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Our Dedicated Staff

We are The Nature People!

You won't find more avid nature and travel enthusiasts than our Boulder, Colorado office staff, committed to providing you with the most extraordinary nature expeditions on the planet. There are two main facets to our work: 

— to create and fine-tune the world's most unique nature adventures
— to help our travelers choose the trip that's best for them

As the past winner of Outside magazine's award for the best company in the country to work for four years in a row (we are humbled!), we can confirm that there is absolutely no crew of individuals more enthusiastic about their mission than our Natural Habitat Adventures staff. We get to travel the world regularly, exploring the world's most amazing natural places. We each have a deep passion for helping our guests discover their own inspiring nature travel experiences. And, if all that does not keep us motivated, our boss, Ben, buys us lots of beer and pizza. Mostly beer.

Get to know us by reading our bios and viewing our personal travel slideshows!

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Ben Bressler

Nat Hab Founder & President
NHA Staff Member Since: 1985
Ben was raised in New Jersey (he claims there are parts of Jersey that are absolutely beautiful, but he admits that he didn't live in those parts) and received his higher education at Skidmore...

Ben Bressler

Ben was raised in New Jersey (he claims there are parts of Jersey that are absolutely beautiful, but he admits that he didn't live in those parts) and received his higher education at Skidmore College in Saratoga, NY. Ben's first short-lived job was teaching at a boarding school in New Hampshire where, he confesses, he was a dreadful teacher but he and the kids had a grand time playing soccer in the yard and listening to music in the dorm.

During his one-year teaching career Ben took a group of students on a ski and outdoor adventure to Colorado and knew immediately that he was going to pursue a career in travel and nature. In 1984, not given to working for others (his experience with the Headmaster of the prep school was a disaster, for him and for the Headmaster), Ben decided to pursue his dreams independently. Saving $600 driving a garbage truck at an amusement park, he invested that undersized savings in typing (on an antiquated standard typewriter) and photocopying a small brochure advertising ski and adventure trips. It wasn't long before the International Fund for Animal Welfare (the world's largest animal welfare organization) put out a feeler for a young and ambitious adventure travel company to help them develop a seal watching tourist industry to replace the seal hunt in eastern Canada.

As Ben was living on the floor of his brother's apartment in New York City and stealing his brother's change for subway fare to get to work, there was no company more ambitious than Natural Habitat Adventures, which, at the time, consisted of Ben alone. In the twenty-plus years since then, Ben has grown Natural Habitat Adventures to become a leader in worldwide nature travel and has journeyed to dozens of countries in search of spectacular nature experiences… and a good time, whenever possible. Aside from growing a meaningful company that provides “the world’s greatest nature expeditions," Ben's ambition within his professional life is to utilize adventure travel to build support for the fight against climate change. When he's not working, Ben plays and coaches soccer, rides his mountain bike, skis, drinks beer and smokes Cuban cigars.

Aly Jacobsen

Senior Adventure Specialist
NHA Staff Member Since: 2003
Aly was born and raised in the rustically charming countryside of southern Pennsylvania. She spent the majority of her childhood trying to get lost in the woods...

Aly Jacobsen

Aly was born and raised in the rustically charming countryside of southern Pennsylvania. She spent the majority of her childhood trying to get lost in the woods, learning about animals from her veterinarian father, and developing an incredible appreciation for nature. Aly got her first taste of international travel at a young age, spending a summer living with relatives on the slopes of the Rift Valley in Kenya. Both high school (Mercersburg Academy) and college (The College of William and Mary) afforded her the chance to study with many international students, where she experienced a world of new cultures, ideas and tasty foods. By this time, her love for the open road (or air space) and new experiences had become well established.

Aly’s travels with Natural Habitat Adventures have taken her from the cloud forests of Costa Rica to Nicaragua, Belize, Guatemala, the Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu and into the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Amazon. The call of the wild has also taken her to India in search of her favorite animal, the bengal tiger, and kayaking through Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. She has journeyed from the Canadian Arctic to the opposite end of the pole to explore Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. Amidst such diverse destinations, Africa has a place in Aly's heart like no other. She has had the great fortune to spend time in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Travels closer to home have included trips to Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, the canyons of the American Southwest, and down to Mexico’s Baja Peninsula to kiss a gray whale! When not traveling or working in the office, Aly spends her free time playing in the mountains and eagerly awaiting her next adventure.
 

Amanda Jamieson

Adventure Specialist
NHA Staff Member Since: 2012
Amanda Jamieson discovered the seductive allure of travel as a teenager growing up just outside Ann Arbor, Michigan, and she’s been on the move ever since! She first traveled overseas during...

Amanda Jamieson

Amanda JamiesonAmanda Jamieson discovered the seductive allure of travel as a teenager growing up just outside Ann Arbor, Michigan, and she’s been on the move ever since! She first traveled overseas during high school, spending three weeks in Australia and New Zealand and six weeks in Ecuador, including the Galapagos and Amazon. As a college student, she headed to Europe on a study tour, covering 14 countries in four months.

Since then, Amanda has moved into selling travel so that others can share the same rewards she has discovered. Her work in sales has taken her on safari to Tanzania, Botswana, Malawi and South Africa; she spent three weeks in Ethiopia; and she’s traveled to Churchill to watch wild polar bears from Nat Hab’s exclusive Tundra Lodge. She later relocated to Scotland where she sold active adventures around the world, then headed to the foothills of the Sierras where she sold rafting and kayaking adventures.

Amanda’s latest move is to Colorado, to join Nat Hab’s team of Adventure Specialists. It’s a great new home, since she loves the mountains, hiking and being active in the outdoors.

Ami Jones

Operations Coordinator
NHA Staff Member Since: 2015
Born and raised in Colorado, Ami has always been in search of adventure, satisfying her pursuit of curiosity in nature in the Rocky Mountains. She remembers being taught at a young age...

Ami Jones

Born and raised in Colorado, Ami has always been in search of adventure, satisfying her pursuit of curiosity in nature in the Rocky Mountains. She remembers being taught at a young age how moss grows, to follow the river to the road if you get lost, and that the sun always rises in the fields and sets over the mountains. Ami's passion to explore the world was spurred at a young age as she thumbed through her father's National Geographic magazines. She also supported a young girl from India with her own allowance money, which was the turning point in bolstering her desire to see and experience the world beyond her own.

As soon as she was able to pay for a passport and hit the road, Ami sought out the people, wildlife and cultures she had so avidly read about. Some of her most exciting adventures include time spent deep in the Brazilian Amazon shooing away pit vipers, learning how to build her own shelter and drinking water from a vine, nearly sinking on a Dutch vessel off the coast of South Korea, swimming through cenotes—underground rivers—in Mexico, attending the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, gazing out over the water atop Pacha Tata in Lake Tititcaca, and seeing her first polar bear in the wild in Churchill.

Ami pursued her degree in International Studies and Sustainable Tourism at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. She has also pursued independent study in Guatemala, studied abroad in Peru, and served as Global Leader Fellow and Explorer with U.S.-Brazil Connect in Salvador and Manaus, Brazil. Her mantra is to continue seeking adventure while showing unselfish concern for the welfare of others and the environment, and sharing these commitments with others. She is passionate about creating experiences that connect people to nature, and being part of a bigger project that furthers sustainability and conservation. Today you can find Ami seeking out new corners of the Rockies, skiing, planning her next adventure and spending time with family and friends.

Andrea Reynolds

Adventure Specialist & Expedition Leader
NHA Staff Member Since: 1994
Andrea caught the travel bug at an early age, having grown up in such diverse places such as Japan, Colombia, New Zealand, and New Jersey. After earning an...

Andrea Reynolds

Andrea caught the travel bug at an early age, having grown up in such diverse places such as Japan, Colombia, New Zealand, and New Jersey. After earning an Environmental Science degree from the University of Denver, she went on to guide in the Hawaiian Islands, living in a one-room cottage overlooking the Pacific shores. During her five years of working in our Boulder, Colorado office, and volunteering for the National Park Service, Andrea traveled to the Galapagos Islands, Antarctica, Africa, Alaska, Canada, Costa Rica, Belize, Patagonia, Mexico, and Australia to refine her skills. In the summer of 1999, she returned to the field to guide our Alaska and Churchill expeditions. Her travels then took her to Greenland, New Zealand, Nepal, Italy and Fiji. Andrea returned to Colorado in 2010 and once again, is happy to be part of the office team!

Anne Avellana

Adventure Director
NHA Staff Member Since: 2013
Anne climbed her first mountain at age 3, learned to ski at 5, and scraped up her hands riding a bike at 6. Growing up in New England, she has cheerful memories of hiking the high peaks of the Adirondacks...

Anne Avellana

Anne climbed her first mountain at age 3, learned to ski at 5, and scraped up her hands riding a bike at 6. Growing up in New England, she has cheerful memories of hiking the high peaks of the Adirondacks, skiing at Sugarbush, and swimming in very cold water in Lake Winnipesaukee. Her childhood goals included going to the Olympics, traveling to Australia, skiing in Colorado and learning to scuba dive.

