Taylor Collins & Katie Forrest
Taylor Collins’ and Katie Forrest’s life journey has taken them from restoring their bodies to restoring their land. The once-vegetarian Austin couple went vegan after health issues got in the way of sports training. When things got worse, they consulted a nutritionist who urged them to add clean meat protein to their diet. They did, and things quickly turned around. The entrepreneurs then founded EPIC Provisions, creating the world’s first grass-fed meat, fruit, and nut bar. The successful company was sold in 2016, and Taylor and Katie invested in a depleted Texas Hill Country ranch to demonstrate the potential of regenerative agriculture. Through their land stewardship, ROAM Ranch is coming back to life.
Jarvis Boards founder Tony Smith has built a business around his passion. The one-time stockbroker walked away from a corporate job several years ago to focus his attention on what he loves. Today, the handmade wooden paddleboards he crafts in his Austin studio have found homes around the world. When he’s not making them, you can find him on top of one, because he says there’s something magical about spending time on the water. Tony is thrilled to join the ranks of TPWF’s We Will Not Be Tamed ambassadors. “If I can help give back and spread awareness and get more people outdoors and in nature, I’m all for it. The more that people are in nature, the more they will care about protecting it.”
Rick Wittenbraker lives the outdoor life and pursues his passion whether he is in the field, on the water, or at his desk. As chief marketing officer for Howler Brothers, an outdoor apparel brand based in Austin, Rick’s love for the outdoors manifests itself every day. A father of three, Rick shares his love for the outdoors with his kids like his parents did with him. Whether at work or at play, Rick encourages folks to heed the call.
Jesse Griffiths has a singular focus on sourcing food locally for his Austin restaurant. He opened Dai Due in 2014, named one of the best new restaurants by Bon Appetit in 2015. The moniker is inspired by an Italian proverb: From the two kingdoms of nature, choose food with care. Now Dai Due is connecting customers directly to food sources by offering classes on hunting, fishing, and whole-hog butchery. In 2012, he published Afield, a lyrical guide to cooking wild game and fish, which was nominated for a James Beard award. He’s working on a second cookbook dedicated to feral hogs.
Alvin Dedeaux has been fishing ever since he can remember and fly fishing since he was 12. Considered to be Central Texas’ premier fly-fishing guide, he spends most of his time chasing largemouths and Guadalupe bass in his home waters of the Colorado River. In 2016, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) invited him to join the Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee, and he’s involved with TPWD’s Conserving Texas Rivers Initiative, a partnership project to conserve Hill Country rivers through watershed-scale projects.
Amarillo native Jessie Story is an outdoor educator and wildlife photographer who is happiest when behind a camera at Caprock Canyons State Park. She is currently working on a documentary about the Texas State Bison Herd that roams 10,000 acres of the park. She has a true affection and concern for wildlife deemed as undesirable, especially bats and snakes.
Debbie Richardson is a twelve-time veteran of the grueling Texas Water Safari, dubbed the “World’s Toughest Canoe Race.” A multigenerational native Texan, Debbie grew up near the coast, and her love for the outdoors has led her to experience the vast diversity of the state. She loves camping, mountain biking, backpacking, and paddling Texas’ rivers.
What Stephen McGee has learned in the field permeates everything he does. From teamwork learned on a football field in high school, college and then the NFL, to the life lessons he’s learned in the field hunting, Stephen applies those lessons to every aspect of his life. A self-described financial quarterback for the clients he advises, Stephen finds work/life balance by spending time outdoors with family and friends.
Western artist Teal Coke Blake’s love for the cowboy life shines through his work. He grew up in Montana, on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, surrounded by ranching country. The son of well-known western artist Buckeye Blake, Teal is now forging his own path. In 2014, he was invited to join the renowned Cowboy Artists of America organization. The vast expanse of the West inspires his art. An avid fly fisher, Teal spends as much time as he can manage on the water and is passing along his love for the outdoors to his son.