An outdoor enthusiast and self-proclaimed natural sciences super-nerd, Riley grew up in a small gold mining town in northern California. He spent four years living in Los Angeles earning an undergraduate degree in Geology and Environmental Sciences.
Before joining the Elements, Riley worked as an environmental youth educator in rural North Carolina, Colorado, and Wyoming. He served as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Wyoming and studied and researched conservation in Ecuador and Costa Rica. Riley spent a year in living in southern Chile learning and working with Rotary International’s local service organizations.
During his experiences teaching and mentoring younger populations, he discovered that his greatest perceived positive impact manifested not from academic education but rather from candid interpersonal conversations concerning how to navigate the complex and difficult tribulations of adolescence.
Both the positive and negative aspects of maturing in an insular and isolated community ultimately led Riley to recognize the importance of wilderness and autonomy in a young man’s development. The ability to practice mindfulness, live an active and healthy lifestyle, and develop therapeutic skills alongside the students he works with at Elements has made Riley a first-hand believer in the program and its benefits.
On his off-shifts, Riley often travels in his beloved Prius to visit friends, ski, climb, and take hammock-naps in the mountains.