Ryan has long been a student of nature. Born and raised in the foothills of Virginia, he spent his childhood with an eye to the sky, watching hawks fly overhead and listening to the owls call through the woods. After spending a handful of years teaching natural history and environmental science in a variety of programs throughout the DC metro area, he started work with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute as a field ecologist. With SCBI, he studied tree development, forest health, and wild orchids. He is currently working towards his Master’s Degree in Environmental Science with George Mason University.