After earning a philosophy degree from Colgate University and a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina, Anne set out to collect as many interesting experiences as possible. Her personal philosophy revolves around three main things: spending time outside, traveling to new and unfamiliar places, and helping people along the way. Some favorite adventures include trekking in New Zealand, rafting the Futaleufu and Zambezi rivers, kayaking with orcas, island hopping in the Philippines, skiing the Tyrolean Alps, and escaping a sinking dive boat in the British Virgin Islands. She has also worked at several camps for children with life-threatening illnesses and at a hospital for women in rural Niger.

Anne manages Nat Hab’s Churchill polar bear and Alaska grizzly ship programs. Her daily life includes hiking, biking and skiing as much as possible while introducing her young daughter to a life of adventure. Updated life goals include thru-hiking the John Muir Trail, heli-skiing in British Columbia, diving in the Maldives, and stepping foot into North Dakota (her 50th state!).

Becky Pahl

Adventure Prep Specialist
Everything You Need to Know Before You Go
NHA Staff Member Since: 2010
Becky’s love for the mountains brought her to Colorado, from Kansas, in 1998. First order of business, upon arrival, was to secure a ski pass—never mind getting a job. A girl has her...

Becky Pahl

Becky’s love for the mountains brought her to Colorado, from Kansas, in 1998. First order of business, upon arrival, was to secure a ski pass—never mind getting a job. A girl has her priorities. Since then she has spent as much time as possible exploring the Rocky Mountains and never tiring of the wonders they hold. You can often find Becky and her best friend, Bear, exploring Colorado on one of its many beautiful hiking trails. While she feels she has truly found her home in Colorado, Becky also has a passion for seeing the world. She has spent time hiking along Italy’s Mediterranean coast in the Cinque Terre and trekking through the Himalayas in the magical kingdom of Bhutan. Becky traveled to the Galapagos Islands recently with Nat Hab—truly the trip of a lifetime—and she is looking forward to many more great adventures to come. Fun fact: Becky was a broadcast journalist in another life. Just after graduation from the University of Kansas, she worked in television as a reporter and anchor.

Ben Forbes

European Adventure Sales Manager
NHA Staff Member Since: 2004
Ben was born into a military family in England and grew up on a diet of forces jargon, Monty Python and the belief that his dad must have a machine gun hidden in the house somewhere...

Ben Forbes

Ben was born into a military family in England and grew up on a diet of forces jargon, Monty Python and the belief that his dad must have a machine gun hidden in the house somewhere. A traditional English boarding school education provided Ben with the proof that “nowhere” had existed until it was discovered by brave Victorian explorers in the 1800's. Furnished with this and similar sound information, Ben went to Africa for the first time to stay with an uncle treating Kenyan lepers at his village clinic. At 10 years of age, he came to realize that Wales wasn't actually the poorest country on earth and that there were people in Africa who were paid to track animals all day and live in a tent. He was hooked.

On leaving school, Ben moved to Egypt to work for the refugee ministry in Cairo and spent twelve months assessing the status of refugees from the Horn of Africa. It was a vast and hopeless task for a 19 year old but considerably more rewarding than the subsequent three years he spent reading English at University in London. Ben missed his graduation ceremony in favor of a job training gap year volunteers for their placements in community development projects in Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan. This position also meant he was able to relocate to the remote Hebridean Island of Coll which left a permanent impact on both soul and liver.

Finally the pull of Africa was impossible to ignore and selling his VW campervan to raise the airfare, he flew to South Africa on the vague promise of a job building a safari camp in Botswana. Ben made a pretence of carpentry by day and studied by lamplight for his national guides license, to this day he can read the Behavioural Guide to African Mammals like Braille. Guiding in Botswana for four years meant that Ben was able to work in various remote bush camps and even captain a houseboat of dubious design into the heart of the Okavango Delta. Botswana was a guide’s paradise, from leading walking safaris in the elephant rich Savuti channel, to waterskiing on the Okavango River and having altogether too much fun chasing wild dog hunts across the open plains.

Moving to Namibia for four years was a complete habitat contrast and allowed for a very different set of skills to develop, namely the ability to drive a Land Rover across a featureless desert with a map indicating useful landmarks like 'sand' and 'slightly redder sand.' Ben guided in the Skeleton Coast National Park and spent a year tracking desert adapted elephants through the mountains of Damaraland. He also became Director of Children in the Wilderness, a charity tasked with the nurture of Africa's next conservation ambassadors, namely the children living in rural communities where tourism is often the only legitimate income. Despite the hundreds of happy clients Ben has guided around Africa, his most rewarding safari involved showing a group of wildly awed African orphans their very first living rhino. Ben also made the only known attempt to ride a mountain bike at night across the Skeleton Coast National Park.

In Africa Ben has worked and travelled in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya. He likes surfing, riding motorcycles, photography, old maps and dreams of seeing a shoebill.

Christy Lavoie

Adventure Director
Worldwide Nature Safaris
NHA Staff Member Since: 2005
Christy grew up in the Northeast, where she spent most of her time outdoors, tirelessly exploring nearby forests, rivers and beaches. At age 5, along with her mother and brother, she embarked...

Christy Lavoie

Born and raised in the northeast, Christy spent most of her time outdoors, tirelessly exploring forests, rivers and beaches with her brothers. From a very young age, her adventurous spirit was fueled by travel and a steady influx of new places and new experiences. At age 11 she began studying Spanish, sparking a life-long love of languages and cultural discoveries. After participating in a full-immersion study-abroad program in Spain, she earned a degree in psychology, then spent the next several years traveling, living and working in a variety of new places throughout North and Central America. Eventually, she made a home for herself in Colorado and found her way to Natural Habitat Adventures’ door. She now manages operations for many of NHA's destinations and takes great pride in creating unique itineraries that bring NHA's travelers deep into some of the world's most wild, natural places.  In her free time, she travels often, reads a lot, enjoys biking, camping and snowboarding, and never stops exploring. 

Conor Frantzen

Adventure Director
NHA Staff Member Since: 2013
Conor grew up in Maine where he spent a lot of time outside, usually hiking with his family, skiing with friends or playing sports year-round. He went to Dartmouth College where the green hills lured him...

Conor Frantzen

Conor grew up in Maine where he spent a lot of time outside, usually hiking with his family, skiing with friends or playing sports year-round. He went to Dartmouth College where the green hills lured him outside the classroom early and often—he volunteered for the local ski patrol, led freshman orientation trips, coached youth lacrosse and studied abroad in Barcelona. An econ major, he interned for Merrill Lynch in New York City the summer before his senior year. The city was great, but he yearned for a different career path so he turned down the offer to return once his courses were complete.

A couple of weeks after graduation, Conor flew to Colorado where he worked as a hiking leader for a summer camp called Overland. While spending six weeks with middle schoolers on day hikes, backcountry treks and rafting trips in the Rocky Mountains may sound easy, the job was tough. But he loved the challenge of guiding and teaching 13-year-olds things like how to poop properly in the woods. He led more challenging trips the next summer in California, then worked for Overland full-time in their office in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. While handling logistics, marketing and sales, Conor also had the opportunity to bike across most of Europe and develop a new trip in Thailand. After three solid years, he felt the itch to move west again. Following some independent travel to South America and Southeast Asia, he sold his pickup truck, bought a Subaru and drove to Colorado. Conor started working at Nat Hab in 2013 and now manages the company's programs in South America. In his spare time, he competes in triathlons and road races, volunteers for his alma mater and explores the mountains of Colorado on foot and on skis.

Court Whelan

Conservation Travel Specialist
NHA Staff Member Since: 2013
Born and raised in Florida, Court spent much of his youth outdoors fostering a strong love and appreciation for nature and wildlife. This fascination led him to attend the University of Florida, where he received...

Court Whelan

Born and raised in Florida, Court spent much of his youth outdoors fostering a strong love and appreciation for nature and wildlife. This fascination led him to attend the University of Florida, where he received his bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees in a program termed “Ecotourism Entomology.” Having been the creator of his own major, he was able to design his coursework, research, and teaching to focus on, as he puts it, “conserving the world through nature and educational travel experiences.” Throughout his graduate school career Court also ran a small ecotourism travel company where he planned and led more than 65 expeditions to ecotourism destinations on all seven continents.

Like many others in the Nat Hab team, one of Court's greatest thrills is to help people travel to extraordinary natural areas that make meaningful lifelong impressions on everyone involved. When Court isn’t planning and leading international ecotourism trips, you can find him backpacking on trails in the Lower 48, running around on the soccer pitch, or editing the thousands of photos and videos he’s taken while on a recent adventure.

Dain Lewis

Vice President of Adventure Strategy & Finance
Nat Hab Staff Member Since: 2015
A Philadelphia native, Dain made a 1,000-mile road trip through Colorado in 2014 and decided to move Boulder… where he now serves as Nat Hab’s head financial strategist. This fortuitous turn of events allows Dain to...

