our team

MWS 2022 STAFF

GAR DUKE

Co-founder and Executive Director

I grew up in Washington State where I was fortunate to spend my youth camping with my family, catching salmon and water skiing on the Puget Sound, snow skiing in the Cascades, and being a well rounded pacific northwest kid. In college I fell in love with rock climbing and alpine mountaineering, a journey that led to my career in outdoor education. I have over 1000 program days field instructing and course directing for a variety of outdoor educational programs; the majority of my time in the wild places of the American west for Outward Bound, where I have worked in the mountains, rivers, canyons, and deserts instructing mountaineering, rock climbing, and canyoneering courses. I have college degrees in Psychology, Business Administration, and a Masters in Ecological Design, as well as a USCG Master's Captains License.

I live in Bozeman with my wife, Nicole, and our son, Crusoe, and high energy herding dog, Odin. Outside of my work and family life, my current outdoor interests are long distance trail running with my dog, bow hunting, backcountry skiing, and fly fishing on Montana's amazing rivers.

Send an email

JOSH OLSEN

Co-founder and Program Director

I was born and raised in Montana and grew up exploring wild spaces from the Bears Paw to the Beartooth Mountains. I was lucky enough to spend my youth skiing, hiking and climbing in many wild areas of Montana. I have worked as an educator in many capacities primarily in the backcountry; instructing kayaking and climbing and spent some time teaching English in Tanzania, Africa. I am a former wilderness instructor for "at- risk" youth programs and worked as a field instructor for multiple wilderness adventure programs in the mountain west. In addition to my work with youth, I also worked professionally as a sea kayak guide and as a climbing instructor. I have taught wilderness medicine courses for Aerie Backcountry Medicine for over 10 years teaching around the United States, India, China, Tibet and in Morocco. During the winters I have spent the last decade working as a professional ski patroller and avalanche rescue dog handler and currently work at Bridger Bowl. My love of education and desire to always keep learning lead me back to school, to receive a Masters Degree in Education with a focus on place-based learning from the University of Montana. I live in Bozeman with my wife, young son, and two dogs, trying to scratch out time to ski, hunt, and climb between working and learning to garden.

Send an email

Martha Sellers

Development Director

I was raised in Minnesota and spent my childhood outdoors, camping, swimming, hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, skiing…you get the picture. And while much of it was on Lake Superior and in the Boundary Waters, we traveled extensively throughout the U.S. falling in love with every ecosystem we visited. I remember learning how to: start a fire without matches; make my way through the woods with a compass; keep my gear dry when winter camping; the importance of putting tomorrow’s socks in my sleeping bag so they were warm in the morning; and how extra delicious hot cocoa is when it’s -10°. I have had the great fortune to participate in many outdoor experiences as both student and instructor. In my new role with the Montana Wilderness School I will get to help make these experiences happen for the next generation, and I am grateful.

Send an email

Kodee Cloninger

Outreach and Admissions Director

Growing up in Montana I quickly developed an affinity for the outdoors and the thrill of exploration and play. 

Curiosity about the human and natural world took me outside my home state to many adventures throughout Lating America, Europe, Asia, New Zealand, as well as the Northeastern United States. I landed myself on the East Coast after I discovered my passion for education while teaching English in Guatemala and simultaneously realizing I could cultivate that passion outside the classroom walls. Since then, I have navigated my eagerness for education and the outdoors by finding roles as an experiential educator and program director with different environmental education schools on the East Coast. Meanwhile, I supplemented my summers leading international cultural immersion and volunteer experiences for high schoolers. 

Through my experiences I have found there is nothing more valuable than connecting youth to the natural world and wild spaces. Montana has always called be back because of its public lands and the opportunity for play and growth in the wild. To be able to share that with future generations has me thrilled to be a part of MWS as the team Admissions and Outreach Manager. 

When I am not with the MWS team you can find me and my dog Arco finding any way to play many outdoor spaces of Bozeman, reconnecting with friends littered around the globe, or staying home practicing yoga and baking bread.

Send an email

Ryan Peters

Wilderness Program Manager

My relationship with wild spaces began in Minnesota’s million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Time spent here in my teenage and college years was formative, nurturing a passion & need for a life lived outside and guiding my career path. I return here annually, but Bozeman has been my home since early 2014. Though I moved here for the skiing & climbing opportunities, fly fishing and hunting have become my primary passions - I love to share them! I have worked as a guide here in Montana, and spend spring, summer & winter chasing trout up wild rivers both here and abroad. In the fall you can find me in pursuit of archery season elk, waterfowl & upland game birds.

