Rob has always been a people person. Nearly every week of the summer he was a camper or counselor and usually the life of the party. He earned his degree in design with a focus on understanding human behavior from The Ohio State University. He has first-hand work experiences ranging in scale from startup to Fortune 100, which allows him to relate to groups from all environments. Rob is a certified rock wall and high ropes instructor and has used outdoors activities to engage and transform groups into teams. Rob's approach is based on the Experiential Learning model by David Kolb (Experience > Observation > Reflection > Experimentation), yet he facilitates in a way that feels less like learning and more like fun. Rob is originally from Mentor and now lives in Hilliard with his wife, two kids and dog named Lionel
Jim Davidson is a retired pathologist and amateur naturalist. At 78 years of age, Jim says he's been studying nature for about 70 years. He's an authority on butterflies and has served as Vice President, Ohio Lepidopterist Society. A frequent speaker at many Columbus area nature events and leader of daily nature hikes, he shares his wealth of knowledge of Ohio's common and rare plants, birds, dragonflies and fungi in our prairie, woodland and wetland habitats. He's a member of teh Central Ohio Native Plant Society, the Central Ohio Natural History Society and the Columbus Audobon Society. Having an opportunity to spend time with Jim in the outdoors is one of the great learning pleasures for any aspiring naturalist.
Troy Phillips is a certified American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) Single Pitch Instructor (SPI). He grew up in south eastern Ohio and developed an interest in rock climbing and rescuey as a teenager through programs in the Boy Scouts of America. Troy got his start in the industry working for canopy tour operators and designers and has spent 9 years performing installations, operating, and training staff for ziplines, canopy tours, challenge courses and climbing walls.. Throughout this period he has also become an experienced rock climber and rope rescue technician.. Aside from guiding trips in his free time Troy works full time for the Boy Scouts of America and teaches climbing, rappelling, and rope rescue for Hocking Technical College in Nelsonville, Ohio
Brant Yount lives in Lancaster, Ohio, and is a U.S. Archery Level 3 instructor. He teaches Level 1 and Level 2 certification programs and also offers introduction to archery programs for groups of all sizes. Brant and his wife have three kids that love the outdoors. He raises cattle at the family farm in Hocking County and coaches the Fairfield Christian Academy archery team. His coaching has helped lead the middle school and high school teams to a combined five state individual champions and two world champions.
Alex grew up in Dayton, Ohio and is currently enrolled at Hocking College where he's earning his degree in Wildlife and Adventure Photography. As a professional photographer, Alex has an eye for capturing priceless moments and sharing his skills with others to help them learn to create their own wildlife photography memories. In his free time, Alex enjoys hiking, kayaking, rock climbing and playing guitar and banjo.
Wyatt E. Snodgrass graduated from Hocking College in 2012 with a degree in Fisheries Management and Aquaculture. After graduation, he worked at a remote sockeye salmon hatchery in Southeast Alaska. Since returning to Ohio, he's had the opportunity to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in an effort to monitor and control aquatic invasive species, primarily Asian carp. He teaches outdoor educational programs through The MetroParks of Butler County and volunteers with The Izaac Walton League of America, Butler County Stream Team, and The Raccoon Creek Partnership. In his free time he enjoys fishing, kayaking, and archery. Currently, he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Conservation from The University of Rio Grande and resides in Southeast Ohio.
Ryan Stalter shares his passion for the outdoor activities with others as a naturalist, fishing guide and archery instructor. He's a 2017 graduate of Hocking College with an associates degree in Wildlife Resource Management. Nature has always been an influential part of his life. His passion for the outdoors shines through in each activity that he leads whether its an edible forest hike taking shelter under a waterfall during a thunderstorm, guiding belly boat fishing treks in the AEP ReCreation Lands or introducing archery to a group of young people or colleagues during a team building event.
Ethan is from a small town in western Ohio near Oxford. He graduated from Indiana University East is 2016 with a Bachelor's degree in biology and is now an adjunct biology instructor there. His main academic interest in marine biology, and he hopes to be attending graduate school to study it in the near future. His hobbies include rock climbing, naturalist interpretation, tennis and soccer. He has grown up in the outdoors his entire life and exploring his family's 50 acres of forest. Ethan is a huge fan of travel, makes frequent trips to Colorado and can find any excuse imaginable to get away and explore the world.
