Wilderness Fellows Program

The Wilderness Fellows Program works with land management agencies to preserve wilderness and keep it wild and full of adventure.  It employs highly educated and trained young professionals and places them with land management 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.  

To HOST a Fellow, contact Heather MacSlarrow.

To APPLY to be a Wilderness Fellow, check out the Position Description here. The application deadline for the 2020 season is January 31, 2020. 

To STAY INFORMED about the Fellows program, click here to sign up for the Wilderness Fellows Newsletter.  We will always send position openings out to this network.

Meet the 2020 Fellows:


Shayna Brown recently graduated with dual Masters’ degrees in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development from American University and the University for Peace in Costa Rica.  Prior to pursuing her graduate studies, she worked as a Wilderness Ranger on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington State for several seasons, where she particularly focused on building her experience in community engagement, outreach, and education in public lands management.  Shay is passionate about the intersection of responsible natural resource management and sustainable community development, and is excited to further her hands-on experience with federal lands management policy and research in this Fellowship.  In her free time, Shay is typically tromping through the mountains, jumping in the nearest body of water, running to a funky playlist, or reading a good book.

Shayna is a Super Fellow in USFS Region 8 and USFS Region 5


Delaney Troi Callahan is a 2018 graduate of California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Geography, a minor in Environmental Science and Policy, and a certification in Geographic Information Science. Her undergraduate studies focused on patterns of disturbance and recovery in native vegetation communities, landscape restoration, conservation action, GIS, and remote sensing. Through her work with the Bureau of Land Management, she has gained field experience in public land stewardship, natural resource management, and wilderness conservation. Her time working in California’s deserts have fostered a passion for serving historically undervalued wilderness areas. In the near future, Delaney plans to pursue a graduate degree which she will use to explore the various research specialties in her field, including continued work with unmanned aerial systems and remote sensing. Delaney is returning to SWS for her third season after a season working in the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests and a second season on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. During her free time, Delaney can be hard to find, but every now and then, you might reach her by satellite phone.
 
Delaney is a Super Fellow in USFS Region 5

Erika Chin is a landscape ecologist and nature enthusiast with a fondness for forests. She recently earned a PhD in geography from the University of South Carolina where she studied urban forests, greenways, and conservation efforts in cities. She also holds a master’s degree in geography and a bachelor’s in biology and environmental studies from Binghamton University. Her interests lie broadly in examining human-environment interactions and understanding impacts of ecosystem disturbances. Whether teaching in a classroom or leading an impromptu nature walk, Erika is passionate about sharing her appreciation of the environment while making science engaging and approachable to everyone. She is looking forward to continuing her career in conservation research and natural resource management. When she isn’t busy learning more about local wildlife, her favorite pastimes include geocaching and knitting alongside a hot cup of coffee. 
 
Erika is a Fellow in USFS Region 9

Lorena Cortes Torres has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Puerto Rico and recently completed a Master of Science in Environment and Sustainability with a concentration in Conservation Ecology from the University of Michigan. She is interested in wildlife and endangered species conservation with a focus on forest and marine ecosystems. In the near future, she hopes to work for a land management agency preserving endangered pristine environments. Her true passion for wildlife conservation was first ignited during a summer internship in 2015 with the University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center in Wisconsin where she completed a comprehensive Field Ecology course and conducted all types of field activities, from water and insect sampling to bird and herp identification. During this internship, she got to experience a sense of freedom and calmness as she was immersed with pristine wilderness and vowed to protect these wilderness areas. In her free time she enjoys watching movies, hanging out with my family and friends, eating ice-cream and doing outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking and going to the beach.
 
 
Lorena is a Fellow in USFS Region 8

Hannah Espinosa grew up in Kentucky at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, which led to her appreciation of the beautiful natural world around her.  She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology and her Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from the University of Kentucky. She recently graduated with her Masters of Science in Biodiversity, Evolution, and Conservation in Action from Middlesex University in London, England.  Her undergraduate and graduate studies led her to study in diverse ecosystems all over the world including Australia, Mauritius, England, and Jersey. These experiences and those growing up surrounded by nature have led to her love of the environment and the beauty it has to offer. While traveling abroad she saw the bad effects as well as the positive impacts humans can have.  It showed her the possibilities and changes she could make to better the environment around her.  This has led to her desire to work in the field of conservation; to work with people and the environment and hopefully make a change for the better. Hannah believes that a healthy and successful environment can not only enhance the natural world but also the quality of life for all those living in it.  She plans to work in the field of conservation to help create a more natural and sustainable future. In her free time you will most likely find Hannah running to the airport for another adventure, in the kitchen cooking for her family, or enjoying the outdoors.  

