Instructor Biographies

text: The Grand Canyon Field Institute

Instructor Biographies

Expert Field Instructors

Grand Canyon Association Field Institute is proud of its outstanding team of instructors. Made up of resource experts possessing PhD's, Masters, and Bachelors degrees, our instructors continually share their passion for Grand Canyon with others. The following is a list of instructors that will likely be leading classes during the upcoming season.

If the class description lists the instructor as “Field Institute staff,” one of the following instructors will serve in that capacity. Preclass materials will indicate which instructor has been scheduled for your class, or you can call the Field Institute office for the latest information on specific assignments. All instructors listed, with the exception of Mike Buchheit, Jack Pennington, Elaine Maier, and Jennifer Allen, are acting as independent contractors while leading courses and performing duties for the Field Institute. Mike, Jack, Elaine, and Jennifer are full-time employees of the Grand Canyon Association Field Institute.

Listed alphabetically by last name.
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Linda Glover Gooch

Several trips and many hours on the rim have made the Grand Canyon one of Linda Glover Gooch’s favorite painting destinations. The grandeur and ever-changing moods of the canyons of the Southwest are a constant source of study and an important part of her continued growth as an artist.

Linda teaches at the Scottsdale Artists’ School and continues to be involved in major exhibits. Recently she was awarded the Judges’ Recognition Award at the annual Grand Canyon Celebration of Art. Linda is a signature member of Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters and Oil Painters of America, and a member of American Women Artists, where she served as president in 2006–2007. Linda has been featured in *Art of the West and Southwest *Art magazines and is currently represented by Lee Youngman Galleries in Calistoga, California, and The Lawrence Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Brian Gootee

Currently a Research Geologist and Tribal Liaison with the Arizona Geological Survey, Brian Gootee has more than half his lifetime of experience applying the geosciences to projects for the private sector, municipal and state governments, universities, USGS, and even NASA. His current research interests include the assessing of geologic hazards, structural evolution of Arizona and the geologic evolution of the Grand Canyon.

With an ultimate goal to educate the world, Brian has passionately taught backcountry courses with the GCFI since 2004. He is an adjunct professor with Maricopa County Community Colleges since 2003, teaching freshman level geology including Geology of Arizona, Geology of the Southwest and Grand Canyon Geology. Brian also arranges, prepares, and compiles field notebooks, and accompanies the students on geological field trips throughout Arizona including 100+ geo-trips to mostly the Colorado Plateau including the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, and the Four Corners region.

Brian holds two Bachelor of Science degrees with University of Texas and Arizona State University, and a Master's with ASU. He and his wife are avid hikers and nature enthusiasts with two young children who have been to amazing places, including Phantom Ranch, to celebrate the holidays.

Dan Hall

Dan Hall has been a rafting guide on the Colorado River for more than 15 years. Dan came to the profession with a background in philosophy, education and improvisational theater. In addition to guiding commercial rafting trips he is often employed by Grand Canyon National Park to run resource river trips that study vegetation and archaeology.

Sam Hagler

Sam has been playing in the Grand Canyon since the 90's and guiding, and teaching since 2003. He has lived and guided with Takanas in the Amazon, speaks Spanish and Guarani fluently, and loves working with both domestic and international travelers. As a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School’s backpacking course, a WMI Wilderness First Responder, and a returned Environmental Education Volunteer with the Peace Corps, he loves backpacking and interpreting his surroundings through a variety of culturally-colored lenses. He went to graduate school for Sustainable Communities at NAU and studied Parks and Recreation Management and Philosophy in undergrad. He leads his tours with an emphasis on story, photography, and appeals to all six senses.

Wendy Hodgson

Wendy Hodgson is a certified desert rat, having lived in the Sonoran Desert for 48 years. She is a research botanist, herbarium curator and botanical illustrator and has been with the Desert Botanical Garden for 42 years. Her areas of interest and research include southwest US and northern Mexico floristics.

For over 25 years she has been documenting and studying plants within Grand Canyon National Park, including the evolution and distribution of certain plant groups as affected by the unique factors characteristic of this area. Her research also focuses on taxonomy and systematics of Agave and Yucca, including the study of pre-Columbian agave domesticates, Cactaceae, Sonoran Desert ethnobotany, and rare and endemic plants.

