Scientist. Artist. Conservationist. Angler. Today we couldn’t be more excited to introduce Piper Nunn (@piper_nunn) as a Wise River Ambassador.
Devoting her career to conservation, research and stewardship, Piper has spent the last 3 months in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest working as a Fisheries and Wildlife Biology Technician. Also an accomplished artist (seriously, check out her work at pipernunn.art), Piper draws inspiration from the beauty of the natural world around us, and encourages us to develop a deeper connection to it. Also a true role model for the angling community, and all around badass, we’re psyched to have Piper on board!
Piper was able to take some time out of her crazy busy schedule to catch up with us to discuss Wise River, her experiences in Alaska, and what inspires her with her art and everyday life. Check the link in our bio (@wise_river) to read more!
Nick: What are some things that you've come to love about Wise River gear?
Piper: The thing that I love the most about my Wise River gear is the feeling of the fabric, it is so soft and comfortable to wear. The breathability of the shirts is also fantastic; I stay cool even when I am bush-whacking my way up the river!
Nick: Creating breathable, versatile gear is definitely what we’re going for! What products have you been digging?
Piper: I’ve been digging the Bassett shirt and the San Isabel shirt! They are the perfect light-weight layer for hiking, fishing, field work, and even for casual wear. The stretch fabric on the shirts is another bonus, it keeps the shirts from being restrictive.
Nick: That’s awesome. True every day, all-purpose gear is exactly what we’re going for, so we’re psyched to hear that you’re able to get a lot of use out of it! What have been your go to activities in the gear?
Piper: So far my go to activities in my wise river gear are fly-fishing and hiking, but they’re so versatile I can wear them for just about anything!
Nick: Again, stoked to hear that! I’d love to hear more about what you’ve been up to the last few months… You've been up in Alaska's Tongass National Forest doing environmental research the last few months, what does a typical day look like?
Piper: Working as a fisheries and wildlife biology technician in Alaska means that I am involved on a wide variety of projects, every day looks different here! Some days I spend hiking into the backcountry to work on monitoring salmon runs, and other days I spend hiking sandy dunes on the coast surveying nesting Aleutian Terns. I have spent time restoring streams and streamside habitat, picking up marine debris, and patrolling the rivers to ensure fishing regulations are being followed. No matter what project I am working on I am always outside and experiencing something amazing!
Nick: Seriously, so cool. It seems that you’ve been able to get out and find some time off the clock to do what you love also. You recently caught both your first wild steelhead and salmon on a fly rod. What was that like? Was it a crazy rush?
Piper: Catching my first wild steelhead on the fly was the highlight of my fly-fishing journey. The pursuit, fight, and release of my first steelhead were a rush of emotions. Words can’t explain how incredible it is to spend a moment with a 32” wild Alaskan steelhead. Catching my first salmon on the fly was also a unique experience. Sockeye fishing is a very unique type of fishing, one that often requires a great deal of patience. I am grateful to have caught and harvested salmon in Alaska, it is an experience that connects you to the natural world in a very special way.
Nick: I imagine it is a truly unique and rewarding angling experience to be on pristine rivers with wild fish runs- I’m jealous! You're also an accomplished artist. What are some things that inspire you most?
Piper: My art is largely inspired by the natural world and is my way of capturing the beauty that I experience in the outdoors. Everything from rivers, fish, and mountain ranges inspires my artwork. I create art not only to share the beauty that I see in the world, but as a way to connect myself and others to the outdoors. I hope that through my artwork, people are reminded of the beauty that our world has to offer and the duty that we have to protect it.
Nick: I love the way you’re able to take a bunch of different elements and work them in cohesively. I also love that there’s the implicit conservation message in every piece. For anyone interested, seriously check out Piper’s work at www.pipernunn.art, it’s truly incredible. Wise River's mission is rooted in supporting organizations focused on conservation. From your perspective, what are some things you'd like to see the outdoor industry focus on more?
Piper: I would love for the outdoor industry to focus more on sustainable production practices as well as proactive steps towards conservation of our waterways. Outdoor gear that is produced with sustainable materials is the next necessary step to a more sustainable future. There are currently many brands who are focused on conservation, it’s the hottest topic in the outdoor industry. While this is a great step forward, I love seeing brands that are doing more by actively helping to conserve our waterways and ecosystems.
Nick: Absolutely. As a company that creates outdoor gear that’s kinds to the outdoors, we believe it is our responsibility to support and advocate for the things that we love. Are there any organizations we should be paying attention to?
Piper: One company that is currently making waves in conservation is Bajio Sunglasses. Bajio is a company driven by a passion to conserve the saltwater flats around the world, and help the communities of people who rely on them. Their production is sustainable, and their mission is conservation.
Nick: We’re happy to give a shout to companies doing awesome things out there, and Bajio seems just that (collab someday?!)… Thanks so much to Piper for taking the time to catch up with us a little bit. We hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about what she’s been up to. We know we did!