Jennifer graduated Hocking College with a degree in fish and wildlife management. After Hocking, she joined the USFWS to help raise rainbow and brown trout in Utah. In 2002, she moved to Florida and joined the Conservancy of SW Florida and CROW Wildlife Hospital to help rehabilitate wildlife — rescuing sea turtles, raccoons, gopher tortoise, brown pelicans and opossums and providing daily educational presentations. In 2004, she worked with fish biologists monitoring the endangered Roanoke logperch and other darter species in Virginia. She earned a bachelor's in wildlife science at Virginia Tech and returned to Ohio, where she worked in the Vinton Furnace Research Forest and Zaleski State Forest with OSU grad students to monitor nesting success of the Yellow-breasted Chat, Blue-winged Warbler, Eastern Wood-Pewee and Cerulean Warbler. She completed her master's research on plant-animal interactions at Ohio University in 2009.
Ellie has completed her training as an American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) Single Pitch Instructor.. She's a graduate of Hocking College and the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). and has an associates degree in Ecotourism and is pursuing a bachelors degree in Outdoor leadership. She's also a Wilderness EMT and Leave No Trace Master Educator. She enjoys backpacking, canoeing, alpine skiing, rock climbing and naturalist interpretation. Her passion for being outside has led her to pursue outdoor recreation as a career. As a native Ohioan she's been leading trips for over six years and has accumulated over 300 field days in the back country doing a variety of activities including climbing. She loves guiding in Ohio and helping people discover the exciting activities that the state has to offer.
Paul retired after 35 years as Interpretive Naturalist, Director and Education Coordinator with the National Audubon Society at their Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm near Dayton, Ohio. This center encompasses a 200-acre wildlife sanctuary and runs programs from its education center. Earlier in his career, Paul was a museum naturalist at the Dayton Museum of Natural History. For 13 years, he wrote a weekly column for the Dayton Daily News titled “The Naturalist.” More recently, he has been writing a weekly column for the Logan Daily News titled “Wild Neighbors.” He now lives in Laurelville, where he pursues his interests in birdwatching, field botany, photography, canoeing, backpacking, environmental education programs for children and adults and helping to preserve ecologically significant landscapes.
Ashley Hughey grew up in the outdoors by camping with family, backpacking, climbing, white water rafting, kayaking, skiing, snowboarding and so much more. Her love for the outdoors turned into a career when she completed her Bachelors at Kent State University in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management and her Masters at The University of Akron in Sports Administration and Environmental Studies. Her certifications include American Canoe Association Level 1 Kayak Instructor, Adaptive Paddling Endorsement, and American Red Cross FA/CPR/AED Instructor. She has worked at many Outdoor Recreation facilities and enjoys teaching participants how to kayak, Stand Up Paddleboard, and backpack.
Caleb Cole studies as a Plant Biologist at Ohio University with a focus in sustainable agriculture and experience in plant genome editing. Always interested in the great outdoors but being confined by the perpetual flatness of northwest Ohio that was his childhood stomping grounds, Caleb takes every opportunity possible to climb, mountain bike, and/or just to exist in the beautiful rolling hills of the Hocking/southeast Ohio region. Growing up with an autistic sister has taught him to treat all people with the patience and understanding that they deserve. Caleb is currently seeking out his facilitator license as a recreational tree climber and spends much of his time outdoors gardening under the sun, playing music with friends, and participating in as many outdoor recreational activities as possible.
Logan grew up in northwest Ohio, learning to hunt and fish from various family members. He is a senior at Ohio University studying Outdoor Recreation and Education. Logan works not only as a fishing guide, but a backpacking guide within the campus recreation division at his university. He is a wilderness first responder, as well as a Leave No Trace certified trainer. Logan hopes to continue his connection with the natural world by pursing a position as an instructor for an expeditionary school.
Joan Arnold is from Columbus, Ohio and has been kayaking for over 20 years. She's certified by the American Canoe Association (ACA) as a Level 1 Instructor with the Adaptive Paddling endorsement. She enjoys teaching kayaking and working with Disabled Sports USA programs for people with physical, intellectual or sensory disabilities and their family members or support team. Joan is the Kayaking Program Coordinator for The Adaptive Adventure Sports Coalition in Powell, Ohio.
Mike Davis lives in Newark, Ohio, and has fished Ohio waters for 20+ years exploring the Woodbury wildlife area along with the Kokosing, Licking, Walhonding and Tuscarawas rivers. He guides our "Fishing Treks on Foot" going after large mouth bass in the Woodbury and TriValley wildlife areas and small mouth bass and Northern Pike (early spring spawn) in the Kokosing, Licking, Walhonding and Tuscarawas rivers. Mike retired as a fire chief on 27 February 2015 after 35 years of service. He started his career in the United States Air Force in crash rescue and then as a civilian Firefighter for the Department of Defense. His most recent assignment has been as Assistant Fire Chief Defense Supply Center Columbus. This station covers the center and the city of Whitehall
Avery is a SPRAT level 3 certified rope access supervisor. He grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania and spent most of his time hiking, climbing and caving in state parks. He trained and volunteered with rural fire departments and search & rescue groups there before heading west to Idaho, where he lived for 10 years. In Idaho, he joined the forest service and climbed trees as an ISA Certified Arborist. He volunteered with Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Unit as an MRA Rescue Technician and got involved with the Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians. In 2009, Avery moved to Dayton and joined a company working at heights to inspect roller coasters and amusement park rides.