Formerly, I worked for the local climbing gym – Spire – coordinating the Community Instruction program, & I continue to teach here whenever I can. In addition to fishing, hunting, climbing & skiing, I enjoy mountain biking and snowmobiling. My partner Kelley & I have two crazy pups - Kiche & Moki - who adventure with us wherever we go. As an educator, I am most passionate about working with high school age youth; being a part of their personal conservation & identity journeys is the most rewarding experience I know. I’m thrilled to be a part of the amazing expeditionary experiences MWS offers its students & to contribute to the development of the program!

Send an email

Hannah Karn

Operations Manager

I grew up in Colorado where I was able to spend my weekends camping, skiing, and hiking with family and friends. Spending as much of my free time as possible romping around outdoor spaces inspired a passion for exploration and conservation of wild places. I attended Colorado State University where I became immersed in and passionate about outdoor and environmental education, as well as policy and management of our natural resources and public lands. After a few years of working with students in Northern Colorado, I ran further north to Southeast Alaska where I worked as a Research and Teaching Assistant for The Tatoosh School, a small undergraduate level field program. I spent my summer there sea kayaking, living in a tent, researching local issues in public lands management and conservation, and falling in love with place based, experiential education. Following my summer in Alaska, and one more fall teaching youth inNorthern Colorado, I found myself in Montana where I quickly fell in love with the landscape and local communities. In addition to working for MWS, I have spent the last four winters coaching and sharing my passion for winter landscapes at Big Sky. When I’m not working, you can probably find me out skiing, trail running, finding any excuse to spend time outside, or cooking up something tasty in my kitchen.

Send an email

Ross Lesslie

Outreach and Admissions Assistant + Mountain Program Supervisor

I was lucky to have spent my childhood moving around and experiencing different parts of the world. My family moved from England to Switzerland to California, where I spent most of my teenage years before adventuring off to Asia and Australia. When I returned to the US, I found myself drawn to the beautiful mountainous states of Washington and Montana.  During so many moves, one thing was consistent; free time was spent outdoors. Growing up my interests included sailing, mountain biking and skiing, and as I got older, that list only grew to include rock climbing, backpacking and mountaineering.  

I developed my passion for rock climbing during college and dare say I may have put more energy into my climbs than my education.  After graduating from San Francisco State University in CA, I took a 2 year trip to Asia where I stumbled upon a job as a rock climbing and sea kayaking guide in Vietnam.  Upon my return to the states, I found my calling leading trips with Outward Bound in the North Cascades in WA in the Summer and teaching young rippers to shred cold smoke at Bridger Bowl in the Winter.

When not working for MWS, I am typically exploring alpine lakes, challenging my relationship with gravity or plotting my next adventure abroad with my partner Theresa.

Send an email

Sarah Ebright

Outreach Coordinator + Paddling Program Supervisor

I grew up among the rolling hills of central Pennsylvania and was fortunate to spend my childhood exploring the country in our family’s pop-up camper, quickly falling in love with our wild spaces - especially the rugged mountains of Montana and Alaska! After playing collegiate field hockey, graduating with a couple of engineering degrees, and moving west (in no particular order), I headed north to Alaska, spending the next 10 years as a mountaineering, backpacking, and rafting guide in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. In the winters, I lived in beautiful Bozeman, MT, enjoying the incredible ski terrain, ice climbing, pond hockey scene, and local outdoor community!

Now, I enjoy being a year-round Bozeman resident, exploring the mountains and rivers of Montana during the summer months (as well as the winters)! I am grateful to be working with an organization where I can share my passion for the outdoors and love of adventure with our future generations! When I’m not at work or playing outside, I can be found riding my bike, playing ice hockey, perfecting my dutch oven recipes, or catching up on a good book!