Hannah is a Fellow in USFS Region 9   


Victoria Jarvis has been working as a Wilderness Ranger for the Forest Service since 2014. Over the past couple years she's put her interest in the Wilderness Stewardship Performance program to work by helping lead protocol and project development as well as implementation of WSP elements for the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Washington. She is excited to now extend her work on WSP to include all Wilderness areas on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest through the SWS fellowship. She's passionate about the values of the Wilderness Stewardship Performance and Wilderness Character Monitoring programs because of the potential they have to provide consistent data for monitoring change in Wilderness. She believes that routine data collection and tracking is key to for the Wilderness Preservation System to be managed as the "enduring resource" entrusted to us by the Wilderness Act. Looking forward, she's interested in working on the Forest Service Wilderness Character Monitoring Team or other work relating to Wilderness policy or research and also loves any project where she can integrate her love for GIS, mapping and creatively displaying data. When she's not thinking about Wilderness policy or spending time in Wilderness, she's probably knitting sweaters, sewing, staring at topographic maps, shoveling snow, or sitting by the fire with her husband.
 
Victoria is a Fellow in USFS Region 6

Brittany LeTendre currently holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability Studies, an Associate of Applied Science in Natural Resource Management, a two-year Certificate of Eligibility in Public Lands Management, and a two-year Certificate of Proficiency in GIS. With nearly a decade of natural resource management under her belt working as a Park Ranger for Colorado Parks and Wildlife and a Rocky Mountain Land Management Fellow with the United States Forest Service, Brittany has completed countless projects. These projects range from completing a comprehensive report regarding the character of a federally mandated Wilderness area, to compiling information for a vulnerability and resiliency assessment in regard to climate change impacts at a high use recreational area, to collecting and recording field data to determine soil and water quality. Brittany also works as an instructor for Colorado Mountain College and High Mountain Institute where she shares her passion for the natural world through facilitating lessons about natural history, culture, and the ethics which have influenced the way in which humans interact with the natural environment in hopes of empowering her students to think critically about how they themselves interact with the world around them. When she’s not working, she can be found studying honeybees in her backyard apiary, gardening in her greenhouse, or enjoying solitude in the wilderness areas that she has worked so hard to protect.
 
Brittany is a Fellow in USFS Region 2

Brenna McGown received her BA in History with a minor in Environmental Science from Willamette University, where she studied how humans relate to and perceive the natural world. She then spent several years working in an array of different environmentally focused fields (environmental policy at the Oregon State Capitol, Maryland Conservation Corps, and firefighting in Idaho) before returning to school to pursue her MS in Natural Resources from the University of Idaho. Her thesis focused on how management of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act has changed since its inception. This led her to be interested in how agencies manage protected areas such as Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers, and how relationships with other agencies, the public, and NGOs influence management. To pursue those interests, Brenna would like to work in some capacity on our public lands, to help communities, organizations, and agencies collaborate in natural resource management. She especially believes that wilderness is important because it has a myriad of values, from ecological to cultural, that connect people in a common interest for conservation. Brenna enjoys skiing, biking, rafting, and climbing, but also loves getting lost in a good book (usually Harry Potter).
 
Brenna is a Fellow in USFS Region 4

Ellen Ray graduated from California Polytechnic State University in 2017 with a degree in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration. Throughout her undergrad, she worked as a backpacking guide and discovered a deep love for untouched wild spaces. Understanding how essential it is to protect our natural land, she focused her studies on finding a sustainable balance between the economic, social, and environmental aspects of tourism, maximizing the positive impact of the industry. She spent last summer working on the Chugach Natural Forest where she fell even deeper in love with Alaska's boundless open spaces and wild landscape. For her third season with SWS, she will be continuing her work on the Nellie Juan- College Fiord Wilderness Study Area. In her free time, Ellen finds endless enjoyment in playing music and hiking as high and as far as possible. She is thrilled to be back on board with SWS!