Dain Lewis

A Philadelphia native, Dain made a 1,000-mile road trip through Colorado in 2014 and decided to move Boulder, where he now serves as Nat Hab’s head financial strategist. This fortuitous turn of events allows Dain to meld his professional acumen with a deep passion for nature and travel. Dain’s love of wildlife and the outdoors is rooted in childhood trips to the zoo and quiet time away from the city learning to golf—but it wasn’t until 2011 that it became a central focus of his life, when he embarked on a month-long, self-guided photography odyssey through New Zealand. Traveling with just a camera, a map, a car, and sheep (everywhere!), 5,000 photos later, Dain was hooked on nature travel. He developed a deep love of the natural world, appreciating both the exhilaration that comes from exploring our beautiful planet, and the calm and peace that nature brings. Dain went on to add adventures in Australia, Israel, Jordan, China, Hong Kong, Kenya, Norway and the Dominican Republic to his growing list of international travel experiences.

After graduating with a degree in history from Yale in 2007, Dain worked in a wide variety of positions in business strategy, finance, operations and analytics. He put his talents to work on mixed-use and master-planned community projects for a large real estate development company in Chicago, started a company in Silicon Valley with a few friends, and most recently worked for the University of Pennsylvania in finance and strategy. Dain’s hobbies include soccer, salsa dancing, photography, golf, skiing/snowboarding and cooking.

Don Martinson

Director, Travel Industry Relations
Nature Ambassador to the Travel Industry
NHA Staff Member Since: 1995
Born and raised in Utah, Don was fortunate to have the best “natural playground” imaginable, with mountains, deserts and canyons in his backyard. He caught the travel bug while studying...

Don Martinson

Born and raised in Utah, Don was fortunate to have the best “natural playground” imaginable, with mountains, deserts and canyons in his backyard. He caught the travel bug while studying and working in Europe in the 1980s, where he was a student at the University of Copenhagen and a resort restaurant worker in Murren, Switzerland. After college, Don was hired by United Airlines in 1986 – when the airlines were fun! Based in Chicago, Washington, San Francisco and Denver during his airline career, Don visited a great portion of the world – challenge him to name all the world capitals! 

In 1995, Don joined Natural Habitat Adventures. Originally hired as the private group coordinator, he worked mainly with museums, zoos, alumni associations and other non-profit groups. He also served as a “city guide” in Halifax for NHA’s Harp Seal Watch program and in Winnipeg for Polar Bear Watch, and was also the company's Uganda destination manager. After a hiatus from NHA, Don returned in 2007 as director of travel industry relations. In July 2008, he was elected a member of the VAST (Virtuoso Active & Specialty Travel) committee for a 3-year term.

With his Utah roots and more than 20 years living in Colorado, it's not surprising that Don loves to ski, hike and mountain bike. He also enjoys playing soccer with several NHA staffers, but traveling to wildest places on the planet is Don’s favorite pastime. 

Emily Deemer

Director of Digital Marketing
NHA Staff Member Since: 2013
Although Emily is a Hoosier at heart from Indianapolis, IN, she chose to go to college across the country in Boston. She studied psychology and environmental studies at Boston College, where she embarked on...

Emily Deemer

Although Emily is a Hoosier at heart from Indianapolis, she chose to go to college across the country in New England. She studied psychology and environmental studies at Boston College, where she embarked on a life- changing immersion and volunteer trip to Chiapas, Mexico. She also got to spend a semester studying abroad in New Zealand where she thoroughly explored the South Island in a beat-up 1982 Nissan Sunbird that she and her friends purchased for about $400. At the end of the semester they sold the car for more than they bought it! She also got to visit Fiji and Australia on that adventure, and by the end, she was hooked on travel.

Right out of college Emily followed her passion, joining EF Educational Tours, a travel company specializing in international trips for high school students. With EF, Emily was fortunate to travel with students and teachers all over Europe, and to Jordan, Egypt, China, Japan, and Thailand. After four years with EF, she was ready to go back to school to pursue an MBA focusing on marketing and environmental sustainability at the University of Colorado Boulder. She was thrilled to join the Nat Hab team, because she’s never happier than when she's helping others travel the world. In her free time you can find Emily “rocking out” on the violin at wedding gigs with her classical string quartet, or hiking and skiing in the mountains.

Emily Cottingham

Adventure Specialist
NHA Staff Member Since: 2015
Emily’s thirst for adventure began at a young age while trekking the Himalayas on a family trip to Nepal. Visiting several continents during her youth, she was inspired to study abroad in college...

Emily Cottingham

Emily’s thirst for adventure began at a young age while trekking the Himalayas on a family trip to Nepal. Visiting several continents during her youth, she was inspired to study abroad in college, so she went to Italy where she dedicated herself to the local cuisine and wine, along with traveling through Europe.

After college, Emily moved to San Diego to take a job in the finance industry. She quickly realized mutual funds did not animate her nearly the way travel did, so she ditched the numbers for something more exciting: a yearlong world expedition covering most of the southern hemisphere. Highlights included trekking the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu, getting lost in the Namib Desert, whitewater rafting down the Zambezi River, tubing the Nam Song River in Laos and working at an onion factory in New Zealand before spending all her savings to buy a van and camp throughout the South Island.

After traveling to more than 40 countries, Emily knew her heart belonged to Africa. She moved to Tanzania and began working with an NGO educating vulnerable and orphaned children, with regular escapes to the bush to explore Tanzania’s world-class national parks. She also pioneered a 400-mile cross-country mountain bike ride for the charity. Emily later became general manager for a high-end safari and Kilimanjaro outfitter in Tanzania.

After several years in East Africa with multiple requests from her family to move closer to home, Emily returned to the U.S. and landed in Colorado to work with Nat Hab. She is passionate about helping others fall in love with nature and wildlife through breathtaking travel experiences, and is thrilled to do so as an Adventure Specialist. When she isn’t sharing her love of travel with others, she can be found enjoying the outdoors, fumbling through a local run, testing local brews, or planning her next adventure. Africa still remains close to her heart, and she tries to get back for yearly visits.

Emily Kleinburd

Operations Coordinator
NHA Staff Member Since: 2015
Emily grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, where she spent most of her time outside with friends, playing field hockey, soccer and lacrosse. She went to Gettysburg College where she studied psychology and political science...

Emily Kleinburd

Emily grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, where she spent most of her time outside with friends, playing field hockey, soccer and lacrosse. She went to Gettysburg College where she studied psychology and political science, and was a member of the varsity field hockey team. Emily loved exploring Gettysburg and taking runs through the battlefields at sunrise and sunset. Always interested in exploring, adventure and wildlife, she caught the travel bug while studying abroad in Brisbane, Australia, taking every opportunity to experience what the region had to offer. From exploring the outback to trekking through rain forests, sailing the Whitsunday Islands to road-tripping the South Island of New Zealand, she couldn’t get enough. She returned to the States only to dream about where she would travel to next.

Upon graduation from college, Emily started her career in public relations, working in New York City, Chicago and eventually Denver. She quickly fell in love with Colorado and living so close to the Rockies. After two years in Denver, her passion for travel and wildlife brought her to Nat Hab, where she works on the Operations team, coordinating trip logistics for South America destinations.

Emily is happiest when she’s in the mountains. She spends her time snowboarding, hiking, camping, attending concerts with friends and enjoying local brews. She hopes to leave no stone unturned in Colorado, where it’s easy to find somewhere new to explore every weekend. Her travels so far include Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Iceland, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, Alaska, British Columbia, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.

Greg Courter

Senior Adventure Specialist
NHA Staff Member Since: 1996
Greg grew up in the Mad River Valley in central Vermont where it’s nearly impossible to step outside without developing a profound appreciation for the outdoors. After graduating from the University...

Greg Courter

Greg grew up in the Mad River Valley in central Vermont where it’s nearly impossible to step outside without developing a profound appreciation for the outdoors. After graduating from the University of Vermont he plunged into the corporate world in Boston, and seven years later he was shedding the suit and tie for the fresh air and outdoorsy lifestyle of Colorado.

Greg started at Natural Habitat in 1996 and over the years has been lucky enough to visit all seven continents including some memorable times canoeing down the Zambezi River in Africa, hiking through villages in the mountains of Vietnam, visiting Shackleton’s grave on South Georgia Island, trekking to the mountain gorillas in Uganda for his honeymoon, and of course watching the Yankees fall unceremoniously to the Red Sox from a remote New Zealand bar in 2004.

When he’s home in Boulder he spends time with his wife Kath and their little boy Gus, and he still manages to get out on the bike trails and golf course from time to time.

Holly Glessner

Sky Ambassador
Flying You to Nature's Edge
NHA Staff Member Since: 2008
Holly grew up in Iowa and was fortunate enough to have parents who loved to travel. Every year her family would take off to a different part of Mexico or Europe and would spend summers in...

Holly Glessner

Holly grew up in Iowa and was fortunate enough to have parents who loved to travel. Every year her family would take off to a different part of Mexico or Europe and would spend summers in northern Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Michigan. After graduating from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Public Relations and Communications, she spent a year in Chicago working for corporate America. Realizing the corporate world wasn’t for her, she headed west to Colorado and beautiful Boulder. Wanting something new, Holly discovered the travel industry and spent 13 years specializing in scuba diving tours and group travel around the world before ending up at Natural Habitat Adventures -- and boy, what a change that was! Who knew work could be so much fun? Holly has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, Europe and her favorite destination, Fiji. Holly has also visited Churchill, the Galapagos Islands, Turkey, the Bahamas, Alaska, Peru, South Africa, Botswana and most recently Buenos Aires, Argentina and Antarctica. When not working or traveling, Holly also enjoys camping, hiking, sea kayaking, scuba diving/snorkeling and playing tennis.

