Bio

Biography

Rolf Smeets takes care of this site. He has been working several years as a biology and physics teacher in special education at a school in Nijmegen (the Netherlands).
He studied ecology of the tropical high mountains – in Utrecht and Amsterdam, and worked on ecological research in the Colombian Andes. After graduating, he and some friends founded an ecological travel agency: Ecotravel Nature tours. This was the first ecotourism agency in the Netherlands.
Rolf worked about 6 years in this agency. He organized and supervised many tours. He also wrote documentation for his clients. Thus he gained much knowledge of flora, fauna and geography of many Latin-American countries.

In 1994, Rolf moved to Brazil where again he worked in tourism. He founded and managed a small hotel on Ilha Grande, an island in the neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro. This was a fantastic full time job. He was responsible for all tasks, from choosing the menus to advertising the hotel clients and making excursions in the area. The hotel won a prize: it was one of the top five ecological hotels in Brazil.

With the travel jitters in the legs, Rolf moved in 1997 to Bolivia, where he worked one year as co-manager of a travel agency for nature and adventure travel. Of course, he supervised a lot of travelling, worked on web design, promotion and other commercial issues for this office: Transamazonas. Rolf also wrote articles for the Bolivian Times and he occasionally advised Bolivian government in the matter of national tourism development.

Back in Holland he became a network manager and worked for some 6 years in the IT field. Finally he decided to share his enthusiasm for biology and switched to becoming a high school teacher in biology and physics.

Now teaching at the Jorismavo, still travelling regularly and hiking, maybe less far, but no less beautiful.
 to know. More at my CV.

Trekking and climbing.

  • 1983 Mount Kenia, Kenia, trekking to Point Lenana.
  • 1986 Colombia Sierra de Cocuy, solo, high altitude trekking.
  • 1986 Ascent of Cotopaxi (5897 m). Near ascent to Chimborazo (6310 m). Ecuador.
  • 1987-1994: 12 multiple Andes trekking tours (3-5000 m) organised and guided in Ecuador.
  • 1987 trekking Sierra Nevada de Merida -Venezuela, 6 day cross country, 2 persons.
  • 1987 Grosvenediger- Austria, 1 week snow and ice, guided by Ben Smeets.
  • 1988 Samnaun-Austria, guide SNP tour, 15 pax, 1 week of dense fog and snow. Alpine tour.
  • 1988 Ortler-Austria, 1 week snow and ice, guided by Ben Smeets.
  • 1988 Otztal-Austria, 1 week alpine trekking.
  • 1990 Vanoise-France, Circuite de Vanoise, alpine with brother.
  • 1993 Ecrins-France, 1 week high altitude course, guided by John van Giels and Erik v.d. Pol.
  • 1997 Chili, SNP tour guide round trip and hiking around Torres del Paine.
  • 1997/98 Lived in Bolivia. Visited almost all mountain areas during 8-guided trekking tours (3500-5200 meter). Guided a‘  Terre d’Aventure group for 3 weeks. Including ascent of volcano Sajama (6542 meter).
  • 1998 Grossvenediger-Austria, second guide for a 6-day alpine trekking.
  • 2000 Allgau-Germany, compass and GPS trip met Ben Smeets. Severe weather conditions.
  • 2001 Otztal-Austria, mountain trekking, 1 week.
  • 2002 Chamonix-France, NKBV C3-course.
  • 2003 Mont Viso-Italy, trekking‘  3 persons.
  • 2004 Gran Paradiso-Italy, NKBV alpine trekking.
  • 2004 Silvretta-Austria, trekking with Ben Smeets and 2 kids.
  • 2006 Monte Rosa, the mother of all tours Switzerland, NKBV.
  • 2007 Dolomites-Italy, via ferrata tour, with Ben Smeets and 2 kids.
  • 2007 Bernina-Switzerland, hiking en MTB-tour, solo, 3 days.
  • 2008 Brenner-Austria, snowshoe trekking, 5 days, 4 persons.
  • 2008 Alaska round trip as a customer!
  • 2009 Harz mountains-Germany, snowshoe walking, solo, 5 days.
  • 2009 Germany-Allgau summer: trekking met Berliner Hohenweg.
  • 2009 Spain-Pyrenees, Aguies Tortes trekking, 6 days, 2 persons.
  • 2009 Bernina-Switzerland, C2-course.
  • 2010 Silvretta-Austria, snowshoe tour, 5 persons, 5 days.
  • 2010 Norway. SNP-hiking trip Fjell and fjord, 14 days, as tour guide.
  • 2010 Dolomites-Italy, Brenta via ferrata Brochette complete for 5 days and 2 days of mountain biking.
  • 2011 Allgau-Germany, February, 3 days trekking op snowshoes, alpine, solo tour.
  • 2011 Alpujarras-Spain, tour guide SNP-tours, ‘  hiking trip.
  • 2011 Sentiero Roma-Italy trekking, tough route in Bergell, Italian Alps.
  • 2011 Ecrins-France, Trekking through rough valleys, high passes staying in gites, SNP-tour, 10 days.
  • 2011 Luxembourg-Petite Suisse (Berdorf-Echternach). My old rock-climb paradise.
  • 2011 Italy-Dolomites-Innichen. A week in October along the peaks of Sextener, Fanes and Drei Zinnen, surroundings of van Cortina d’Ampezzo.
  • 2012 Italy-Dolomites  Puez-Geisler, Sella, Langkofel, Rosengarten. 1 week solo, hiking and via ferrata.
  • 2013 Germany-Karwendel from Mittenwald. Snowshoe walking in the area.
  • 2014 Spitsbergen expeditie met Ms Ortelius en 5 dagen zelfstandig actief rond Longyearbayen. (Oceanwide.com)
  • 2014 Frankrijk –Elzas. Met 1 persoon mountain biken en wandelen westelijk van Kaysersberg.
  • 2015 Switserland – Ratikon – Ascharina summits: Chruz (2195 m), Sulzfluh (2817 m).
  • 2016: December/January Marokko – Hoge Atlas. Parque nacional du Toubkal (4167 m), Iguenouane (3877 m), Tizi Ouagane pass (3750 m). (360explore.com)
  • 2016 Summer – Via Alpina – Italy approx.: 330 km, 8.000-12.000 m. altitude
  • 2017 February – Norway: East of Trondheim: Trondelag national park (nunatak.nl)
  • 2017 summer – Via Alpina – 2nd part approx.: 285 km, 6500 m. up in altitude.
  • 2017: North of Newcastle upon Tyne. Around Seahouses and the castles of Bamburgh and Alnwick, National Park: Farne Islands at the the Northumbrian coast at Seahouses
  • 2018: February. Sauerland. Snowshoewalking with a friend.
  • 2018: May: Scotland –  Affric Kintail trail (113 km in 3 days). Solo camping.
  • 2018: 3 trips in Switserland.
    First: solo in Berner Oberland – Meiringen to Kandersteg;
    Second: to the source of Rhein, Rhone, Reuss; with brother Ben
  • Third: A week in Val Bedretto – Swiss-Italina alps. With brother Ben and 1 client.
  • 2018: October. A sunny week in a beautiful area in Switserland.
    Sleeping in Herberge Ascharina.
  • 2019: March – Thuringer Wald – Dark snow covered forest in former East-Germany. Snowshoewalking with a friend. Half board hotel.
  • 2019: April – A week in the Cairngorms in Scotland.  Solo camping
  • 2019: July-august. Greenland, Nunatak 3 weeks camping – 12 pax group
  • 2019: October – St. Johann in Tirol – Kaisergebirge, walking and via ferrata – solo

