Our Festival Guests

The following guests are speakers at the Symposium, judges for the Moving Mountains Prize, guest presenters, filmmakers, film subjects, panel participants in a Town Talk or luminaries of other varieties. For the specific festival involvement of any given guest, please click on their name to expand their profile.

This list includes a sampling of Mountainfilm in Telluride's guests for 2015, but it's far from a comprehensive look at all those who will participate in the festival. We'll update these pages with new guests and new information regularly, so please check back often.

Annie Agnone

Annie Agnone

Annie Agnone is a writer, photographer and educator. Her passion for learning about different cultures and telling stories led her to convert her car into a camper and drive over 20,000 miles through 36 states to explore and document nocturnal culture in the U.S. Annie holds bachelor's degrees in visual communication and psychology from Ohio University and an MFA in creative writing from The University of Alabama. She works as a program director for Putney Student Travel, where she designs and leads educational travel programs for high school students.

Sono Aibe

Sono Aibe

A Japanese national, Sono Aibe is senior advisor for strategic initiatives at Pathfinder International. She works on program development in the Asia-Pacific region, including China and Myanmar. She also advances global and field advocacy strategies for reproductive health and rights and serves as the technical lead for integrated health and environment programs, including Tuungane, a project based in Tanzania with The Nature Conservancy and Frankfurt Zoological Society. Aibe worked for the Population and Reproductive Health Program of The David and Lucile Packard Foundation from 1996 to 2009. Before that, she implemented reproductive health projects in Southeast Asia, while working for the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning in Tokyo.

Azzam Alwash

Azzam Alwash

Born in Iraq, Azzam Alwash spent his childhood days exploring the Mesopotamian marshlands in the southern part of his homeland — known to many as the birthplace of civilization. When Saddam Hussein rose to power, Alwash moved to the United States, but when the regime fell, he returned home because the marshlands he loved had been destroyed by Hussein’s regime. In 2004, Alwash founded the nonprofit Nature Iraq and put his experience in hydraulic engineering to use, surveying the region and developing a master plan to restore the marshes. He was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2013for his politically challenging restoration work.

Conrad Anker

Conrad Anker

With first ascents and routes on walls that span from Antarctica to Patagonia and Alaska to the Himalayas, author and North Face athlete Conrad Anker is a modern climbing legend. His long list of ascents includes the west face of Latok II in Pakistan’s Karakoram, the three towers of the Cerro Toree Massif in Patagonia and the “Streaked Wall” in Zion. Anker was part of the expedition that discovered the body of George Mallory on Mt. Everest in 1999. In October of 2011, along with Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk, Anker realized a long-held dream when he topped out on the Shark’s Fin on Meru in the Himalaya. He lives in Bozeman, Montana, where he sits on the board of the Conservation Alliance, the Rowell Fund for Tibet and the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation.

Sara Bernstein

Network vice president Sara Bernstein is a key part of the HBO’s Documentary Films team, shepherding such films as The Crash Reel, Music by Prudence and Burma VJ. She began with HBO in 1998, where she worked on the Limited Series division that produced the Emmy Award-winning series “The Corner.” In 2000, she moved to the Documentary Films division and has since worked on some of the network’s most critically acclaimed documentaries. In the past, Bernstein worked in independent feature film development for various productions in New York.  In November 2008, she was named one of the top 35 Next Generation of up-and-coming industry executives by The Hollywood Reporter.

