultra marathons averaging over 100 miles each; the Seven Summits, including Mount Everest, all on first attempts; and 12 expedition-length adventure races. He has raised over $ $850,000 for various charities, including the Religious Teachers Filippini, whose mission is to "Go and Teach." Ulrich is an experienced Author, Speaker, Trainer, and Guide, providing these services through his company Dreams in Action (DNA). His first book, Running on Empty about his transcontinental run, is scheduled to be published March 2011 by Penguin Publishing. For more information go to

Expedition Team Also Includes:

Education and Research Team

Dr. Ewan Affleck

Ewan brings the combined skills of physician, administrator and ultra runner to the i2P team. A graduate of the McGill School of Medicine, and Dalhousie University where he studied history, he has worked and lived in Northern Canada since 1992. He is the long serving Medical Director of the Yellowknife Health and Social Services Authority and Clinical Director of Family Medicine at Stanton Territorial Hospital. He has conceived designed and implemented numerous successful Health Information Technology projects. He maintains an active clinical practice, providing both hospital based and remote community services. He is passionate about designing sustainable health services for remote northern communities. Ewan has been running for many years, and much prefers to run on snow than on asphalt. He served as the Medical Director for the 2008 Arctic Winter Games, and volunteered as a physician at the Vancouver Olympics. He has won 2 northern ultra marathons. Based on his commitment to physical fitness he was one of 20 Canadian physicians selected by the Canadian Medical Association to carry the Olympic Torch. He is married and has 2 children who share his passion for sport.

Mark Dohn

Mark Dohn is a husband, father of three, educator, and athlete who brings a wonder and passion for the use of technology in experiential education to the team. A competitive cyclist who raced at the highest levels in both North America and Europe, Mark then turned his focus to education. Adding a teaching credential to his Bachelor's of Arts in Anthropology from Miami of Ohio, he has spent the past thirteen years advocating for the use and integration of technology in education, and the development of the 21st century classroom.

In 2009 Mark was recognized as an Apple Distinguished Educator. In addition to his teaching, Mark is an educational consultant specializing in technology integration and teacher training. Honored as one of the 5 most innovative teachers at integrating technology into the classroom by the Los Angeles Unified School District, Mark was instrumental in designing and implementing a recent series of highly successful 4-day technology workshops for teachers.

Mark has also presented on a series of educational technology topics at the local, state, national and international level. In April of 2011, Mark will receive his Masters Degree in Educational Media Design and Technology from Full Sail University.

Katherine Belendiuk

Kat is a Ph.D. candidate in developmental and clinical psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. She has taught at the collegiate level and as a research psychologist has published a half a dozen peer-reviewed articles on adolescent risk behaviors in professional journals. She has won national and local awards for her academic work, including a prestigious fellowship from the National Institutes of Health. She has used her background to create educational modules for the Baffin, Tunisia and Amazon expeditions.

As an ultrarunner and triathlete, Kat is a member of Powerbar Team Elite. In the last 3 years she has completed 13 marathons and ultramarathons, placing in her age group 3 times and as the second overall female once. Her favorite race was the Antarctica marathon where she learned that, if necessary, she can outrun a penguin. She was recently honored as one of Pittsburgh's 40 Under 40 for her contributions to the community, including her work with i2P. Being an i2P advisor has been an extraordinary gift and privilege and Kat is looking forward to continuing to help develop i2P's programs.

Adriana Rossi

Adriana Rossi has been passionate about developing Leadership in youth for 20 years. She has worked extensively in both the private and public secondary school system initiating programs such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award and outdoor education and leadership programs. Adriana holds a Masters of Arts in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University in British Columbia and a Bachelors Degree in Physical Education from McGill University in Montreal. In addition she is the president of Leadership Ventures which focuses on sustainable leadership development within organizations. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast, triathlete and enjoys spending time with her family.

Leona Chatwood

With a background in both Education and Library Science , Leona has had a long career as a Teacher and Library Technician . She has lived and worked in Newfoundland and Labrador, central Canada and western Canada, with her focus being on education and research. After graduating from Algonquin College's Library and Information Technology Program she had been able to combine these two interests. Leona is enthusiastic and pleased to be assisting with the educational research for the i2P Experiential Learning Program.