Jacquie Prescott

Vice President of Adventures
NHA Staff Member Since: 1996
Jacquie grew up in Kent, England and later attended Broadstairs University. She has always had a passion for travel, but a camping trip in France at age 10 was the pinnacle moment...

Jacquie Prescott

Jacquie grew up in Kent, England and attended Broadstairs University. She has always had a passion for travel, but a camping trip in France at age 10 was a pinnacle moment that inspired her to eventually pursue a career in the travel industry. Since then, Jacquie has traveled to Eastern Europe, Russia, Australia and New Zealand, among many other countries, and ultimately settled down with her American husband in Colorado in 1995, where they are parents to two boys. Jacquie and her family enjoy living the Colorado lifestyle through skiing, camping and hiking in their spare time.

Jacquie has been working in operations at Natural Habitat since 1998. She got her start by running Nat Hab's polar bear adventures in the northern outpost town of Churchill, Manitoba and now oversees trips all over the world as Vice President of Operations. Jacquie's career at Nat Hab has taken her to many incredible destinations including Africa, Nicaragua and Greenland, where she helped scout the location for the company's new Base Camp Greenland. Helping others foster their love of travel through Natural Habitat Adventures is a truly rewarding experience for Jacquie, and she looks forward to many more years and many more adventures to come.

Janet Kazmierski

Sky Ambassador
Flying You to Nature's Edge
NHA Staff Member Since: 1997
Janet was born and raised in the suburbs of the Motor City where cruising in hot rods and attending rock concerts were her pass times of choice. After several trips to northern Michigan camping...

Janet Kazmierski

Janet was born and raised in the suburbs of the Motor City where cruising in hot rods and attending rock concerts were her pass times of choice. After several trips to northern Michigan camping, canoeing, hiking, skiing and fishing, she realized it was the outdoors she preferred to the concrete city. She got the travel bug while attending Michigan State University and venturing to various destinations during winter and spring breaks. One winter break brought her to Steamboat Springs, Colorado for a week of skiing the Rocky Mountains. Falling in love with the dramatic landscapes of Colorado, she moved to Boulder shortly after graduating from MSU in 1992 where she has remained ever since. Now she does not have to travel far from home to experience the nature she fell in love with back in northern Michigan. It is right in her front yard. She completed travel school and worked as a travel agent at an agency located on the University of Colorado campus where her travels took her to Europe and Central America. After a couple years working mainly with students, she landed a job at Natural Habitat Adventures in the air department where her travels have continued to take her to far away places such as southern Africa, the Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica, Baja Mexico, British Columbia and Churchill, Manitoba. In her spare time, she likes to be outdoors as much as possible with her family camping, hiking, biking and snowboarding, or indoors working on her yoga practice.

John Holahan

Adventure Specialist
NHA Staff Member Since: 2014
John was born and raised in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania and developed a strong passion for adventure travel from a young age. While completing his bachelor’s degree in philosophy...

John Holahan

John was born and raised in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania and developed a strong passion for adventure travel from a young age. While completing his bachelor’s degree in philosophy at West Chester University in his home state, he embarked on his first solo-backpacking trip across Europe. That experience inspired him to dedicate the next 15 years of his life to international travel and study. Since then, John has visited some 64 countries on six continents, studied abroad in Greece and South America, and has used his master’s in TESOL education (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) to teach English in New York City, Ecuador and Colombia. In addition to his teaching experience, John has also managed and led several licensed American groups to Cuba under people-to-people exchange programs. As an avid climber and hiker, John has finished several ambitious treks through Asia, the Middle East, South America and Oceania. John joined Natural Habitat Adventures in 2014 as an Adventure Specialist and enjoys sharing his experiences and trip knowledge with travelers from all walks of life. With Natural Habitat Adventures, John has visited the polar bears of Churchill, along with Botswana, Zambia, Greenland, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. When he's not in the office, John spends his time snowboarding, rock climbing throughout the U.S., writing on his travel blog and planning his next journey to the edge of civilization.

Jordy Oleson

Adventure Specialist
NHA Staff Member Since: 2014
A moment of truth hit Jordy shortly before graduating college. With a business degree and summa cum laude honors under his belt, the “good” job offers he received just didn’t feel right. Taking a leap of faith, he...

Jordy Oleson

Like many of us, Jordy faced a crossroads as he graduated from university: accept one of the “good” job offers on the table in front of him, or leave his comfort zone and pursue his passions. Taking a leap of faith, he decided to explore the world and vowed he’d never take a job that didn’t fulfill his adventurous spirit. That decision took him to the cloud forests of Costa Rica where he taught 3rd grade at a conservation-based ESL school. His passion for travel and the natural world became an integral part of his identity, with his wanderlust leading him through most of Central and South America shortly thereafter.

Soon after his travels, Jordy began working as the marketing manager for a nonprofit dedicated to providing life-changing travel experiences for high school students of all abilities and backgrounds. Over a 7-year period he helped develop, sell, manage and lead expeditions in Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico, the American Southwest, the Canadian Arctic, Tanzania and Southeast Asia. Jordy also played a role in co-founding a nonprofit that teaches workshops on sustainable development and appropriate technology to communities in Rwanda and Mexico. After joining Nat Hab early in 2014, he has since returned to Peru’s upper Amazon Basin, visited the polar bears of Churchill and explored the savannas of East Africa.

An “almost-native” Coloradan, Jordy was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, enjoys dual citizenship and regularly travels back to Canada to visit family. When he's not traveling, Jordy’s favorite moments are the hours of entertainment he and his wife enjoy watching their baby daughter grow and find new ways to be rambunctious. He also loves finding and sharing the best new music, snowboarding, camping, riding cruiser bikes, and geeking out over new strategies to beat his friends in Settlers of Catan.


Kelly Dellinger

Director of Group Sales
aka: NHA’s Groovy Nature Travel Groupie
NHA Staff Member Since: 1999
Kelly grew up outside of Philadelphia, finished high school in Florida and graduated with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Biology from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. While...

Kelly Dellinger

Kelly grew up outside of Philadelphia, finished high school in Florida and graduated with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Biology from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. While in college, Kelly attended the National Outdoor Leadership School’s Fall Semester in the Rockies. This introduction to true outdoor adventure shaped the future direction of Kelly’s life, as she chose to make the West her permanent home, living and playing in Missoula, MT, Grindelwald, Switzerland, San Francisco, CA, Telluride, Crested Butte and Boulder, CO.

In her free time Kelly can be found practicing yoga, hiking, gardening, cooking, skiing, cross-country skiing, closing down the occasional dance floor and laughing a lot while spending quality time with family and friends. Kelly started working at NHA in 1999 and has treasured her many nature adventures ranging from sailing and swimming with wild dolphins in the Bahamas, exploring the Galapagos Islands, marveling at the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru, savoring three weeks in Tuscany and Umbria in Italy, managing polar bear field operations for NHA while living in Churchill, Manitoba, legendary safaris in Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, South Africa and Uganda, swimming with whale sharks in Mexico, visiting the ancient wonders of Egypt, trekking through the wilds of Patagonia and the High Atlas mountains of Morocco, cruising, kayaking and hiking through the stunning scenery of Southeast Alaska, hanging out on foot with the enormous grizzlies of Katmai National Park, attending the Maha Kumbh Mela, the world’s largest religious festival (along with 80-100 million other pilgrims…incredibly profound), glimpsing the elusive tiger and seeing rhinos on elephant-back safari while in India, sailing to Antarctica aboard a 75-foot sailboat in pristine, iceberg-filled waters to view penguins, seals and whales, and, of course, some of the wildest adventures of all...Natural Habitat Adventures’ infamous parties!

Kit Longnecker

Executive Adventure
Assistant NHA Staff Member Since: 2014
Kit is a Colorado native who has always treasured having so much beauty in her own backyard. Kit graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2014 earning a degree in advertising...

Kit Longnecker

Kit is a Colorado native who has always treasured having so much beauty in her own backyard. Kit graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2014, earning a degree in advertising, and quickly settled in with the Nat Hab crew. When she’s not at work, Kit enjoys spending time in the outdoors. Some of her favorite activities include hiking, biking and camping. Her love of travel was encouraged from a young age by her dad. From weeks-long road trips to national parks to scuba diving in Honduras or camping in the Australian Outback, Kit has always loved visiting other parts of the world to experience things outside of her daily life. She is a strong believer that travel is an essential way to broaden one’s horizons and encourage extraordinary passions. Kit is honored to be a part of the Nat Hab crew, helping people check items off their bucket lists through adventure travel. The first Nat Hab trip Kit checked off her own list was swimming with whale sharks in Australia. In the past year, Kit has had the pleasure of visiting polar bears in Churchill and sea lions in the Galapagos Islands with Nat Hab and is excited for many more bucket-list adventures in the future.