Debra Bloomfield

Debra Bloomfield has photographed the American landscape for over 30 years. Primarily in color and often in large scale, her photographs are born from an intense emotional response to location and memory. Her work is included in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Berkeley Art Museum and The Victoria and Albert Museum in London. She received the 1991/92 San Francisco Foundation's James D. Phelan Art Award in Photography for her "Trotsky Series" and the 2005 Western Heritage Literary Award in Photography for her monograph "Four Corners." Bloomfield’s book Wilderness, is a collaboration of her photographs and the essays of environmental writer Terry Tempest Williams. Wilderness also features a CD, created with Bloomfield’s son, Jake Bloomfield Misrach. The audio is a collection of sounds that echo the images. Bloomfield teaches photography at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Anna Brones

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a writer and producer. In the last few years, she has worked on projects in both France and Afghanistan, while publishing her first book, The Culinary Cyclist. Passionate about food, politics and women's rights, she believes in projects that have a positive and inspirational message. Brones worked recently as a producer on Mending the Line (Mountainfilm 2014). Originally hailing from the Pacific Northwest, she is currently based in Paris, France, where she works as a food columnist, leads food tours and is involved in the occasional production project.

Carter Brooks

Carter Brooks is an artist and philosopher of climate art whose work explores how humanity and civilization will evolve in a rapidly changing world.  He was selected as one of the first 50 presenters of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, and in 2006, he co-founded Climate Earth, Inc., to provide Fortune 50 companies a systematic approach to understanding the impacts of the entire corporation. In 2000, the year that Brooks’ daughter was born, a scientific report forecasted that the polar ice cap would disappear by the time she would reach her grandmother’s age. While environmentalists began to fret about the future, Brooks found himself compelled instead by the urgency of witnessing and discovering meaning in this profound event.

Shushana Castle

Shushana Castle

Shushana Castle is a self-proclaimed super foodie who is passionate about helping others change their diet and their lives. She spent more than 20 years working in the financial markets, raising capital for clean technology and sat on the board of the Clinton Climate Global Initiative. Along with Amy-Lee Goodman, Castle co-authored Rethink Food: 100+ Doctors Can’t Be Wrong, which is about reversing diseases and living without pain by removing animal products from our plates. She splits her time between Houston and Telluride, Colorado.

Hilary Cooper

Hilary Cooper

A long-time and well-known resident of the San Juan Mountains, Hilary Cooper was one of the early producers of Mountainfilm, served on the Telluride Town Council, helped orchestrate the Valley Floor acquisition campaign and now works as the director of Sheep Mountain Alliance, the environmental advocacy organization for the Telluride region. One of SMA's top priorities is the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Bill.

Noah Cowan

Noah Cowan

As the executive director of the San Francisco Film Society, Noah Cowan is charged with running the San Francisco Film Festival and furthering the Society’s mission to support independent filmmakers and bring world cinema to the Bay Area. Previously, Cowan spent five years leading the Toronto International Film Festival Bell Lightbox as its founding artistic director. He also programmed Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness program, co-directed that festival from 2004 to 2008, co-founded international art film distribution Cowboy Pictures and co-founded the Global Film Initiative that is partnered with MoMA.

Wade Davis

Wade Davis

Named by the National Geographic Society as one of the Explorers for the Millenium, Wade Davis has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.” In recent years, his work has taken him to East Africa, Borneo, Nepal, Peru, Polynesia, Tibet, Mali, Benin, Togo, New Guinea, Colombia, Australia, Vanautu, Mongolia and the High Arctic of Nunuvut and Greenland. An ethnographer, photographer, writer and filmmaker, he holds degrees in ethnography and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. He has authored a dozen books, including The Serpent and the Rainbow, One River, The Clouded Leopard, Light at the Edge of the World and The Lost Amazon. A native of Canada, Davis divides his time between Washington, D.C. and a remote fishing lodge in the Stikine Valley of northern British Columbia.

Tim DeChristopher

Tim DeChristopher

In 2008, Tim DeChristopher was an average college student studying economics at the University of Utah, but then he walked into a BLM auction and bid $1.8 million on drillings rights to pristine public lands near Utah’s iconic national parks for which he never intended to pay. That bold act of disobedience catapulted DeChristopher into the spotlight, where he was celebrated by many as a new leader of climate change activism. Over the next several years, DeChristopher inspired rallies, formed the organization Peaceful Uprising and rose in prominence as he railed against destruction of wild places. He was also prosecuted by the federal government and, ultimately, served two years in prison for making false bids on energy leases. DeChristopher, who is the subject of the documentary Bidder 70 (Mountainfilm 2012), attends Harvard Divinity School and continues to speak about climate change.

