Trainer, Consultant, Guide: Meet Teresa
Teresa is a Guide year round, spending the majority of her year viewing bears from the coasts of Alaska to the shorelines of Hudson Bay. She loves seeing them all: black, brown and white. She’s been a bear junkie since she got hooked by a bear called, Bella, in 2009. Along the way she became a boat captain, a certified kayak guide and a Wilderness First Responder. The wilds of Alaska and Canada are her office and most days her desk looks a lot like a skiff with a small outboard.
On the creation of Ursa Major, she explains that it was born out of a need in Southeast Alaska to better train Guides about bear behavior. She recognized that the bear safety trainings and bear awareness classes that are currently available do not meet all the needs of the people exploring the remote islands that make up Southeast.
She believes that Ursa is creating a bridge between being bear aware and distinctive applications in the field, which is why Ursa is unique to the industry. "Each company I work with has needed bear training for their employees in a different way, depending on how thy operate. I've recreated bear safety messages in to videos and power points and podcasts. My brain is running wild with ideas for trainings and I have loved diving into the guts of this.”
For Teresa, a Tennessean by birth and now a transplant to Alaska, it seemed that the guiding profession hand-picked her to take it on because of her love for all things wild. After graduating university Teresa lived in Germany working in forestry in Bavaria. Her experiences in this job strengthened her innate interest in the natural world and supported her belief in respectful coexistence with everything wild. With this as the foundation for future pursuits, she has since worked and guided at all ends of the earth, sharing with other wilderness enthusiasts glimpses of an untamed world that deserves reverence and dedicated preservation.
Juneau, Alaska is now home for Teresa and the base of operations for Ursa Major. When she isn't able to take people to bear viewing during winter months, she's in front of the fire place creating bear programs for the spring. She explains that at the heart of Ursa is a desire to help mitigate bear/human conflict, and to conserve wilderness areas - good bear habitat that umbrellas all wildlife home ranges.