Ellen is a Super Fellow in USFS Region 10

Corinne Ryan graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology from Colorado State University. Her favorite experience in her undergrad was the study abroad semester she spent in Baja California Sur, Mexico, where she swam with whale sharks and sea lions, released turtle hatchlings, and came face-to-face with grey whales. Her career path has brought her to various wildlife sanctuaries, the Costa Rican rainforest, the tops of volcanoes, and down many secluded hiking trails. Corinne is broadly interested in ecology and conservation research, especially as it pertains to protecting wildlife and sensitive habitat. The way she sees it, wilderness has immense value in its ability to protect entire ecosystems and the species that they contain, and its recreational opportunities get people invested in land preservation. Her passion for wilderness work was ignited when she spent a field season evaluating potential wildernesses in remote areas of northeastern California. When she’s not exploring the forests, Corinne can often be found dancing, especially Brazilian zouk.
 
 
Corinne is a Fellow in USFS Region 5

Jacob Smith grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and recently graduated from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania with a Master of Science in Park and Resource Management as well as a Master of Education in Environmental Education. He is passionate about migratory bird research, habitat conservation, and education. With that, he looks forward to applying his knowledge and experience in education and research to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to connect to the natural world. Jacob’s inspiration to help contribute wilderness stewardship this season stemmed from his undergraduate and graduate studies but more specifically stemmed from the combination of his urban-living experience in Pittsburgh and the deep connection he found to the nature southeast Alaska. While working with the Forest Service in Alaska during the summer of 2017, he spent most of his time camping and working in stunning wilderness areas. Aldo Leopold stated that “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” Jacob is inspired by Leopold’s writings and his values closely align with this statement. If he is not outside hiking or searching for birds to photograph, you can find him in a quiet location drawing portraits of dogs.

Jacob is a Super Fellow in USFS Region 10


Maddi Sorrentino is a 2019 graduate of the University of Vermont, with a BS in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology. She pursued a diversity of research experiences that took her from the marshes of coastal Louisiana to study snail ecology to Vermont's Lake Champlain where she studied the system's top predatory fish, lake trout. Her varied background in ecology has led her to her interest for holistic and large-scale approaches to conservation. Maddi is passionate about integrating human and natural systems, and reminding humans that we are just one of many species on planet Earth. Wilderness is important to her because in wilderness all things can find what they need to survive, including humans! In her free time, Maddi can often be found exploring Colorado's vast wilderness areas on foot, on skis, or with climbing shoes; and eating copious amounts of chocolate.
 
Maddi is a Fellow USFS Region 2

Hailing from the embarrassingly urban Central Valley of California, Nate Stenson headed north after high school to the ponderosa pine forests of Washington, where he graduated from Whitworth University with a BS in Biology. His interest in conservation has developed to focus on equity, and in making wild places broadly accessible to all of the US population. This interest has brought him to apply to various graduate degree programs, of which he is now in the torturous process of making decisions on. Nate’s delight in untamed places stems from the lessons they teach (like don’t set your tent up too close to a pond when it’s raining), the odd creatures they sustain (salamanders), and the mysteries they hold (like what the heck is that loud squawking noise that’s getting closer to me). Some of his favorite protected lands are those of the Plumas National Forest, where he and his family would visit each summer growing up.
 
Nate is a Fellow in USFS Region 10

Ellen Sulser is a 2018 Smith college graduate with a major in Environmental Science and Policy. Throughout her time at Smith, Ellen worked at the college’s Field Research Station, where she developed a passion for land management, environmental communication, and composting toilets. In 2018 Ellen served as the Fellow for Region 9 at the Mark Twain National Forest and last year Ellen was in Region 4 on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Wilderness is an ecological archive —a record of the environmental past by which we can chart our progress towards a sustainable future. Ostensibly uncurated, the wilderness is nevertheless profoundly shaped by human action, and Ellen is excited to advocate for responsible stewardship. Enthusiastic and passionate about natural resources 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. On long hikes, Ellen can be heard from miles away singing an eclectic blend of opera and barbershop music.

