Team Adventure Scientists

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Gregg Treinish

​Founder/Executive Director

Jessica Smorowski

Senior Manager of Operations

Ricky Jones

Technology Manager


Maris Fessenden

Communications Manager

Project Creation

Lindsay Wancour

Project Creation Manager


Merrill Hallett

Chief of Staff

Anne Russell Gregory

Development Manager

Project Management

Michelle Toshack

Associate Director of Project Management

Katya Koepsel

Project Coordinator

Joshua Theurer

Senior Manager, Project Design

Maris Fessenden, Communications Manager

Maris manages communication with Adventure Scientist’s passionate volunteers. Maris grew up in the glacier-carved landscape of Upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region. There they hunted for arrowheads, raced bikes down the laneways of their family’s dairy farm, and spent time deep in communion with the flowers and vegetables grown by their mother.

That early immersion in the natural world set Maris on a path to share and inspire others to find meaning in the outdoors. They earned a Bachelor’s degree at Cornell University, focused on biology and writing. After a few years working in neuroscience and stem cell biology research, they attended the graduate program in science communication at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Maris next spent eight years honing their storytelling skills as a freelance science journalist. Their writing and illustrations appeared in Smithsonian Magazine, Nature, Scientific American, Western Confluence and Spectrum News.

Now in Bozeman, Maris spends as much time as they can exploring the backcountry on skis, hunting, fishing, foraging, gardening, and connecting with nature and with their 4-year-old pup, Oliver.

Anne Russell Gregory, Development Manager

Anne Russell Gregory grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia with the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Rivanna River in her backyard.

Anne Russell earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental policy and French language and literature, with a minor in urban planning from the University of Virginia. While at UVA, she volunteered with the Rivanna Trails Foundation and worked at Ragged Mountain Running Shop. After graduating, she worked in conservation law at Defenders of Wildlife in DC. Her passion for environmental nonprofits led her to work in development at Southern Environmental Law Center, Charlottesville Tomorrow, and Parks & Trails New York.

Anne Russell loves running, riding horses, and yoga. She lives in Bozeman and enjoys hiking and exploring parks and trails with her husband and two dogs.

Merrill Hallett, ​Chief of Staff

​Merrill Hallett is Adventure Scientists’ Chief of Staff. She first found her love of adventure in the Sierra Nevada, American River Canyon, and North Channel of Lake Huron. Since, her adventures have taken her around the world.

Merrill holds a Master in Environmental Management degree from Western Colorado University and an Executive Leadership Development certificate from Stanford Graduate School of Business. She graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.A. in Anthropology and studied Art History at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. Before joining the Adventure Scientists team in 2014, Merrill worked as a horse packer in the eastern Sierra, for the US Forest Service Range Department in Gunnison, Colorado, and as a dog handler on the Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska.

Merrill serves as a board member for two environmental nonprofits, The Kensington Conservancy (TKC) and River Restoration Adventures for Tomorrow (RRAFT). A two-time NOLS graduate and a Wilderness EMT, Merrill loves to mountain bike, sail, snowboard, ride horses, bake sourdough, and run with her dogs, Hugo and Rubicon.

Ricky Jones, Technology Manager

Ricky grew up in the central valley of California, often venturing up into the Sierra Nevadas where he eventually lived for two years before coming to Bozeman.

He volunteered as a nature docent at the Woodcreek Nature Center, and as an Earth Team Volunteer for the Natural Resource Conservation Service for two years. Fast forward to the present day––Ricky attends Montana State University as an undergraduate in Soil and Water Sciences. Driven to take everything learned in school and apply it to the real world, Ricky was a volunteer for Adventure Scientists on the Gallatin Microplastic Project and Conserving Biodiversity Project.

When not out collecting water samples or looking for butterflies, Ricky can be found wandering the trails near Bozeman or running to his next class at MSU.

Katya Koepsel, Project Coordinator

Katya grew up hiking and skiing in the Bighorn Mountains around her home in Sheridan, Wyoming before moving to the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe.

Katya holds a B.S in Environmental Science from Montana State University. She spent the spring of 2019 studying abroad in the small Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan where she learned about the Himalayan environment and sustainable development. She thinks the coolest thing about the people of Bhutan is their courage to approach tough environmental challenges. Her college career involved field work on large carnivores and invasive plant ecology.

