Bios

Natalie Warren grew up in Miami, Florida where she attended the New World School of the Arts for saxophone performance. In 2005, she flew to Minneapolis and headed North to YMCA Camp Menogyn, a wilderness camp based in Minnesota. After a two week canoeing trip in the BWCA, Natalie fell in love with the wilderness and later decided to pursue an Environmental Studies degree at St. Olaf. In 2011, She and Ann Raiho were the first two women to paddle the 2,000 miles from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay, following Eric Sevareid's route from Canoeing With the Cree. See www.hudsonbaybound.com

Natalie believes that wilderness adventures help young females reach their full physical and emotional potential. After a year of presenting on her Hudson Bay Bound adventure, she wanted to provide something tangible for her audiences...Hello, Wild River Academy! Natalie loves to dress up as a dog, play music, and manage your hunger level on trail. She has too many finger puppets, if there is such a thing.

Natalie on WRA's Potomac Pilgrimage Trip

Natalie on WRA's Potomac Pilgrimage Trip

Nick Ryan In 2012, Nick graduated from Western Illinois University with a degree in Law Enforcement & Justice Administration, accompanied by minors in Sociology and SCUBA diving. After graduation, he figured he would be a police officer for a while and go from there. Unfortunately for Chicago, Nick was not able to find work in Chicago. His brother Roman put him in touch with Natalie Warren and his life quickly turned upside down.

After many Google Hangouts, Nick moved to Washington DC to help start the business that would become Wild River Academy! Queue the 80's movie montage of intense whiteboard sessions, many blunders, fulfilling trips, and a journey down the Mississippi. Nick finds joy in three to six hour runs, he physically can't not journal every night, and in his opinion there is nothing wrong with learning how to skateboard later in life.

Nick on WRA's Potomac Pilgrimage Trip

Anna Johnson is extremely knowledgeable about the outdoors, plays the banjo, and is the newest member of the Wild River Academy family. She grew up in Evanston, IL, but spent her summers at Camp Bil-O-Wood in northern Ontario, where she canoed extensively. It was on these trips that she developed a passion for the environment, a love of canoeing, and formed incredible relationships, all of which define who she is today.

Anna ditched her home in the flatlands of Chicago to attend Colorado College and earn a degree in Political Science and a minor in Environmental Issues. She moved to Washington, D.C. to gain experience in environmental policy. After working with an environmental non-profit, spending the summer on an educational organic farm, and interning with the White House Council on Environmental Quality she is excited to be a part of Wild River Academy.

 

Anna on WRA's Potomac Pilgrimage Trip

Anna on WRA's Potomac Pilgrimage Trip

Liz Just is a native Wisconsinite, growing up just outside of Madison, WI.  She left home in 2008 to attend school at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where she pursued a degree in Environmental Education and Sustainability Studies.  During college, an ongoing love for the outdoors merged with her studies during two off campus experiential education courses, fueling her current passions and interests.  The first, a domestic program in the Twin Cities, broadened her perspectives around different issues such as environmental justice, sustainable agriculture, and renewable energy.  The second experience took her halfway around the world to India where she spent six weeks hiking and camping in the Himalayas while studying culture, alpine ecosystems, mountain farming, and sustainability in a developing nation. These experiences led her to a summer and fall guiding wilderness trips in the Midwest with Wilderness Inquiry.

Liz was a member of the Wild River Academy Paddle Forward team, which completed a canoe expedition down the entire Mississippi River.

Liz on the mighty Mississippi.

Liz on the mighty Mississippi.