Academic Director/Expedition Guide
While originally from Chicago, Jen can now be found wandering the bluffs surrounding the Mississippi River in Minnesota with her Husky, Kota. Jen has B.S. degrees in both Biology and Spanish from Winona State University, and a Master’s Degree in Instruction from Saint Mary’s University. Jen truly loves to learn about the world and will always see herself as an everlasting student. As a science teacher, experiential educator, and wilderness first responder for the past 10 years, Jen believes that the best way to learn anything is to get outside of your comfort zone and really let the world teach you everything it has to offer.
The desire to really understand people from all walks of life has provided Jen with the opportunity to lead both student and adult trips throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, Southeast Africa, Australia, Central America, and the Caribbean Islands. She has shared her passion for sailing by leading students on sailing ventures in the Apostle Islands, the Puget Sound, French Polynesia, and the Whitsunday Islands off the coast of Australia. Living aboard a sailboat has provided rare moments to appreciate such as getting away from the mainland to watch playful seals or enjoy the colors of Aurora Borealis. Every place Jen visits simply reveals again and again how truly amazing the world is, and how there is so much of the world yet to be experienced.
Kyle received a B.S. in Geography from the University of La Crosse Wisconsin, an M.S. in Science Education from Montana State University, and a captains license through the U.S. Coast Guard. As the co-founder of Global Treks and Adventures, Kyle has lead both recreational and academic research trips to French Polynesia, the Apostle Islands, San Juan Islands, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and the Caribbean. Kyle has always been drawn to the water; living on a boathouse on the Mississippi River to spending 10 years on a boat working as a Water Resource Director for a tribal nation. Kyle currently teaches Geospatial Science at a private college in Wisconsin and appreciates his time spent collaborating on academic research projects. In his free time he greatly enjoys sharing his passion for travel and adventure with others, teaching them to sail, barefoot waterski, kayak, or swim, and is always welcoming others to share in the next great adventure with him.
Project Specialist/Expedition Guide
Gennifre has worked with multiple organizations that support her primary passions: experiential education; international travel, and authentic learning opportunities. During her 25-year career, she been an international guide, a leader, a published writer, an entrepreneur, a Founder, an Executive Director, a fundraiser, a wilderness guide, a novelist, a college professor, a teacher, a peace advocate, a philanthropist, an editor, and more. A unique career path driven by her innovative spirit, her diverse background, and her creative opportunities. When not leading expeditions for Global Treks Gennifre works professionally as: a non-profit executive and head of school; an international, risk-management consultant, and a university instructor. She additionally works and volunteers across the non-profit, education and wilderness sectors.
Gennifre’s primary passion is authentically working to make the world a better place. Her personal mission is to improve the lives of people, and she does this through travel, peace and humanitarian efforts, and experiential education. For her, this means: connecting genuinely with real people; changing the status quo regarding education; and creating ethical, safe international experiences for people who want to learn about the world and, in turn, make their differences. She believes that when people are inspired to grow both personally and professionally, every single one of us has the ability to change the world. Aside from her career, Gennifre is passionate about travel, wilderness, yoga, and is a voracious reader and writer.
research Scientist/expedition Guide
Dan is a geographer and cartographer with an undergraduate degree from The Evergreen State College and a masters from Penn State University. He started working in GIS in 1988, and his career has included jobs with local and tribal governments, educational institutions, as well as private companies. One of the things that he loves about being a geographer is that it has given him the opportunity to work on projects spanning a wide range of disciplines, including ethnography, botany, marine fisheries, epidemiology, forestry, wildlife biology, historical geography, language, and others. He has had the opportunity to teach for-credit classes at the University College of Belize and Penn State, as well as teaching GIS as an authorized ESRI instructor. He loves to travel, meet new people, and learn about new places and new things.
A native of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, Jackie holds a bachelor's degree in English and communication studies from Hamline University. She became interested in journalism through Hamline's student newspaper, The Oracle, and served as editor-in-chief of the publication 2014-2015. Her work with Global Treks gave her the opportunity to connect more deeply with one of her favorite wilderness areas: the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior. She has written for several Minnesota publications and currently works as a staff writer for a community newspaper covering the Forest Lake and St. Croix Valley area in Minnesota. Her areas of interest include arts, music, theater, literature, outdoors, wildlife, sustainability, conservation, and travel.
