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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Meet the Team!!

Meet the Crew 
James, Josh, Erik, Elliott, and Brian (Left to Right)
 All of us together. Ready for Country Fair


        Seen in typical form above, Brian aka mama sleeping bear, likes to hibernate. We hope he does this for no more than half the trip! Brian is the chiller of the group, happy in any situation and down to try anything new.
        If you looked at him and thought, huh, he kinda looks like a snow bum, you would be right! The dude is a ski-bum with a delightful lease on life. He loves shredding the gnarliest gnar in the woods and killing back-flips on kickers when the mood strikes. When there is no snow in the mountains you are liable to find Brian catching the latest swell on the coast. He managed to out-surf, in days on the ocean, all of our friends by double (Shelby Merrick excluded!) last year.
       While most of us questioned whether Brian actually ever went to school- I mean, who salmon fishes two days a week and then springs for a weekend of mushroom hunting and still does school!??!? The answer to this riddle is Brian Verwey, a Seattleite, born to Mama Bear Supreme Theresa and Jeff Boeing. They produced a brilliant kid with a noggin and a half. While we only saw him sleep (we hypothesize that the sleeping is related to the nourishment his large brain requires, possibly his head of hair though too) and have fun, he somehow managed to graduate Magna Cum Laude with an honors degree in Fisheries and Wildlife AND submitted a kickass honors thesis which described the distribution of giant salamanders in second and third order streams in the cascade mountains as impacted by light distribution. This paper is on its way to publication. The man has some serious scholastic chops. Brian also happens to be the leader of a research crew in the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest working on a multitude of forest stream studies. Whether grad school or the Forest Service, Brian will be an asset to conservationists and the earth for years to come.


      Meet Elliott the resident Space Case. You've likely run into him as he sprinted across campus, town, or house to meet some deadline, after two meetings with four people, followed by a slug of coffee, followed by a study session in the library until 3 am followed by a cold bike ride home, followed by four hours of sleep when he gets up to do it again... and wait!... oh  S$*?! he forgot to do something and that's when you see him, sprinting, again.
      Amazingly he manages to live a serendipitous life where these things always seem to work out for the best. He hitchhikes with people who take him hours out of their way. He gets adopted by French families in the Alps, fed fresh croissants and coffee every morning, followed by alpen hikes and happy hour. He has his friends pick him up in the middle of farm fields in Central California and promptly taking him on hiking adventures in the Sierras and the Rockies. Each experience is sure to be filled with warm, tasty food and cheer. Yes, his life is serendipitous and he does not forget this fact.
      While a space case, Elliott does manage to produce some quality items and ideas. He graduated Magna Cum Laude, much to his parents surprise?, delight?, ambivalence? with degrees in both Biology, and Environmental Economics, Policy, and Management as well as a minor in Chemistry. Additionally he surveyed individuals environmental worldviews and determined whether there was a connection between the outdoor recreation that people participated in and their environmental worldviews, investigating this connection over both time and place of residence. As his 16 and 17 year old Coloradan backpacking, rafting, and mountain biking compatriots (part of the leadership development program he co-ran with Hannah Eckert) would attest, he is a giant nerd. They half-joked that he would make the perfect "Weird Dad" someday.
     Spend an hour in the forest with this guy and it is likely that he has already found and named, genus and species, four separate mushrooms. The guy sweats mushroom hunting like Swedes sweat sweat in sweat lodges. For Elliott, a fresh patch of Boletes is akin to Christmas, Hanukkah and Ramadan all in one moment. While his passion for 'shrooms is deep, his passion for teaching is deeper. Spending the summer teaching incredibly bright young folks about the natural world convinced Elliott that teaching is his true calling. He cannot wait for grad school, publishing papers, and teaching.