Lauren Deeley

Adventure Specialist
NHA Staff Member Since: 2015
For as long as she can remember, Lauren has been compelled to get out and explore the world. Her first solo expedition was a furtive trip to a playground across town that was fueled by wanderlust...

Lauren Deeley

For as long as she can remember, Lauren has been compelled to get out and explore the world. Her first solo expedition was a furtive trip to a playground across town that was fueled by wanderlust, a Snickers bar and her trusty tricycle. Though the excursion was cut short by two parents eager to get their 3-year-old home, Lauren’s sense of excitement about the world only grew from there, and her adventures since have been varied.

As an art history major, Lauren “studied” London, thrilled to have a legitimate excuse to hang out in some of the world’s best museums. She once traded her bed for some rock climbing gear so she could explore the vertical world of the northeastern U.S. and beyond. Then, telling her friends and family, “Don’t worry, I’m sure it’ll all work out,” she moved to Costa Rica. By the end of her third month Lauren had settled in San Jose and bought a run-down operation she was busily transforming into a profitable hostel. Things did indeed work out, and the hostel was a great success.

Prior to joining Natural Habitat as an Adventure Specialist, Lauren worked most recently in Vermont as a rock climbing instructor, snowshoe guide and manager of a ski resort fitness facility.

Her favorite way to get close to nature and wildlife is by playing outside. While rock climbing, she spotted a mother peregrine falcon building a nest. Her trail running adventures include being pursued by a blue morpho butterfly, “chasing” a whitetail deer, and almost getting hit by a barred owl swooping down to catch a mouse before her on the trail. In Alaska, kayaking next to a glacier, she was lucky enough to witness it calve, creating a big wave.

When Lauren isn’t helping Nat Hab travelers plan their next great adventure, you’ll find her indulging her passion for running crazy long distances, climbing or exploring Colorado’s beautiful backcountry with her boyfriend. If it’s fun and happens outside, Lauren’s probably doing it!

Mandy Scott

Office Manager
NHA Staff Member Since: 2013
Mandy Scott grew up in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts where she enjoyed numerous outdoor pursuits including skiing, horseback riding, tennis and hiking...

Mandy Scott

Mandy Scott grew up in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts where she enjoyed numerous outdoor pursuits including skiing, horseback riding, tennis and hiking. She was also lucky to enjoy the rich cultural offerings of the area and developed a deep love for theatre and music. As the youngest of four children, Mandy had many opportunities to explore the U.S. on ski trips, business trips with her parents, family visits and other modes of entertainment. Her entire family of six attempted only one actual vacation together, which was the inspiration for the popular film National Lampoon's Vacation.

In 1992, Mandy moved to Boulder to attend the University of Colorado where she majored in theatre and was a member of the ski team. Mandy fell in love with the area not only for its incredible beauty, but also the awesome music scene. She quickly discovered that working in the music industry meant she could see all the free shows she wanted. Mandy spent the next 10 years working in every aspect of the music business from hanging posters and working security to management and booking. She even worked for a travel agency that catered to touring rock bands. With the birth of her son in 2002, Mandy settled in nearby Longmont where she taught tennis for the City of Longmont while also reigniting her passion for acting with the local theatre community. Mandy and her family divide their time between competitive sports, theatre, hiking, rock concerts and spending time with friends.

Beyond the continental United States, Mandy has traveled several times to Europe and Mexico. Most recently, she had the opportunity to visit Costa Rica, the Galapagos Islands and Amazon River Basin with Nat Hab. The immersion in nature and the beauty of these remote areas and their inhabitants was a magnificent experience. Mandy is excited to share her love of the natural world, conservation and pure fun as part of the Nat Hab team.

Mark Calder

Adventure Specialist
NHA Staff Member Since: 2015
A veteran traveler who has visited 39 countries, Mark loves to share his global knowledge with anyone who will listen – so it’s appropriate that he holds a position as an Adventure Specialist...

Mark Calder

A veteran traveler who has visited 39 countries, Mark loves to share his global knowledge with anyone who will listen – so it’s appropriate that he holds a position as an Adventure Specialist at Nat Hab. His journey to the company was a long and convoluted one, though, which began in the United Kingdom where he was born and raised.

Mark caught the travel bug at a very early age as he traveled with his parents and sister throughout Western Europe and the Mediterranean each summer. By 19, he was ready to embark on an around-the-world trip on this own, focusing his exploration on Asia and Australasia. Among his many amazing experiences, Mark had a chance to volunteer at an orangutan rehabilitation center on the island of Sumatra.

Mark’s epic trip only fueled his passion for travel, and upon his return he landed a job working for a small-group adventure travel company based in the UK. After two years as a sales consultant he transitioned into a tour leader capacity, guiding trips in Egypt, Greece, Peru and Bolivia.

It was on one of his more memorable tours that Mark met his American wife. He was leading a group of 17 clients through Bolivia when they got tangled up in roadblocks that were the result of a nationwide political uprising. After spending a week stranded in the tiny mountain town of Sorata, Mark and his group – which included his soon-to-be wife – were rescued by Bolivian troops.

A year later, in 2004, Mark moved to Boulder to be with his fiancée and they were married shortly thereafter. After relocating to the foot of the Rockies, Mark pursued a geography degree at the University of Colorado Boulder. Following graduation, he worked as a wildland firefighter in Colorado and Idaho and continues to work as a reserve firefighter and EMT a couple of weekends a month. When the chance arose to join Nat Hab in 2015, Mark jumped on it, excited to be back in the travel industry.

Mark Hickey

Creative Director
NHA Staff Member Since: 2002
Mark was born in Hinsdale, IL, a suburb of Chicago. Part of an active family, Mark's appreciation of the outdoors was instilled at an early age. Camping and fishing trips played a big part in his...

Mark Hickey

Mark was born in Hinsdale, IL, a suburb of Chicago. Part of an active family, Mark's appreciation of the outdoors was instilled at an early age. Camping and fishing trips played a big part in his childhood, as did organized sports. It was a family ski trip to Breckenridge at the age of 12 that gave him his first taste of the West, and he vowed to return. He attended the University of Illinois in Champaign, where he studied fine arts, photography, illustration and design, yet still found time for both hockey and soccer (and pinball). Somehow he always managed to scrounge the money and time for snowboarding excursions to Colorado, as well as the yearly pilgrimage to Mardi Gras with his crew. After graduation he traveled with his father through Alaska, then finally took a job as an art director for an automotive aftermarket manufacturer. He moved to Wicker Park in Chicago and continued to study film and web design. One day he left with his dog on a fly-fishing trip to Colorado and never looked back. Somewhere along the line he figured he should probably return to the working world and landed his job with Nat Hab. He resides in Louisville where he enjoys spending time with his family, playing soccer and beating on his drums with his band, LAtch.

Matt Goddard

Director of Adventure Funds
NHA Staff Member Since: 2001
Born and raised in Colorado, Matt has a natural affinity for the mountains and nature. He spent his childhood hiking and camping, exploring the backcountry. In 1992 he moved to Durango to take...

Matt Goddard

Born and raised in Colorado, Matt has a natural affinity for the mountains and nature. He spent his childhood hiking and camping, exploring the backcountry. In 1992 he moved to Durango to take classes (ok. to be a ski bum!) and graduated with a degree in tourism management. Before coming to Boulder, Matt managed a hotel, gaining organizational and financial skills required for the international adventure industry. His international travels have taken him to Costa Rica, Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Cayman Islands, Canada and more. His hobbies include skiing, biking, camping and hiking with his dogs. Everybody, give a warm welcome to bachelor number one: Matt Goddard!

Mat Unger

I.T. (International Traveler)
NHA Staff Member Since: 2005
Mat has been on the move all his life. Born in Chicago, raised in both East Berlin and Denver, Mat is a traveler at heart. Before joining Natural Habitat Adventures, he studied aerospace sciences at the...

Mat Unger

Mat has been on the move all his life. Born in Chicago, raised in both East Berlin and Denver, Mat is a traveler at heart. Before joining Natural Habitat Adventures, he studied aerospace sciences at the University of North Dakota where he received a BS degree and mild frostbite. Inspired by what he found while traveling with dad and grandpa, Mat has ventured on to visit many far-off corners of the world. Check out his slide show for a glimpse at his recent adventures. Mat thinks the most memorable journey to date is when he and his dad got stranded in the Kalahari Desert while driving a two-wheel drive rental car. He claims it is the most up-close and personal he ever plans to get with nature. When he's not in Canada working on our Polar Bear trips, Mat manages our information systems from his office in New York. And if you ever have a problem, Mat is the guy to call! He can fix anything.

Megan Bryant

Africa Adventure Director & Developer
NHA Staff Member Since: 2012
Megan was born in Oklahoma, but didn’t stay there long. In fact, in her first 10 years, her father’s career took the family of four to Texas, Florida and Mississippi, ending up in north...