Jared Diamond

Jared Diamond

Jared Diamond is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author of five best-selling books, translated into 38 languages, about human societies and human evolution: Guns, Germs, and Steel; Collapse; Why Is Sex Fun?; The Third Chimpanzee and The World Until Yesterday. As a professor of geography at UCLA, he has also conducted research and taught in three other fields: the biology of New Guinea birds, digestive physiology and conservation biology. His prizes and honors include the U.S. National Medal of Science, the Pulitzer-prize for non-fiction, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Science and election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is a director of World Wildlife Fund/U.S. and of Conservation International. As a biological explorer, his most widely publicized finding was his rediscovery, at the top of New Guinea’s remote Foja Mountains, of the long-lost Golden-fronted Bowerbird, previously known only from four specimens found in a Paris feather shop in 1895.

Steve Duncan

What does a graduate of Columbia University do in his spare time? This one, Steve Duncan, climbs through manholes and sewers. Duncan is an explorer of the less seen. The places that excite him are the foundational infrastructure of major cities all over the world — their tunnels, subways, sewers. It’s this little-seen perspective that’s shared in A Beautiful Waste (Mountainfilm 2014).

Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle - Mountainfilm

National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Sylvia Earle is an oceanographer, author and lecturer whose extraordinary accomplishments have made her one of the best known oceanographers of her time. She has led more than 100 expeditions around the world and logged more than 7,000 hours underwater. She led the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Project in 1970, walked untethered on the seafloor at a lower depth than any living human being had in 1979, and set a record for solo diving in 1,000-meter depth in July 2012. In her research on marine ecosystems, she has focused on conservation and the development of new technologies for accessing the deep sea. Earle has helmed such organizations as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and Ocean Futures. She has been called a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress and first "Hero for the Planet" by Time magazine.

Dexter Filkins

Dexter Filkins

Since journalist Dexter Filkins joined The New Yorker in January of 2011, he has written about a bank heist in Afghanistan and the democratic protests in the Middle East. Before that, he made a name for himself with his extensive coverage of conflicts, particularly in the Middle East. Filkins won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 as part of a team of New York Times reporters in Pakistan and Afghanistan and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2002 for his dispatches from Afghanistan. Filkins, who was a Neiman Fellow at Harvard University, has also worked for the Miami Herald and the Los Angeles Times. His 2008 book, The Forever War, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Best Nonfiction Book and was named a best book of the year by The New York Times, Washington Post, Time and Boston Globe.

Eugenie Frerichs

Eugenie Frerichs

Based in Portland, Oregon, Eugénie Frerichs is a writer and photographer whose current project, “The Wilderness State,” explores the many varied interpretations of wilderness in North America today. Part writing, part photography, with a touch of performance peppered in, the work is an on-going assessment of the wild: how we define it, how we experience it (in both urban and rural settings), where technology fits in and what of its future.

For Mountainfilm in Telluride, Eugénie will present three facets of the project: “The Gospel According to John Muir” (street performance), “Field Study” (a street installation for data collection) and “Men and Trees” (an on-going photographic study).

Devlin Gandy

Devlin Gandy

Devlin Gandy was born and raised in the Santa Monica Mountains, just north of Los Angeles. Growing up in the mountains left an indelible mark upon his perspective, creativity, interests and relationship to nature; it was also where he first learned about rock art. He is currently a student at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is pursuing an anthropology degree and spends his weekends in the wilds of California in search of reminders of the past. For his Young Explorers Grant project, he photographed Chumash rock art in stunning and hard-to-reach corners of California.

