That’s right, folks, we’ve got some fresh meat in the house! You all know Sarah Puckett from JMU who’s written a number of our 48 Hours guides, but we also have four BRO Ambassadors from across the region who are helping us spread the #gooutsideandplay love. Help us welcome Gordon, Jess, Sean, and Jordan to the BRO team!

Why so serious, Gord?

Why so serious, Gord?

Gordon Knapp
University of Virginia, Va.

As long as I’m outside, I’m happy. I especially enjoy day hikes, backpacking, mountain/road biking, and the occasional game of pickup basketball. Mount Pleasant is my favorite trail close to home. It’s a fairly easy hike, and the views are absolutely spectacular at the top, especially for sunsets! Currently majoring in Economics and hoping to pursue a second major in Global Sustainability. My dream job would be working in the marketing or business department of a renewable energy company. I would absolutely love to sit down and talk with Yvon Chouinard, I’m sure a guy like that would have plenty of stories.

 

Enjoying a snowy day at Triple Falls in DuPont State Forest.​ Photo cred: Sarah Harrison

Enjoying a snowy day at Triple Falls in DuPont State Forest.​ Photo cred: Sarah Harrison

Jess Wiegandt
Brevard College, N.C.
@jesswiegandt

I go outside and play in lots of ways, but mostly by means of whitewater kayaking. I’ve been paddling since the age of 6 and continue to do so as often as possible. I remember when I was too young to paddle on my own, probably around three or four, my family and some friends spent a day on the James River paddling the Balcony Falls section. I used to be terrified of the Balcony Falls rapid and the first time I ran it, I was sitting in the bottom of a canoe, peering over the edge of the gunwhale and I remember screaming both out of fear and happiness as water splashed in and hit my face. After that, there was no going back. The North Fork of the French Broad right now is one of my favorite places to get out and paddle. It’s fun, it’s challenging, it’s in a beautiful part of the forest, and I can get out there after class and get a couple laps in before dark. My dream job is to work as an outdoor journalist, covering events, people, and places all over the world. This way I get to play outside, take pictures, write, and get paid for it!
Follow Jess on Vimeo!

 

sean

Sean likes fish. We like Sean.

Sean Reckert

Warren-Wilson College, N.C.

My name is Sean Reckert, age 22. I grew up in Needham, Mass., and was draw to Warren Wilson College, in part, by its gorgeous location in the Blue Ridge Mountains. For the past four years my fondness for rock climbing and fly-fishing have grown exponentially. I am proud to be part of this friendly and environmentally minded outdoor community.

 

 

 

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Jordan in her natural element.

Jordan Budnik
Georgia College & State University, Ga.

If newborn babies are delivered to their families by stork, it is safe to speculate that I was dropped off by a hawk. My name is Jordan Budnik: raptor spazz, nature nut, and self-proclaimed Critter Captain. A suburban childhood in Decatur, Georgia is not rife with endless forests so I sought out every leaf, bucket of mud, or reptile that I could find. With age and the blessing of a supportive family, I expanded my passion for the outdoors through ski trips, fishing, hiking, birding, interning with Zoo Atlanta, and attending animal conferences across the states. Aside from being in the wilderness, I delight in writing, curling up with a book in my bedroom (aka lair), painting, singing, rock climbing, volunteering with a wildlife rehab clinic, and educating my community about nature. Everyone has a place that resonates with them above all other places–some inexplicable relationship forms. The Blue Ridge mountains tug insistently on my heartstrings whenever I leave for too long so I often go running back to them. It seems only fitting that I made my way to write for an innovative outdoor magazine that shares the name of my favorite place in the world. So many people in outdoor pursuits go out in search of adventure, forgetting to look back and share it with others in the process. Through writing with Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine, I hope to join that unique breed of adventurer that reaches out through words to bridge the gap and encourage others to ‘Go Outside and Play’.