Wilderness Fellows Program

The Wilderness Fellows Program employs highly educated and trained young professionals and places them with land mangement agencies across the country.  The Program was designed to do three things:

1.  Increase capacity where necessary for wilderness managers to accomplish complex, professional, wilderness tasks.

2.  Address the backlog of wilderness stewardship work across the National Wilderness Preservation System.

3.  Groom the next generation of wilderness professionals and connect them to people and places of work.

Fellows work on all manner of wilderness stewardship and manager issues, from wilderness character to outfitter and guide permitting to minimum requirements analysis, and everything in between.  Fellows are hired to match agency needs, and are trained extensively in the subject matter they will be working with.  

During the 2017 field season, Fellows will be placed with the Beaverhead-Deerlodge, Custer Gallatin, Bitterroot, Nez Perce Clearwater, Payette, Salmon-Challis, Arapaho Roosevelt, Grand Mesa Uncompahgre & Gunnison, Stanislaus, Eldorado, Tahoe, Plumas, Apache Sitgreaves, Prescott, Coconino, George Washington & Jefferson, Monogahela, Chequamegon-Nicolet, Hiawatha, and Superior National Forests.  

To HOST a Fellow, contact Heather MacSlarrow.

Meet the 2017 Fellows:

Liliana Camacho Guzman is a 2017 California State University, Long Beach graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science & Policy and a minor in Economics. Recently Liliana’s studies have focused around a comprehensive study conducted in La Jolla Valley which is surveying for native biodiversity to help inform conservation, restoration and our understanding of biodiversity. Through her work with the San Gabriel Mountains Forever Leadership Academy she looks to build support for the protection of and increased access to our public lands via community advocacy and civic engagement. In the future she plans to pursue a master’s degree preferably in Plant biology or Environmental Science and Management to study one of her passions, plants, and how to preserve threatened and endangered species within our public lands. Liliana believes Wilderness is an important getaway from human development and pollution, it filters and cleans the air we breathe, protect watersheds that supply clean drinking water, protects threatened and endangered plants and animal species and holds important cultural significance as the ancestral lands of indigenous people.
Liliana is a Fellow in USFS Region 3, and is working on the Escuidilla, Mt.Baldy, Bear Wallow and Blue Range Wilderness Areas.
Cassidy Clements is a 2016 graduate of Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Art in Sustainable Development with a minor in Political Science. Her degree focused on local and regional policy and planning. The courses she took in college combined her passion for protecting the environment with her interest in policy implementation. Cassidy believes Wilderness should be preserved not only for future generation to enjoy, but for the protection of all of the species that benefit from its health.
Cassidy is a Fellow in USFS Region 5, and is working on the Emigrant, Mokelumne, Desolation, Granite Chief and Buck's Lake Wilderness Areas.     
Rachel Cook is a 2015 University of Arizona graduate (go cats) with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Water Resource Economics and a minor in Regional Development. Upon graduation she was passionate about water policies in the southwest and eager to start a career in natural resource management. In 2016, she relocated to Prescott, AZ for a Wilderness Ranger opportunity with the Prescott National Forest. During her term she kept busy developing a Wilderness Education Plan as well as a Solitude Monitoring Plan for their 8 Wilderness areas. Shortly after her term ended she was offered a Park Ranger position with Arizona State Parks where she was able to develop a new perspective on recreation and public lands. However, her passion for solitude and unconfined recreation is bringing me back to wilderness management. She is thrilled for the opportunity to continue working on the preservation of wilderness character in northern Arizona. When she is not working she loves spending time with her cat, listening to country radio, and “brushing up” on her watercolor skills.
Rachel is a Fellow in Region 3, and is working on the Sycamore Canyon, Pine Mountain, Munds Mountain, Kendrick Mountain, Kachina Peaks, Strawberry Crater, Red Rock-Secret Mountain, Wet Beaver, West Clear Creek, and Fossil Wilderness Areas.
Chris Dunn is currently a PHD candidate in the Environmental Studies program at the University of Colorado--Boulder.  His training focuses on an interdisciplinary approach to integrate science, policy and values within environmental policy. His special focus looks to the important intersection of land management; scientific training in anthropology, geography and conservation; and the values, theory, and philosophy concerns that inevitably come into play in environmental decision making and problem solving. Chris looks to ensure the successful conservation of public and protected lands and waters into the future. Especially wilderness areas. Beyond the ecosystem functions, economic and other public benefits that wilderness provides Chris personally finds Wilderness to be a place of sustenance and meaning, a crucial relief valve from the unrelenting flow of noise, information, and pace of the everyday: a place to practice embodiment and attunement to his immediate surroundings. It’s his reset button. He really likes trees, glaciers, and whitewater! He has spent eight seasons working in Alaska, and eight months living at sea.