Adam Harris

Adam Harris

Wildlife advocate Adam Duncan Harris earned his Ph.D. in art history at the University of Minnesota and soon after became the curator of art and research at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He is the author of Wildlife in American Art: Masterworks from the National Museum of Wildlife Art and editor of the award-winning book Bob Kuhn: Drawing on Instinct.

Alex Honnold

Alex Honnold

In a matter of just a couple of years, Alex Honnold has risen from relative obscurity as a dirtbag climber roaming Yosemite Valley to one of the most widely recognized professional climbers in the world. His hook: audacious free solo ascents of some of America’s biggest walls with a mix of tremendous strength, steely focus and incredible mental control. Honnold has climbed everything from Moonlight Buttress to Half Dome and the Yosemite Triple without a rope, but he’s known as much for his humbleness and no-big-deal attitude as his huge achievements. He has been profiled by “60 Minutes,”  featured on the cover of National Geographic and is the subject of the films Honnold 3.0 (Mountainfilm 2013) and Alone on the Wall (Mountainfilm 2010).

Aaron Huey

Aaron Huey

Aaron Huey is an award-winning photojournalist and documentary photographer whose work has appeared in National Geographic, The New Yorker and The New York Times. In 2002, Huey walked 3,349 miles with his dog across America from California to New York, recording the experience with photographs and journal entries. His extensive work documenting the poverty of the Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, a place he calls ground zero for native issues in the U.S., was the subject of a 2010 TED Talk at the University of Denver.

Jeffrey Kerby

Jeffrey Kerby

Jeffrey Kerby is a photographer and Ph.D. student at Penn State's Polar Center. His photos and scientific research in Ethiopia, Mongolia and Greenland focus on species interactions and have been published in numerous academic journals, popular magazines and books. In 2011, he returned to the Ethiopian Highlands with National Geographic Young Explorer Grantee Vivek Venkataraman to explore the remarkable interactions between gelada monkeys and Ethiopian wolves on the remote Guassa Plateau.

Simon Kilmurry

Simon Kilmurry

The executive producer of the Public Broadcasting Service’s Point of View documentary film series (POV), television’s longest-running showcase for independent nonfiction film, Simon Kilmurry has an extensive background in media and documentary films. He also serves as the executive director of American Documentary, where he has helped set the strategic direction for the organization, securing pioneering partnerships with both Netflix and Docurama. Additionally, Kilmurry has served as a board member and treasurer for Elders Share the Arts and East Harlem Block Schools and as an informal advisor and funding panel member for other organizations, including the New York City Center for Arts Education, the Association for Independent Video and Filmmakers, and New York State Council on the Arts.

Gary Lang

Gary Lang

Gary Lang has exhibited his contemporary paintings and video art around the planet — from Japan to The Netherlands. He is known for enormous, circular paintings with bold colors that penetrate optical space.

Jenni Lowe-Anker

Jennifer Lowe-Anker

Jenni Lowe-Anker is an author, artist and adventurer. She was married to Alex Lowe, one of the world’s greatest mountaineers. After Lowe died in 1999 during a Himalayan expedition with his friend Conrad Anker, she and Anker married, and he adopted the Lowe’s three children. Lowe-Anker’s extraordinary story of love, loss and courage is told in her memoir, Forget Me Not.

Vance G. Martin

Vance Martin joined The Wild Foundation — the only international organization dedicated entirely to protecting wilderness and wild nature around the world — as president in 1984 after 15 years in international business and nonprofit management. An innovative leader known for bridging the interests of people and nature, he has lived extensively overseas, worked in over 45 countries and helped to establish many nonprofits. An acknowledged expert in international nature conservation and wilderness protection, he serves on the boards of numerous organizations, such as the Cheetah Conservation Fund, Friends of Peace Parks, Fulcrum Publishing, Wilderness Foundation (South Africa), Wilderness Foundation (UK), International Conservation Caucus Foundation and others. He is also the founder and current co-chairman of the IUCN Wilderness Specialist Group and has edited and authored many publications. He is a native of the U.S. Piedmont region and graduated magna cum laude from West Virginia University.

