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.
Nick Ryan They say you can't trust anyone with two first names, but...there are exceptions to every rule. Besides, Nicholas Patrick Ryan has three first names and is very reliable. In 2008, Nick graduated from Western Illinois University with a degree in Law Enforcement & Justice Administration. After graduation, he figured he would be a police officer for a while and go from there. 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.
Nick's favorite memories of the outdoors would have to be hunting with his dad and brother every year in Central Wisconsin. Or...when he went on a two day, 60 mile canoe trip, with two friends, down the Missouri River in South Dakota bordering Nebraska.
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.
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.