Jim ives in Suffield, Ohio, and graduated from Kent State University with a degree in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management. He is certified by the American Canoe Association as a Level 1 Kayak Instructor with the Adaptive Paddling endorsement, USA Archery Level 1 Instructor, Passport To Fishing Instructor and has been a National Sporting Clays Instructor and Referee. He is also CPR, First Aid and AED certified. Jim has lead and taught adult and youth backpacking, teambuilding, rafting, wakeboarding, kayaking, hiking, climbing, shooting, ATV, skiing, rappelling, caving, and fishing trips in Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. He enjoys introducing people to the outdoors in a variety of settings.
Shelby Brown graduated from Hocking College with degrees in Wildlife Management and Ecotourism & Adventure Travel. During this time she was introduced to many out door sports, such as rock climbing, back packing, scuba diving, etc. Since then, she has spent many weekends at the New River Gorge (WV), Red River Gorge (KY) and Cooper's Rock (WV) on sport climbing and bouldering trips. When she is not climbing you can find her underwater (she is also an Open Water Scuba Instructor). She'd love to introduce you to/help you increase your passion for: climbing, or swimming with the fishes!
Adam grew up in Millersburg, Ohio. He's an OSU graduate with a degree in environmental education and interpretation and lives in the Clintonville area of Columbus. Adam has always been drawn to the outdoors. He's been climbing and rappelling for about four years with experience in Kentucky, West Virginia, Wyoming, Tennessee and North Carolina. In his free time, Adam works as a route setter for a few different gyms and for bouldering and climbing competitions around the region. He says one of the most rewarding parts of climbing is sharing it with others.
Andy is a certified American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) Single Pitch Instructor (SPI). He grew up spending much of his time backpacking, hiking, hunting, and fishing with his father around the Great Lakes and in Southeast Ohio. Following his love for the outdoors he continued sport and trad climbing in areas of the New River Gorge in West Virginia, Red River in Kentucky and the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. He's an EMT and has also been trained by the National Ranger Training Institute in high ropes rescue technique. and holds a degree in Ecotourism and Adventure Travels from Hocking College. Andy also works as a Raft Guide on the New River Gorge in West Virginia throughout the summer New River season.
Are professional naturalists, rock climbers, firemen, school teachers, business owners and retirees. Our lead rock climbing and rappelling guides are certified by the American Mountain Guide Association as Single Pitch Instructors.
All of our guides are laid back, friendly and passionate about their craft. They know the biology, geology, wildlife and history of the land along with the trails and location of the hidden gems in the Hocking Hills. Our approach is to be enthusiastic about nature, safe in our methods and sharing in a way that makes for great memories!
Luke is an assistant guide and current student at Ohio State University. He interns at the Outdoor Pursuit Center and is pursuing a business degree at the Fisher College of Business. He has been leading trips for the past 2 years and is OSU's senior climbing trip-leader. Growing up in Cincinnati, Luke was an avid golfer and ultimate frisbee player. Today, he spends his free time climbing in Red River Gorge, KY or slacklining with the OSU slackliners. He says that he hopes to spark a similar passion in others who haven't had the opportunity to experience the outdoors or climb on real rock.
Andrew "Huck" Ford gained a love for the outdoors spending his childhood summers at Camp Tippecanoe in eastern Ohio. He graduated from Ohio University with a double major in Plant Biology and Environmental Geography. Huck has worked for a wide variety of outdoor settings including interpretation for California State Parks in Lake Tahoe, back-country trail maintenance for the Minnesota Conservation Corps in the boundary waters, the US Forest Service in Florida's Ocala National Forest, and the Student Conservation Association in Grand Canyon National Park. Huck currently resides on Leesville Lake in Carroll County where he is the Assistant Director of Nature's Classroom at Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum. One of Huck's driving passions in life is getting people outside so they can make their own discoveries and form their own relationship with the natural world.
Shirley has been practicing yoga for more than 30 years and teaching for the past decade. She teaches a flowing fusion of hatha, kundalini, ashtanga and yin styles combined with meditation. She loves practicing yoga outside to experience deeper connection with nature, using the hike to provide a chance for the body to warm up, while allowing the mind to quiet down. Yoga treks are personalized to accommodate different abilities and ages. She says it's her pleasure to share her love of yoga and the beautiful Hocking Hills with you. Namaste.