Juan Martinez

Juan Martinez

A national spokesman for the importance of getting youth into the outdoors, Juan Martinez works in South Central Los Angeles. As an advocate for underprivileged youth, he attends White House forums, advises the U.S. Department of the Interior on plans to create a youth conservation corps, serves as National Youth Volunteer Coordinator for the Sierra Club, and organizes youth delegations to attend conferences on green jobs and outdoor experiences. Above all, he focuses on inspiring and nurturing grassroots action in the 15- to 29-year-old millennial generation. Martinez spearheads the Natural Leaders Network of the Children & Nature Network, an organization that creates links between environmental organizations, corporations, government, education and individuals to reconnect children with nature.

Luke Mehall

Luke Mehall

Luke Mehall lives in Colorado, and his work is inspired by his ramblings around the deserts of the West. He is the publisher of The Climbing Zine, an independent rock climbing publication, and the author of two books: Climbing Out of Bed  and The Great American Dirtbags, which was released in April of 2014. He has been published in Rock and Ice, Climbing and the Mountain Gazette. Mehall has been a guest on the “Enormocast” podcast, contributed to the “Dirtbag Diaries” podcast and often contributes to Patagonia’s blog, The Cleanest Line. Climbing legend and senior contributing editor to Rock and Ice, John Long, described Mehall as “One of the few adventure writers out there who handles the tricky first person voice as if it were made for him.”

Hunter Metcalf

Hunter Metcalf

A Utah native, Park City-based Hunter Metcalf works with the wet plate collodion process, commonly known as tintype photography. First used in 1851, it creates a one-of-a-kind photograph with silver and light on metal panels that is a distinct contrast to the digital process of today. Metcalf’s photos reveal stories and imperfections that show they were created by hand.

Lauren Oakes

Lauren Oakes

A former river guide, Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University’s Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, Lauren Oakes enjoys combining adventure and wilderness experience with education. She studies the process of forest development in forests affected by yellow-cedar decline that is associated with climate change, doing field work in Alaska’s West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness in Tongass National Forest and Glacier Bay National Park.Oakes has contributed to the New York Times Green Blog, the San Francisco Chronicle and the book Wilderness, a photographic project by Debra Bloomfield. In 2008, she collaborated with Felt Soul Media to co-produce of Red Gold.

Klaus Pichler

Austrian-born Klaus Pichlerspent three years photographing the hidden parts of the Natural History Museum in Vienna for a series called "Skeletons in the Closet." A former landscape architect, the topics of his work are the hidden aspects of everyday life in its varying forms, as well as the secret codes and rules of different social groups. Pichler’s work has been exhibited in international photography festivals, such as Voies Off Arles, Delhi Photo Festival, Belfast Photo Festival, Circulations Festival Paris and Eyes-On Festival in Vienna. He lives and works in Vienna and has no education in photography whatsoever—and likes it that way.

Reza

Reza

Reza, who goes by a single name, is a prodigious photojournalist, committed humanitarian and National Geographic fellow who has been highly decorated for his achievements in the fields of journalism and humanitarian work. He has traveled the globe with a camera, capturing the Iranian Revolution, nomad horsemen of Eastern Turkestan, refugee camps of Rwanda and more. His iconic and arresting images have graced many National Geographic covers. But there is more to the man than simply photos: He founded Aina, an international nonprofit dedicated to the education and empowerment of women and children through media and communication; consulted with the UN in Afghanistan to distribute food to war-torn parts of the country; and won the Hope Prize for his contribution to a joint project with UNICEF, “Lost Children Project,” in Rwanda. He is the author of 16 books, and his photographs have been exhibited in cities around the world.

