Health Recreation Connection


Sheena Pate

Sheena Pate

Project Coordinator

Crown of the Continent Geotourism Council

Sheena Pate of Columbia Falls, MT, project coordinator for the Crown of the Continent Geotourim Council, works in and around the international transboundary region (Alberta, British Columbia & Montana) introducing the geotourism concept and how it can be a tool to build a sustainable tourism industry without sacrificing community values or identity, in partnership with National Geographic. It is her belief that geotourism can effectively sustain regional businesses, preserve community character and promote conservation.
This Texas born gal grew up and worked in the outdoor recreation industry before making a run for the captivating mountains of Colorado and Montana. Pate’s passion for bringing people together to work toward sustaining and enhancing the character of geographical places led her to earn a degree in watershed science from Colorado State University and a degree in environmental studies from University of Montana. She was drawn to the Crown of the Continent over 16 years ago because of its distinct communities and access to unspoiled landscapes. The last 18 years she has had the pleasure of working as a Program Coordinator, Outreach Consultant, Watershed Scientist, Environmental Technician and Conservation Educator for Crown of the Continent Geotourism Council, Flathead National Forest, Whitefish Legacy Partners, Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP/Curecanti NRA, City of Fort Collins- Utilities, Watershed Education Network and watershed restoration consultants.
When she’s not volunteering for local and state non-profits you can often find her with a camera in hand exploring the vast region and capturing family adventures with her fly fishing guide/hunting guide/ski patrol husband, outdoor obsessed toddler and trusty dog Bridger Merle. You can often catch her and crew on @crowngeotourism and @findyourwildcollective Instagram feeds enjoying the region’s “hidden gems”.
Antonia Malchik

Antonia Malchik



Antonia Malchik writes about walking, public lands/environment, and science. She has published essays, articles, and op-eds with Aeon, The Atlantic, Orion, High Country News, the Los Angeles Times, and a variety of other publications. A fifth-generation Montanan, she lives in Whitefish, where she volunteers with local bike and pedestrian management committees and advocates for public lands, community engagement, and education. She also researches and writes on the importance of nature-based, hands-on learning as a way for both children and adults to understand the world and themselves. Her first book, A Walking Life, about the past and future of walking’s role in our evolution and shared humanity, is published by Hachette.
jesse desrosier

Jesse DesRosier

Language Instructor

Piegan Institute and Blackfeet Community College

Jesse DesRosier Assinaipooyii (Cree Speaker) born in the month of the big snow I was given my Blackfoot name when I was 3 days old by my great great grandmother Mary Ground who was over 107. Since I was a child I’ve had a deep interest in my Niipatapiisinaan kii Nitsiipuhwahsin “Blackfoot ways of life and Language” I graduated from the 8th grade at the Piegan Institute in 2003. Later I graduated Browning High School in 2007.  Afterward I served four years fighting dragons for Uncle Sam (in the United States Marine Corps) 2007-2011. When I returned home I wondered and worked until I eventually started school in 2013 at the University of Montana Missoula, I graduated with a bachelors degree in May 2013. After returning home I started working back at the immersion school Piegan Institute where I teach the language currently, as well as Blackfeet Community College and online at Yale University. I have been very active in advocating for language, veteran health and Badger Two Medicine traveling to Washington DC twice speaking and advocating. I was also a keynote speaker at the 60th annual Wilderness Conference in Albuquerque New Mexico. I am a proud husband to Tillie Torpey who I captured from Idaho, and father of four amazing and wild rug rats. Among other things I am also an artist and amateur cage fighter.
Stephanie Paidas

Stephanie Paidas

Psychology Professor, Social Sciences Division Chair

Flathead Valley Community College

Stephanie Paidas is an environmental psychologist with backgrounds in both education and nature-based therapeutics. After earning master’s degrees in clinical psychology and depth psychology, she focused her doctoral work on ecopsychology and conducted dissertation research on transformative wilderness experiences. Dr. Paidas has taught at the University of Montana and currently leads the Psychology Department at Flathead Valley Community College, where she is Chair of the Social Sciences Division. Dr. Paidas has also worked as an outdoor educator in the Crown of the Continent since 2006. She previously served as Managing Editor of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Ecopsychology, where she remains a current Board Member and ad hoc peer reviewer. As a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, she has practiced psychotherapy with adolescents and adults, incorporating wilderness therapy and ecotherapy skills into her work with clients experiencing diverse issues and symptoms. Drawing from her work with clients, students, and her own personal experiences, Dr. Paidas advocates for nature connection and wild nature experiences as integral to human health and well-being.

Vasu Sojitra (He/him)

Professional Athlete and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategist

When Vasu was only nine months old, he was diagnosed with septicemia, resulting in the amputation of one of his legs. Since then, Vasu has not looked back; with the help of his parents, brother, and friends, Vasu has built up the confidence needed to face new challenges with grace, courage, strength, humor, and unwavering determination.
Vasu witnessed extreme poverty growing up in India, and has been living most of his life with a “dis”ability. He looks at these experiences as a blessing; they have allowed him to truly hone in on his ability to empathize with others. He continues to strengthen his vigor through his work in advocacy for those who face mental and physical limitations. Vasu will continue to inspire others to be a positive influence in their own communities by pushing personal limits, putting others first, and encouraging people to believe in themselves and in their own unique abilities!
With the motto of “#ninjasticking through the wood to bring intersectionality to the outdoors” Vasu continues to challenge the biases that go with being a person of color with a disability through his work with the In Solidarity Network and first adaptive athlete for The North Face as well as his previous work as the Adaptive Sports Program Director for Eagle Mount Bozeman and Co-Founder/Program Coordinators for Earthtone Outsideᴹᵀ.
rory glueckert

Rory Glueckert

Forest Recreation Program Manager

Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest

Rory graduated from the University of Montana in 2009 with a Bachelor Science in Recreation Resource Management. After graduation, he started his career working seasonally for the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks as a River Ranger in Ennis, Montana and then permanently for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as a Recreation Planner. He worked for the BLM in Cody, Wyoming and Winnemucca, Nevada. Rory has had the opportunity to be heavily involved in recreation special uses. He assisted in the permit administration and planning of the Burning Man event in 2014. Rory transitioned to the Forest Service in 2015, working on the Salmon- Challis NF in Challis, Idaho as a Recreation Specialist. Currently, Rory serves as the Forest Recreation Program Manager on the Helena – Lewis and Clark NF in Hel

Beth R. Shumate

Montana State Parks Administrator

Montana State Parks

Beth Shumate, Montana State Parks Administrator-Beth has been the Parks Division Administrator since 2017. Prior to this position, she served as the State Trails Coordinator managing the Recreational Trails Program since 2009. Beth’s current position includes administering and managing the Montana State Parks system that has 55 state parks throughout Montana. She also oversees five outdoor recreation grant programs including LWCF. This position allows her to thoroughly develop strong partnerships by working with various government agencies and organizations and to be a solid resource, advocate and voice for parks, trails and livability programs. Beth is passionate about connecting people to nature through parks and trails and considering innovative measures to provide this simple and inexpensive antidote (the great outdoors) to the twin epidemics of “nature deficit disorder” and sedentary lifestyles.