It’s a big year in the valley for conservation. We have a lot of things happening here at the Alliance, one of which is welcoming our summer fellows that have joined our team. Read more about our two newest below!
Ryan Nourai, Wildlife Crossings Campaign Fellow
Ryan was born and raised in the beach city of Palos Verdes, California. He spent his childhood dreaming of places more wild and more spectacular than the suburbs of Los Angeles. His first fascination came from films, Westerns and other coming-of-age stories that depicted the West as a place for growth, solitude, and surrealism.
After many family trips into the mountains and the deserts of the California, Ryan began to understand that he had a deep desire to explore parts of the Southwest. At sixteen, he took off on a tour of the National Parks with his mother. They would drive in and out of Zion, Arches, Grand Teton, and so many of the other parks that make this country unique in its stance to preserve great nature for the benefit of all its citizens. Years later, Ryan would come to see that he was infatuated with the story of the National Parks and the heroes who championed their preservation.
After the death of both of his parents, he was able to make out which elements of his life propel him forward. It was then when he came to see that he wished to take part in the legacy of environmental-conservation. For him, Great Nature is a place to savor and cherish because they are reserves where one can be at peace with themselves, their family, and their friends. For Ryan, Public Lands are a place where memories are kept, arenas perfect for the expression of the virtues we all consider to be the most human.
As a result of this understanding of his passions, Ryan attained a Bachelors Degree in Liberal Arts, curtailing his courses towards Environmental Studies and Social Sciences. He has been writing since a young age and continues to do so, honing his growing understand of the written word in hopes that he can eventually publish something to be proud of. Through his Science-Fiction Ryan also expresses his feelings toward contemporary polices and the sensation of modernity. His love for music is evident by the amount of new music he listens to on a monthly basis. From Oasis to Madonna, to Frank Zappa, to Tangerine Dream, it’s all fair game in his book.
Ryan is currently pursuing two graduate certificates through the Harvard Extension School, completing his first novel, and gaining momentum within his organization which tackles National Monuments and their need for protection. He lives in Jackson, Wyoming with his half-Rodisian Ridgeback named Moose and, when he is in town, his boyfriend Christian.
He will be pursuing more knowledge, and more self-expression into the foreseeable, and distant future.
Tiana Wilson, Civic Engagement Fellow
Tiana was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado and grew up across Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota while visiting Colorado regularly to see family throughout her life. So she’s simply from “here” at any given location in the inner west.
Most of her younger days, however, were spent first on the Wind River Reservation here in Wyoming, and then more so on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota. Being from a Native American mother, it was her culture, beliefs, values, and ceremonies that guided her until adulthood and a large part of where her love for our lands came from. Protecting our wildest places isn’t an option – but rather a vital necessity.
It was because of this origin that she headed in the direction of law, conservation, and science. She attained her Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Sciences, with an emphasis in Energy Policy, a minor in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences as well as Environmental Design Studies – all in the hopes continuing on a adding a J.D. in something she calls “Climate Change Policy.” As we see our lands, waters, and even air continue to change and be used for things unhealthy to them and those that live within them, Tiana wants to blend Human Rights, Energy, Environmental, and a touch of Property Law to combat that and keep them in their natural and healthy and living states. After all, it was, is, continues to be those lands that inspire her the most and make her feel the most alive.
In her free time, Tiana really enjoys exploring, camping, watching, hiking, or chasing sunsets/rises with camera in hand. Although not at all a professional, it’s her way of capturing the place and sharing it with others. Starting as a hobby after a Nikon was gifted at Christmas, it’s taken on a means of communication in sharing just what our wild places are and how they make people feel.
She truly believes the most power is in the people, and when a few of them get together to educate, discuss, and fight for things they believe in most – incredible things can happen. Then that few tends to grow. Which is why she’s taking her “in-between” time here in Jackson. People, place, perspective, and persistence make this valley what it’s always been – and she’s here to learn from it.
And to ski. She’s also here to learn to ski.