David Roberts

David Roberts

David Roberts is an accomplished mountaineer and the author of more than 20 books on mountaineering, adventure and the history of the American Southwest. His titles include Escape Routes, Moments of Doubt, Sandstone Spine, True Summit and The Last of His Kind, and his writing has appeared in National Geographic, National Geographic Adventure and The Atlantic Monthly. Roberts’ latest book is Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration.

Flair Robinson

Flair Robinson

Longtime Telluride resident Flair Robinson is a self-taught, mixed media, mosaic and assemblage artist. She works primarily with ceramic tile, hand-cut glass and recycled junk. First and foremost a colorist, she is fascinated by the endless possibilities of color combining and constantly plays with color variations, inspired by those found in early American folk art, vintage road signs, vintage ephemera and advertising from the 1940s and 1950s. Robinson’s studio is housed in the historic Stronghouse building in the heart of downtown Telluride.

Thom Ross

Thom Ross

The work of Thom Ross asks viewers to re-examine either what they know about history or what they think they know about history. Focusing on the historical “folk hero,” he has painted Indians playing croquet and ping pong, a camel walking through the deserts of Arizona with a human skeleton strapped to his back and General Custer standing next to his pet pelican. His paintings from a series on the ill-fated "last climb" of British climbers George Mallory and Andrew Irvine — two men who disappeared on the north ridge of Mt. Everest on June 8, 1924 — were inspired by his friendship with artist Jenni Lowe-Anker and her husband, mountaineer and climber Conrad Anker. A wholly self-taught artist, Ross shows in numerous galleries throughout the U.S. and lectures at colleges on the Wild West, where he combines a unique and passionate presentation of art and history.

David Rothenberg

David Rothenberg - Mountainfilm

A musician, composer, author and philosopher-naturalist, David Rothenberg’s work and many collaborations cross genres and species. He has written about animal sounds as music in his books: Why Birds Sing: A Journey into the Mystery of Birdsong and Thousand Mile Song: Whale Music in a Sea of Sound. His latest book, Bug Music, is about insects and music and is accompanied by a companion CD. Bug Music has garnered attention in The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and on PBS “News Hour” and NPR’s “Radiolab.” Rothenberg is also a composer and jazz clarinetist and has produced nine CDs under his own name.

M Sanjayan

M Sanjayan

M Sanjayan, executive vice president and senior scientist at Conservation International, specializes in human well-being and conservation, Africa, wildlife ecology and media outreach and public speaking on conservation issues. Sanjayan is currently filming his new TV series, "Earth – A New Wild," produced by National Geographic Television in association with the Academy Award-winning Passion Pictures. It will air on PBS in 2015. He is also the science correspondent for "Years of Living Dangerously," a ten-episode docu-series event on climate change airing this spring on Showtime. In January 2014, he returned as a featured contributor to the BBC World News series "The Power of Nature." Sanjayan holds a doctorate from the University of California, Santa Cruz and has a research faculty appointment with the Wildlife Program at the University of Montana. He frequently contributes to CBS News; his scientific work has been published in Science, Nature and Conservation Biology; and he co-edited the book Connectivity Conservation. He has co-hosted documentaries for the Discovery Channel (“Mysteries of the Shark Coast” and “Expedition Alaska”), BBC (“Wildlife in a War-Zone”) and was featured on National Geographic TV (“Earth Report 2009”). His four-part series on energy for Discovery Channel (“Powering the Future”) aired in July 2010. When not at work, Sanjayan can be found trekking in Africa or fly-fishing in western Montana.

Florian Schulz

Florian Schulz

Through his continuous effort to take breathtaking photographs, German-born Florian Schulz works to inspire individuals to take action to protect endangered ecosystems and wilderness areas. As part of a Freedom to Roam project, Schulz dedicated years of his life to documenting the drama and beauty of North America’s most critical wildlife corridor: Yellowstone to Yukon. His first book, Yellowstone to Yukon: Freedom to Roam, received the Independent Book Publisher Award and was singled out as the book “Most Likely to Save the Planet.” Schulz’s photography has also been displayed in the Smithsonian and the American Museum of Natural History.

