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Lisa Baril is a writer and wildlife biologist living and working in Yellowstone National Park. She earned a degree in biology from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2000, then spent the next five years traveling throughout the United States and Central America to see what biologists really did for a living. In 2005 she took the best gig ever— monitoring songbirds in Yellowstone National Park. Although she only planned to stay for the summer, the northern Rockies captured her imagination like no other place. In 2009 she earned a master’s degree from Montana State University, then moved up the food chain with her research on birds of prey. More recently, her passion for conservation and wildlife has taken her in a new direction — writing about science, nature and life in the American West. Visit her website http://www.lisabaril.com/.
Amy Bulger is a freelance writer, editor and photographer and the assistant editor at Bugle magazine with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, who recently traded the urban wilderness of Denver for an acre in western Montana. She landed in journalism after a curmudgeonly professor thought her history paper too well written to be her own. “If this is how you write, then you’re a writer,” he said. She changed her major and spent 14 years as a daily newspaper reporter, editor, online manager, copy editor and designer. In 2010, she migrated to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, redesigning and editing hunting and fishing regulation brochures and becoming associate editor of Colorado Outdoors. Her projects currently focus on women’s hunting, conservation, wildlife crimes, ungulates and upland birds. She speaks fluent government and six years ago suffered a bad case of adult-onset hunting, for which she’s purchased new chest freezers and firearms.
Sinjin Eberle believes that open spaces, wild landscapes and flowing rivers deserve all the respect and reverence we can possibly afford them. With that in mind, he enthusiastically pursues his role with American Rivers (www.AmericanRivers.org) as the Intermountain West communications director. With a degree in environmental science from Ball State, and an extensive background in white-water rafting, mountain biking, mountaineering and mountain rescue, exploration of the outdoors is paramount to who he is. Primarily a writer, photographer and executive producer of short films, Eberle is also versed in broad conservation issues of the Colorado Basin and the West, particularly water supply issues and protection of the Colorado River itself. Driving communications and advocacy across the West is a thrilling and consuming adventure, and one met with optimism and gusto. Eberle lives in Durango, Colorado, and jots random thoughts at www.ridesandrivers.com
Bridget Hawkins is an aspiring outdoor professional with a passion for adventure writing and photography. As a student at West Virginia University, she has combined her interests in the outdoors and journalism with her dual degrees in strategic communications and recreation, parks and tourism resources. She currently works as a student leader for the university’s outdoor program, Adventure WV, where she introduces students to West Virginia’s wilderness and recreational areas by taking them backpacking, rock climbing, mountain biking and white-water rafting. Throughout her college career, Hawkins’ passion for outdoor writing and photography has taken her across the nation, to places like Appalachia, Grand Teton National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Big Bend National Park, the Guadalupe Mountains and the canyon lands of Utah. She plans to continue her writing and outdoor pursuits by advocating for youth engagement in the outdoors.
Mark H. Kelly is the public relations manager for Lodge Manufacturing Company in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. His duties include media relations, acting as company liaison with independent chefs and producing the Lodge cookbooks. In addition to OWAA, Kelly is a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. In recent years, Kelly was the co-editor of two best-selling cookbooks, “The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook” and “Lodge Cast Iron Nation Cookbook.” In 2013, he self-published “Gone Off with the Angels: Christ-mas Stories of Golden Love,” a memoir about his son, Benjamin-Hayes Kelly, who passed away in 1999 after a two-year struggle with leukemia. An award-winning journalist, Kelly’s work has been published in Georgia Trend Magazine, Lake Oconee Living magazine, Taste of the South magazine, Cooking with Paula Deen magazine and Savannah Morning News-Evening Press. A graduate of Georgia Southern University, Kelly lives in Jasper, Tennessee.
Katy Schaffer grew up outdoors, running on beaches, climbing trees and hiking up mountains. Raised among the diverse wildlife of South Texas, she moved to Austin in 2011 to pursue journalism at the University of Texas for one purpose: to combine her love of storytelling with her passion for anything outdoors. Now, as a full-time information specialist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Schaffer has the opportunity to help tell the story of the great Texas outdoors. Drawing on her own experience as a young explorer, Schaffer has produced several photo stories, news releases and magazine stories for the department about outdoor recreation and natural and cultural resources conservation. She hopes she can inspire other young Texans to go outside and explore, pursuing any adventure that surely awaits.
Kim Campbell Thornton specializes in writing about dogs, cats, wildlife and marine life. Her work has appeared on MSNBC.com, Vetstreet.comand in Sea Magazine, Consumers Digest and numerous pet-related publications. Her weekly syndicated column, “Pet Connection,” appears online and in newspapers across the country. She loves to travel, and one of her favorite memories is watching shooting stars from her sleeping bag in the NamibRand Desert. This year’s planned destinations are Mongolia and the Outer Hebrides. When she’s not writing or traveling, she is reading, hiking, stand-up paddleboarding off the coast of Laguna Beach, mountain biking, scuba diving, or competing in nose work trials with Harper, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel.
David Zoby’s creative nonfiction has appeared in Ninth Letter, The Sun Magazine, Gray’s Sporting Journal, American Angler, Fourth Genre, The Nervous Breakdown and the Missouri Review. Last year he won the Jeffery Smith Prize at The Missouri Review. He publishes outdoor articles in The Flyfish Journal, Retriever Journal, Fish Alaska, Bugle and others. A lifelong waterfowl hunter and fly-fisherman, Zoby lives in Casper, Wyoming. He keeps a lively fishing blog at davezoby.com. ♦