Natalie grew up in Michigan and found her way west on a trail crew in Rocky Mountain National Park. After that first summer, she was hooked on the opportunities to explore and learn about new places, people, and the natural world. She worked as a research wildlife biologist in Alaska, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Idaho, Chile, and Panama. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Environmental Science from Central Michigan University and her PhD from New Mexico, studying wolves, weasels and bears in the coastal rainforests in the Pacific Northwest. She spent a year in Washington, D.C. working in science and environmental policy after graduate school to better understand the processes of civic engagement, and continues to research and publish science policy articles from her lessons in D.C.
She has been a teaching and research professor at multiple universities in New Mexico, Alaska, and Montana for the past fifteen years, publishing and instructing courses in wildlife biology, conservation ecology, natural resource conflict resolution, environmental writing, outdoor leadership, environmental policy, and wilderness studies. She also develops international programs in protected area management for early career professionals from around the world, as well as college students who come to the U.S. on international exchange programs.
Her personal interests change with the seasons: skiing, running, climbing, biking, writing, reading, paddling, sourdough bread baking, patching old gear, dehydrating her own backcountry meals in anticipation of multi-week wilderness trips and exploring the western U.S. with her husband and their van.