Ted Mattison, also known as Ranger Ted, is a Certified California Naturalist, a professional hiking guide, a park docent and is trained in wilderness first aid. He's an award winning filmmaker, a professional actor, teacher and a lifelong outdoor adventurer and outdoor educator. He received his B.A. from Oberlin College in Political Science and East Asian Studies and his M.A. in Education from St. Thomas University in St. Paul, MN. Originally from Minneapolis, he's explored most of North America from the BWCAW to Alaska to the Cascades and the mountains and deserts of California. He's the founder of Wonder Outside and lives in Huntington Beach, CA with his wife and two daughters.
Loons Need Long RunwaysNot many people in this world know that a loon is one of the few birds with solid bones, which makes them heavier than most birds of similar size.  Still fewer would know what to do when a loon can’t take off from a lake that’s just beginning to freeze over entirely.  Enter Mark Hennessy, loon-runway-builder. Or perhaps ice-breaker for loons should be his title.  Clearly, this particular loon had decided to sleep in too late.  Mark was in his favorite wilderness area in the world, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota and knew that this loon would never get airborne if it didn’t have a long, ice-free, water runway for takeoff.So he did what any veteran of canoeing and outdoor travel in the wilderness would do, he got in his canoe and proceeded to clear out a path in the ice with his paddle. And sure enough that loon was able to use that temporary runway for a successful takeoff and headed straight for Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.And as observers of loon behavior know, that loon was most likely to fly right back at that very same lake – even that very same section of that lake, next year.  Hopefully, with an alarm set for a few days before ice-in. The Need for AdventureMark Hennessy doesn’t have to think about why he likes to go outside. “Adventure.”He doesn’t hesitate.  Mark not only likes outdoor adventure, he needs it.  He seeks it out nearly every day for his physical, emotional and spiritual health. Certainly, his annual winter camping trip with friends in the remotest regions of northern Minnesota would qualify as adventure.  “Winter” + “Camping” Does Not Equal CrazyWhen I remind him that people don’t usually put the words ‘winter’ and ‘camping’ together in the same sentence he admits that people do think he’s crazy.  But this is the kind of crazy that I love. It’s the kind of crazy that inspires and it’s the kind of crazy we all should be looking into doing more.  A LOT more. A Qualified Wonder GuideMark is, without a doubt, the most “extreme” outdoor adventurer I’ve had the pleasure to talk with as my Wonder Guide to date.  By extreme I mean experienced and traveled. He’s hiked, canoed, paddled and otherwise been outside in North America his entire life.  Bring Your CameraMark reminds me that one way to truly take a breath in the great outdoors is to bring your camera. Like me, Mark can be very focused on the goal at hand or the completion of a task.  By having that camera with you, he says, your forced to take an important break and be truly present in your environment. His exceptional landscape photography can be found here: https://www.markhennessyphotography.com/My conversation with Mark is full of especially useful reminders for getting outside more easily, more often and more confidently. Mark reminds us that ‘transformational moments’ are just around the bend and that a little effort can lead to a life of wonder and meaning in the great outdoors. For the 3 x 3 Main Street Challenge we start in St. Augustine, Florida at the Tropical Smoothie Café on Seagrove Main Street and travel to Anastasia State Park, the 12 Mile Swamp Conservation Area and the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.In the There’s No Planet B segment we discuss the reasons why planning to build Copper-Sulfide mines on the doorstep of the BWCAW is a really bad idea.  https://www.friends-bwca.org/sulfide-mining  
DJ Shark is our Wonder Guide in Episode 9 where we look at the first 8 Where Art Meets Nature Segments.  A replaying of these segments will really inspire you to get outside...or write or song....or sing a song =)!  