 

Working experience

  • Augustus 2007 – present day
    Biology/physics teacher at high school for children with special educational needs (Jorismavo school in Nijmegen). Head of Biology department. Participant of several culture workshops.
  • April – August 2007
    Part-time employed as a biology teacher at high school (Kandinsky College) in Nijmegen.
  • March – August 2007
    Part-time employed as a biology teacher at high school (St. Joris school) in Nijmegen.
  • November 2005 – March 2006
    Part-time employed as a biology teacher at high school (Maaswaal College) in Wijchen
  • October 1999 – January 2007
    System operator/network manager and webmaster at small software company (Edmond Research & Development). Familiar with Windows, UNIX and Linux systems, small networks, hardware and software installations, compilations en pc-assembly. Actively engaged in maintenance and upgrade projects.
  • 1998 – 3 months
    Graphic designer intern ship at Media-group in Nijmegen. Project involving the production of a cd for the anniversary of the Radboud University in Nijmegen.
  • July 1997 – April 1998
    Living and working in Bolivia. Employed by Transamazonas, an adventure and trekking tour operator in La Paz, Bolivia-SA. Active as general coordinator to develop new ecotourism programs; active as multilingual guide; active in promoting the agency abroad through the production of a new brochure and activities on the internet. Article on ecotourism in Bolivian Times (February 1998).
  • End 1994 – July 1996
    2 years active in Brazil. Salvador de Bahia (8 months): I did some translation work (Portuguese-German) and worked as a guide for a Eco-operator. I guided Brazilian groups on ecological and cultural-historic excursions and established a mountain bike program. In July 1995 in co-operation with a Dutch investor I started a hotel project on Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro. I converted a small private estate into a 3-4 star hotel (Pousada Matariz) for 26 guests and offered possibilities to relax, do boat excursions, canoeing, hiking and scuba. The hotel became a success and won a price (SENAC) being one of the five best Eco-hotels in Brazil. As hotel manager was responsible for public relations, sales, accountancy, being host, etc. Due to private circumstances this project closed in July 1996 upon which I returned to Holland.
  • 1988 – 1994
    Together with two friends I started a foundation for ecological nature tours: Ecotravel Nature tours. This foundation was the first ecotourism agency in the Netherlands and received a lot of attention from the media. I organised a Latin-America travel program and guided many groups in different circumstances on either comfortable hotel tours or primitive trekking tours in Latin-America as well as a few in Africa. I accumulated a lot of knowledge on tropical flora, fauna and geography. I was also responsible for accounting for several years and contributed a lot to the design and layout of our brochures. I also produced many information booklets and other promotional texts. We stopped our activities in 1994.

