The CELL Staff

Meet the staff at CELL! We might be small, but together we are mighty!

Dave and Sue Oakes

Co-founders and co-directors

Dave and Sue’s desire to form CELL was spurred by a yearning to see a global mobilization toward systemic solutions to our planet’s problems, and their work in Africa and Central America, where they saw the successes and failures of various environmental and development programs. In addition, their background includes leadership experience in college, environmental education, and international-development programs.

Sue has a masters from Goddard College’s Sustainable Businesses and Communities program, and Dave has a doctorate in Educational Administration with a research focus on teacher training in environmental education and a master’s in Science Education with a focus on environmental education.

Dave and Sue live in Hope, Maine and have three wild-eyed, amazing kin who provide the motivation for their work and their desire to pass along to the next generation a healthy, happy and sustainable world. Our family loves the outdoors: camping, hiking, canoeing, sailing, etc.

“We believe that each of us has a unique story waiting to be told and lived: a story of possibilities, a story of hope, a story of purpose, a story of greatness. CELL’s programs will challenge you to believe that one life, your life, can have a BIG, positive impact in the world. Come see for yourself…”
Dave and Sue Oakes

Co-founders and co-directors

CELL Instructors

Hank Colletto

Iceland Instructor

M.S. Environmental Education, Audubon Expedition Institute at Lesley University, MA 1984
B.S. Environmental Studies, University of Maine Fort Kent, ME 1982
A.S. Environmental Technology, Berkshire Community College, MA 1980

Born in Massachusetts, Hank grew up in a small town with four siblings. Environmental education, sustainable agriculture, and staying connected to nature have long been an important part of his life. He earned an M.S. in Environmental Education from Lesley University.

He taught environmental studies and environmental education for the Audubon Expedition Institute at Lesley University leading field-based semester programs in Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, the Desert Southwest, the Pacific Northwest and New England. Hank co-developed a sustainability education site where he taught sustainable agriculture and green building-focused semester programs on the farm he currently lives on in Maine. In northern New York Hank built his own net-zero energy solar home. Hank has worked as a field engineer for an energy conservation company doing sub-contracting work for the Department of Energy. Most recently, Hank has been teaching for CELL’s program in Iceland.

Hank has lived in intentional communities for most of his adult life. Dedication to education is in the forefront of Hank’s mind coupled with commitment to the practice of organic agriculture and working toward a lifestyle that is gentler on the planet. Combining these two values in the place he resides and in his teaching is his passion.

Karin Wittmann

Iceland Instructor

Ph.D. Natural Resources, Colorado State University, CO 1998
M.A. Biology, State University of New York at Geneseo, NY 1990
B.A. Biology, State University of New York at Geneseo, NY 1988

Karin has a passion for sustainable practices, permaculture, group facilitation, and wild places. Exploring, learning and teaching with CELL is a perfect fit. She loves looking at the various sides of issues in sustainability and is convinced that many solutions are elegantly simple.  Whether teaching on a remote hiking path or in a geothermal power plant, Karin strives to make the most of each moment and appreciate each student’s talents.

Karin has been teaching experiential education programs with both university students and community members for over 20 years and has traveled extensively across North America teaching about wilderness, sustainability and community. She is a Registered Maine Guide and has lived in an ecovillage in Maine. Karin has also organized permaculture events, is on the steering committee for the Transition Town Initiative and on the board for the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition, a local education and trails organization.

Carrie Wittmer

Central America Instructor

M.S. Environmental Education, Audubon Expedition Institute at Lesley University, MA  1993
B.S.  Biology, Oregon Institute of Technology, OR June 2008
B.A. Philosophy/Minor in English, St. Mary’s College, CA  1991

Carrie Wittmer has over 20 years teaching graduate and undergraduate students in Environmental Education and Environmental Science. In addition to teaching both the Iceland and Central America semesters for CELL, she has also been Faculty at Lesley University’s Audubon Expedition Institute and Associate Professor of Natural Sciences, Sustainability Coordinator, and Environmental Sciences Program Director at Oregon Tech University in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Additionally, she has guided trips in Alaska, Grand Canyon National Park, and Yosemite National Park as well as being a Peace Corps volunteer in Chile. More recently, she has been living and working at Grand Canyon National Park. Carrie brings to CELL extensive experience creating sustainable communities, promoting science and ecological literacy, and advocating for social change. She has published articles in The Journal of College Science Teaching, Journal of Experiential Education, and Convergence, Journal of Adult Education.

Throughout Carrie’s career, she has focused on sustainable human ecology—how people can live in cooperation and in conjunction with our environment by living within ecological principles that we observe in natural systems. One of the ecological principles, the concept of interrelationships and interdependence, is essential for not only living within and alongside natural systems, but for also developing sustainable and just human communities.

Steve Lamm

Iceland Instructor

M.A. Secondary Science Education (Biology), Columbia University, 1987; B.A. Religion / Philosophy and Art History, Principe College, 1977; Glen Helen Environmental Education Center, Antioch, Ohio ’79-’80; Institute of Chemical Education, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1985

Steve has dedicated his life to learning and education. Beginning as the leader of the Challenger program, a mountaineering program at Adventure Unlimited, Buena Vista, Colorado in 1974.  One winter he lead a cross-country ski expedition along the continental divide in Colorado. For 18 years Steve worked with high school students focusing on the development of individual character and community responsibility while teaching Biology, Environmental and Physical Science, Math, Writing Workshops, coaching Varsity Soccer and by leading a Senior Internship Program. For 23 years he has worked in both large and small corporations as well as hospitals with a focus on helping employees and managers communicate and listen more effectively. His area of expertise is in developing coaching skills with supervisors and managers. He has taken wilderness solo treks many times in Alaska and Colorado. He and his wife (Karen) are world travelers in constant search for the best way to be of service to our planet and it’s inhabitants.



“Vocation is where our greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need.”

Frederick Buechner