Ellen is a Super Fellow in USFS Region 6


Michelle Tanz graduated from Western Washington University with a self-designed major in “Environmental Science in Society,” along with minors in Biology and Spanish. Her focus is the intersection between human and ecological systems through land management. She has worked for the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest as a Forestry Technician for the past two years and enjoys connecting people to the land through recreation. In between seasonal positions with the Forest Service, Michelle served as a technician on a marine research grant for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and Western Washington University. She studied the potential impacts and mitigation strategies for shellfish production in the Puget Sound. Michelle believes that a variety of land management strategies, including Wilderness designations, are imperative for long term ecological sustainability. In alignment with her passions for wilderness areas, Michelle is an avid backcountry skier and North Cascades enthusiast. She enjoys long walks in the mountains and nerding out on plants.
 
 
 
Michelle is a Fellow in USFS Region 6

Alyssa Thomas has wanted to save endangered animals since participating in a “Sprint for the Seals” at the age of 3. But a trip to Kenya while in college made her realise that it is impossible to save animals without fully considering the humans who share their environment. Since then Alyssa has pursued a career in conservation and has earned a Masters in Conservation Biology and PhD in Environmental Studies, both from Victoria University (New Zealand). Her doctorate focused on the human dimensions of a popular recreational fishery in New Zealand; with the aim of improving the management and sustainability. Since completion of her PhD, she has worked for a local NGO in Belize and the Wildlife Conservation Society in Fiji. She also serves as a consultant for the Central American NGO MarAlliance. As the human population continues to grow and development continues, preserving wilderness areas becomes more important. These areas are essential for many plants and animals; but also serve as a reminder to humans about what the land used to look like. Alyssa is looking forward to learning more about land management in the United States and gaining experience working for a government agency. In her free time, she enjoys reading, photography and being outdoors.

 

Alyssa is a Super Fellow in USFS Region 5
Andrew Veselka earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Dickinson College and recently graduated with a Masters of Science in Biology from John Carroll University. Between those experiences Andrew has worked as a field technician on a variety of ecological research projects, where he saw first hand the effect that human encroachment can have on ecosystems. Andrew is interested in how intact landscapes and ecosystems can be conserved in the face of increasing human development, and is excited to delve into this topic as a Wilderness Fellow. Besides ensuring the conservation of healthy ecosystems for future generations, Andrew's other main ambition in life is to do a handstand.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Andrew is a Fellow in USFS Region 5

Kimi Zamuda earned her Master of Environmental Science degree at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (FES). While at FES, she worked with local landowners and conducted mammal research using camera traps; studied and applied the policy sciences framework; and became deeply invested in resolving human-beaver conflicts. She is passionate about wildlife and land conservation that promotes human-wildlife coexistence and protects natural areas. She believes strongly in understanding people’s needs, values, and views of conservation and wilderness, and the importance of inclusive, science-based natural resource management decision making. She aspires to work as an interdisciplinary wildlife conservationist to create lasting, community-supported wildlife conservation plans. She is excited about this experience in public land management and better understanding how people study, view and interpret wilderness. In her free time, she’s usually found looking for wildlife, hiking, and talking about how awesome beavers are to everyone who will listen.
 
Kimi is a Fellow in USFS Region 4

Avery Clotfelter is a senior at the University of Vermont majoring in Environmental Studies with a focus on conservation biology.  He is fascinated by research involving a combination of automated monitoring and bioacoustics and has worked on a variety of studies on birds, cloud forest mammals, and humpback whales.  Avery is interested in studying animals and ecosystems using large datasets and exploring ways in which math and technology can be employed to make data processing faster and easier.  While this is his first time working directly with wilderness, a lifetime in the outdoors has given Avery an immense appreciation for wilderness areas and he hopes to continue on this path, working to protect and facilitate interaction with wilderness for future generations.  Avery can be found wherever there is rock, attempting and often failing to climb it.  When he’s not climbing, he is either gazing longingly at some rock, reading a fantasy novel or working on his van which will become his off-grid home for the next several years.
 
Avery is a Wilderness Monitoring Ranger in USFS Region 2
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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.