Cloud Ridge Naturalists
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Audrey BenedictAudrey Benedict is the Founder and Director of Cloud Ridge Naturalists and the Founder and Publisher of Cloud Ridge Publishing. Her training in geology and biology inspired a 45-year love affair with high mountains and the global ocean realm that has taken her from the Arctic to the Antarctic, as well as up and down the North and South American Cordillera. Audrey is the author of the definitive The Naturalist’s Guide to the Southern Rockies: Southern Wyoming, Colorado, and Northern New Mexico; Valley of the Dunes: Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, the latter book in collaboration with photographers Bob Rozinski and Wendy Shattil, and co- author with Joe Gaydos of The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest. Audrey serves on the SeaDoc Society’s Board of Directors. She divides her time between her Colorado mountain home near the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area and her tiny off-grid retreat on Frost Island in Washington’s San Juan Islands.

Geoff HammersonDr. Geoff Hammerson is Senior Research Zoologist for NatureServe and lives in Port Townsend, Washington. Geoff is the lead biologist on Cloud Ridge’s naturalist team, helping design and guide our field discovery program around the world. He is the author of the definitive field guide Amphibians and Reptiles in Colorado, as well as Connecticut Wildlife. A superb zoologist, Geoff is always adding new dimensions to his natural history expertise. He’s a popular instructor wherever he goes, teaching field biology and ecology at Wesleyan University and other institutions. Geoff is best known for his talent for coaxing the most reluctant animal to share its secrets with an appreciative audience.


Bob Rozinski & Wendy Shattil are the rarest of species—full-time professional nature photographers. They’ve worked individually  and as a team for more than 30 years and are known world-wide for their award-winning images and reputations as environmental photographers of endangered species and at-risk ecosystems throughout North America. Fellows of the International League of Conservation Photographers, Bob and Wendy have produced twelve books, and their images have appeared in
National Wildlife, Audubon, Nature Conservancy, BBC Wildlife, Nature’s Best, National Geographic publications, and many others. Dedicated to developing new ways of illuminating key conservation issues, Bob and Wendy are superb teachers and generous in sharing their expertise. To see more of their photographic work, visit their website:

Jenny HahnJennifer Hahn, a naturalist, writer, illustrator, teacher, wild harvester, and coastal traveler, has 30 years of wilderness travel experience, including guiding natural history trips by sea kayak in the San Juan Islands for 22 years and many seasons guiding in Southeast Alaska. She is the author of two books: the award-winning Spirited Waters: Soloing South Through the Inside Passage, based on her solo-kayak from Southeast Alaska to Washington, and Pacific Feast: A Cook’s Guide to West Coast Foraging and Cuisine. Jenny teaches courses in wild foraging, indigenous plant uses, and seaweed biology as an adjunct professor at Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College and other institutions. The expertise, poetic voice, and infectious enthusiasm Jenny brings to her natural history teaching is a rare gift. To learn more about Jenny’s books and wild harvesting, visit:

Sarah DrummondSarah Drummond is a naturalist and an artist who grew up traveling with Cloud Ridge and is now a member of our naturalist staff. She received her B.A. from Maine’s College of the Atlantic, where her studies emphasized ecology, island ecosystems and art; her M.A. is from Arizona’s Prescott College. Research for her thesis on the role and impact of artists who accompanied major exploring expeditions prior to the invention of photography began during a Watson Foundation fellowship and is the focus of a forthcoming book. Sarah also creates books for children, most recently Raven and the Red Ball,
from Pomegranate Books. Sarah is an adjunct faculty member at College of the Atlantic and teaches art and natural history. She spends her summers as a naturalist/kayak guide in Southeast Alaska aboard the M/V Catalyst. Sarah’s artwork celebrates the beauty and diversity of the natural world and she prides herself on working directly from life, in the field, whenever possible. To see more of her artwork, visit her website:

Marilyn Hailbronner’s drawings—rendered in pen and ink, scratchboard technique, and color wash—grace Cloud Ridge’s brochure and website. She serves as a member of Cloud Ridge’s naturalist staff and is also our advisor on wilderness travel and medical issues. Her work as a naturalist artist is a reflection of her love for the natural world and her passion for conservation, which takes her to wilderness areas around the world. Among many projects, she is currently working on a children’s book on the Magellanic penguins of Argentina’s Peninsula Valdés. To see more of Marilyn’s artwork, visit her website:

Joe GaydosDr. Joe Gaydos lives on Orcas Island with his family and is a wildlife veterinarian and Chief Scientist for the SeaDoc Society, a nonprofit science-based marine conservation program of the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine/Wildlife Health Center. For more than a decade, Joe has focused SeaDoc’s research efforts on the ecosystem-level challenges facing the Salish Sea and has worked to improve management and policy decisions regarding the stewardship of those resources. He’s coauthor of The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest and has published extensively on shared human and marine wildlife health issues for such species as harbor seals, river otters, and killer whales. Joe’s passion for connecting people to the magic and vulnerability of the marine world is legendary, whether through his keynote addresses, lectures, field teaching, or the gift of one of his infamous “virtual dives.”

Russel BarshRussel Barsh spent his boyhood on Long Island Sound as a devoted beachcomber and fossil-hunter. As a doctoral student in paleontology at Harvard, Russel was privileged to study under the late Dr. Loren Eiseley and Dr. Stephen Jay Gould—each a role model in multidisciplinary science. His friendships with Native Americans opened his eyes to new science challenges, convincing him to get a law degree and to defend the environmental integrity of traditional cultures. Russel taught at the University of Washington and helped develop its American Indian Studies Center. He then served as an advisor to United Nations agencies on indigenous and tribal peoples living in sensitive ecosystems, establishing the UN’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Russel co-founded Kwiáht (Center for the His- torical Ecology of the Salish Sea) at the urging of his longtime friend and Samish Tribal leader, the late Ken Hanson. Kwiáht means “a clean place” in the Native American language of the Central Sound—a one-word mission statement embracing the use of science to inform and promote good stewardship of cultural and biological resources in the San Juan Archipelago. Now based on Lopez Island, Russel and staff scientists, student interns, and dedicated volunteers manage the San Juan Islands Marine Health Monitoring Network and school programs meant to inspire young stewards.

Madrona MurphyMadrona Murphy is a native Lopezian, whose love for the San Juan Islands eventually brought her back to Lopez Island after earning a degree in botany and political science from Oregon’s Reed College. With a special interest in plant genetics, she worked as a technician at the University of Washington’s Center for Cell Dynamics at Friday Harbor Laboratories before establishing and managing Kwiáht’s genotyping laboratory.
Madrona uses her knowledge of how indigenous peoples used the land and shaped the ecosystems that we see today to inform her botanical surveys and her design of restoration projects. Her genetic population studies include work on local salmon, coastal cutthroat trout, camas, small mammals, and the rare Island Marble butterfly.

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