Project Specialist/Chief Stress Reliever
Hailing from Canada, Lisa completed her undergraduate studies in music before moving to Minnesota for her masters in arts management. She then combined her love of the Arts and the outdoors by moving to the Canadian Rockies and working at The Banff Centre where she managed The Banff International String Quartet Competition, among other arts managements roles at the Centre over the years. Besides working in arts performance organizations, she has also led a community foundation and conducted project management and consulting work with a variety of nonprofit agencies. An active teacher, Lisa has maintained a music studio for over 20 years, as well as taught at Saint Mary’s University. From running to all types of skiing, hiking, rock climbing, paddling, swimming, snow angel making, horseback riding and scuba diving, Lisa balances her love of activity with cooking and knitting. She spends her summers on the Mississippi River with her husband and during their winters they travel and explore new locations.
Amanda received a B.S. in Natural Resources with an emphasis in Ecological Restoration from Northland College on the beautiful south shores of Lake Superior in Ashland, Wisconsin. Over the past 10 years Amanda has spent much of her professional and personal time pursuing activities related to the preservation and protection of natural resources. During her time at Northland College Amanda worked as a Project Coordinator for the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute managing projects such as community rain gardens, wildlife monitoring, ecological surveying, grant management, wetland mitigation, and educational and outreach efforts. In 2009, Amanda travelled throughout Central America for 3 months as a part of a study abroad program whose mission statement was to strive to help society achieve a tipping point toward sustainability and to build bridges of understanding and cooperative action between business, environmental, and social interests. After college Amanda spent 3 years as an Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator with Oconto County and is currently employed by the Lower Sioux Community as their Environmental Specialist. Her personal interests include dancing, rock climbing, skiing, teaching yoga, learning to hunt with her two bird dogs, and exploring Minnesota. Amanda believes that true education has the ability to spur an inner transformation that inspires life-changing action. Amanda believes that experiential programs such as Global Treks and Adventures provides an opportunity for students to think more deeply, holistically, and compassionately about self, community, and the environment.
Jessica Vanderwerff Wilson
Jessica holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Science and a Master’s degree in Water Resources Science, emphasizing in limnology and oceanography. She currently works for local government as a Water Resources Coordinator, helping to protect the community and its water; sometimes from each other. In a high school biology class, she sparked an interest in water resources that eventually led her to several field and research experiences, including a research cruise on Lake Superior. She is a lifelong learner, inspired by scientific discovery and thinking critically about the natural world – there is a lot yet to explore! Jessica is passionate about helping others make personal connections to science and nature, and also serves as an adjunct biology faculty member at Century College. In her free time, Jessica enjoys cooking, reading, camping, and spending time with her husband and their dog, River.
Jeana is passionate about wildlife conservation and education. She holds Bachelor degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies and Master degrees in Biology and Instruction. As an undergraduate student, Jeana did a semester-long study abroad program in rural Kenya where she completed multiple ecology projects and helped the local community improve their wildlife management and conservation strategies. Jeana also participated in a study abroad throughout Costa Rica for a Field Ecology program where she completed various research projects in different biomes. Jeana has also participated in numerous wildlife conservation internships, including cheetah research and husbandry with the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia, Steller sea lion and harbor seal research with the Alaska SeaLife Center, and shark, ray, and skate research with Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. Jeana now spends her time teaching upper-level biology and anatomy classes to high school students in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. In her free time, Jeana enjoys spending time with her dog, hiking, gardening, and traveling. Because of the positive influence on Jeana’s life that her study abroad programs had on her, Jeana believes strongly in students having such experiences!
Dr. Colin Belby
As Colin states, “I live near a big river and like to do stuff”
As everyone else would say: Colin hails from Rock Island, Illinois – located on the western shore of Illinois. He attended Augustana College and earned bachelor degrees in geography and mathematics, with minors in Latin American Studies and Environmental Studies. After a brief stint as a cartographer for the Army Corps of Engineers, he realized a life behind a computer was not for him and he returned to school to complete graduate degrees in physical geography from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Colin continues to live near the Mississippi River and is now an associate professor in the Geography and Earth Science Department at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse where he teaches courses on rivers, landforms and landscapes, field mapping techniques, and environmental systems. Colin caught the travel bug as a kid while camping in national parks throughout the U.S. with his family. He has since grown into an explorer of places near and far with family, friends, and students. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two boys, is an avid camper, backpacker and cyclist, and a budding skier, paddler, and diver. Colin’s travel experiences throughout South and Central America developed a passion for learning about people and places, and he loves that his career provides him the opportunity to create similar life-changing experiences with his students through research and study abroad.