Meet our Naturalists
We take pride in our guides – their commitment to providing excellent service is the key to our success.
Each of our staff members has chosen guiding as a profession in order to share his or her expertise and passion for nature. Their dedication, depth of knowledge, loyalty, and strong work ethic is what makes our tours memorable, safe and fun!
Cathy is an acclaimed leader of the natural world. In 1989, she created The Hole Hiking Experience in Jackson, Wyoming. Her company reaches thousands of people each year to inspire with nature through lively interpretation. The trips are fun and engaging and clients are given the opportunity to connect to natural processes, wildlife, and learn innate natural connections. She is a dynamic leader and has inspired children, executives, and shared “ah-ha” moments with anyone who has a desire to learn. She has toured with Walt Disney, Phizer Corporation, Jansport, Carlson Companies, Young Presidents Organization, Mars, IBM, MCI, Atlantic-Bruecke, University of Wyoming, Shell, and many more. She has traveled to Kilimanjaro, the Galapagos Islands, Italy, New Zealand, Nepal, India and Bhutan to pursue natural exploration and cultural experiences. She enjoys the synergy of life found by balance. Her interests include meditation, yoga, qi gong, and a universal connection to all life.
Jill spent her youth in Massachusetts with a life-long interest in Earth Science and Education. She received a science degree in 1996 from Fitchburg College which led her to Vermont to continue her studies with the natural world. With a degree in Earth Science, she followed her passions and started to guide hikes with the New Life Hiking Spa. During that time, she learned to snowboard and the big Jackson winters drew her to this area in 2001. Jill started working for The Hole Hiking Experience in 2003 so she could teach and share her passion for the environment with others. In her free time, she continues to snowboard, mountain climb, teach yoga, and spend as much time as possible with her two dogs.
Beverly came to the region when she was 2 and has been deeply connected to this area ever since. Growing up in Wisconsin, she moved to the mountains of Colorado in the 1980’s and then to northern New Mexico, finally returning with her family to Teton Valley, ID, in 1999. An undergraduate degree in English and history and graduate studies in social work along with an 8-year career in children’s book publishing helped her to hone communication and leadership skills that serve her well as a guide. Her passion and avocation, however, has always been natural history and the environment. Years tending domestic plants in nurseries and landscaping led her to seek out their cousins in the wild, eventually leading hikes year round for Sierra Club and now for The Hole Hiking Experience. She calls herself a “Visitor Center junkie” and a perpetual student of nature, learning something new every day. “To get where I am today, I followed my heart to the mountains and then let my feet carry me the rest of the way.” In addition to being a naturalist, Beverly is also a Reiki Master therapist, a professional singer, and co-owner of a video store with her husband in Driggs, ID.
Belinda was born into a military family in Colorado. Having lived in the Philippines, Hawaii and several other states before age 10, she was bitten by the travel bug early in life. After receiving her Masters degree in Economic Education from the University of Delaware and teaching for nearly a decade in the public school system, she decided to combine her love of education and her passion for the outdoors and the natural world by moving back to the west. She came to Jackson in 1996 to pursue a new career as a whitewater and scenic raft guide on the Snake River. Her time river guiding was spent learning about all aspects of the area including its natural history and sharing it with her clients. Belinda has also volunteered in wildlife studies for the Wildlife Conservation Society and for the National Forest Service leading snowshoe and ski tours as a naturalist. She was drawn to the Hole Hiking Experience as a way to combine her love of hiking and her desire to educate others about the local environment. She still likes to travel and has rafted, kayaked, biked, hiked and experienced nature throughout Asia, the Pacific, Central America, Africa and Europe. Locally and regionally, she enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking and long river trips in the Southwest.
Inspired by a talk on the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park, Heather moved from Ohio to Jackson Hole in 1997 without a plan beyond working for a dude ranch that summer. She was immediately hooked on the mountains, rivers and wildlife. Thanks to a mother whose passion was riding horses and traveling with her father to fly fish, a love of the outdoors was already engrained in her. Her degree in anthropology reflects her interest in human culture. Heather found local conservation work which began her informal study of the region’s wildlife, public lands and community issues. She enjoys vegetable gardening, swimming in the river, wolf watching, backpacking, swing dancing, moonlight lake kayaking, and Yellowstone in every season. Her favorite outdoor activities are hiking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing — she can’t wait to share that with you.