Dan grew up in southwestern Ohio where his parents were live-in caretakers of a historic estate surrounded by more than 1,000 acres of protected forest. He has traveled extensively and loves sharing his passion for the outdoors with others. Dan's a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School. His training included mountaineering expeditions in the coastal mountains of British Columbia and the Wind River Range of Wyoming. He moved to the Hocking Hills region in 2005, enrolled in the Hocking College's ecotourism/adventure travel program and graduated in 2007. He now lives in a log cabin built in 1809 near Athens, where he farms pawpaws. He's a Certified Interpretive Guide and a Wilderness First Responder who uses every passing season to learn more about this amazing place he now calls home.
Ron Hatten, whose Shawnee name was Wehyehpihehrsehnhwah (We-u-pa-shen-wa), grew up in Jackson, Ohio. He was a great friend and talented presenter. Ron passed away August 8th, 2015 and is greatly missed. He was raised by his grandparents in a home where the family only spoke Shawnee. Fluent in the life, song and culture of his people, his "Circle of Life" presentation links the stories that his grandfather taught him with the challenges of modern life offering a way back to nature. His stories are powerful, fascinating, evocative and filled with humor, beauty and happiness. His hand-carved wooden flute is beautifully in tune with its natural surroundings. Ron traveled around Ohio year-round presenting his "Circle of Life" presentation to groups of all kinds.
Residing in Baltimore, Ohio, Mr. Cooper portrays Abraham Lincoln at public and private events all over Ohio. He's a father of four and retired after 32 years at the Defense Supply Center Columbus (DSCC). He began portraying the late president about 25 years ago while his children were in elementary school. A co-worker at DSCC constantly maintained that he reminded her of Abraham Lincoln due to his tall stature and Lincoln-styled beard. He discovered an old Lincoln-styled coat in his mother's attic, acquired a stovepipe hat, and began impersonating around President's Day at local schools. A self-avowed history nut, he considers Lincoln his favorite president and the greatest in U.S. history. He says the toughest part of portraying a dead historical figure is remaining in character and time period when many audience questions refer to matters that cannot be discussed without references to events and facts that were not known until after Lincoln's assassination.
Joe’s obsession with the outdoors began when his father began taking him and his brothers for walks through the woods near Zanesville as soon as they could walk. He learned to track deer, raccoons and foxes. His first formal study of the natural world began with a butterfly monitoring project, where he learned just how many different kinds of wildflowers, insects and trees Ohio harbors. Since, he's spent countless hours studying and exploring wilderness areas both large and small. During his nature walks, he makes frequent stops to inspect animal tracks, scat, birds, vernal pools, etc. Joe earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Montana with a minor in wilderness studies and went on to earn a master’s in environmental studies at Ohio University. He also completed a three-month intensive wilderness survival course in Arizona, and has coordinated Rural Action’s long-standing Environmental Education program since May 2010.
Cayla Liebold is from Green Spring, Ohio. She enrolled at Hocking College in 2011 and is currently studying ecotourism/adventure travel and natural/historical interpretation. She's a Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) through the National Association for Interpreters (NAI) and a Wilderness First Responder (WFR). Her inspiration comes from her father, Eric, who attended Hocking College and is an avid birder. She loves being outdoors, guiding treks and sharing her knowledge of the natural world with groups of all ages. She graduated in2013 and hopes to join a Metro Parks organization in northern Ohio.
Justin is a certified American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) Single Pitch Instructor (SPI). He grew up on a small farm near Dayton, where he spent most of his time outdoors. His hobbies include beekeeping, horseback riding and spending as much time as possible learning about local wildlife. He attended Miami Valley Career Tech School for environmental science. After graduation, he enrolled at Hocking College and earned dual majors in wildlife science and ecotourism & adventure travel. His training includes whitewater rafting, rock climbing, rappelling, backpacking and more. During his studies, he worked as a natural resource specialist at Rush Run wildlife area near Dayton, a mounted scout in North Dakota and an environmental educator at Camp Oty’okwa. He spends his free time with his wife and new baby daughter surrounded by the wilderness he knows and loves.
Heike moved to the U.S. from Germany in 1988. She earned an associate degree in Interpretive Services/Recreation and Wildlife Management from Hocking College in 1995 and worked as a naturalist at Hamilton County Parks until 1996. In 1997, she moved to St. Paul Island, Alaska, and worked as a birding guide for the local native corporation. Later, she worked for the National Marine Mammal Laboratory and helped conduct research on Northern fur seals and Steller sea lions in the Bering Sea. She received her B.S. from Shawnee State and joined Clear Crek Metro Park (Columbus) as the park naturalist. She received her master's in education in 2012 and has been teaching science since. In her free time, she takes care of a 40-acre farm in Athens County and enjoys hiking, birding and boating.
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