Send an email

CLAIRE KLEESE

Design Production and Technology Manager

I was fortunate to be born and raised in beautiful Western Montana. Living in the Bitterroot Valley provided me the opportunity to spend my childhood climbing, skiing, camping, hunting and canoeing all over Montana. I received a degree in Geography and GIS/Remote Sensing Imagery and spent time adventuring throughout the US, Central America, Canada, Iceland, India, Nepal, Pakistan, China and Tibet. I've worn a variety of different career hats in my life however my passion for Montana's wild spaces and helping youth develop a relationship with their environment and community are just a few of the many reasons I am so happy to be a part of the Montana Wilderness School team! I had the incredible opportunity to be raised outside playing in the mountains and rivers - I want to ensure that others have those opportunities as well. After several years working in Enrollment with MWS and several years as Communications Manager, I have transitioned to Design Production and Technology Manger with MWS and am so grateful to be part of an organization that makes such a significant impact in the lives of our future leaders and decision makers, creating the connection with a sense of place and Montana's wild spaces.

When not working with the MWS team, I work as Creative Content Specialist with Evolv and an illustrative artist in both film, print, and galleries. I try to spend as much time on our amazing public lands as possible running, climbing on rocks or preferably ice and skiing with my dogs Hawk and Osa.


Send an email

Kelley Jazdzewski

Digital Marketing Coordinator & Development Assistant

I’ve been drawn to the environmental nonprofit world ever since I interned at the Ecology Action Center while attending Illinois State University. I realized then that I wanted to pursue a career where I could connect people with natural experiences. I took steps to pursue this lifelong goal after moving to Colorado and working at the High Plains Environmental Center.

My connection to Montana is still new - moving here in 2018 - but the longer I live here, the deeper my roots grow. I love the people here and the opportunities to explore the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

I went backpacking for the first time in 2019, alone and with only one pair of socks. It stormed, and there were unavoidable creek crossings - it was the start of a learning journey, and backpacking has become one of my biggest passions! I am thrilled to work for MWS; I believe in and support our mission to make extended wilderness experiences accessible to so many youth. I’m proud to work with and be a part of the MWS family.

At the end of 2018, I completed my Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training in Goa, India. I love being both a student and a teacher of yoga here in Bozeman. I bring the mindfulness cultivated on the mat to the mountains, where I love to explore using my feet. Sometimes with a backpack for a week, other times trying to run fast, and oftentimes walking slowly to feel the earth beneath my feet. I love to share these moments and more with my partner Ryan (also here at MWS!) and our two doggos. Our family enjoys canoe trips to Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, floating down rivers, and skiing. My love for open and wild spaces deepens every season as I spend more and more time outside!

Send an email

2022 Program STAFF

Katie Colson

Lead Instructor

I spent my childhood in the Pacific Northwest among stunning Cascade volcanoes. It was only a matter of time before I found myself hiking in the Columbia River Gorge just about every weekend. I eventually set my sights on the summits of the cascades, and climbed Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams and South Sister by the time I was graduating high school. My growing passion for the outdoors took me to Colorado for my undergraduate degree. It was there where I was introduced to the world of climbing and never looked back. After growing my technical skills, I decided to make my hobbies a career and started working for Colorado State University’s outdoor program. I found so much joy in introducing my peers to new places and skills. From backcountry skiing, to traditional rock climbing to mountaineering, I loved the challenge of teaching new skills to others. My drive for experiencing true wilderness pushed me to find a job as an ice climbing and glacier guide in Wrangell St. Elias National Park in Alaska for two summers. As I continued my education and work, I discovered my love for teaching and outdoor education. I dedicated a year of my undergraduate degree to environmental education, where I found myself creating lesson plans to teach fourth grade students how to identify “scat”. I’ll let you imagine how well that went…

 

After graduating from Colorado State University, I am so excited to bring my passions to Montana and spend the summer in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. When not working for MWS, you can probably find me rock climbing, somewhere high in the alpine or on a road trip in my stylish Honda Element, or as I like to call it, my “hotelement”.

Adam Bavier

Lead Instructor, Expedition Wrangler

I spent the first 20+ years of my life in New Jersey, but was privileged to have access to adventure experiences through a family and community who valued time outdoors. As a child, I was interested in science exploration and high adventure. I grew up admiring David Douglas, Aragorn, and Lynn Hill. 

My professional journey has taken me from leading backpacking and climbing trips in Joshua Tree, to environmental education on Mount Rainier, to expeditionary field science experiences in Yellowstone. Missoula was home for many years and the Bitterroots remain my favorite mountain range. I did my graduate studies at Montana State here in Bozeman.

I am drawn to this work in search of those moments when my students say “I am certain I cannot do that, but I am willing to try.” While my career has been varied, I have been lucky to have had many, many opportunities to help others confront challenge and feel less afraid. 

