Professor Stan Braude


Stan Braude is a professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis.  After researching naked mole rats in Kenya for 20 years, Professor Braude started this class to share his passion for nature and the endless research possibilities that come with it. Without our fearless leader starting fires from flint and steel and teaching us how to conduct our own research, this class wouldn’t be what it is today. 


Rachel Becknell (TA)

Thomas Van Horn (TA) is a Junior at Washington University in St. Louis studying Biochemistry. A native St. Louisian, Thomas has many years of camping experience in Missouri and the Midwest and loves this opportunity to show incoming freshmen the beauty of his home state. He enjoys fishing and backpacking, and has a goal to complete the entire Ozark Trail before he finishes college.

Nathan Walton (TA)

Seth Adler is part of the Class of 2020.  He enjoyed being a cub scout as a child and wants to continue exploring the outdoors while in college.  He enjoys hiking and kayaking.  

Ayana Arrington is from Maryland and attended a Global Ecology program in high school. She wanted to continue going on hikes and camping as a part of the learning experience in college, so she decided to take this course. 

Joey Biondo is a St. Louis native and enjoys hiking and fishing; however, he has never really explored much outside of St. Louis. He joined Missouri’s Natural Heritage to learn more about the state he was raised in so that he could better appreciate its nature and natural history.

Michelle Kim is a communication design and psychology double major from a suburb of LA, California. She fell in love with the beautiful greenery of St. Louis that doesn’t exist back home in SoCal. She enjoys going camping with her family and joined Missouri’s Natural Heritage to get to know her new home by exploring its natural environment.

Emily Rehmann is excited to explore and learn more about Missouri! She loves hiking and exploring National Parks with her family, and is eager to go camping and discover more about her new home. Her dream hike is Rim to Rim in one day! 

Jessica Rehmann is from Ames, Iowa and is interested in environmental science. She loves hiking, camping, canoeing, and being outdoors. She is excited for the opportunity to learn about Missouri and spend time off campus in her new home for the next four years.

AJ Villeneuve is a freshman at Washington University from the San Francisco Bay Area. He thinks trees and rocks are pretty cool.


Mathew “popeye” Boden hails from the great state of Maryland.  His inhabitance in this wonderful state has prepared him to experience nature due to its proximity to the Appalachian mountains.  Frequent hikes and camping trips with family and friends have given him the base to expand his horizons into the state of Missouri.  In addition to his love of nature, Matt has a 15 year old sister named Rebecca and a 12 year old dog named Pele.  Leaving his family and friends in order to journey to St. Louis has been difficult, but he has his eyes set on a degree in Biology. 

Halley Cummings is originally from Danforth, IL, a small farming town in east central Illinois. She grew up on a family farm with three younger sisters, multitudes of animals, and a large apple orchard. She has spent lots of summers camping across the North and Southwest with her family and loves the outdoors in all its many forms. Halley is currently majoring in Architecture and is a part of the class of 2018. Her other interests include cooking, gardening, watercolor painting, and combinations thereof.

Yonatan David was born in nature. A beast in the wild, some know him as the fire king. As a fan of the outdoors, he loves camping, hiking, and climbing. He does anything to get outside and is very excited to go exploring with his MNH family. He plans on majoring in Physics and continuing his outdoor adventures!

Thomas Kong is part of the Class of 2018. Throughout his childhood, he had enjoyed hiking and fishing, but Missouri Natural Heritage has been his first real experience camping in the outdoors. Thomas is from Rancho Palos Verdes, California, a coastal suburb in Los Angeles. He hopes to pursue a major in Biology.

August Gremaud, a resident of St. Louis and member of the class of 2018, is no newcomer to Missouri and its countryside. Camping, fishing, and making fire are all feathers in his hat, but Missouri’s Natural Legacy is a new frontier to conquer. With no declared major but a passionate interest in the natural world, he welcomes the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with open arms and closed tent flaps: August loves sleeping in campouts. Semi-pro pun producer, his notoriously bad jokes have been known to induce groans from as far as 50 meters. August’s inerests outside of class include reading, soccer, archery, and many stranger things. Also, despite having been a Boy Scout in the past, he is not, in fact, always prepared!


Melanie Cohen is hoping to major in Chemical Engineering and minor in Environmental Engineering. She is from Phoenix, Arizona and loves the great outdoors! She loves learning (and tasting) the edible plants around Missouri. She hopes to keep camping, hiking, and exploring Missouri while she is at Wash U.

Annie Gocke is a rising sophomore studying Systems Science and Engineering from Houston, Texas. She sometimes likes nature. Sometimes. Other times she enjoys baking and eating, especially creating dessert concoctions on trail! She is working as a wilderness counselor in northern Minnesota this summer and hopes she and the kids she leads on trips make it out alive (just kidding, she’s Wilderness First Aid certified!). This class has inspired her enjoyment of the outdoors and she plans to continue hiking and camping throughout college.

John Evan Lee loves exploring the unknown natural world but also enjoys relaxing in the comfortable and recognizable parts. He would just as soon bask in the mid-morning sunlight as he would bushwhack through the Amazon rainforest. He also enjoys writing poetry, reading the Bible, and longboarding with friends. He is originally from Brea, California, a small suburban town outside of Los Angeles. Amongst the other explorers, he is known as ‘Grandpa’ for his stoic maturity and cautious, parent-like attitude. At WashU, he is pursuing a major in Anthropology and a minor in Writing.

Sam Schell enjoys experiencing the Earth’s wilderness through hiking with friends. He is originally from Charlotte, NC. Sam is a rising sophomore pursuing a Biochemistry degree. Sam also is a premed (like everyone else at Wash U I know). When he is not exploring the wilderness he enjoys dancing (so much swag). This summer he will be taking Organic Chemistry at Wash U to open up time for other activities during the school year, such as more dancing and outdoor activities.

Neil Stein is a rising sophomore studying Environmental Biology and Environmental Engineering at Washington University. He is originally from Kfar Saba, Israel, and has been living in Minnetonka, Minnesota for 8 years now. He is a former Boy Scout who loves the great outdoors. His favorite outdoor activities include bird watching and canoeing. This summer he will be working as an Outdoor Activities Coordinator at Herzl Camp in Northern Wisconsin, teaching campers about the importance of knowing the world around us. Missouri’s Natural Heritage has been an inspiration to Neil to further pursue his interests in Environmental Biology to learn more about how we can live with our changing environment.