Chris is a Fellow in USFS Region 1, and is working on the Anaconda Pintler, Absaroka-Beartooth, and Lee Metcalf Wilderness Areas.
Ben Fox Shapiro is a 2017 graduate of Oberlin College with a B.A. in political science. His studies have focused on American politics with an emphasis on environmental policy, economics, and constitutional law. Ben looks to pursue work for the federal land management agencies at the local and regional level to make a positive impact and get hands on experience and someday work as a staffer on a federal lands-related congressional committee to help shape policy that protects our public lands. In the future Ben looks to pursue a career in public lands stewardship using his degree to advocate for the environment and help preserve wild places. Growing up in Santa Cruz, California he had the ability to easily access natural spaces to recreate and recharge. He has found that Wilderness stimulates the senses and inspires the imagination in a way that nothing else can. Experiencing the wilderness has been important to him, providing an uplifting emotions as you breathe the fresh air and soak in the vistas of our Wilderness areas that can not be replicated. He looks to pursue work to ensure that wild places are there for anyone who chooses to seek them out. He is grateful for laws like the Wilderness Act that have protected lands from development and preserved sensitive habitats which humanity has the potential to destroy.
Ben is a Fellow in USFS Region 5, and is working on the EmigrantMokelumneDesolation, Granite Chief and Buck's Lake Wilderness Areas. 
Kat Lyons s a 2016 Smith College graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science & Policy and a minor in Government. Experiencing the outdoors from a young age fostered her passion to protect public lands. Kat’s studies focus on the relationship between field work and policy on the local, regional and national level and how each of these perspectives contribute to the successful sustainability of our precious natural resources. Kat has a variety of experience in both field work and policy by working at the local and regional level with the Forest Service, at the regional level with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and at the national policy level as an intern with the Land & Water team for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Enthusiastic and passionate about field work and being able to experience the outdoors, she strives to understand how natural resource policy is developed and implemented and how science should contribute to ensuring that policy is based on a sound foundation. 
Kat is a Super Fellow and coordinates the Wildernes Fellows Program.
Anna Nordseth is a recent graduate from James Madison University where she majored in biology with minors in Spanish and geographic science. Her undergraduate research focused on forest restoration and sustainable agroforestry systems in the tropics. Anna’s studies and research in Costa Rica and Panama confirmed her love for the remaining wild places on earth and solidified her commitment to a career in conservation. She hopes to eventually earn a graduate degree in conservation biology and pursue a career in academia. In her free time, Anna can be found cooking, listening to podcasts, practicing yoga, or exploring the forest.
Anna is a Fellow in USFS Regions 8 and 9, and is working on the Barbours Creek, Brush Mountain East, Brush Mountain, James River Face, Priest, Ramseys Draft, Rough Mountain, Rich Hole, Saint Mary's, Shawvers Run, Three Ridges, Thunder Ridge, Dolly Sods, Laurel Fork North, Otter Creek, and Roaring Plains Wilderness Areas.                       
Matt Quinn  has a Bachelor of Art in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Environmental Management from Western State Colorado University. In the future Matt is interested in pursuing landscape-scale management. Landscapes are dynamic, especially in this day and age of rapid environmental changes, and he is interested in defining the purpose and value of our treasured landscapes -- including parks and wilderness --so that we can better guide inevitable change toward desirable conditions and away from undesirable conditions. He believes we need to match dynamic landscapes with dynamic management that uses a toolbox of strategies and adapts to improve effectiveness and reduces uncertainty over time. To Matt some of the most inviolable value -- humility, freedom, self-reliance -- are rooted in his wilderness experience and he lives life closely aligned to these values, and to wild places. His attraction to wilderness is as simple as recognizing his home, his community, and his values that all depend on wilderness protection and stewardship. Aside from rambling through the wilderness, Matt enjoys climbing, skiing, and live music.
Matt is a Fellow in USFS Region 2, and is working on the La Garita, West Elk, Raggeds, Mount Sneffels, Lizard Head and Uncompahgre Wilderness Areas.  