In my spare time you can typically find me working. When I can get it, I enjoy reading and writing, climbing rock and ice, ski touring, and working my way through my AMGA progression. Any time spent working in Montana is good time, but it is a special treat to be avoiding the 100+ degree days back home in Fruita, Colorado where I am a faculty member at Colorado Mesa University.

Brian Curnutte

Assistant Instructor

My passion for the outdoors began in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, where I was born and raised. Growing up there provided me with amazing opportunities to spend my time outside skiing, biking, and rafting. By the time I was in high school, I knew I wanted to work outside so I started looking for a degree that could make that happen. When I found out Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado offered an Adventure Education degree I knew it was what I wanted to study. After high school, I took a semester off and lived in a truck with my best friend for three months. We traveled around the Southwest United States teaching ourselves how to rock climb along the way. 

Studying Adventure Education solidified my desire to pursue a career in the outdoors and also introduced me to the outdoor education industry. In college I was given many opportunities to experience the outdoor education industry. I worked with local elementary schools and nature conservatories to teach local youth about the environment. I also worked for Keystone Science School for a summer where we would spread environmental awareness and go on adventures. 

Facilitating new and meaningful experiences in the outdoors is one of my favorite aspects of outdoor education and something I am looking forward to this summer. My outdoor experiences and relationships have shaped me into the person I am today, and I am so excited to help the youth experience the same things I did.

When I am not working, you can find me rock climbing, skiing, or paddling on the river, I love to spend my free time outside!

Ardyn Ford

Lead Instructor

Outdoor education has given me a powerful lens to navigate the world through, both as a student and as an instructor. In high school, my chemistry teacher introduced me to the otherworldly landscapes of Southern Utah. I fell in love. Wandering through vast expanses of sandstone and sage with my friends and learning about desert ecology made me feel a connection to the outdoors that I had never experienced before. I felt at home. In college, I became a trip leader for the University of Utah’s outdoor program, where I learned to rock climb, whitewater raft, and backcountry ski. This process was incredibly empowering, and I’m so grateful for the mentors who made these experiences possible. In addition to taking me out and teaching me technical skills, outdoor mentors that I’ve had throughout my life have profoundly shaped my personal development. They’ve shown me what it means to be humble, embrace silliness, and live compassionately. Because of them, I became an outdoor educator, hoping I could pass on the sense of empowerment and love for wilderness that they gifted to me. I’ve been lucky to do this work across the American West as a trip leader, camp counselor, and Outward Bound instructor. I’m so excited to join the MWS team this year and experience the wild rivers and mountains of Montana.

Kayla Wales

Assistant Instructor

I was born in Bozeman and raised by two outdoor enthusiasts who strapped me into their packs and introduced me to wild spaces from day one. I never fully understood why people thought Bozeman was such an incredible outdoor recreation hotspot and was fixed on leaving until college. As I explored other states and landscapes more, I started to understand why Montana was considered so special. My exposure to wild spaces in high school through MWS as a student had set a high standard that was hard to beat. The more avenues of backcountry travel I ventured into the more I realized how much surface was left to scratch.

I am now an Environmental Studies major with a History minor at Montana State University. I found my community through working for the Outdoor Recreation Program; outdoor education has since become a deep interest of mine. I am beyond excited to return to MWS this summer and get to once again learn about Montana and recreation and the joys that come from combining the two.

Rhian Alley

Assistant Instructor

I was raised in a small town in western North Carolina at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Growing up stomping in creeks and running around in the woods fostered a love for outdoor spaces, making them feel comfortable and welcoming. I was fortunate enough to travel with my family and explore all across the U.S., from New Hampshire to Florida to Colorado and Alaska, biking, hiking, and/or skiing depending on the season. Once I left for college in the northeast, I continued to seek out opportunities to work and play in the woods, hiking and backpacking in the White Mountains when I could through school and returning home to work at a summer camp in Hendersonville, NC in the summers. It was at this camp that I realized how much I enjoyed outdoor education and helping students find their own reasons and ways to love getting outside. After graduating from Brown University in May, I spent my summer and fall leading backpacking, biking, and hiking trips for middle and high school students, occasionally raft guiding, and working as a zipline guide. I moved to Bozeman this winter to ski instruct at Big Sky, and have fallen in love with the landscape and the community I've found here! I'm thrilled to get to be a part of MWS this summer and spend time helping students find their own love for these incredible outdoor spaces that are at our fingertips by making them feel competent and comfortable in the backcountry. 