Throughout the year you can find Katya out on her favorite mountain bike trail (Truman’s Gulch), sliding through powder up at Bridger Bowl, or making travel plans.

Jessica Smorowski, Senior Manager of Operations

Jessica is a native Montanan who spent part of her childhood in Northern California, climbing redwoods and exploring the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Lured by beautiful peaks, big skies, and abundant recreation opportunities, her family later moved back to the Treasure State.

Her initial educational pursuits, along with a desire for travel and a love of art, brought her to Marbella, Spain were she studied interior design and architecture. She later worked as an interior designer for several years before deciding that her true passion is for the outdoors, conservation and environmentally focused work.

Never short on hobbies, Jessica spends her free time hiking and camping, cross-country skiing, sewing, gardening, or attempting to hone her watercolor skills.

Michelle Toshack, Associate Director of Project Management

​​Michelle oversees volunteer data collection for all Adventure Scientists projects. She works closely with volunteers to train, manage, and ensure that they’re having a blast in the field. Michelle holds a MS in in pollination ecology from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her research focused on the effects of surrounding landscape and farming practices on wild pollinators and birds.

She began working on butterfly conservation in 2008, when she inventoried butterfly species in the North Cascades and Mt. Rainer National Parks. The study transitioned into a citizen science effort called the Cascades Butterfly Project and she worked as the Field Coordinator to train and manage volunteers. The North Cascades have been her most explored mountains, where she has conducted field work on owls, pikas, and butterflies.

Michelle loves trail running, mushroom hunting, and lives on a farm. She just completed running the Monarch Ultra, which followed the migration path of monarchs to central Mexico.

Joshua Theurer, Senior Manager, Project Design

Joshua began cultivating his inner nerd at a young age through lessons delivered by his naturalist grandparents. Be it birding by ear while working in the garden or pinning butterflies in the evening, he found himself fascinated with all aspects of natural history.

This fascination blossomed into the pursuit and completion of a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and Philosophy at the University of Wyoming. After spending the following 8 years working in the field on various research projects throughout the western United States with a myriad of taxa, he began deepening his understanding of the human realm through an M.S. in Environmental Studies at the University of Montana.

Joshua now lives in Bozeman where he enjoys taking long walks in the woods, preferably with skis attached to his feet, or scrambling around the peaks like a little kid, filled with the same fascination that brought him to this place.

Gregg Treinish, Founder/Executive Director

Gregg founded Adventure Scientists in 2011 with a strong passion for both scientific discovery and exploration.  

National Geographic named Gregg an Adventurer of the Year in 2008 when he and a friend completed a 7,800-mile trek along the spine of the Andes Mountain Range. He was included on the Christian Science Monitor’s 30 under 30 list in 2012, and the following year became a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work with Adventure Scientists. In 2013, he was named a Backpacker Magazine “hero”, in 2015, a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur and one of Men’s Journal’s “50 Most Adventurous Men.” In 2017, he was named an Ashoka Fellow and in 2018 one of the Grist 50 “Fixers.”  Gregg was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2020 and is a member of their Global Futures Council on Sustainable Tourism. 

Gregg holds a biology degree from Montana State University and a sociology degree from CU-Boulder. He thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2004.  

Lindsay Wancour, Project Creation Manager

Lindsay left the Motor City for Big Sky Country to pursue her passion for conservation. She has worked across Montana conducting trail work, studying huckleberries, and collecting data on rivers and streams. She also worked as an educator and crew leader in Idaho, New England, Texas, Alaska, Utah and Mexico. Nothing brings her more joy than helping people develop relationships with the outdoors and become advocates for nature.

She earned her M.S. degree in Environmental Studies, with a certificate in Natural Resource Conflict Resolution, from University of Montana. In 2016, she was recognized as a Wyss Conservation Scholar for her work on community engagement in watershed health. In 2018, she became the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Science and Democracy Fellow for Montana.

Lindsay loves wandering through the woods following tracks, learning about edible plants, and playing in and on rivers. She’ll never pass up an opportunity to go backpacking – she loves seeing how far her feet can take her with all life’s essentials on her back.

Want to join the team? Check out our current openings: