Chris is a social entrepreneur. In 2001, along with his wife, Rebekah, he co-founded Beyond Boundaries Institute, a non-profit entity utilizing hatha yoga to help people enhance their physical and inner well-being. He directed Bikram Yoga Bozeman for 10 years under the umbrella of Beyond Boundaries and continues to teach yoga and meditation. Chris also co-founded and directs the Northern Kenya Fund, which provides scholarships to underserved high school students in northern Kenya’s Chalbi Desert region. Additionally, Chris serves on the advisory board for Earth Justice. Chris graduated with honors from St. Lawrence University with a degree in Environmental Studies and Sociology. He currently lives in Bozeman, MT. with his wife Rebekah and two children.
Justin Short, MPH, LCSW, is a psychotherapist in private practice and owns Ridgeline Counseling Services, LLC in Bozeman, MT. His comprehensive approach and philosophy toward wellness includes a variety of integrated behavioral-health practices – including therapeutic modalities to help his clients cope with trauma, anxiety and depression. Originally from the South, Justin’s passion for the outdoors began around 8 years old when his family would frequently go camping in the southern Appalachian Mountains in north Georgia. In addition to providing individual counseling, Justin also facilitates fly-fishing retreats for men with cancer in Idaho and Montana. Justin feels most at peace with the world when he is either running long-distances in the Bridger's or skiing in the Gallatin's with his wife and one-eyed Australian shepherd Franklin.
Jon is a serial entrepreneur involved in youth mentoring and land use in the Gallatin Valley. He advocates for proactive urban planning and the creative use of conservation easements. Recently he has served as an adult leader of BSA Venture Crew One in Bozeman, providing guidance to teens in backcountry settings. Earlier, he spent several years as a Director of the Tri-Valley Conservancy in Livermore, California, working to preserve agricultural lands in the face of development pressure.
Jon spent his early years near Denver, Colorado, where he grew up skiing and backpacking with his dad employed in the outdoor industry. His positive experience on an outdoor education course in 1980 convinced him of the value of wilderness as a classroom for youth. Today he lives near Bozeman with his wonderful wife, Elizabeth, their two children, and an excellent brown poodle.
Jessie has called Montana home for the last 20 years. Currently the Southwest Manager for the Montana Land Reliance, Jessie works with landowners all over Montana to permanently protect their land. Originally from ND, Jessie fell in love with nature early, thanks to her family getting her out exploring and her talented teachers along the way. Jessie attended Montana State University and has Masters and Bachelors of Science degrees.
Jessie has served as the Executive Director of the Big Sky Community Organization, and prior to that as the Program Lead for the Big Sky Institute, owner of an environmental consulting firm, and 8th grade science teacher. Jessie enjoys getting deep in the woods and connecting with nature.
Deb Love has spent the last 25 years connecting people to nature. Currently a senior program advisor at Resources Legacy Fund, Deb has served as executive director of the LOR Foundation and, prior to that, senior vice president at The Trust for Public Land. She holds a BS in organizational management from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and an MS in environmental resource management from Antioch New England Graduate School.
Deb grew up backpacking, canoeing, biking and cross country skiing with her family in New England. She began her environmental career in the fifth grade, designing and building a nature trail behind her elementary school. Deb shares her love of the outdoors with her two teenage children, doing her best to try and keep up with them on the trails around their home in Bozeman.
Mike Wolfe grew up in Bozeman, Montana, and has been passionate about outdoor adventures since his youth. He grew up exploring Montana with his family, and after high school went on to share his passion for the outdoors by working in outdoor education with youth and adults for a decade at Camp Manito-wish and The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).
Mike is also an attorney and went to law school at the University of Montana. After law school Mike clerked for the Montana Supreme Court, with former Justice Brian Morris before working as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, where he prosecuted federal crimes in Montana. He then moved to Missoula and went into private practice.
Mike recently took a break from the full-time practice of law to focus on his true passion; mountain sports. He has since dedicated his life to mountain pursuits and adventures, and the training it takes to perform at the highest level in the mountains. Mike is a professional mountain runner, and has been competing at ultra-distance mountain races around the world for over a decade. He currently lives in Bozeman with his wife, son, and daughter, where he owns and operates The Mountain Project.
Gar is the Cofounder and Executive Director of MWS as well as serving on the Board. He has field instructed and course directed for a variety of outdoor educational programs including Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, Colorado Outward Bound School, Costa Rica Outward Bound School, Eagle Rock School and the alternative schools of the Denver public school system; and has extensive experience instructing mountaineering, rock climbing, canyoneering, whitewater rafting and canoeing expeditions. Gar holds undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Business Administration, and a Masters Degree in Ecological Design. He is also an avid sailor and holds a Near Coastal USCG Master's License with towing and sailing endorsements, and has sailed his own boat around the world with his wife, Nicole.
Shane Doyle, Ed.D is a Crow tribal member who grew up in Crow Agency, and currently resides in Bozeman, MT. A singer of Northern Plains tribal style of music for 30 years, Shane also holds a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction, and completed a post-doctoral appointment in genetics with the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2016. With 20 years of teaching experience, Dr. Doyle is a full-time educational and cultural consultant, designing American Indian curriculum for many organizations, including Montana public schools, the National Park Service, and the Museum of the Rockies. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Bozeman-based Extreme History Project, Hopa Mountain, and the Archaeological Conservancy, as well as serving on the Montana Arts Council culture and aesthetics committee and the Governors Parks in Focus Committee. He and his wife Megkian are blessed with five children, ages 5 - 14.
An ecologist and writer by training, Kate’s career in conservation and outdoor education has led her from the Pacific northwest to Alaska, Africa, the northern Rockies and Mongolia. Now a consultant based in Bozeman, she draws from experience at the Wildlife Conservation Society, Sonoran Institute, Gallatin Valley Land Trust and other non-profit organizations. She has led trips for Outward Bound and National Geographic, directed expeditions for the Wrangell Mountains Center and Montana Yellowstone Expeditions, and served as board member and interim executive director for the Montana Outdoor Science School. She currently serves as chair of Open & Local, a coalition to strengthen the local food economy and conserve open land in the greater Gallatin region. When successfully detached from computers and not Nordic skiing, you’ll find her living/playing/hiking/traveling with her husband Peter and their son.
Steve has had the good fortune of integrating interests inwilderness, medicine, travel and youth development beginning with the outdoorrecreation program at UC Berkeley, where he earned a BS in resource economicsand a minor in writing. From the University of Montana, he earned a BA inbiology with an emphasis in riparian ecology. In between, he served variousroles for urban and rural youth corps, taught climbing and guided river tripsin the US and Central America. While a medical student at the University of NewMexico, he initiated research in acute mountain sickness and subsequentlyvolunteered for the Himalayan Rescue Association in Pheriche and with theEverest ER. He currently is the co-medical director for the Hardrock 100 andserves as physician advisor for youth development groups and wildernessoutfitters. He continues to teach wilderness medicine for WMA and otherorganizations in and outside the US. When not at work, he drafts his sonthrough the varied terrain of the Northern Rockies.
Raised on the doorstep of Glacier National Park, Whitney developed a passion for the outdoors early in life. She spent nearly a decade as a fly fishing guide and whitewater rafting guide on the Flathead River system, working her way through a degree in Sociology from the University of Montana. For the past decade, Whitney has worked exclusively with non-profit organizations utilizing outdoor therapies to promote physical and emotional healing. She has been published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Psychosocial Oncology on the topic of outdoor therapy for young adults with cancer. Whitney currently serves as the Executive Director at Casting for Recovery, a nonprofit dedicated to providing empowering fly fishing experiences for women with breast cancer. She lives in the Bridger mountains with one beautiful brown dog, three wild children and a patient husband. Together, they enjoy fishing, skiing and exploring wild places.
I'm the co-founder and Director of Aerie Backcountry Medicine. Since 1983 with the Student Conservation Association I have worked outdoors in various capacities, including trail crew member/boss, fire tower lookout and as a fisheries biologist while earning my masters in biology at the University of Montana. I combine my love for being outdoors with a passion for medicine, working also as a critical care paramedic in Missoula since 1990. In that capacity, I serve as the Training Officer for Missoula's ambulance service and assist teaching their paramedic courses.
As a product of a wilderness program himself as a young adolescent, Damien has been a long time believer in the power of outdoor education. After graduating with a B.S. in Geology, he spent several years working seasonally in wilderness therapy and wilderness medicine. After feeling the need for a break from seasonal work, Damien began working as an Emergency Department EMT as well as in organ donation recovery - all while continuing to teach for Aerie Backcountry Medicine. He later returned to the University of Washington School of Medicine Physician Assistant program, and has since worked in Family Practice, Urgent Care, Trauma, and is currently in the field of Neurosurgery. When not working, you can generally find him trail running, climbing, skiing, taking photos, and spending time with his wife Megan and young son Brooks.