Wendy is the author of numerous scientific papers and the illustrated book, Food Plants of the Sonoran Desert (University of Arizona Press), winner of the 2002 Klinger Book Award, presented by the Society for Economic Botany.

Jacqueline Holm

Jacqueline Holm attended Colorado State University and the University of Wyoming. For the last 20 years Jackie has been living and working in the west during which time she has collected experiences about ecological and social issues, wilderness adventures, and great stories to share. She has been a wilderness ranger in the Wind River Range of Wyoming, a ranch-hand on cattle ranches in Colorado and Wyoming, a math teacher for Arapahoe and Shoshone students on the Wind River Indian Reservation, and introduced visitors to the wonders of Humboldt Bay in Arcata, California. She has managed Wilderness areas in Oregon and taught Leave No Trace, but perhaps her favorite pastime is to witness a coyote dig a ground squirrel out of a hole or see the first turkey vultures of the season return to the Colorado Plateau. Jackie particularly likes to share all these stories and experiences as well as excite everyone around her about the wonders of the place she now calls home; Grand Canyon.

Rich Holtzin

Rich Holtzin has taught earth science, music theory and philosophy for over two decades. Having spent more than 30 years in the Southwest, Rich has hiked and explored thousands of miles in Grand Canyon and throughout the Colorado Plateau. He is an avid world traveler, former commercial pilot, wilderness guide and the writer and composer of the Ballads of the Grand Canyon soundtrack.

Ian Hough

Ian Hough currently works for Grand Canyon National Park as an archaeologist in the Vanishing Treasures program.

Ian earned his B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Oregon in 1995 and his M.A. in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University in 1999.

After working as a private contract archeologist for seven and a half years in Oregon, Washington, northern California and northern Nevada, Ian began work for the National Park Service in May 1999 at the Western Archeology and Conservation Center in Tucson. His tenure with the National Park Service includes numerous projects at Petrified Forest National Park, Montezuma Castle National Monument, Manzanar National Historic Site, Navajo National Monument, Gila Cliff Dwellings, Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, and Grand Canyon National Park. In October 2005, Ian was offered the position of Vanishing Treasures Archaeologist at Grand Canyon National Park and is currently working to document and preserve the hundreds of well-preserved architectural sites in the park.

Ian has also traveled and worked on archaeological research projects in Mexico and Peru. Ian’s specialties in archeology include Southwestern Ancestral Puebloan architecture, the development of agriculture and stone tool technology. Ian has completed two Colorado River projects between 2002 and 2004, each involving ruins stabilizations and archeological site monitoring.

Elaine Hultgren

Elaine is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art with a major in painting and a minor in printmaking, and is a multi-talented artist. Her paintings and drawings have been exhibited in several juried shows, and her graphic design work and illustrations have been published in books, magazines and newsprint. Elaine is also an Emmy award winning animation artist who has worked in the television, film, and computer gaming industry for over 25 years as a storyboard and concept artist. Upon moving to Phoenix AZ, a life long love of all things green led her to enroll in the Desert Botanical Garden’s Botanical Art and Illustration certificate program in 2005 from which she graduated in 2010. She has been an instructor at the Desert Botanical Garden since 2007 teaching botanical drawing, watercolor, silverpoint, nature sketching and journaling, and a variety of nature classes. Elaine has taken her Nature Sketching & Journaling workshop on the road to the Toledo Botanical Garden, Ohio Side-Cut Metro Park, and Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City, Utah. Elaine recently relocated to Salt Lake City, UT from where she initiated a Botanical Art and Illustration certificate program at the University of Utah’s Red Butte Garden.

Kelley Ingols

Kelley began her yoga teaching career in 2004 after taking a yearlong emersion and teacher training in the Anusara yoga tradition. A schoolteacher by vocation, Kelley quickly became a well-loved yoga teacher in the Grand Canyon community. After six years at the canyon, Kelley moved back to Flagstaff, where she continues to teach yoga at Northern Arizona University and the Yoga Experience.

Kelley’s other loves, community and nature, compel her to bring people to her Grand Canyon backyard to combine yoga and hiking. She has been organizing and leading yoga workshops and retreats at Grand Canyon since 2003. Her classes transform students through the freedom and ease revealed through good alignment and moving from the heart. She loves to make class playful and challenging, and she consistently invites students to embrace their lives as a vehicle to health, happiness and vitality.