Languages:

language – speaking – writing

English – Spanish – German – Portuguese – good – good
French – reasonable – moderate
Italian – a little – moderate

Relevant experience and capacities:

  • I studied 4 years physics and astronomy with a scholarship called Lerarenbeurs at the Radboud university, stopped whilst doing master .
  • I keep up with development in all exact sciences.
  • I participated at an ornithological research project in Siberia in 2005. Additional research on cryptogam flora.
  • Experienced with computers: Unix, Linux, MS-Office, Adobe CS6.
  • Experienced with accounting – certified Trade and Tourism (SEPR)
  • Ervaren met opzetten en onderhouden van website (o.a.: WordPress, Myqsl)  en (foto)grafische vormgeving (o.a.: Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop software, Dreamweaver).
  • Experienced photographer.
  • Experienced with outdoor activities as: rock climbing and mountaineering, indoor climbing, white water canoeing, GPS meteorology as well as snorkelling and scuba diving (Dutch licensed and PADI open water licensed).
  • Travelled throughout Latin-America, East-Africa, Alaska, alpine regions of Europe.
  • I work as freelance guide for SNP nature tours (hiking tours in Europe).
  • Sports: fitness, badminton, mountain biking.
  • Publication of some articles: i.e. about the Amazon Shuar Indians, tropical hallucinogens, some articles in Bolivian Times in La Paz, Bolivia.
  • Tutoring students biology courses on flora of the Netherlands, biology and society, didactics of biology.
  • 3 Year member of ‘Work-group Animal Use Utrecht’, WDU, a university group concerned with the use of animals in experiments. Also member of the ‘Inter Universitary Association for Animal Use’, a nationwide initiative of all universities with participation of students and staff. The IUOD worked on the same problems as the WDU. Co-producer of a video production titled ‘Animal experiments: Human work’. This video was made in participation with the Foundation Film & Science Utrecht and the NBBV (Dutch league against vivisection).
  • in possession of standard driving license.

Comments on biology study:

  • During the first general part of the biology study main emphasis was on general and soil-ecology, systematics of plants and ethology.
  • During the second part specialization followed on the next subjects:
  • Faculty group: Biology and Society (RUU)
    Study under supervision of the Dutch Foundation for the Protection of the Tropical Rainforest (WBTR), coached by Drs. H. Waardenburg from Biology and Society, University of Utrecht (RUU).
    Theme: Study of literature on deforestation and tropical timber use in Malaysia and Indonesia. This was used in a project on tropical timber use and its alternatives by Ir. C. Von Meijenfeldt at the Royal Institute for the Tropics in Amsterdam.
    The report was published in 1985, together with an article in the magazine of the WBTR.
  • Faculty group: Botanical Ecology (RUU)
    Research on vegetation patterns and production of a vegetation map of a chalk-grassland in Zuid Limburg in the south of Holland. This was part of a large scale research project of the biology-faculty in Utrecht.
    Coaching by: Drs. J. Willems and Drs. R. Bobbink. Botanical inventories were carried out and the studied area was mapped. My research combined the use of GIS techniques with pure field biology. This way it was possible to use old vegetation maps again and a prognostic could be made concerning the development of the studied area.
    Publication in: The Utrecht Plant Ecology Report in 1986.
  • Faculty group: Special Botany (UvA)
    Research performed in the frame of a large Dutch-Colombian project, called ECOANDES. This project included various studies in the high Colombian Andes.
    My research involved detailed ecological study of 2 intact tree line formations in the Colombian Andes. Two locations nearby Bogota were used, one in a wet climate region (Parque Nacional Chingaza) and one in a drier region (Neusa).
    Studied items:

    • Botanical composition and 3-dimensional structure of the forest and natural grassland (paramo)-vegetation.
    • Micro climate characteristics.
    • Soil classification and mapping.
    • Determination of the water retaining capacity of the soil and of the cryptogam layer and effects on the drinking water capacity for the city of Bogota.

Report and publication in the Netherlands and in Colombia in 1988.
An additional thesis was produced titled: The effects of mist on the quantification of water added to the system.

Also an course was taken on Tropical High Altitude Ecology.

  • Faculty group: Didactics of Biology (KUN)
    Postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE). Besides intensive theoretical training this included working at a secondary school. Among other activities this included the development of an ecology project. Certificate obtained in 1988