Peter Sheldon

Peter is a CBC reporter based in Iqaluit, Nunavut. He has spent the last two and a half years traveling around the North, spending time in all three Canadian Territories and Alaska. His formal education includes a BPHE in Physical and Health Education and a BSc in Life Sciences (Queens University, Kingston, ON) as well as a BJ Radio Journalism (King's College, Halifax). Peter became involved in the research leading up to the Akshayuk Pass Expedition, and has settled in to a role with the i2P Education team ever since. Peter brings a passion for adventure and story telling.

Tamara Banks

I am currently a third year student at the University of Ottawa, majoring in criminology and minoring in psychology. I have been a lifelong athlete, dedicated to the sport of gymnastics. I competed in both gymnastics and trampoline at a provincial level for several years. I currently continue to express my passion for the sport through coaching. I am very passionate towards helping others and making positive changes in my community. In 2004 I was able to realize the potential of hard work and dedication when I, along with four others, raised $30,000 for a sick friend. In 2009 my life changed when I was extremely privileged to be selected as a youth ambassador by i2P for the Baffin Island Expedition. This amazing experience taught me how to push myself and dissolve those imaginary limits I once allowed my mind and body to create. After this experience my motivation for inspiring youth and making change was triggered tremendously. My main passion is helping working with youths who are "at risk" or already in conflict with the law. This fall I have a volunteer placement with the John Howard Society of Ottawa, an organization that works with such populations. Through experiences with i2p they have equipped me with the necessary tools to pursue any goal or dream I have. I plan to live my life to the fullest and turn every day challenges into life adventures!

Lucy Wainwright

Lucy is a double Olympian with a passion for the outdoors. Lucy was a finalist at the Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008) Olympic Games competing in the flatwater kayaking singles event for Great Britain. Lucy competed internationally in kayaking for fifteen years winning a number of World Cup medals and becoming European Champion in 2008. Lucy combines her personal sporting experience with her academic qualifications to provide a practical approach to sports nutrition. She has a BSc in Sports Science, a Masters degree in Exercise Physiology as well as an IOC (International Olympic Committee) diploma in Sports Nutrition. Lucy has recently moved to Canada and is already working with national team athletes providing sports nutrition advice. Having recently retired from International competition Lucy has more time to spend doing the other sports she enjoys including, cross country skiing, trail running, swimming and biking.

John Zahab

John is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and a Certified Personal Trainer through the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. He has worked full time in the strength and conditioning field for over ten years, and has had the opportunity to work with athletes from a broad spectrum of sports, including those competing and performing at the national and professional levels. Recent career highlights include the development of strength and conditioning programs, which assisted two Canadian athletes to qualify and compete at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. John has developed his training philosophy to provide targeted training for each individual's needs based on a foundation of stability and control, functional movement, and balanced strength while progressing towards performance goals.

For almost half of his lifetime John has trained for and has competed in a variety of disciplines of endurance sport. Some areas where he has pushed his endurance limits include: Triathlon (Olympic Distance to Ironman Distance), Bike Racing (Road), Adventure Racing, and Trail Running.

Jennifer Nichols

Jenny has recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with her Masters degree in Cellular/Molecular Nutrition. Her research focus was on the mechanisms of phytochemicals in disease prevention. Jenny has a strong passion for health and wellness as well as for people and learning about their cultures. She is fascinated in testing the limits of the body both mentally and physically and loves any activity that gets her outside, especially running. Jenny and her husband recently spent 10 weeks trekking through Australia, which included time in the Outback, the Daintree Rainforest, and staying on a deserted island. What made this journey extra special is the fact that Jenny was 5 months pregnant during this expedition. She is now testing herself on her most epic adventure of raising her son and showing youth the value of the environment, other cultures, and living an active, healthy lifestyle. She is intensely excited about her future with i2P and her upcoming athletic endeavors. She looks forward to teaching all youth the value of a healthy diet and the science of nutrition.

Matt Howe

Matt, an outdoor enthusiast is a husband and father of two adventurous young children. He is a passionate educator who has worked in public education for the past 10 years. After receiving his B.A. in Sociology with an emphasis in criminology and law, he earned his Masters in Education from the University of Minnesota. A lifelong resident of Stillwater, Minnesota, Matt currently works as an information savvy technology coordinator and strives to help teachers develop strategies to work with our digital generation.