Steve Smith is a risk management consultant (specializing in wilderness/experiential programs) at Experiential Consulting, LLC, based in Seattle, WA.
Steve has served as the Chair of the Wilderness Risk Management Conference for three years (2014 - 2016) and has been a standing member of the WRMC Education Committee since 2011. His career has included administrative leadership roles with national organizations including Outward Bound and The Student Conservation Association. He is currently a board member for the Northwest Outward Bound School, where he also serves on the school's Safety Committee and Executive Committee. He has a master's degree in teaching English, along with eight years of university-level teaching experience, and earned a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification from the Society for Human Resources Management, all of which help him view outdoor education through a variety of educational and administrative lenses.
I am very honored and excited to be joining Montana Wilderness School's advisor team. I am a therapist and a huge supporter and advocate for youth, communities, personal development, adventure anchored in a sense of place and a call to conserve and protect remote landscapes and wild places. I am originally from Colorado and currently find my home in Nederland, CO. I am forever grateful to my midwestern parents who moved to Colorado in their 20s and fostered a childhood of adventure while also instilling a deep connection to nature. As a child, I would spend entire days in the Black Forest of Southern Colorado, exploring the hills and bayous with my dog, falconry with my father, and both terrifying and exhilarating outings to climb in The Flatirons, Lumpy Ridge and Vedauwoo. The latter experiences were great teachers that not gave me confidence in myself, but also opened the doors to a very rewarding life path. In 1995, I did a three month NOLS course in Patagonia and then returned to do an instructor's course with Colorado Outward Bound, where I first had the privilege of meeting Gar Duke, cofounder and executive director of MWS.
In 1999, after graduating with a BA from Naropa University in Environmental Studies and Contemplative Psychology, I went to The Tetons to help a friend with the American Alpine Club Climber's Ranch. It was there that I met the late, Hans Saari, who is from Bozeman, and he encouraged me to join Exum Mountain Guides. After guiding for four summers, I then traveled to Pakistan to climb and search for the rare and woolly flying squirrel before I returned to graduate school to earn a master's in Counseling Psychology. Today, I continue to have a strong relationship with the outdoors and adventure while also practicing full time as a therapist in primary care. I serve all age ranges, however my favorite population is youth. I believe that helping youth feel empowered in themselves also inspires them to become positive leaders who conserve the world around them.
Mike is the Associate Director of the Northern Rockies Office of American Rivers, melding his love for snow with his love for spring runoff. An avid split boarder, boater, and wilderness traveller, he has worked and travelled in remote places from the Arctic, to central Africa, to the tip of South America as a guide, outdoor instructor, conservationist, and for personal adventure. Mike has an M.S. in Natural Resources Policy and Conflict Resolution, a B.S. in Neuroscience and a B.A. in Philosophy. Watching students grow while in the backcountry has been one of the great privileges that he has had.
Ashton grew up in more than one part of south central Montana and is proud to call both the Boulder River and the Yellowstone watershed 'home'. Her first career was in outdoor education teaching forest ecology and marine biology and leading multi-day expedition trips for teenagers. She then began working in wilderness therapy and has since worked with youth struggling with emotional difficulties. She is glad to be back in the mountains of Montana. Her passion is to help connect clients to a sense of place to help create a deeper sense of self. She has her Master's in Social Work, and undergraduate in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana. When she is not in her outpatient therapy office working with youth and families at Youth Dynamics she is in the mountains with her dog Colter finding a patch of snow or a mountain lake.
Rob retired recently from Montana State University where he taught history since 2002. He specialized in environmental history, Native American history and the history of the American West. Rob received his Ph.D. from Yale University and before that studied history at the University of Colorado and English Literature at Middlebury College. His academic interests and writing have never strayed far from his broader "outdoor" experiences. Early on, growing up climbing, skiing, and boating in the Pacific Northwest, Rob learned the value of experiential education. These experiences led to others, studying oceanography sailing the North Atlantic, mapping lion populations in Kenya's Maasai Mara, practicing emergency medicine as a ski patrolman, solo sea-kayaking along the Arctic coast. Rob spent over a decade instructing for the National Outdoor Leadership School, including long stints in Kenya and Alaska. He remains committed to educating young people in our remaining wild spaces. Rob lives in Bozeman with his partner, Jen, and children, Alice and William.