Shelley Silbert

Shelly Silbert

Shelley Silbert runs the Durango-based conservation group Great Old Broads for Wilderness. The women-led organization works nationally at the grassroots on wilderness advocacy, education and stewardship projects on public lands. Silbert has made a career out of working for various environmental organizations and nonprofits throughout the West, including the Nature Conservancy and the San Juan Citizens Alliance. As director of Great Old Broads, Silbert sets the wild lands advocacy agenda.

Morgan Spurlock

Morgan Spurlock

Morgan Spurlock rose to fame for his willingness to subject his body to 30 days fueled by nothing but McDonalds' fast food in his 2004 documentary Super Size Me. The film won Best Directing honors at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award. Since then, the New York-based writer, director and producer has worked on many projects, including the FX television series “30 Days” and the documentaries Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden, What Would Jesus Buy? and This is Us, a behind-the-scenes look at the hit pop group One Direction.

Ellen Stein

Ellen Stein

Ellen Stein cut her teeth in environmental advocacy in 1991 as a board member of the Telluride-based Sheep Mountain Alliance. She was the founding director of the Mountain Studies Institute in Silverton and the executive director of the Community Agriculture Alliance in Steamboat Springs. As the membership coordinator for Great Old Broads, Stein is responsible for organizing far-flung, ad hoc, watchdog groups — “Broadbands” — which form around local issues that adhere to the organization’s mission of protecting wilderness-quality public land.

Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed

At 22, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage soon dissolved. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and she would do it alone. Her #1 New York Times bestseller Wild chronicles the story of her impulsive and ultimately healing adventure. Wild was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her first selection for Oprah's Book Club 2.0 and optioned for film by Reese Witherspoon's production company, Pacific Standard. Strayed is also author to New York Times bestseller Tiny Beautiful Things and the novel Torch, and her writing has appeared in The Best American Essays, the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Allure, The Missouri Review, The Sun, The Rumpus — where she has written the popular "Dear Sugar" column since 2010 — and elsewhere. Her books have been translated into 28 languages. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and their two children.

Maggie Taylor

Maggie Taylor

After more than 10 years as a still life photographer, Maggie Taylor began using a computer to create images. She spent her childhood watching countless hours of situation comedies and science fiction on television, which ultimately had a large influence on her work, and her digital composites have been featured in one-person international exhibits at such museums as the George Eastman House; Harn Museum of Art at Univeristy of Florida; Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; The Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University; and the Museum of Photography in Seoul, Korea. Her work is featured in No Ordinary Days, Adobe Photoshop Master Class: Maggie Taylor’s Landscape of Dreams, Solutions Beginning with A and Modernbook Editions’ Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Taylor lives amid the Spanish moss and live oaks at the edge of a small swamp on the outskirts of Gainesville, Florida.

Jerry Uelsmann

Jerry Uelsmann

Jerry Uelsmann is a prolific and renowned photographer whose work has been exhibited in more than 100 shows around the world during the last 30 years. He inspired a generation of digital photographers with his surrealist imagery, often producing composite photographs with several negatives. For many years, Uelsmann taught photography at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and he was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

Amber Valenti

Amber Valenti

Amber Valenti is a physician assistant with a background in rescue and remote medicine. She has been guiding and celebrating rivers around the world for over a decade. A wild woman with an insatiable thirst for undiscovered places, she thrives on the dusty cracks of foreign cities and swirling currents of untamed rivers. Along with Becca Dennis, Sabra Purdy and Krystle Wright, Valenti was part of the Young Explorers Grant-funded Nobody's River Expedition — a group comprised of four women with an affinity for silly antics and a love of falling off the map. In the summer of 2013, they undertook a documentary expedition on one of the world's greatest and least known free-flowing rivers, the Amur.  They traveled and documented sections of this last-of-its-kind river from the remote Mongolian headwaters to a massive delta in Russia.