Megan Bryant

Megan was born in Oklahoma but didn’t stay there long. In fact, during her first 10 years, her father’s career took the family of four to Texas, Florida and Mississippi, ending up in north Louisiana for the next 13 years. Travel for Megan came in the form of long holiday road trips to the family farm in Tennessee and to the beach in Florida. A free spirit, Megan studied French for seven years while longing to escape the South and travel abroad. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography, Megan followed her parents to Tampa, Florida – her mother's childhood home – where she landed a dream job in travel. Just 30 days after taking an Africa-focused position with a high end tour operator, she had a crisp new passport in hand aboard a flight to the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean.

Megan's love for languages and cultures led to a life-changing career. Over the next decade, she would gallivant around Europe and take more than a dozen adventures to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique, Maldives, Seychelles, Dubai, Qatar and Oman. From surfing in Madagascar and dodging hippos on the Zambezi River to milking Maasai cows in Kenya, nothing was ever too far away or too daunting. She eventually became Africa Destination Manager for the same luxury tour operator with whom she began her career and relocated to Los Angeles where she was named one of Vacation Agent magazine’s “Under 35” Rising Stars in 2012. The same year, she made the move to Nat Hab – a dream job with a dream company. She traded in her surfboard for a snowboard and relocated to Boulder, her favorite home yet. In addition to managing Africa products for the company, you'll also find Megan microbrew tasting, salsa dancing and beard-admiring in the rugged mountains of Colorado!

Megan Koelemay

Director of Digital Marketing
NHA Staff Member Since: 2009
Born in Texas and raised in Louisville, Colorado, Megan is truly a Coloradan at heart. Her family vacations were spent camping and hiking in the nearby Rocky Mountains, and she quickly...

Megan Koelemay

Born in Texas and raised in Louisville, Colorado, Megan's family vacations were spent camping and hiking in the Rocky Mountains, and she quickly developed a love for the great outdoors, as well as nature photography. She took her passions with her to college and graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in Environmental Studies and Studio Art. Megan joined Natural Habitat Adventures in 2009 after working in the ski industry for a magazine and production company.  As Director of Digital Marketing, her inner computer geek comes out daily, working to make your online experience positive, helpful and engaging. She lives in Boulder, CO, with her husband, and interprets every travel opportunity as a chance to get one of her gazillion cameras out and capture her favorite destinations on film (and/or memory card). Megan also enjoys rock concerts, museums, history, coffee shops, more rock concerts, camping and skiing.

Renata Haas

Adventure Director
NHA Staff Member Since: 2014
Proudly calling the “Cheese State” her home, this Wisconsite started her outdoor adventures at a young age like any good outdoor enthusiast by playing in the dirt...

Renata Haas

Proudly calling the “Cheese State” her home, this Wisconsite started her outdoor adventures at a young age like any good outdoor enthusiast by playing in the dirt. Mudpies, sandcastles, playing Pooh Sticks and watching fish swim upstream were part of Renata’s favorite pastimes. Fast-forward 25 years, twenty-one countries, six states, a college graduation (Colorado College), countless trips and only one broken bone, Renata still prides herself in being able to play in the dirt.

Driven by a passion to travel and have an impact on America’s youth, after graduating with a degree in Environmental Science and a minor in African Studies, Renata found herself in Texas designing and teaching outdoor science education and leadership programs to school groups. The travel bug caught again and she spent the next six years working within the South Pacific facilitating international community service, adventure and life skills programs with high school students. During this time she was fortunate enough to sit and drink kava with village chiefs, swim face to face with bull sharks, earn her Bonze Medallion in Surf Rescue Certification, spend many, many days at sea, watch the sunrise at Uluru (Aryes Rock), ski in the southern hemisphere, and meet some of the friendliest people in the world.

Colorado however still had her heart and after convincing her mother that Natural Habitat Adventures had the best Galapagos programs, she saw an opening for an Adventure Director on the website. As fate would have it, NHA decided to hire Renata and she now works as part of the Polar Bear team, and designs programs in Alaska (still allowing her to play in the dirt) as an Adventure Director. When Renata is not planning trips for work, she is planning trips for fun and exploring the far corners of Rockies on foot, skis, mountain bike or any other form of travel that sounds exciting. Sometimes she is also seen relaxing at her new home in Louisville and getting up in the early hours to climb.

Rick Guthke

Vice Pres., Natural Habitat Headquarters
NHA Staff Member Since: 1999
Rick was raised outside of Cambridge in Massachusetts, but spent all his summers and Christmas vacations with his extended family in Germany. His parents always combined these family visits...

Rick Guthke

Rick was raised outside of Cambridge in Massachusetts, but spent all his summers and Christmas vacations with his extended family in Germany. His parents always combined these family visits with side-trips to neighboring European countries, and thus his traveling spirit -- and love of dark ale -- was born. After graduating from Connecticut College with a Degree in Zoology, Rick moved to Colorado to climb mountains and pursue an adventuresome career. Between job opportunities, Rick stuffed his backpack and traveled internationally as far as his pennies could take him. After working as a Marine Biologist in the Aleutians Islands of Alaska, as a Wildland Firefighter based in Arizona and in the wine cellars of the Barossa Valley in Australia, Rick settled nicely back in Boulder in 1999 and into the field of Adventure Travel. He is now embarking on his next big adventure: parenting two young children!

Sandy Shannon

Adventure Operations Manager
Worldwide Nature Safaris NHA Staff Member Since: 2001
Growing up in the Midwest, Sandy got her first taste of international travel on a two-week high school trip to Europe (at the time she was more interested in that fact that there was no legal...

Sandy Shannon

Growing up in the Midwest, Sandy got her first taste of international travel on a two-week high school trip to Europe (at the time she was more interested in that fact that there was no legal drinking age, but hey, we all have to start somewhere). She continued this interest in foreign affairs at Ohio University, where she majored in International Business, Marketing and French. While there she studied abroad in France and, after graduation, backpacked to Australia and New Zealand, getting her adrenaline fix by bungee jumping over canyons and shark diving in the Great Barrier Reef. Still trying to decide what to do with her life she spent some time in the Peace Corps in Mauritania, West Africa, teaching the locals business skills, but more importantly, learning to ride camels, pick bugs out of her food and the importance of never shaking hands using your left hand! (Don’t ask.) After returning to the states, she decided wanted to live in a more “outdoors” environment and packed up and moved to Colorado, where she found herself a job at Natural Habitat Adventures. In 2007 she took a brief hiatus to backpack around SE Asia for nine months, meditating, climbing volcanoes and exploring beach-side hammocks all over the coast. Now back at Nat Hab, she continues to indulge in her love of nature and travel by exploring places like East Africa, Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands. Her latest adventures include trekking in Nepal’s Mt. Everest region to ward off evil spirits at the Mani Rimdu festival, swimming with whale sharks in Isla Holbox, Mexico and cruising through the karst formations of Halong Bay, Vietnam. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading, happy hour and forever looking for that next adventure.

Sara Higgins

Adventure Director
Staff Member Since: 2010
Sara grew up in the great state of New Jersey (the nice part, not like Ben) with wanna-be-ski-bum-but-became-lawyers-instead parents and two older brothers who made sure she could climb...

Sara Higgins

Sara grew up in the great state of New Jersey (the nice part, not like Ben) with wanna-be-ski-bum-but-became-lawyers-instead parents and two older brothers who made sure she could climb. Her childhood was spent running around the neighborhood barefoot, making up sledding resorts in the woods next door, playing every recreational sport in which a kid can participate, and being “dragged” up and down all the ski mountains on the East Coast. All of these experiences instilled an adventurous spirit, gave her a love and appreciation for the outdoors, and kept her dreaming of traveling overseas.

After finding a niche in learning languages, most notably French, the little “Madeline” in her impulsively decided at the age of 12 that she would live in Paris for a year. Sara followed this dream by attending the University of Richmond where she majored in International Studies and French, and spent her junior year abroad in Paris, indulging in the freshest baguettes, the tastiest wines and smelliest cheeses, not to mention spending every penny she had saved traveling around to as many countries as she could squeeze in between “attending classes.” After graduation, Sara moved out to Wyoming to work on a ranch, following that up with an epic road trip around the West/Southwest U.S., spending every day hiking and climbing in our beautiful national parks and every night sleeping under the stars. She spent the next year making fondue, traveling to South America, and running an adventure camp. In 2007 she bought a one-way ticket to New Zealand and booked one night in a hostel. She ended up staying for a most exciting and adventurous 1-1/2 years, followed by six months in Australia!

After adjusting to culture shock back in the U.S. (and accidentally driving on the left side of the road!), the mountains beckoned for Sara, so she moved to Colorado and booked ski vacations to support her skiing addiction. After a brief trip to Israel, Sara realized Boulder was the place for her and is very excited to be working at Nat Hab! When not at work (even though she is mostly talking about skiing, how much snow fell, etc.), Sara can be found trail running, skiing, mountain biking, practicing yoga, drinking chai, and exploring the wonders of Boulder and the surrounding areas.

Sarah Knight

Adventure Prep Specialist
Everything You Need to Know Before You Go
NHA Staff Member Since: 1998
Born and raised in Colorado, Sarah was introduced to adventure at an early age. Childhood vacations were spent hiking, camping, backpacking and skiing with her parents and brother. Sarah's...

