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Our team
 

Jessica Pociask
Jessica has been to 70 countries leading expeditions all over the world, and en route she completed a B.S. in natural resource management from Michigan State University. Dedicated to conservation, she has worked extensively with The Nature Conservancy as a crew chief leader on wetland and fen restoration projects in Michigan. In winter of 2006, she completed a study in Antarctica on climate change and shortly thereafter, she was one of fifty women chosen from the US and Mexico by the National Wildlife Federation to participate in the 'Women's Leadership and International Sustainable Development' conference in Washington DC. Presently Jessica juggles acting as owner, co-director, and expedition leader for WANT Expeditions, as well as writing travel articles for various magazines. Jessica also stands on the board of Utopia Foundation, and is currently working to complete a M.S. in environmental sciences and public policy from Johns Hopkins University.

Ferenc Kis
Nature conservation expert and environmental management consultant. Ferenc has been working in over 30 countries throughout Africa, Asia and in Eastern Europe. He led missions for the World Wildlife Fund, coordinated national park management plans for several governments and drafter proposals for grassroot organizations. He has special interest in freshwater river systems and managed transboundary wetland restoration project in the Danube basin. Recently he has been involved in local renewable energy solutions and forest carbon research. Ferenc gained experiences in managing complex logistics in one of the most remote areas in the world: no matter if it is about a birdwatching tour in Indonesia, horse-riding in Mongolia or a deep dive in The Philippines, he will be confident guide as these countries were home for him over three years.

Kara Weller
Kara has always had two major passions - for travel and for the biology of the natural world. While growing up in Alaska she first became interested in wildlife when bears and moose constantly visited the woods next to her house. With a B.S. and M.S. degree in wildlife biology from Colorado State University, Kara's research experiences range from studying whales in the Bering Sea, eiders on the Arctic coast, river otters in central Europe, and raptors in central Alaska, to mouflon sheep in Eastern Europe. She worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as well as the National Park Service, and some private organizations such as the Alaska Bird Observatory. More recently she has switched her focus to the nature travel industry, and has worked extensively in the ecotourism industry traveling to over 50 countries, and working as expedition leader and lecturer on board passenger ships in the Arctic, Alaska, British Columbia, Eastern Russia, Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic, South America and the South Pacific, Antarctica and even the North Pole itself. Since her first trip to Antarctica in 1994 her focus has been primarily for the polar regions, and she enjoys sharing her love and knowledge of these regions with others.

Bence Mate
At only 25 years of age, without a doubt, Bence is one of the world's most talented wildlife photographers. Considered to be the "Lance Armstrong" of the photography world, Bence has been published in the BBC Wildlife Photographers of the Year Portfolio for seven consecutive years, as well as receiving numerous awards including 'The Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2002' world title, the 'Eric Hosking Award' in 2005, 'The International Wild bird Photographer of the Year 2005', and 'Nature Photographer of the Year, Hungary, 2008'. Bence's uncanny ability to anticipate animals' movements, combined with a unique photography style and great sense of humor, make him the perfect guide for our "Costa Rica Bird Photography Week". With Bence, not only will you witness wildlife photography at its best in his custom designed hides, but you will receive hands on instruction, so your only cause for concern will be whether your trigger finger can keep up!

Hajnalka Kovacs
Over the last 20 years, Hajnalka's life and work experience was closely linked to conserving both the natural and cultural heritage of the Middle East. In Egypt, she ran eco-resort operations for divers and marine biology students, acted as an independent diving instructor, trained volunteers in coral reef monitoring techniques while leading regular coral reef surveys and Crown-of-thorns monitoring programs. In Jordan, she worked as an independent marine and communication consultant for the IUCN and for the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature. In Yemen, she acted as an expert at Socotra Conservation and Development Project, Yemen responsible for scuba dive training of the project's Marine Team and the protected areas' staff, she was a member of the marine monitoring team visiting the Abdel Kuri, Semha and Dersa islands. Since she is fluent in Arabic, Hajnalka is leading the majority of the Middle East destinations at WANT Expeditions. She knows and understands not only the natural beauties and wildlife of these countries, but their culture and their complex traditions, so you can be sure that under her leadership, you will get the best out of the Middle East.