Lynx Vilden

Lynx Vilden

Founder and head instructor of the Living Wild School, Lynx Vilden has traveled, explored and researched the nature and traditional cultures of arctic, mountain and desert regions from Hudson Bay to the Red Sea. She emerged from her first sweat lodge ceremony in 1989 with the realization of the calling back to the Earth, learning, sharing and teaching the old ways. She has been practicing and teaching primitive living skills both in the U.S. and in Europe since 1991. As an instructor at Boulder Outdoor Survival School in Utah, she taught workshops at primitive skills gatherings, including Rabbitstick and Winter Count. She contributes regularly to the American publication Bulletin of Primitive Technology. Vilden has lived in a Sami village in Scandinavia and lived and studied in the desert Southwest of Arizona and New Mexico, the Rocky Mountains of Montana and the North Cascades of Washington. In 2001, she started the Four Seasons Prehistoric Projects program dedicated to sharing the ancient skills of primitive living. The 2012 film Living Wild, directed by Eric Valli (Caravan, Mountainfilm 2000; Honey Hunters of Nepal, 1991 and Chasseurs Des Tenebres, 1993) documents Vilden and a small group of apprentices living in a prehistoric manner for several months, preparation for her goal of forming a group prepared to live a Stone Age living experiment for a full year.

John Waller

John Waller

A native Oregonian, John Waller has dedicated his professional and personal life to exploring and discovering the world’s natural beauty. As the founder of Uncage the Soul Productions, John produces and directs everything from commercial shorts to award-winning adventure documentaries. Committed to giving back to his community and helping to build the future generation of creatives and explorers, he is the board president of Photo of the Year, a regular instructor at NW Documentary and on the core planning team of TEDx Portland. If he’s not behind the camera or in front of the editing screen, he can be found exploring the Oregon backcountry, summiting a local peak or planning his next globetrotting adventure.

Nevada Wier

Nevada Wier

A self-described free spirit who says she was born to roam, Nevada Wier is most at home exploring seldom-visited villages, geographic wonders and engaging with isolated tribes and communities around the world. A multiple award-winning photographer, Wier has been published in numerous national and international publications, including National Geographic, Geo, National Geographic Adventure, National Geographic Traveler, Islands, Outdoor Photographer and Outside. She is a Fellow of The Explorer's Club and a member of the Society of Woman Geographers. Wier was the photographer for The Land of Nine Dragons: Vietnam Today. Though she is often traveling, she lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Jamie Williams

Jamie Williams

Recognized for his outstanding work with the Land Trust Alliance, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nature Conservancy, Jamie Williams was named president of the Wilderness Society in 2012. Before coming to The Wilderness Society, he served as director of landscape conservation for North America at the Nature Conservancy, where he led the organization’s effort to protect large landscapes and helped develop the large landscape focus within the Obama administration’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. A strong believer in collaboration and community-based approaches to conservation, Williams is a founder of both the Montana Association of Land Trusts and the Heart of the Rockies Initiative, and he has served on the board of the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts and as co-chair of the Yampa River System Legacy Project.

Steve Winter

Steve Winter

Growing up in rural Indiana, Steve Winter always dreamed of becoming a National Geographic photographer. Specializing in wildlife photography, Winter manifested that goal when he became a photojournalist for the publication in 1991, and since then he has won numerous awards, including BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Picture of the Year International’s Global Vision Award. He lectures globally on photography and conservation, and his book, Tigers Forever: Saving the World’s Most Endangered Cat,was published by National Geographic in 2013.

Peter Yarrow

Peter Yarrow

Folk singer, songwriter and activist Peter Yarrow — part of the 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary — has been on the activism frontlines since the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. The songwriter behind such famous recordings as “Puff the Magic Dragon” and “Light One Candle” is committed to using his artistic talents for positive change. Apart from his work with Peter, Paul and Mary, he has recorded four solo albums.