I believe that open spaces, wild landscapes, and free-flowing rivers deserve all the respect and reverence we can possibly afford them. With that in mind, I enthusiastically pursue my role with American Rivers and strive to raise the profile and prominence of the organization across the country. With a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Ball State, and an extensive background in whitewater rafting, mountain biking, mountaineering, and mountain rescue, exploration of the outdoors is paramount to my life and career. Primarily a writer, photographer, and executive producer of short films, I am versed in broad conservation issues of the Colorado Basin and the west, particularly water supply issues and protection of the Colorado River itself. Driving communications and advocacy across the west is a thrilling and consuming adventure, and one met with optimism and gusto. I live in Durango, Colorado, commonly known as “Paradise,” and occasionally jot random thoughts while enjoying a well-crafted Manhattan at www.ridesandrivers.com.
Education: B.S. in Environmental Science from Ball State University
Favorite River: San Juan River
River Story: When I was 18 years old and a sophomore at Arizona State University, I volunteered to lead a group of fellow students from the Arizona Outdoors Club (the outdoors club at ASU) on a 5-day San Juan River trip in Southern Utah. My parents took the family on the river at least once or twice every year, so I had the trip pretty well dialed, but had never led a trip there without them before.
Setting up the logistics for a trip like this is challenging to do by yourself, even if you are not a cocky young whippersnapper – getting the permits, securing all the gear, buying all the food, making sure everyone is on schedule, setting up the vehicle shuttle, and executing the trip without major injury or worse is an exercise in preparation with a sprinkling of sheer luck. Considering that the majority of our 11-person group had barely camped in their lives, let alone on a backcountry wilderness trip like this, the fact that it went so well was extremely fortunate – and transformative.
I think that trip more than any other experience taught me the value of thoughtful planning and methodical leadership to put it all together, and pull off the trip without a hitch. And hopefully that experience inspired 10 of my classmates to love wild western rivers and the open space they inhabit for their lives as well.