Cloud Ridge Naturalists
spacer Our Trip Leaders

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 Bob Rozinski and Wendy Shattil. Her most recent book, with coauthor Joe Gaydos, is The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest, a visually stunning and important conservation book designed, produced, and financially supported by Cloud Ridge’s publishing team. 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 Dr. 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. This Pacific Northwest “convert” is currently at work, with co-author Audrey Benedict, on a book about the Pacific Flyway. 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 perhaps best known as an extraordinary observer of the natural world and for his remarkable talent in sharing these field experiences with audiences of all ages.


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. Wendy also 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 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 over 30 years of wilderness travel experience. She has guided natural history trips by sea kayak in the San Juan Islands and Southeast Alaska for 22 years. She is the author of two books: the award-winning Spirited Waters: Soloing South Through the Inside Passage, based on her solo kayak trip 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 she brings to her natural history teaching is a rare gift. Learn more about Jenny’s work:

Carol and Carlos Passera are naturalists and conservationists in the grand tradition. Their knowledge of Patagonia’s natural and cultural heritage is unsurpassed. They live in Puerto Madryn, on Patagonia’s Atlantic coast, and their world-renowned ecotourism company, Causana Viajes, creates and guides extraordinary natural history trips throughout Argentinian and Chilean Patagonia as well as in the Antarctic and Subantarctic. Carol Mackie is of Welsh/Scottish descent, her great great grandmother having been among the first Welsh immigrants to settle in Patagonia’s Chubut Valley in the 1880s. The breadth of Carol’s expertise makes her an inspiring tour leader. Her passion for all things “Patagonian” is absolutely contagious! Carlos Passera is a conservation journalist, a nature photographer, an Antarctic expedition guide and lecturer, and is the author of 3 books. Born and educated in Buenos Aires, where he met and married Carol, Carlos fell in love with Patagonia in 1979. The focus of their professional lives changed forever when he accepted the Head Ranger position at the Punta Tombo penguin colony. Raising 3 young children and living remotely among several thousand Magellanic penguins is not for the faint hearted! Over the past 20 years, Carlos and Carol have worked tirelessly at the forefront of conservation efforts in Patagonia and well beyond.

Sarah DrummondSarah Drummond is a naturalist and artist who grew up traveling with Cloud Ridge and is now a member of our naturalist team. Her B.A. from Maine’s College of the Atlantic emphasized ecology, island ecosystems and art. Sarah’s M.A. from Arizona’s Prescott College focused on the role and impact of artists accompanying major exploring expeditions and was based on research gathered during a Watson Foundation year abroad. She works as a naturalist/kayak guide for Pacific Catalyst. Her illustrations are featured in several books and a recent book of block prints, Raven and the Red Ball, is a Pomegranate Books best seller. Sarah’s artwork celebrates the beauty and diversity of the natural world. Visit her website:


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 the natural world and her passion for conservation has taken her to wilderness areas around the world. To see Marilyn’s artwork:


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. 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 Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest and the two are currently at work on a children’s version. Joe has published extensively on marine wildlife health issues for such species as harbor seals, river otters, and killer whales. His passion for connecting people to the magic and vulnerability of the marine world is legendary!

Russel BarshRussel Barsh spent his Long Island boyhood on as a devoted beachcomber and fossil-hunter. 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 advisor to United Nations agencies on indigenous and peoples living in sensitive ecosystems, 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 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.

Rufous-collared Sparrow (MH) Patagonia, Argentina

Rufous-collared Sparrow (MH)
Patagonia, Argentina

spacer spacer