Cloud Ridge Naturalists
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Audrey BenedictAudrey Benedict is the Founder and Director of Cloud Ridge Naturalists and the Publisher of Cloud Ridge Publishing. Her passion for 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 several books, including The Naturalist’s Guide to the Southern Rockies: Southern Wyoming, Colorado, and Northern New Mexico and Valley of the Dunes: Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, the latter a collaborative effort with photographers with photographers Wendy Shattil and the late Bob Rozinski. Her most recent book, with coauthor Joe Gaydos, is The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest, a Nautilus Gold Award-winning conservation book designed, produced and financially supported by Cloud Ridge’s publishing team and private donations. Audrey serves on the Board of Directors for the SeaDoc Society. 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 lives in Port Townsend, Washington and this California native admits that he has lost his heart to the Pacific Northwest. He recently retired after a multi-decade career as Senior Research Zoologist for NatureServe. Geoff is the lead biologist on Cloud Ridge’s naturalist team and has helped guide our field discovery programs since the early 1980’s. He is the author of the field guide Amphibians and Reptiles in Colorado, as well as Connecticut Wildlife. With co-author Audrey Benedict, Geoff is currently at work on a book about the Pacific Flyway, the migratory bird “highway” that extends from Arctic North America to Tierra del Fuego. He is an extraordinary observer of the natural world and is always adding new dimensions to his natural history expertise. Geoff is a great instructor and teaches field courses in biology and ecology at Wesleyan University and other institutions

Wendy Shattil is a rare species indeed—a full time professional nature photographer. She and her late husband and partner, Bob Rozinski, worked individually and as a team for more than 30 years until Bob’s death in 2016. They are known world-wide for their award-winning images and for the breadth of their work as environmental photographers of endangered species and at-risk ecosystems throughout North America. Fellows of the International League of Conservation Photographers, Bob and Wendy produced twelve books together, and their images have appeared in National Wildlife, Audubon, Nature Conservancy, BBC Wildlife, Nature’s Best, National Geographic, and many other publications. Wendy serves as the Project and Image Director for Cloud Ridge Publishing and brings her expertise and critical eye to everything we do. Dedicated to developing new ways of illustrating key conservation issues, Wendy is a superb teacher and generous in sharing her expertise. To see more of their joint photographic work, visit her website:

Joe GaydosDr. Joe Gaydos lives on Orcas Island 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. 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, with Audrey Benedict, of the award-winning book The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest and is currently working on a children’s version of the book. Joe has published extensively on marine wildlife health issues emphasizing species as harbor seals, river otters, and killer whales. His profound passion for connecting people to the magic and vulnerability of the marine world is legendary!

Russel BarshRussel Barsh spent his Long Island boyhood beach combing and fossil hunting. As a doctoral student in paleontology at Harvard, he was mentored in multidisciplinary studies by the late Loren Eiseley and Stephen Jay Gould. His friendships with Native Americans opened his eyes to new science challenges, convincing him to get a law degree and defend the environmental integrity of traditional cultures. Russel taught at the University of Washington and helped develop its American Indian Studies Center. He served as an 7 advisor to United Nations agencies on indigenous and peoples living in sensitive ecosystems, eventually establishing the UN’s Forum on Indigenous Issues. Russel co-founded Kwiáht (Center for the Historical 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 stewardship of cultural and biological resources in the San Juan Archipelago.

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 at Reed College. With a special interest in plant genetics, she worked initially 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 in designing restoration work. Her genetic population studies include work on local salmon, coastal cutthroat trout, camas, and the rare Island Marble butterfly.


Marilyn Hailbronner’s drawings—rendered in pen and ink, scratchboard technique, and color wash—grace Cloud Ridge’s brochure and website. Her work as a naturalist artist is a reflection of her love for natural history and conservation. To see Marilyn’s artwork visit:

Rufous-collared Sparrow (MH) Patagonia, Argentina

Rufous-collared Sparrow (MH)
Patagonia, Argentina

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