Get to know Eeland Stribling (he/him), who has been working with Cottonwood Institute as a field instructor since the spring of 2022! Eeland is an educator, wildlife biologist, angler, and comedian (check his Instagram for upcoming shows: blacksteveirwin). Learn more about Eeland below, and read our other staff and board profiles here!
What led you to become an environmental educator?
“You can’t be what you can’t see.” I love learning and I love children and their wonder and hope! Growing up, I remember watching Steve Irwin and his passion and care and how he conveyed that to people. I want to be just like him and make a positive difference with people’s lives and the planet. Animals are so cool, and I nerd out about them and want people to have the opportunity to learn about them. If we all care about the planet, even in small ways, it’s easier to protect it. I still have so much to learn about nature and how to teach it to different people but I absolutely love it.
What’s your favorite environmental topic or outdoor skill to teach?
My favorite environmental topic is wildlife rewilding. Rewilding is the process of restoring and protecting areas to be as natural as they were before humans affected them. That includes animals, flowers, and habitats. My favorite outdoor skill to teach is wildlife identification. There are a lot of species in your local nature. It’s always fun to have that knowledge of birds, insects, fish, flowers and mammals!
Do you have a formative memory of when you learned to love the outdoors?
Not when I “learned to love the outdoors” but a moment when it all clicked for me. I was playing in the rain during a rainstorm with my gramps, who was a wildlife biologist with the Division of Wildlife. We were watching birds eat worms in the street, playing in the gutter making boats out of popsicle sticks or leaves, and racing them. I fell in love with water and how natural things interact with each other. The earth, then the rain, and the worms, then birds. It was all connected. Putting together those puzzle pieces was and will always be fun.
How do you get outside these days?
I like to fly fish. My dog comes with me and sometimes we go to a local pond, and sometimes we go far deep into the mountains. I also love to go birding (identifying species of birds). My gramps was a birder and is very knowledgeable and I hope one day I can be half as smart as he is. A simple way I enjoy outside is taking my dog to the park. He loves running through tall grass or snows!
What are your favorite memories so far from leading Cottonwood trips?
Smores. Smores all the way. After a long day of fun games, learning cool things, and making new friends, smores are the perfect ending to great days. I have my smores-making technique to a science. When you come on a program, you’ll have to see!
What’s your favorite snack to eat in the woods?
An apple! It’s sweet but healthy!
What do you do outside of working for Cottonwood?
I am the conservation and education director for BrownFolksFishing, where we stoke joy by providing opportunities for people to fly fish and/or enjoy nature. I also am a public speaker and I help companies with their social media. I do bunch of small stuff but I love working with Cottonwood Institute and the students!
What’s an unusual skill people might not know you have?
I’m really good at racing go-karts. I am a huge fan of Formula 1. I spend two or three times a week at a racetrack. I’d love to race you. 🙂 “Still I rise” – 44
We’re so grateful to have Eeland on our field programs! Follow us for all Cottonwood news this fall: