I was twenty-one years old when I saw my first mountain. I’ve been chasing them ever since.
Born and raised in Chicago, college in Indiana, and fifteen years of teaching and coaching high school in the Chicago suburbs, I guess you could say I’m about as midwestern as it gets. But here I am now, forty years into life, and I find myself a farmer in Buena Vista, CO.
My love for the mountains began in Montana on an Environmental Studies course. Eight weeks of living in a tin can on a cattle ranch, multiple trips to Yellowstone to monitor hot springs and geysers, and I was ready for #vanlife. Yet, van life wasn’t really a thing yet. Instead, I did what most Midwesterners do. I stayed the course, finished up undergrad at Indiana University, moved back to Chicago, and took a job (as a teacher) about fifteen minutes from where I grew up.
But that itch I scratched back in Montana never stopped itching. So, I began my “quest to camp”—every National Park throughout America during my summers off as a teacher. Soon, I was combining professional development with National Park classes and offerings and my curiosities with science education began to blend with my curiosities with outdoor education. A NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) course was the next logical step. My Semester in the Rockies not only fulfilled my desire to become more competent in the wild, it showed me the potential of an untamed classroom full of endless opportunity (both spontaneous and structured).
That summer, I also met my wife—another student on the course. One year later, we had the opportunity to travel and volunteer together in and out of eight countries. Later that year, we were married. One year after that, I became an NOLS instructor—the perfect part-time job to a full time teaching load.
Seven summers later, we built up the courage to break away from our Midwestern roots to establish our own life and family here in Buena Vista as mountain people. Katy, Henry, and I are proud to call this valley our home. And, into our eleventh year, the adventures still continue!
With an undergrad degree in the physical sciences, a master’s in educational leadership, and an endorsement in special education, I’m thrilled to bring my passions to Link.