Chelsea Carson is a nature-lover who calls a variety of places home. She grew up in Reno, Nevada and attended Colorado State University where she graduated with a degree in Conservation and Wildlife Biology. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree at Idaho State University focused on the social-ecological dynamics of conservation issues within the Yellowstone-Yukon corridor. Her passion for the wild outdoors has been the basis of her career in conservation, outreach, and education and this work has taken her around the world studying herpetology, permaculture, community sustainability, and how to laugh in 80 languages. She now excitedly calls the Tetons home and is eager to share her love of this area with you! In her free time she enjoys exploring nature through human-powered mediums, connecting with all beings, and contemplating what it all means.
Ben first came to Jackson Hole in 1981 to interview Mardie Murie for a conservation magazine. Heading north on a very empty cold morning past the elk refuge, a blowout became the unforgettable experience of spinning across the highway and using hand tools in temperatures below – 20F. Undeterred, Ben returned to the area as intervals as an ice climber, a trip leader of volunteer trail work trips for the Appalachian Mountain Club, and for several years a climbing guide with Jackson Hole Mountain Guides, before moving to the valley in 1990 with his wife, Anne, and two children to work with planning politics and growth management issue for the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance. Later, Ben launched a tree care business, from which he has recently retired, that used the techniques of roped arboriculture in trees of every size. Still involved with climbing, he did an ascent of the Grand Teton’s North Face with a long time partner, Bev Boynton, when their combined ages were 104. An avid hiker and recreational gardener, he spends as much time as possible outdoors. A graduate of Reed College in Portland, Oregon, he has written a book on rapid growth in gateway communities like Jackson that are doorways to the parks beyond. In his first season with The Hole Hiking Experience, Ben is grateful for the opportunity to share his enjoyment of this area with those who have come here to see, hike through and learn about these remarkable landscapes.
I grew up in upstate New York, and spent my summers in the Adirondacks. Here my love for adventure and the outdoors began. I moved to Jackson Hole winter of ’78, and quickly became an avid cross-country and downhill skier. For 16 years, I ran a custom sewing and small sportswear manufacturing business. In 1998, I opened an eclectic gallery of regional, and national handmade goods and fine art. After 18 years, I decided it was time for something new. I wanted to spend more time outdoors, to recreate, to garden, and forage. I am passionate about edible wild plants and am beginning to experiment with preserving, cooking, and eating them. I love to hike with my dogs and friends, sing to wildflowers, swim, kayak, ski, and bike! I sew cool bags, dabble in painting, and am a gourmet cook.
Tessa was born and raised on the coast of North Carolina. Her love for the environment began at a young age, as she spent most of her time exploring marshland in her backyard. Tessa graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Sustainable Development with a focus in Environmental Studies and Human Rights. During her time at college, she studied Sustainable Technology in Peru, where she helped design a stand-alone photo-voltaic system in a remote community. The experience gave her the opportunity to share with others the importance and reward of sustainable practices. Since then, she has found joy in connecting people to the environment through experiences and knowledge. Tessa is proud to be part of the Hole Hiking team and feels fortunate to share her passion with others. During her free time Tessa enjoys gardening, making jewelry, backpacking, cross country skiing, cooking yummy meals, dancing and learning more about our natural world.
Chelse’s professional life began when she was just seventeen as a volunteer with an owl study. She was quickly hired as a wildlife biologist technician with the same study, although owls were just her first subjects. She worked on other projects researching bird species, amphibians, insects and small mammals. When the projects concluded years later, Chelse’s desire to travel grew stronger and she left Michigan as soon as she finished her Bachelors in Wildlife and Fisheries Management.
With nothing more than her gut telling her to go West, she packed her bags and head for a place she heard about, a place called Jackson Hole. The moment she laid eyes on the Tetons, she knew her instincts had not led her astray. Eight years later, Chelse still calls Jackson home and truly loves showing people the natural wonders within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
When Chelse is not guiding, she enjoys playing music on her hang drum, training for triathlons, cooking healthy meals and creating art with gunpowder.