Meet Our New Program Director, Jay!

Jay Davis just moved to Oregon from Wisconsin, with a background in running experiential education programs in both Minnesota and California. With a Master’s of Science in Experiential Education and a true passion for sharing the outdoors, we know that Jay will be a natural fit for the Opal Creek team—but what is our newest team member really all about?

Gabrielle (Development & Communications Manager): Jay, you already knew you wanted to move to Oregon before you got this job. What was it that drew you?

Jay: The life—and not just human life—that is able to exist here, and the intentionality around that life. The National Forests and the woods—people care about that here, and that’s different from where I grew up, where when you go out in the woods it’s to hunt.

G: Tell us about one of your most formative experiences outdoors as a young person.

J: My most formative experience was climbing trees. To get up into the tree was always an effort for my size, and the fine balance of moving from limb to limb honed my agility and my confidence in what my body was able to do. And then standing at the top of the tree and looking out—that always gave me this sense of accomplishment and also the sense of how small I am. It helps remind me of my place in the earth.

G: What took you from climbing trees to outdoor education?

J: The reality of what’s important, for one. The idea that outdoor education only improves upon something as opposed to destroys something. Providing outdoor education doesn’t harm anything per se—and that’s where our intentionality comes in. I feel more comfortable as a teacher leading something that has little or no destruction, and that provides a role model for the youth as well.

G: What does outdoor education mean to you?

J: I find outdoor education important because it’s experiential. It’s the hands-on style of learning that everyone learns best through. It’s getting out and seeing firsthand where our lineage and heritage initially came from. The natural side of earth is something that we should always have our finger on the pulse of, and when we take our finger off we lose the identity of ourselves. By educating in the outdoors we gain ourselves in the process.

G: Finally, Jay, this is a big year for you! New city, new job—what are you most excited for in the coming months?

J: To see Jawbone Flats for the first time—to smell Jawbone and touch Jawbone and taste Jawbone and hear Jawbone.


Read Jay’s full bio on our staff page. Jay is also an accomplished nature photographer! Check out his work here.