August 2020 Newsletter

WRFI ALUMNI: Do you enjoy talking about your WRFI course? Want to earn some cash while sharing your WRFI experience with others? We'll be expanding our team of WRFI Campus Ambassadors in order to help spread the WRFI word to new students this fall. If you are a WRFI alum who is currently enrolled at a college or university, and you're interested in earning some money while representing WRFI on your home campus, please email Outreach Manager Mel Wardlow at mel@wrfi.net for information about the position and how to apply. We'd love to have your help as part of the WRFI outreach team!

WRFI ALUMNI AND INSTRUCTORS: Send us your favorite photo from the field, and give yourself a chance to be published in our 2021 WRFI calendar! We will collect submissions until 5:00 PM (MST) on Friday, August 31. Read more about submission guidelines and winning prizes here.

Thank you to everyone who has submitted recipes for our long-awaited cookbook! Compilation of the book is underway, and we're having a whole lot of fun putting it together.

For those of you who would like to help us beautify the pages of this first edition, we'll be accepting art submissions until next week Monday, August 17. Email Mel (mel@wrfi.net) scanned copies of your sketches, watercolors, ink drawings, and/or any other field art that you find in your beloved WRFI journals!

Once finalized, the first edition of our WRFI cookbook will be available in our online store.

We've now spent several months adjusting to a new socially-distanced reality, and we've settled into new norms for connection and resource/information sharing. See below for a list of podcasts and upcoming webinars that can help to keep us engaged through our digital devices:




Dave Steele and Molly White recently reached the ends of their terms on the WRFI Board of Directors. We are abundantly grateful for their leadership and support over the past six years.

Dave grew up in Colorado, where his mom and dad taught him the value of wild places from an early age. His many childhood and adolescent adventures ultimately led to a career in the outdoor industry. He has worked with the Colorado Outward Bound School, Fort Lewis College, and other organizations as a professional mountain, canyoneering, and river guide, as well as ski patroller. Dave eventually settled down in Missoula, MT, where he earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Montana School of Law. While on the WRFI Board, Dave volunteered his time and expertise on the Safety and Finance & Executive Committees, and served as President of the Board from 2017-2020.

Molly was born and raised in Missoula, MT and is currently the Senior Education Program Manager and Registrar at the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute. Previously, she worked as a project developer for ClearSky Climate Solutions and a contract paralegal for the Department of Justice. Her college education began in Alaska, finished in Montana, and included a study abroad in England and a two-month circumnavigation of the United States; so volunteer board service with WRFI was a natural fit! During her time on the WRFI board, Molly chaired the Outreach Committee and was a member of the Finance & Executive Committee while serving as Vice President of the Board from 2017-2020.

The WRFI board meetings won’t be quite the same without Dave's and Molly's passion, enthusiasm, humor, and strategic thinking. Thank you, both, for your belief in WRFI’s mission and your work helping to foster the next generation of environmental stewards and leaders.

This joyful human is the fabulous Dr. Daisy Purdy: founder of the equity and inclusion collaborative Inclusive Community, former faculty member at Northern Arizona University, and WRFI’s Native American Studies Advisor/Instructor. On Sunday, August 9, Daisy crossed the finish line of her RollerRock adventure (i.e., 2,000-mile ROLLERSKATING EXPEDITION) to raise funds and awareness for research on environmental justice and COVID-19 impacts on the Navajo Nation. Daisy and Dr. Tommy Rock will be hosting a Zoom gathering for anyone interested in learning more about Daisy's skating adventure and Dr. Rock's research: date/time TBD (keep an eye on our social media pages for updates). In the meantime, follow @mesas2mountains on Instagram to look back on Daisy's adventure, read about the RollerRock project, and consider donating to Daisy's fundraiser today!
Check out our WRFI goods

Our online store is always open. Visit the WRFI website to browse our collection of WRFI-branded shirts, hoodies, hats, tumblers, and more. Keep an eye out for our new WRFI buffs, coming soon!
Meet John Kamman
John Kamman was an undergraduate student at St. John's University in Minnesota when he saw a poster for a "Border Country Ecology" course that claimed to combine an ecological field study with a trip to one of his favorite places, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. A short time later, in the summer of 2004, John ventured into the Boundary Waters with the Wild Rockies Field Institute, back when WRFI courses were *slightly* less concentrated around Rocky Mountain bioregions.

John cites his WRFI course as being one of the highlights of his entire college experience. WRFI's hands-on and immersive approach allowed the course content to stick with him (even now, sixteen years later!) better than any of his classroom-based courses. John's WRFI experience also allowed him to develop a much deeper "sense of place": the blending of science, culture, history, politics, and ecology allowed him to experience a place he already loved in a much fuller and richer context.

After college, John moved to Northern Minnesota (not far from where his WRFI course took place) to continue studying the ecology and conservation issues of the region. Those experiences served as a jumping off point to other work in ecology, conservation, and education throughout the western hemisphere. Coincidentally, John now lives in WRFI's hometown of Missoula, MT, where he works as the Managing Director for Ecology Project International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to place-based science education.

Additionally, John and his wife, Grace, have recently launched a food planning app inspired by their years of collective experience with expedition planning, childhood nutrition, and sustainable food systems. Their app, Wholesum Food Calculator, is a tool that WRFI now uses for all of our course meal planning (saving us a whole lot of time, money, and stress). We highly recommend Wholesum for outfitters, outdoor education programs, and anyone else wanting to simplify their food planning processes!

Last summer, John and Grace decided to revisit the Boundary Waters--a place that WRFI helped John to fall in love with--for a month-long canoe trip in their homemade cedar strip canoe. Sixteen years later, John continues to embody the "WRFI way" in his love of wild spaces and immersive experiences. Thanks for all you do, John!
Wild Rockies Field Institute is a 501(c)3 organization. Your gift is fully tax deductible. Our Federal Identification Number is 81-0487425.