Camping is for EveryoneMichelle, Julie and Courtney are back to share their wisdom and tips on camping with their families.  From meal planning to realistic expectations to unplugging from devices to navigating the many personalities in any family, these Wonder Guides have a lot more value to offer all of us.People Want to Help YouOne of the most important themes to emerge from my conversation with Julie, Michelle and Courtney is that the barriers to getting outside are minimal.  They prove again and again that just a little bit of planning and not a lot of money can create a wonderful outdoor experiences for the entire family. The Barriers are ImaginaryDon't let lack of gear or other financial limitations be a barrier to creating wonder for yourself and your loved ones.  Just listen to these camping savvy moms and you'll hopefully find the inspiration you need to plan your next adventureWhere Art Meets Nature with DJ SharkIn our music meets nature segment we look at three of the most talented women in all of music: Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt.  Their awards are too many to count. Their voices are too powerful to measure. Their contribution to music, art, other artists and fans is simply astounding.  In their second collaboration TRIO II they sing a song called, High Sierra.  Come along with DJ Shark and I as we discuss the highs and lows of love with these musical legends.Where You Were When You Heard 'That' SongI only recently found the track, High Sierra on Trio II. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trio_IIAnd I'll never forget it.  Because the combination of songwriting with these voices is simply perfect.  Here's a youtube video of High Sierra.3 x 3 Main AVENUE is in ClevelandIn the 3 x 3 Main Street challenge we travel to the legendary city of Cleveland and start at McCarthy's Downtown. A "relaxed bar with pub grub and musical acts." https://www.clevescene.com/cleveland/mccarthys-downtown/Location?oid=24609271A River on FIREThat's correct. Many know the story. Many have wondered if it is true. The answer is that yes, the Cuyahoga river in Ohio caught fire.  MORE THAN ONCE.  The causes are obvious: systematic, unrelenting, unchecked and long term pollution from a variety of sources left a river that was truly dead.  Dead to animal life, dead to fish life and dead to a city that could hardly stand the smell of a vital waterway.Just a couple minutes from McCarthy's Downtown is Heritage Park and the Cuyahoga River which has made an amazing comeback.Lake Erie and Much MoreThere's a lot to explore along the Northeast Ohio shore and just 30 minutes from downtown Cleveland is the Headland Dunes Nature Preserve and the Headlands Beach State Park. Headlands Dunes State Nature PreserveHeadlands Dunes is a 25-acre preserve just to the east of Headlands Beach State Park. Niagara Falls is less than 3 hours away?Yes indeed. And that's not just if you're in Northeast Ohio. That goes for many people in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada.  There's too much to say about Niagara Falls.  But suffice to say there's a reason we all know about it and so many people visit it every year.
Courtney Brown, Julie Pearl-Slater and Michelle Silver are our Wonder Guides for Episode 7 and boy do they know how to camp!  And with kids!When Courtney moved from the ample and beautiful beaches of Orange County, California to Utah she embraced the opportunity to ‘stretch out’ and explore the mountains with her children.  All FIVE of them.When Julie left Chicago for L.A. she had no idea she’d go camping ‘overnight’ let alone take regular camping trips to Joshua Tree, Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada mountains.Michelle knows what happens when she gets outdoors regularly either alone or with her son: she feels better instantly.These three women take us on a rewarding, insightful and inspirational camping trip today by sharing their stories about getting outside. Their advice, stories and insights are many and that's why my conversation with them will stretch over two episodes.In this first episode we'll touch on a number of subjects such as how each of our guides grew to not just love the outdoors but see it as vital to the collective health and happiness of their families. We'll address the challenges of preparation and electronic devices. Over and over again, these Wonder Guides reinforce one main truth: getting outside and camping with their kids is liberating, inspiring and worth the effort.3 x 3 Main Street ChallengeIn our 3 x 3 Main Street Challenge we visit the lovely little town of Wheaton, Illinois. Starting at Five and Hoek Coffee at 112 N Main Street we just walk a couple of blocks to the expansive Illinois Prairie Path which goes for over 60 miles. Within 15-20 minutes one can be on another main street in Glen Ellyn and eating a cinnamon roll at the Blackberry Market at 401 N. Main Street. The 30 minute segment is solved quite easily by simply continuing along the wonderfully bucolic Prairie Path.What's within 3 hours of Wheaton?  There's a LOT to choose from but today why don't we simply drive due west for under three hours to the mighty Mississippi River.  Two places of note include the Wildcat Den State Park which has one of the oldest operating grist mills!  Back across the river on the Illinois side is the Loud Thunder Forest Preserve which has more outdoor activities that I have time to list.In our Art Meets Nature segment, DJ Shark leads us into the beautiful, evocative and melancholy masterpiece The Green Green Grass of Home. Written by Claude "Curly" Putman Jr., but of course made world famous by Tom Jones.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytvcdSzzMds In There's No Planet B we look at the principles of Leave No Trace.   There is a wealth of information to explore at the website for the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.Plan ahead and prepareTravel and camp on durable surfacesDispose of waste properlyLeave what you findMinimize campfire impactsRespect wildlifeBe considerate of other visitors
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Creator Details

Jun 24th, 1966
Los Angeles, California, United States of America
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
11 hours, 21 minutes
Podchaser Creator ID logo 170059