Mike Smith received a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Delaware in 2011 and a master’s degree in environmental science and management in 2016. During graduate school he specialized in conservation planning. He looks to use his Biology and Environmental Science degrees to pursue a career in conservation biology and management. Growing up in a heavily forested region of the mid-Hudson valley in upstate New York near the Catskill mountains he had the opportunity to experience the outdoors and found an appreciation for its value. Exploring the dense forests and being 15 to 20 minutes away from the nearest development allowed him to enjoy the woods with his dog.
Mike is a Fellow in USFS Region 2, and is working on the Byers Peak, Cache la Poudre, Indian Peaks, James Peak, Neota, Never Summer, Rawah and Vasquez Wilderness Areas.
Will Thelen developed a love of forests and wild places at a young age. Growing up north of San Francisco afforded him easy access to adventures among the craggy beaches of Point Reyes National Seashore and the great redwoods of Muir Woods National Monument with his family. Upon moving to Montana's Bitterroot Valley as a teenager he discovered the rugged terrain of the Selway-Bitterroot, Rattlesnake, and Bob Marshall Wildernesses. Over several pivotal backpacking trips in high school and college Will learned about backcountry travel skills, Wilderness ethics, and wildlands policy. These experiences instilled within him a passion to defend these special places that offer us solitude and a respite from the worries of modern human civilization; but most importantly that retain their own intrinsic value more than deserving of human respect and humility. He graduated from the University of Montana in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and a minor in Wilderness Studies. Most of his internship and work experience has been centered around outdoor education. He is very excited to learn more about wilderness management through the Fellows Program and to contribute to a nationally-consistent strategy to monitor wilderness character. In the future, he plans on doing more travelling, gaining experience in emergency medicine, and continuing to explore "the last best place" from his home in Missoula. 
Will is a Fellow in USFS Region 9, and is working on the Blackjack Springs, Headwaters, Porcupine lake, Rainbow Lake, Whisker Lake, Big Island Lake, Delirium, Horshoe Bay, Mackinac, Rock River Canyon, Round Island, and Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Areas.
Jacob Wall  is a 2016 Colby College graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in both Environmental Policy and Geology. His environmental policy honor thesis researched deforestation in Ethiopia analyzing spatial, ecological, and socio-cultural factors. After graduating from college, Jacob worked in Yosemite National Park as a Student Conservation Association (SCA) revegetation intern, participating in vegetation restoration projects, as well as developing plant species distribution and habitat models. In the future Jacob hopes to continue working on land management issues, where he can use science and education to promote stewardship. This past year Jacob also worked in the North Cascades and Olympic National Parks sharing his love for backpacking with high school students. In his free time Jacob enjoys skiing, reading, and cooking, and he cannot wait to explore Idaho!
Jacob is a Fellow in USFS Regions 1 and 4, and is working on the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area. 
Mitch Warnick  has a Masters of Environmental Management (MEM) degree from Western State Colorado University (Gunnison, CO) and a B.S. in Geology from College of Charleston (Charleston, SC). His MEM degree provided a holistic foundation of experience regarding various aspects of land management, community outreach, and general skills necessary to add value to any given organization such as communication planning, grant writing etc. His ultimate goal is to combine his academic and professional experience with his photojournalism career to help establish an inclusive and rejuvenated cultural connection to Wilderness, ‘wilderness’, and our public lands. Mitch believes without continued support and passion in coming generations, these lands will not be valued and may be sacrificed. Mitch looks at Wilderness as an official land designation and philosophical context, which is crucial to our wellbeing as natural beings. Without bashing the civilized world, he prefers to echo Thoreau’s notion of the necessary balance between civilization and wilderness in a type of complementary ‘yin and yang’ relationship. Furthermore, the act of self-restraint found in officially designating Wilderness for permanent preservation, as opposed to potential development, is crucial cultural evolution found only in recent human history. All this being said Mitch has found that maintaining the National Wilderness Preservation System is paramount to upholding and promoting all of these value in the development and economy-centric culture of the US.
Mitch is a Super Fellow with USFS Region 5, and is working on the Desolation Wilderness Area.


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The Society for Wilderness Stewardship is a non-profit, charitable organization under the 501 (c)(3) section of the Internal Revenue Code.