Several years of a 1:1 learning environment has allowed Matt to develop an understanding of key learning theories and methods of instruction within educational technology. As a technology advocate, Matt has had the opportunity to present on a local and state level as well as to visitors from around the world.

In 2009, Matt was selected as an Apple Distinguished Educator which has allowed him to further his role as an author, advisor, ambassador and advocate of technology through experiential learning opportunities on a global platform. Matt continues to engage learners on their path to the possibilities of being a part of the next big thing!

Joseph Blankush

A graduate of St. Olaf College with a B.A. in English and Education, Joe has held positions ranging from high school teacher to marketing and consulting roles in a global travel management company. His work and studies in post-colonial literature and comparative education have taken him from the Baltic states of Europe to the Caribbean and from Central America to East Africa with each experience furthering his desire to positively impact these regions. Joe's passion for the outdoors, exploration and education was cultivated growing up in Northern Minnesota and while guiding groups of students to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. A three-sport athlete in high school and a collegiate baseball player, he now participates in endurance sports as his newest competitive outlet and source of physical and mental challenge. Having completed several marathons, trail races and triathlons, he is now training to expand into ultra running. Joe currently resides in New York City where he is pursuing his M.D. with interests in family, rural and preventive medicine.

Logistics Team

Anton Stranc

Anton was born in England and emigrated to Canada in 1976. He has worked in Information Systems and Logistics for the last 27 years. His career has taken him around the globe working with engineering and high tech firms. Currently based in Ottawa, he has worked supporting Ray's expeditions for the last five years, and most recently the i2P Youth Expeditions. He prefers to work behind the scenes ensuring all details are covered and contingencies managed. He is an accomplished endurance athlete, sportsman and father of new baby Erica.

Shirley Thompson

Irish born Shirley Thompson, an avid runner, set up jungle marathon 6 years ago after taking part in extreme runs in deserts, the arctic, mountains and gorges. She also was the originator of the webs first adventure racing and ultra running portal, These days Shirley splits her time between France and the Amazon jungle, where in addition to the jungle marathon race, she now organises educational, cultural and sporting events together with her local team. She is passionate about the Tapajos region and the people that live in it and feels very privileged to have discovered and be able to work in such a spectacular environment.

Gil Serique

Gil Serique was born and raised on the banks of the Tapajos River in the municipality of Santarem, Brazil. He spent his childhood in close contact with the wonders of the Amazon Rain forest. This formative experience forged a bond with nature that he has never relinquished. His career to date has included guiding and organizing scientific and educational expeditions to various parts of the Brazilian Amazon he has worked as field director of a research project on Hyacinth Macaws for the Wildlife Conservation Society he has also helped implement the Amazon Basin's single richest site for wildlife, the Manu Wildlife Center in the Amazon of southern Peru. Gil Serique has contributed to articles in The ecologist and joined The Jungle Marathon in 2008 as a media director and since then has contributed to many publications, and published a Guidebook to the birds of Amazon Floodplain He specializes in bird identification and ecology. His effervescent personality and deep understanding of Amazon ecology make him a gracious host and an ideal guide and companion in Amazonian explorations

Alan Skinner

As an expert in the field of satellite communication technology for over 20 years, Alan's role is to make sure that Ray and his team have reliable, effective communication with the outside world at any time, anywhere. Alan specializes in setting up remote and/or mobile communication solutions using leading-edge satellite technologies such as BGAN, and satellite phone solutions. In his spare time, Alan is an expert skier and a seasoned trail and marathon runner.

Graham Morfitt

Graham is owner & president of Modern Outpost Enterprises, a technical company based in Courtenay, BC, Canada that specializes in portable power systems for expeditions ( The focus is always on the most efficient & lightweight solar charging & battery equipment possible. From iPods to sat phones, cameras to laptops, and just about every kind of electronic device in between. Graham and Modern Outpost are committed to making sure Ray & the i2P team have electrical power wherever their adventures take them. Graham is a physics graduate from the University of British Columbia, and has worked in the renewable energy industry for the better part of 15 years. In his spare time, Graham is a competitive track & field athlete & coach, and has represented Canada in many international competitions.

Nick Gravel - Web Presence & Logistics

Nick Gravel, B.Eng (Communications), has over 10 years experience in sales, marketing and internet communications. Nick is actively involved with the growth of i2P's web presence and the ongoing development of two way communication with students during expeditions.