Betsy Hunt

Assistant Instructor

I grew up in the beautiful State of Maine. From the coast to the mountains I found joy with being outside. I went to a wilderness tripping camp for 7 years. This camp taught me so much about the people I was with, myself, and Respecting the outdoors. I developed a love for the stars because, while gazing up at the sky it starts off as a mystery but the more you learn and study the more you can read the sky. I wanted to pursue that as a job. I graduated Plymouth State University with a degree in Adventure Education.

During the summer of 2020 I became a Maine State Raft Guide and that's where rafting became a huge part of my recreation in the outdoors. I then went and made snow and groomed XC ski trails at Sugarloaf for the winter. I flipped a quarter and decided to move to Montana for the summer to be a white water raft guide in West Glacier on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. I fell in love with Montana and that's when I applied to Big Sky to be a Groomer, Snowmaker and a Ski Instructor for the winter.

I am new to Montana but I am so excited to learn and find a deeper connection to Montana with MWS. When not working for MWS I am kayaking, rafting, hiking and stargazing.

Hannah Blum

Intern

I was born and raised in Golden, Colorado - a small town tucked in the foothills of the Rockies. I grew up skiing, trail running, and spending as much time outside as I could. The mountains became core to my being at a very young age, and I’ve spent my life chasing adventure and the rich beauty that wilderness offers.

I’ve taken a unique path in pursuing my passions. After graduating as a Biochemical Engineer from Colorado School of Mines, I worked as a Field Engineer in rural Mississippi for a few years, transitioning to a position as a Corporate/Investment Banker in the Renewable Energy space. I made an abrupt switch to the Medical field in 2020, obtaining my WFR and EMT and jumping into a role as an EMT in Denver, CO. 

Since then, I’ve worked seasonally - guiding for a Wilderness Therapy Program in Utah and working at the ski clinic in Big Sky, MT. My passion lies in empowering individuals in wilderness settings, whether that be caring for them medically, or teaching them how to perform a variety of skills necessary in wilderness environments.

When not working, I can be found skiing, running, mountain biking, climbing, traveling, spending time with friends and family, or any combination of these things!

Colin Burdsall

Lead Instructor, Expedition Wrangler

My 24 years existing on planet earth has helped me realize that connectedness to the outdoors is imperative to the health and happiness of humanity. It’s hard to say whether I grasped that understanding when I first learned how to start a fire with flint and steel, or witnessed towering Redwood trees while visiting my first National Park. Heck, it might’ve been while I was eating dirt and watching lizards in my childhood backyard. Either way, it’s been those outdoor experiences that cultivated a desire to seek out more…outdoor experiences. Throughout time, I’ve tried various recreational activities and sought to challenge myself physically in the outdoors to pursue a deeper connection to wild places, but I noticed the connection always appeared in much quieter, less obvious moments. As a field instructor, I feel it is my duty to provide an opportunity for students to find their own ways to connect to the wild. Whether it's through pushing themselves physically or giving them space to embrace the environment around them, I hope they’ll get a taste of how powerful that connection can be.

Lexi Kyro

Field Instructor

I grew up in Seattle and had the privilege of chasing my family through the North Cascades from the time I was a young kiddo and have loved it ever since. I moved to Montana to study environmental health and play in the mountains surrounding Bozeman. When not in school, I love to climb, run, surf or ski and these experiences I have had playing outside have been some of the most joyous moments in my life. As this has been something so important to me, I want others to have the opportunity to experience the beauty and power of nature as well. This desire for others to have these experiences led me to Montana Wilderness School last summer and has me coming back again to empower others to have these experiences as well.

Eric Falconer

Lead Instructor

My roots were nourished in the front range of Colorado where I was fortunate enough to immerse myself in the natural landscape from a young age.  Later in life I wound up attending Prescott college, and I graduated with a major in Adventure education; from that point forward, my passion for being outside and working with people has continued to blossom. This love has brought me to many spectacular heights and humbling lows, revealing that the best things in life are worth suffering for.  Having previously lived in Bozeman for three years and experienced some of Montana’s incredible wilderness, I can’t wait to return to MWS for my fifth season.  

