Mountain Air

Glacier Institute's Blog

Real fans of the Institute might recognize this next Outdoor Education Specialist….

Meet Josef McKee, aka Joe, better known around Big Creek as GI Joe has returned to the Institute after a summer as an intern in 2021. 

Role: Outdoor Education Specialist
Hometown: Paw Paw, Illinois 
University: Southern Illinois University #GoSalukis 

Josef comes from the small town of Paw Paw in Northern Illinois.  He grew up in the woods and rural fields looking for animal tracks, fossils, and arrow heads. Joe has many fond memories dodging homework by spending the evening fishing out of the farmer’s nearby pond. However, his love for the true wilds of America was gained while on many of my family vacations across America, in places like Yellowstone, the Great Smoky Mountains, and Glacier. 

After graduating high-school with his fellow 20 classmates, Josef went to Kishwaukee community College and immersed himself in the biology department. With his Associates degree in Science in hand, he went on to gain a degree in Zoology and specialization in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from Southern Illinois University. After graduation Joe worked with the Wildlife Department at SIU as a technician, studying bobwhite quail and grassland ecosystems. 

Now that we’ve got the serious stuff out of the way…. Special GI Joe powers include the ability to handle frigid creek temperatures to collect benthic macroinvertebrates 🤓, start fires, and find tracks. In his free time, GI Joe can be found hiking every mile of trail in Glacier, fly fishing, and using his detective skills to solve the mystery of what happened to that deer carcass on trail. He also has an endless library of obscure movie quotes and Viking facts, and if you understand either one, he’ll appreciate you forever.