     And we have James Teeter. James is our resident oddball. He is a unique man with myriad talents. James has the distinction of earning an incredibly difficult Chemical Engineering Degree, passing all the FE ‘s, engineering final tests, was Certified as a chemical engineer; and…. decided to take up plumbing down in Lake Tahoe, CA. Anyone on the outside might look at this decision as crazy, but to those of us who know James Teeter, this was classic Teets Mageets (affectionately). 
      He knew that cubically exercising his brain and body would break his creative soul and so while he dedicated to finishing his degree, he knew that despite a couple of positive interviews in the corporate world, he preferred a different route. James needs a rock to climb, even better? Lots of rocks. Heading south was an easy decision once James found out about the copious outcroppings in the Sierra Nevada.
This is not the first time that James decided to blaze his own trail. Coming out of high school in North Carolina (Cackalackian?), James uprooted and headed for the Beaver state with the intention of heading back to NC State his Sophomore year. As Freshman year pulled to a close, many of his close friends pleaded that he stay on the Best Coast, ok so really just Elliott begged, and he remained noncommittal through the Cherry Pie Invitational Bike Race in spring 2010. At this race, Wes Stein powered up the final pitch for a top five performance and more importantly, James realized that he had not read the fine print, and he would not be able to transfer to NC State until Junior year and by that time he would already be in pro-school at OSU! OOps! Classic Teets. On top of that, he fit in the West coast. His heart was Oregonian, the man loves coffee, IPA, and the outdoors- in any order. The West coast snagged a good one, someone who adamantly demands that the Appalachian Mountains be pronounced App-A-Latch-an's and brings a sly smile to every situation.
     Tahoe was next on James' itinerary; Belay on! He currently spends his time crafting beautifully simple, efficient, and attractive plumbed jobs when he is not off packing his ropes into an alpine granite field, sending routes, and summitting boulders. Equally brilliant with a shovel, hoe, and pruning shear as he is with calculator, pencil and MAT-Lab, James brings an incredible mind to the group, offering us interesting solutions to tough problems.


       Josh, our resident burned out hippie, cough cough, ha ha, not, in reality the only one of us whom has figured out the big question, what do I want to do with my life? The kid might look like a ski bum (he was, see below), and be known for his love of 40’s and subsequent need for Rolaids but he really is a wise man. He is matriculating to graduate school at Denver University next fall to follow his true passion; electrons!! 
       How Josh got here safely is a much debated point in the Courtney family. As an adolescent, Josh was part of the Warren, OR Menacing Maniacs, a group of testonsterone filled youth who terrorized the community with illegal fireworks, frozen raccoon roadkill, and errant arrow shooting. Upon graduation, Mom said, "whew,.... thank goodness". While Josh was once a bucking bronco, he has matured into a stately stallion with occasional acid reflux issues. Whenever one of the rest of us felt like complaining about the workload that we were dealing with, we would always look at Josh and shut our mouths. He worked his way through school, selling Blue Sky energy, hawking hot dogs, and managing troubled youth among a multitude of other jobs. And he still managed to write incredible essays and ace his tests!
      Entering a specialized energy policy program will allow him to focus on what he loves most and does best, energy policy; whether in the field pitching Blue Sky, or in the classroom challenging assumptions, Josh is an energy wiz. He again showed his ridiculous work ethic, spending the summer canning salmon in Alaska, impressively supervising 35 others, making sure the cannery ran as smoothly as belly-fat. All the while he was saving up money for our trip to the south, dreaming about the possibility of warm sun after spending 18 days in miserable deluge conditions in Bristol Bay with little to show for it. He is presently stoked the trip and the break before jumping into the graduate school ring of fire. 

Blasts from the Past:

Typical Brian

 Cuddle Puddle Love!
And yes, we love and hug trees.
Tooling around Tides

Summiting The Three Brothers (Yosemite)

Keough Hot Springs in Eastern California

Teeter's National Park- Teton NP

Hanging out in Death Valley

Josh and Bri shredding the Gnar, drinkin' pbr.... is this the start to a new Country Radio Hit!!?

     Elliott Finn

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