I aspire to connect students to the landscape and pass forth the torch of adventure. 

These days I call Teton valley home where I enjoy spending time with my K9 and hooved animals.  You can find me getting out into nature in all the ways or sitting around a campfire with some string instruments.   I’m so grateful to be a part of MWS and looking forward to an awesome summer!

Wyatt Stevens

Lead Instructor

I was born and raised in Bozeman, Montana, and spent much of my youth exploring the local  mountain ranges. My family shared a love of the outdoors and travel so I’ve been privileged to  spend my life in natural landscapes in Montana and abroad. Backpacking, fly-fishing,  snowboarding, rock-climbing, mountaineering, and more recently trail and ultra-running have been constant sources of play, inspiration and personal transformation for me. All of these mediums of outdoor movement have fostered a deep appreciation for conscious and  intentional connection with wild spaces.  

In university, while rock-climbing became the focus of my outdoor life, I was drawn to study the way that narrative shapes the way that we understand our relationship to the natural world.  While in Squamish I fostered a love for teaching, and found my way to outdoor education through instructing and coordinating the university’s Adventure Club. I returned to Bozeman in 2018 to work for MWS, where I spent most of my summer in the East  Pioneers. I fully expected to return in 2019, but was waylaid by an opportunity to travel to Far  East Russia, where I spent a summer exploring the arctic landscape on foot. One thing led to another and I found myself living in New Zealand for two plus years, planting trees and  pursuing ultra/mountain running with every ounce of spare energy.  

Finally, I am returning to Bozeman and MWS and I couldn't be more thrilled to be back home,  once more helping high school students to access the joy and wonder of the wild mountains that have offered me so much.

Jordan Allen

Lead Instructor, Expedition Wrangler

I was born and raised in southeast Idaho, a place surrounded by mountains and wide open spaces. I spent my childhood splashing in the mountain streams and climbing the basalt cliffs that surrounded my home. As I grew older I knew that wild places were a part of me and I could never live far from remoteness; it was this feeling that led me to pursuing my education in Bozeman. While at Montana State I studied glacial geology because it allowed me to learn about the natural world while getting into wild places. I loved my time in academia, but I realized that the ivory tower of research science was somewhere I wanted to visit, not to live in. Since completing my degrees I have moved into seasonal vocations. In the winter I work as a ski patroller, which affords me the gall to be a healthcare provider and explosives handler at the same time. During the summer months I am fortunate to work for an organization that shares my beliefs that wild places are valuable not only for their physical resources, but for the connections that they bring. When I am not on the job you can find me on the trails with my dog or looking for soft snow with friends.

Eliza Donahue

Lead Instructor, Expedition Wrangler

I was born and raised in Northern New Mexico, where I enjoyed playing in the southern Rockies and on the Rio Grande river. I started college in western Massachusetts, and later relocated to Montana to finish school at MSU. I got started with outdoor education through a high school job at my local climbing gym, and later through MSU’s Outdoor Recreation program, where I worked as a student instructor and climbing wall manager. Having had some incredible outdoor mentors myself, I’m passionate about making space for young people to grow outside.

In the winters I’m a ski patroller, and previously I’ve also worked as a community organizer, focusing on climate and environmental justice issues across Montana. I’m excited to return to MWS for a third summer in the field!

In my free time, you can find me skiing, rock climbing, running around on trails, floating down rivers looking for fish and raptors, and sharing meals with friends.


Logan Daughetee

Assistant Instructor

I grew up in Iowa, and was lucky to be a part of a family who valued the outdoors. Trips to the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming instilled in me a love of wild places and a passion to explore. As soon as I could manage, I decided to follow that passion and started out on my own path out west. The experiences I've had in the outdoors have benefited and taught me so much. I decided that I not only wanted to spend my time experiencing these places, but that I wanted to share them with others. I eventually made my way to Bozeman, where I have loved exploring the amazing landscapes Montana has to offer. When not working you can find me exploring the mountain ranges of Montana and beyond. I am excited to share in these adventures with you all!

