Natural Habitat Adventures

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, East Africa 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, hiked and kayaked in the Galapagos Islands, visited the polar bears of Churchill, explored the savannas of East Africa, experienced the wonders of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island and Antarctica, and seen the amazing biodiversity of the “eighth continent," Madagascar.

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 toddler son and young daughter grow and find new ways to be adventurous. 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.


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Jordy's Adventures
    Great Amazon River Cruise: One of my favorite sightings during this adventure was a group of monk saki monkeys – one of 8 different primate species we spotted.Great Amazon River Cruise: We recorded over 130 bird species, including the rare and primitive-looking hoatzin. I love this silhouette of one as the sun was starting to go down.Great Amazon River Cruise: I had the great pleasure of traveling with Renzo Zeppilli as our Expedition leader – this guy knows just about everything there is to know about the Amazon.Great Amazon River Cruise: I spotted this plum-throated cotinga while exploring a tributary and snapped one of my favorite photos of the trip.Great Amazon River Cruise: These owl monkeys were hard to spot, and actually taking a nap when we saw them! It made it easier for us to catch a glimpse and fill our memory cards with photos.Classic Polar Bear Adventure: Our group’s first polar bear encounter on the tundra was a phenomenal one – we watched these two males spar for 20 minutes or so, and there was even a third male who entered the mix every now and then!Classic Polar Bear Adventure: On the way from the airport into town, we received word that they’d be transporting a bear from the polar bear holding facility out into the remote tundra. Quite a cool sight to behold!Classic Polar Bear Adventure: This bear was getting pretty curious about our Tundra Lodge – good thing the windows are a good 14 feet or so off the ground!Classic Polar Bear Adventure: I couldn’t believe how close we were to so many bears. They’re curious about our presence and come right up to our Rovers. This up-close shot of a paw is one of my favorites.Classic Polar Bear Adventure: Caution – polar bear crossing!Kenya Site Inspection: About 45 minutes into my first Kenya game drive…I saw a pack of 9 wild dog! We waited patiently with them for about an hour, wondering if they’d make a move on this impala, but alas, it was the impala’s lucky day.Kenya Site Inspection: Grey-crowned cranes in Lewa – what an absolutely stunning bird.Kenya Site Inspection: I had an amazing experience with a cheetah mother and cub, whom we watched for a good 30 minutes before they wandered off into the long grass of the savannah.Kenya Site Inspection: David at Leleshwa Camp is one of the best guides I’ve ever had.Kenya Site Inspection: I saw multiple black and white rhino in three different conservancies in Kenya. It’s wonderful to see the great work people are doing to protect them, but we have an uphill battle if we want to save these amazing animals.Kenya Site Inspection: Up close and personal with the elephants of Samburu.Kenya Site Inspection: I spend a good amount of time observing this leopard in a Maasai Mara treetop, but this photo of her wandering away through the green grass is one of my favorites. It was one of three leopard sightings I had in the Mara.Kenya Site Inspection: Do you know what this is? It’s a hippo tooth. Do not mess with hippos. The sight of hundreds of thousands of penguins is something to behold at St. Andrew’s Bay, South Georgia Island, but the sounds and smells are beyond description!Green grass, king penguins, and cloud-scraping snow-capped peaks. South Georgia Island truly is an extraordinary destination.  In Antarctica, your Expedition Leaders often say “come for the penguins, come back for the ice.” This iceberg is one of infinite examples of how extraordinary and alien the landscape is. It took me a couple weeks, but I finally got my “penguin breaching” shot at Brown’s Bluff, Antarctica!South Georgia Island is full of photogenic elephant seal pups – their eyes are mesmerizing.  I waited forever for this Weddell Seal to open its eyes. The moment never came, so I just decided to zoom in and focus on its whiskers!Rescued lemurs are quite friendly on Lemur Island near Andasibe, Madagascar!Tracking Indri, the largest lemur in the world, while surrounded by their haunting call is one of the more surreal experiences I’ve ever had. Andasibe, Madagascar.A Parson’s chameleon poses for a profile shot on a night walk in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. Baby lemurs have to hang on tight to their mothers as they swing from tree to tree and hop across branches. This baby Coquerel’s sifaka caught a glimpse of me and my camera in Anjajavy, Madagascar.

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