Sarah Knight

Born and raised in Colorado, Sarah was introduced to adventure at an early age. Childhood vacations were spent hiking, camping, backpacking and skiing with her parents and brother. Sarah's love of travel began at the age of eight when she lived in Kenya for two years while her father did consulting work. She has returned to Africa several times since then. She spent four months studying in Zimbabwe during college followed by a five week hitchhiking trip through South Africa, Namibia and Botswana with two friends. After graduating from Beloit College in Wisconsin, Sarah returned to Africa -- this time to Tanzania -- and worked for a small non-governmental organization focused on local environmental issues. Upon returning from Tanzania, Sarah decided it was time to move back to Colorado to be near her family and the mountains. She has been with Natural Habitat since 1998.

Sarah Raby

Adventure Director & Group Specialist
Africa Nature Safaris
NHA Staff Member Since: 2007
Raised in the Fox River Valley, 40 miles west of Chicago, Sarah was centrally located to roam the U.S. at a very young age. Some of her fondest memories include her six member family piling into...

Sarah Raby

Raised in the Fox River Valley, 40 miles west of Chicago, Sarah was centrally located to roam the U.S. at a very young age. Some of her fondest memories include her six member family piling into a conversion van to explore as many national parks in a seven day period as possible. She went on to study Communications and Biology at Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN. Upon graduation, being extremely tired of the long Minnesota winters, Sarah moved to Costa Rica. This sparked a passion for travel, language and culture that would take her to the remote jungle villages of Ecuador, medical missions in Bolivia, the beaches of Mexico and the Caribbean, the Canadian Rockies and Eastern and Western Europe. In 2004, Sarah obtained a TEFL certificate and taught English in the U.S. and abroad. Since joining the Nat Hab team in 2007, she’s developed a passion for Africa and she continues to delve into the wildlife and culture of this vast continent at every opportunity. In her spare time you can find her practicing yoga, experimenting in the kitchen, with her nose in a book or planning her next trip with her husband and son.

Shelby Campbell

Explorer’s Registrar & Billing Coordinator
NHA Staff Member Since: 2006
Shelby has always had a passion for new places to visit, the outdoors and new friends to meet. Growing up in Milwaukee, WI there was always something new to do. Whether it was camping...

Shelby Campbell

Shelby’s love for travel was launched when she had the chance perform musically throughout Europe when she was 18. She was captivated by the opportunity to experience different cultures and encounter the history that had previously existed for her only in books. After that fortuitous trip, most of Shelby’s travels took place closer to home: camping trips or a short flight to Tennessee to visit family. But the passion for travel simmered inside her, and she yearned to venture beyond a 3-hour radius of home. To travel became a goal, and Shelby began to craft her life around it.

After she got married, she and her husband moved to Colorado on a whim. They lived in the mountains, then the city, and now in the country, where they reside with their two young daughters and two horses. Her horizons expanded further when in 2006, as fate would have it, she stumbled across a company called Natural Habitat Adventures, which would change her life forever. Shelby was hired as Nat Hab's reservations and billing manager. Working for Nat Hab made it possible for Shelby to truly pursue her travel dreams, as she has enthusiastically participated in several company trips.
  
Whether watching sea lions and surveying seabirds on Hebrides cliffs or nipping Scotch whisky while meeting the wonderful people, Scotland first stole Shelby’s heart. Then, she traveled halfway around the world to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, biking through rice fields, exploring temples, wandering the ruins at Angkor Wat, sailing Halong Bay, drinking tea in small Hmong villages with the locals, experiencing the tastes and smells of many different types of food, and watching a water buffalo riding on the back of a motorbike (seriously!).

Shelby’s most recent adventure took her to the Serengeti on Nat Hab’s Tanzania Migration Safari, an experience she’s had to pinch herself over to remind her it was real. Her most moving moment was flying high above the Serengeti Plains just as the sun was rising, enveloped in silence except for the snorts and hoofbeats of the wildebeest below – it looked like there were millions of them (and no doubt there were tens of thousands)! To see so many wild animals in their natural environment left Shelby speechless (which she acknowledges is difficult to do). The friendships she made with her fellow travelers, guides and local villagers made her Tanzania safari the most incredible adventure she has ever experienced – so far! Shelby is perpetually excited to explore more of our beautiful world and tell her stories for years to come.

Simon Krejcik

Adventure Specialist
NHA Staff Member Since: 2015
After graduating from college, Simon set off to explore Southeast Asia, where a serendipitous scuba diving trip in Thailand inspired him to pursue a career in adventure travel...

Simon Krejcik

After graduating from college, Simon set off to explore Southeast Asia, where a serendipitous scuba diving trip in Thailand inspired him to pursue a career in adventure travel. Over the years, he has explored the far corners of the world and has become a seasoned traveler, with more than 40 countries stamped on his passport.

 Some of his favorite journeys have taken him on safari in South Africa, trekking in Nepal and Bhutan and snorkeling with hammerhead sharks in the Galápagos Islands. The Galápagos won a special place in his heart. “In the Galápagos, you’re presented with a new highlight every day,” he says. “You can’t beat the diversity and the unique experiences you encounter.”

Simon, who has more than 10 years of experience in the adventure travel industry, delights in sharing his passion and knowledge with Nat Hab guests as an Adventure Specialist. A detail-oriented traveler and an avid photographer, Simon is responsible for designing countless stellar trips. With his lens and insider knowledge, he is able to travel beyond the surface. Because of his innate ability to delve deeper on regular scouting trips and personal adventures, Simon excels at planning trips that share this amazing and unique world with our travelers.

Suzanna Spencer

Senior Adventure Specialist
NHA Staff Member Since: 2005
Suzanna was born and raised in the Granite State, New Hampshire. She developed a love of travel and peanut butter sandwiches as a young child when her family packed her and her two siblings...

Suzanna Spencer

Suzanna was born and raised in the Granite State, New Hampshire. She developed a love of travel and peanut butter sandwiches as a young child when her family packed her and her two siblings up in a VW Bug and drove them around the country every summer visiting various national parks, historical monuments and relatives. We thought this sort of thing only happened in Boulder! While in high school, Suzanna was lucky enough to be chosen to race the marathon in the Goodwill Games over in the Soviet Union. This was her first introduction to international traveling and borsch. From this crazy adventure, she caught the travel bug, which she has never been able to shed.

After finishing up a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of New Hampshire (Go Wildcats!), Suzanna moved west and ended up in New Mexico, Idaho, and then finally settled in Colorado. She has kept Colorado as her home base, but has also been lucky to live and work in exciting places such as Bolivia, New Zealand, Antarctica and Alaska. Some of her favorite travel adventures include swimming with penguins in the Galapagos Islands, kayaking near glaciers in Alaska, riding the Tran-Siberian railroad, rounding up goats by horseback in Mongolia, having a snowball fight with young kids in Bhutan, seeing newborn lions and cheetah in Tanzania and walking on the Great Wall in China. When she is not found at work she can be found teaching Pilates, falling down on the ski slopes or gardening.

Suzanne Kiser

Adventure Gear & Pre-Trip Services Coordinator
NHA Staff Member Since: 2000
Suzanne grew up in Massachusetts and headed to Colorado in 1980 where she fell in love with the magical Rocky Mountain beauty and has called Boulder home ever since. She has always loved to...

Suzanne Kiser

Suzanne grew up in Massachusetts and headed to Colorado in 1980 where she fell in love with the majestic Rocky Mountains and Boulder's laid back atmosphere and has called Boulder home ever since. As luck would have it in 1995, she met Ben (NHA founder & President) and his wife Laura and became friends. A few years passed, Suzanne had her second child and found herself searching for a job that was flexible so she could balance work & family time. Natural Habitat was growing and in 2000 welcomed her in and it was a perfect fit! Beginning as assistant to the office manager and transitioning into the reservations department, they squeezed her into a utility room with a pile of papers! Her role has evolved over the years to become our Adventure Gear & Pre Trip Services Coordinator. Since touching a gray whale in Baja on her first NHA journey she was hooked on wildlife adventures as well as photography and could not believe what she had been missing! Her NHA travels have taken her all around the planet~ to sail the Inside Passage with Orcas, hear howling Wolves in Yellowstone and appreciate the beauty of the geology and wildlife of Newfoundland. Some of the most unforgettable adventures are the ones she was able to share with her children~ getting up close and personal with the Grizzlies of Coastal Katmai with her son,  Polar Bears of Churchill with her daughter and the wonder of the Galapagos Islands on our family departure with both of them. Lots of laughs with all of the kids on the trip! New Zealand's South Island, its jaw dropping beauty and eco-system diversity and of course seeing the illusive Kiwi foraging on the beach,  truly amazed her. Suzanne's crowning jewel, trip of a lifetime was heading through the Drake Passage to explore the Antarctic Peninsula where she hopes one day to return.

Ted Martens

Vice President of Marketing & Sustainability
NHA Staff Member Since: 2011
Ted’s journey into the travel and tourism industry began the summer after his sophomore year of college. A two-month backpacking trip throughout Europe ignited what has come to be...