Jacob Northcutt

Lead Instructor

I was born and raised in New England where I was fortunate to be introduced to backpacking and hiking at an early age. In college, I helped run my school’s outdoor club and became interested in rock climbing and other vertical pursuits. After graduation, I worked seasonally at various conservation organizations in the Northeast and focused on becoming a more proficient as a climber and mountaineer. After a few seasons of seasonal work, I accepted a position as an intern teacher at The Putney School (VT), where I taught courses and was one of the faculty advisors of the Putney Outing Program. After a year at Putney, I accepted a faculty position at The White Mountain School (NH) where I taught courses in the English and History Departments and coached a rock-climbing team in the school’s AMGA accredited climbing program. In summer 2018, I left The White Mountain School to pursue graduate studies. I have an MA in Environmental Humanities from the University of Utah, and I am now pursuing doctoral studies in the History Department at Montana State University. My dissertation research focuses on mountaineering history and U.S. state development in North America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Throughout my career as an educator I have always been interested in outdoor, experiential education. As an instructor, I am always looking for ways for my students to be involved in hands-on learning experiences in the field, where they can connect with human and more-than-human communities. I am excited to join the MWS instructor community this summer and bring my passion for outdoor, place-based education to MWS. Wilderness expeditions are an incredible way to learn about yourself and your place in the world, and I look forwarding to traveling through the wild lands of Montana this summer with my students and fellow instructors at MWS. When I’m not reading books or researching for my dissertation, you will most likely find me rock climbing in Gallatin Canyon, ice climbing in Hyalite, skiing at Bridger Bowl, skating laps in Sourdough Canyon, or on a trail somewhere in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem – it just depends on the season. 

Megan Compton

Lead Instructor, Wrangler

I was raised in a small suburb in New Jersey that overlooked NYC. With civilization in every direction, the 5 square miles of forest in my county was my wilderness. I was able to recognize the way I felt in those birch trees and creeks, as authentic, honest, and alive.

I knew I had to pursue the realness of nature, and studied Outdoor Adventure Leadership at Ithaca College in upstate NY. This program brought me on a series of adventures starting with a 90-day Outward Bound course along the West Coast. The understanding that living outside is more than navigating unknown landscapes, became esnaring. Communication, empowerment, decision making, risk management, and group cohesion can make or break an experience. Shortly after, I led crews through the National Forests of Idaho with the Idaho Conservation Corps on 5-week hitches. The healing benefits of being outside for extended periods of time were obvious for my students. It inspired me to combine the backcountry with therapy and move to Utah to work in Wilderness Therapy, backpacking with at-risk teens. Since then, I moved to Montana to work at MWS! This is my third season with the team, and I feel lucky to work with such an amazing crew of folks, especially the rad students that make this all worth it.

Janine Welton

Field Instructor

Raised in Alberta and Washington’s Okanogan Valley, I was introduced to the wonders of physical exploration at a young age. I was lucky to have parents who took me skiing, biking, swimming, and paddling through the landscapes of my youth and my love of self-propelled activity, wild places and pika has only grown since. As a dual citizen, I’ve moved between Canada and the United States my entire life. I began attending the University of British Columbia in Vancouver after high school and spent a year on the north coast of BC where I learned to love rain and gigantic trees. Homesick for the Rocky Mountains, I moved to Missoula in 2013 to complete my B.Sc. in natural resource conservation. I’ve worked for land management agencies as a fire fighter, wilderness ranger, and guide. Instructing for the Montana Wilderness School has allowed me to combine my greatest passions: education and mountaineering. I’m looking forward to working with the supportive team of staff again this season and being challenged and inspired by my students!

Janine Welton

Field Instructor

Raised in Alberta and Washington’s Okanogan Valley, I was introduced to the wonders of physical exploration at a young age. I was lucky to have parents who took me skiing, biking, swimming, and paddling through the landscapes of my youth and my love of self-propelled activity, wild places and pika has only grown since. As a dual citizen, I’ve moved between Canada and the United States my entire life. I began attending the University of British Columbia in Vancouver after high school and spent a year on the north coast of BC where I learned to love rain and gigantic trees. Homesick for the Rocky Mountains, I moved to Missoula in 2013 to complete my B.Sc. in natural resource conservation. I’ve worked for land management agencies as a fire fighter, wilderness ranger, and guide. Instructing for the Montana Wilderness School has allowed me to combine my greatest passions: education and mountaineering. I’m looking forward to working with the supportive team of staff again this season and being challenged and inspired by my students!

Contact
Montana Wilderness School
P.O. Box 1183
Bozeman, MT 59771
406.388.4610
info@montanawildernessschool.org
Sign up to get updates
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
job openings