Speakers/Workshop Leaders

2022 Speakers and Workshop Leaders

Keynote: Gerry Moffatt

Thunder Dragon Fund


A Scottish native, Gerry Moffatt is an internationally-acclaimed expedition kayaker and has spent 35 years guiding in the Himalayas and around the world. National Geographic considers Gerry to be the “most experienced river guide in the Himalayas”. He is the first person to descend all the major rivers in Nepal and Bhutan. As a professional athlete, Gerry’s been featured by Men’s Journal, National Geographic, Red Bull Media, Discovery Channel and Outside. Gerry was recently appointed Nepal’s first International Goodwill Ambassador for Adventure Travel & Tourism.

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Mary Faurot Petterson - Save The South Fork Salmon

An Idahoan for close to 30 years, I worked as a fish biologist, district ranger, and naturalist with agencies and Tribes here and in Alaska, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.  I have Masters and Bachelors degrees in fish/wildlife management and biology.  Since retiring in 2016, I have been using what I learned from my career to help bring back our Northwest salmon and steelhead, and to save rivers and all they bring to our cultures.  I serve on the boards of Save the South Fork Salmon and Idaho Conservation League, was honored to receive this year’s River Advocate award from the Idaho Rivers United, and relish hosting conservation events and leading workshops for aquatic advocacy.  I am fortunate to have two grown offspring in Idaho who are also fish biologists and river guides.  I love rivers, mountains, and wild places, and live in McCall and White Bird, Idaho.


Mark Martin - Responsible Fish Guiding, Resilient Wild Fisheries


Mark is a lifelong fly fisherman and fly tyer, and has guided fly fishing and rafting on the Middle Fork and Main Salmon since 2008.  His degree is in Wildlife Ecology and Fisheries management from the University of Maine, which led to more than a decade’s worth of field work on Atlantic salmon, cutthroat, and steelhead projects in Maine, Wyoming and Idaho.  These days it’s all pretty much citizen science, but it feels just as important. 

Mark thinks being a well-honed naturalist, and therefore conservationist, is an essential component of being an angler, guide, and effective river steward.  In the cold seasons he’s a carpenter, and hosts winter weekly fly-tying sessions via Instagram.  He hunts a lot of mushrooms, listens to Red Sox games on the radio, swings flies for steelhead and trout, and uses his skins more than his season pass. 

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Auriona East - Gender Diversity in the Outdoors

Auri East (they/them) is a Sex/ual/ity educator-consultant and multi-day river guide (among many other things, of course!). Auri has been a part of Idaho's river community since 2015 when they began teaching English and Spanish at Alzar School, and they truly solidified their relationship with Idaho in 2017 when they found their forever-home at Canyons River Company. Auri earned their Certificate in Sexuality Education at Antioch University Seattle because, more than anything, they wanted to be a part of our educational system's shift towards scientifically accurate, pleasure-positive, and shame-reducing sex. ed. Since graduating, Auri has taught workshops to adults and youth alike; they've spoken about childhood sexual development, positive parenting for trans youth, gender diversity, sex, STIs, and sexuality. And they are incredibly excited to share just a little bit of their knowhow with you this May.


Gregory J. Moore - Live Rattlesnake Presentation


Greg is a Board-Certified Emergency Physician who has practiced emergency medicine full time for 40 years. In addition to his practice, he is actively involved in teaching Emergency Medicine and Wilderness Medicine.

Venomous snakes often provoke unwarranted fear in the outdoor enthusiast, which in part is due to misinformation and media dramatization. While North American species may not make the “Top Ten” list world wide in venom potency, bites from these reptiles do have significant morbidity and mortality. Understanding snake
behavior and field treatment may offer those who enjoy the outdoors some comfort.
The attendee will learn:
 A better understanding how to recognize a venomous species
 A better understanding of habitat and behavior
 The signs and symptoms of envenomation
 Current field treatments for bites
 Current hospital treatments

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Aaron Lieberman (Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association) - Executive Order, Lawsuits, Injunctions, & Professional Guides

Notwithstanding the recently granted injunction exempting (enjoining) the Outfitting Industry from the enforcement of EO14026, core structural concerns and issues remain. It is possible, if unlikely, that the injunction be removed or its coverage restricted. It is also possible, albeit speculative, that the President issue another EO or use different authority to enforce the same requirements as EO 14026. It is also possible that neither of those things happen.

But certain facts in play:

  • Our industry has gained a new level of federal attention/scrutiny and 

  • We remain subject to the same basic federal (and state) requirements (FLSA etc.); some of these do not fit well with our traditional modes of operation and may be problematic for many operators and employees.   

  • The heightened penalties for noncompliance (with the FLSA, etc.) are still in place and in force. 

  • If anything, the recent injunction creates as much "gray" as clarity. 

Point is: Stay in the know and stay in the game! 

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Nick Kunath (Idaho Rivers United) - The Wild & Scenic Stewardship Guide Certification Program


The Wild & Scenic Stewardship Guide Certification Program is a free, comprehensive, online education and professional development opportunity. This program was designed for river guides and outdoor educators, but it is open to anyone interested in learning more about the Middle Fork Salmon River, wild fish, stewardship, and conservation education. This program is the first-ever free, online education program of its kind for Idaho guides and beyond. 

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Dr. Brian Chaffin - Provocative Sunday Sermon "Part Science, Part Storytelling"


Dr. Brian Chaffin is a guide, facilitator, researcher, educator, and conservationist. During most of the year he teaches courses on water, climate, and natural resources policy at the University of Montana. As part of his research program, Brian facilitates conversations between government agencies, conservation NGOs, and private irrigators in search of solutions to stream dewatering issues in the Rocky Mountain West. With what time is left over, Brian guides river trips and teaches swiftwater rescue in Idaho and Montana in some of the same places he's guided for over 20 years. A founder of The Redside Foundation, his passion is the guiding community, and ensuring the healthful longevity of its culture and characters well into the future. Brian lives in Missoula, MT with his patient wife Jenni and their two cats, Odin and Frigga.


On Sunday morning at IRR, Brian will provide some provocative words to accompany spring runoff in anticipation of the river season. Part science, part storytelling, part nonsense, "Expanding the 'we' and the 80%" encourages a deeper engagement with our river community and a challenge to expand an understanding of stewardship.