Jill Harvey
Living in the Pacific northwest of British Columbia, Canada, Jill has grown up with nature and adventure in her backyard. While completing an undergraduate degree in Geography at the University of Victoria (UVic), Jill worked as a marine guide with resident Orca populations in the coastal waters of southern Vancouver Island. Drawn by the poles, she spent 5 years after her first degree leading and lecturing on expedition trips in the Antarctic Peninsula region and in the Arctic. She returned to university in 2009 to complete a MSc in Geography at UVic. This research focused on studying glacial expansion and climate change in the central Coast Mountains of BC. Addicted to backcountry field research and education Jill is now pursuing a PhD in wildfire science. Keystones in her character, Jill thrives on adventure, passion and education. It is her privilege to remain involved and engaged in the industry of wildlife and nature travel. Jill brings great leadership and project management skills to the position of tour leader alongside an attitude of passion, adventure and fun!

Rita Csontos
Shortly after completed M.S. degree in economical and agricultural sciences, Rita decided to let her love of nature and travelling rule her life. Combining passions, she has visited some of the most undeveloped and remote parts of the world. Over the years she has been an eco-lodge manager and nature guide in the rainforests of Costa Rica, managed safari camps in Kenya and Kwando camps in Botswana, and a beach resort in Fiji Islands. For several years, Rita also directed the Hotel Department on an 1A Category ice-breaker cruising from Antarctica to the Arctic. After taking some time out from work to raise a family in Hungary, she has now decided to venture back into the work force and share her vast experience with others wants to enjoy adventure and wildlife and we’re excited to have her part of our team.

Amber Sharma
Amber (also known as Mowgli) is well known in the field of wildlife photo and film documentation. He has worked with National Geographic, World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society, and more, on multiple documentaries, many of which have been displayed in national galleries and have won multiple awards. In January 2011 he directed what was perhaps his most exciting film, a Snow Leopard documentary in Ladakh, shot at minus 20-30 degrees Celsius and at an altitude of 15000 feet. In addition, Amber has a specialization in mammals population, particularly endangered large cats, including Snow Leopards and Tigers. In-between leading trips, he is working to complete a research project that focuses on the endangered Dhole or Asiatic Wild Dog. Amber is an exciting addition to our team, and he is eager to share his knowledge with WANT guests.

Steini Gunnarsson
Steni is a veteran of the travel industry and has been enjoying leading guests around the world since 1972. More than just a 'guide,' Steni possesses an amazing world history knowledge and traveling with him is like having your own personal talking Encyclopedia Britannica. He is fluent in English, Spanish, German, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic and has a working knowledge of Italian and Portuguese. Over the years he has lived and worked in various countries such as China, Bolivia, Brasil, Argentina, Spain, Italy, the Balkans, most West European countries, Guinea-Bissau, and Greenland. Steni possess a M.A. degree in international politics from Univeristy of Salforf, UK and a Candidatus magisterii from Univ. of Oslo, Norway. In addition, Steni also holds a teaching degree from University of Iceland, and you can imagine from his oral ability to bring history to life, his classes were guaranteed to be packed with students every semester!

Eryka Thorley
To say that Eryka lives and breathes adventure would be an understatement of infinite proportions. As a NOLS graduate, she has spent almost three months in the wilds of Alaska honing her expedition skills. Her experience is vast, and she has guided over 60 expeditions on Mt Rainer, and has led numerous trips mountaineering in the Cascades on Mt Hood, Rainier, Baker and Schuksan. Most excitingly, Eryka was the expedition safety and travel leader for the Greenland “Meltzone 2011” project. Eryka has also completed a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician course, and holds a current EMT Basic certification.