Valerie got her first taste of international travel studying abroad in Italy during college, where she studied Italian language, art and cooking. She was also able to visit England, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland and Austria during her time in Europe. She celebrated Oktoberfest in Munich, toured Paris by bicycle and ate enough bruschetta in her student apartment in Florence to last a lifetime. Future trips would take her to Australia, Ireland, Mexico, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Although there are plenty of faraway places still on her travel list, Valerie also enjoys adventures closer to home. Despite living across the country from each other, she and her family try to vacation together at least once a year. They’ve summited a 14er in the Rocky Mountains, spotted gray wolves in Yellowstone, fly-fished icy rivers in Glacier, listened to Cherokee storytellers in the Great Smoky Mountains, and squeezed cautiously past alligators sunning on the boardwalk in the Everglades.
Valerie graduated from the University of Alabama with a B.A. in English and a minor in Anthropology. She spent a few years working for an animal welfare non-profit before moving to Boulder, Colorado, to earn an M.A. in Journalism with a specialization in science and environmental reporting from the University of Colorado. She’s thrilled at the opportunity to put her writing and editing skills to use on Nat Hab's Good Nature blog. Valerie and her husband live in Missoula, Montana, with their pack of rescue dogs. You can find her there hiking, birding, rafting, watching scary movies and drinking craft beer at local breweries.
So far, Valerie's time at Nat Hab has taken her to the subarctic tundra of Churchill, Manitoba, to witness the planet's largest gathering of polar bears and to the rain forests of Peru on our Great Amazon River Expedition, where she spotted sloths, monkeys and pink river dolphins by day and sipped delicious Pisco sours by night.