Ted Martens

Ted’s journey into the travel and tourism industry began the summer after his sophomore year of college. A two-month backpacking trip through Europe ignited what has become a life-long passion for international travel. After spending a semester studying abroad in southern Spain and a summer in Southeast Asia, Ted graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Getting a “real job” didn’t sound like nearly as much fun as traveling, so he and a few friends decided to spend a year living, working, and exploring Australia and New Zealand. Living “down under” opened his eyes to the full scale of the tourism industry and solidified his desire to pursue it as a career.

After returning from the southern hemisphere, Ted earned a master’s degree in Tourism Development from Arizona State University, where his thesis research investigated ecotourism development in Central America. Following grad school, Ted became the Director of Outreach and Development for Sustainable Travel International (STI), a non-profit focused on bringing sustainability solutions to the tourism industry. Working at STI brought Ted in touch with the Nat Hab crew, where he helped establish NHA as the world’s first carbon neutral travel company. Before joining the Nat Hab team in 2011, Ted and his wife took a year-long hiatus, embarking on a round-the-world trip across 20 countries in South America, Africa and Asia. Today, Ted leads marketing and sustainability efforts, pushing Nat Hab to be a leader in "conservation travel". In his free time, Ted can be found playing music or exploring the slopes and trails of Colorado’s backcountry.

Tricia Brennan

Operations Manager
NHA Staff Member since: 2014
Tricia grew up on the Chesapeake Bay in the Northern Neck of Virginia, where every waking moment was spent outside, usually catching crabs, building forts in the woods or horseback riding...
I got to spend my time in Mityana, Uganda with this group of beautiful children.My favorite thing to do when I am home on the Chesapeake Bay is to take the ponies swimming!My favorite hike in all of Virginia, McAfee Knob. The little lost boy who has become my best friend, Jeremiah.Blue Ridge sunsets are the prettiest sunsets.Exploring Appalachia on horseback.Waterfall jumping in Montezuma, Costa Rica.We made it to the bottom!Enjoying the local cuisine while studying abroad in Munster, Germany.Cliffs of Moher, Ireland!Canyon Jumping in Interlaken, Switzerland – Ahhhh!Rock Scrambling!Canoeing off the shores of Maine.My first wild moose sighting while backpacking in Vermont, a baby!Exploring the wild west in Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah.My sister and I stumbled upon a herd of elk here in Colorado, in Estes Park.This guy was tough to spot as his big blonde mane blended right in with the golden grass! –Nat Hab's Secluded Botswana SafariBeautiful female leopard, she was quite the model! –Nat Hab’s Secluded Botswana SafariThe Linyanti wild dog pack had a litter of pups just in time for my visit! –Nat Hab’s Secluded Botswana SafariSnorkeling in the Galapagos Islands, there were sea turtles all around us! Nat Hab’s Classic Galapagos AdventureThese marine iguanas are the dragons of the Galapagos. Nat Hab’s Classic Galapagos AdventureA hike on Isabela Island. Nat Hab’s Classic Galapagos AdventureOur group was lucky enough to be there when Wolf Volcano erupted! Nat Hab’s Classic Galapagos Adventure Piranha fishing in the Amazon (Don’t worry, catch & release!). Nat Hab’s Amazon Lodge Extension

Tricia Brennan

Tricia grew up on the Chesapeake Bay in the Northern Neck of Virginia, where every waking moment was spent outside, usually catching crabs, building forts in the woods or horseback riding. Her interest in travel was sparked in middle school with a service trip to the Dominican Republic. This cultural experience spurred her on in high school to visit Uganda where she taught English to school children through singing songs, and they in turn taught her tribal dances. Experiencing other cultures quickly became Tricia's passion, and she headed to Virginia Tech to earn a degree in tourism management. The beautiful Appalachian Mountains ignited her love for the outdoors, and she spent her free time hiking, camping, whitewater rafting and training horses. Having caught travel bug, she spent part of her second year studying international business in France and Germany. While Tricia was in Europe she visited as many countries as possible and somehow ended up swinging through a canyon in the Swiss Alps at the end of a bungee cord. Upon returning to the U.S., Tricia couldn’t sit still, so she promptly left again to spend her spring break in Costa Rica volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation center.

After completing her studies and working for a time as an event coordinator, Tricia embarked on her next adventure, a move out west to Colorado. Here, she has found fellow travel and outdoor enthusiasts at Nat Hab, and incredibly delicious beer. With the Rocky Mountains as her new playground, she is trying her hand at trail running and snowboarding. She hopes to visit each continent at least once, and is dedicated to helping others travel the globe as well.

Valerie Wimberly

Sky Ambassador
Flying You to Nature's Edge
NHA Staff Member Since: 1998
Growing up in a Navy family, Valerie lived in a different state every year of her life from Alaska to Hawaii, from east coast to west. The love of travel and experiencing new and interesting places...

Valerie Wimberly

Growing up in a Navy family, Valerie lived in a different state every year of her life from Alaska to Hawaii, from east coast to west. The love of travel and experiencing new and interesting places was simply a way of life in her family.

While attending Georgia State University in Atlanta, Valerie happened upon a rare opportunity to join the crew of a small charter airline that was then owned by the Atlanta Travel Club. When the plane was not chartered, the crew traveled with the travel club members all over Europe, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The charter flights often led to even more fascinating adventures, from returning members of the Royal Family back to Saudi Arabia to reuniting Portuguese families in the Azores.

Deciding it was time to settle down to a more routine schedule, Valerie spent the next ten years on the ground working for Swissair and British Airways in Atlanta and Pittsburgh. Taking full advantage of her travel benefits with the airlines, Valerie and her husband Michael spent their free time traveling to the most beautiful places in the world to pursue their passions of backpacking, hiking, skiing and bicycling. It was during these travels that they fell in love with Colorado, the ideal spot for all of these activities.

Valerie joined the air department at Natural Habitat Adventures in 1998. It has been the perfect fit, combining her airline experience with her love of nature and travel.

Wendy Klausner

Senior Adventure Specialist
NHA Staff Member Since: 1996
After graduating from Wharton Business School with an undergraduate degree and NYU with an MBA, Wendy worked for nine years in traditional marketing roles at big companies in...

Wendy Klausner

After graduating from Wharton Business School with an undergraduate degree and NYU with an MBA, Wendy worked for nine years in traditional marketing roles at big companies in New York such as Citibank and IBM. She finally realized it wasn't for her when, on the side, she found herself helping her friends and co-workers plan trips around the world. One day a friend said to her, "You should really do this for a living, you know so much about the world," so she dropped the corporate world like a hot bowl of udon noodles and made the move to adventure travel! Showing up in Boulder in 1996 with a car load of clothes, she marched into Natural Habitat's offices and announced in her Long Island accent her intention of working for the company. "What's the capital of Botswana?" Ben asked her. "Gabarone," she replied, and she was on board! She started developing new itineraries and working with clients to plan the trips of their dreams. She has now been to 90 countries and all seven continents, giving her a remarkable portfolio of experiences that she will gladly share with anyone who is willing to listen (we've heard it all), so please call her so she can start on you guys! In her spare time, she stays busy with her two boys, Dirk and Kyle, whom she hopes will share her passion for travel.

Wendy Redal

Editorial Director
NHA Staff Member Since: 2011
Wendy’s passions are travel, nature and communication, which intersect in her position as Nat Hab's chief writer and editor. A Northwest native who got hooked on the Colorado...

Wendy Redal

Wendy’s passions are travel, nature and communication, which intersect in her position as Nat Hab's chief writer and editor. A Northwest native who got hooked on the Colorado sunshine and powder snow when she came out from Seattle for grad school, Wendy lives in Boulder. She has worked as a freelance journalist, copywriter and editor and was previously a college professor and researcher with the Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder. Before getting her master’s in journalism and Ph.D. in media studies at CU, Wendy was a tour director in Alaska, Canada, the western U.S. and New England. She also worked in operations management and sales in the Alaska and Canadian Rockies tourism industry.

Wendy enjoys arranging custom trips for private groups that she often accompanies, a pursuit that has taken her trekking in the High Caucasus of Georgia, into the Bolivian Amazon by dugout canoe, through the jungles of Nepal on elephant back, overland in Botswana by 4x4 Land Cruiser, and across 115 miles of Mongolian steppe on a horse, sipping fermented mare’s milk with nomad families on the way. Among Wendy’s magical wildlife encounters are snorkeling with sea lions in the Galapagos, getting sprayed by a humpback whale in Antarctica, and sitting face to face with a silverback gorilla in the Congo rain forest. Wendy chafes if she's stuck at home for more than a couple months at a time, which has helped her get to 56 countries, five territories, eight Canadian provinces and all 50 states. Mostly recently, she kayaked among epic icebergs at Nat Hab's Base Camp Greenland. In addition to blogging for Nat Hab & WWF's Good Nature Travel, she also writes for the travel blogs of the Adventure Collection, Huffington Post, Budget Travel and Gaiam.

Wendy and her husband have a son in college, a daughter in high school, two Alaskan malamutes and two cats. When she's not working, you will find Wendy skiing and hiking in the mountains, road-tripping around the West, frequenting farmers markets and artisan food shops for cooking inspiration, following current affairs, and singing in various community choral ensembles. 

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