Murie Ranch Manager
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Dirk earned a B.S. degree in Wood Science from the University of Minnesota in 1987 and worked for Weyerhaeuser Company in Wisconsin for 2 years after college. In 1990 he began a combination of Outdoor Education and Construction work. Dirk and Emily Tepe moved into the Estes cabin in 2011. Dirk began working full-time for the Murie Center and Emily continued working full-time for the University of Minnesota Horticulture department on an internet based grant from the USDA. From 2000 to 2007, Dirk worked in the Twin Cities of Minnesota as a Superintendent in Commercial Construction for American Liberty Inc. When commercial construction slowed down, he began independently doing home remodeling. While living in Minnesota, Dirk and Emily renovated and lived on a 50 foot houseboat on the Mississippi River in a city park in downtown St. Paul. In addition to carpentry work, Dirk leads several courses during the year for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). He has worked as an instructor for NOLS since 1992 and loves teaching outdoor skills in a wilderness setting. Dirk enjoys backcountry skiing and whitewater boating.
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Dan has been an avid enthusiast for Mother Nature all of his life. His dad introduced him to the wilds of Yosemite as an infant. For the next eighteen years he camped and explored the mighty Sierra with his family. Over time during those formative years he developed a deep love for music. Eventually he began writing songs, and his favorite topic was always nature. As an Entertainer, Storyteller and Songwriter for more than forty years, Dan’l (his stage name), has performed all over the western states. Folks have said he’s truly unique – one of a kind – and some say many of his tunes are like Norman Rockwell’s paintings – slices of life to which we can all relate.
In 1999, Dan’l co-produced a CD celebrating the life and adventures of Naturalist, Writer, Mountaineer, John Muir. The project was a fund-raiser for the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez, CA. The John Muir-tribute CD has been featured on the BBC in Scotland ( Muir’s birthplace), and a variety of radio stations in the U.S. From 2000 – 2005 Dan’l entertained at Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. In 2007 he joined the staff at Artichoke Community Music in Portland, OR. He’d already had extensive experience with non-profit organizations, but Dan’l found this to be especially gratifying.
Since his retirement in 2012, he’s been on the look-out for other wonderful, valued ways to share his gifts, and this year he’s found the perfect match as the Docent for The Murie Center. Dan comes to us from McMinnville, OR, where he lives with his wife, Valerie, and their cat, ZuZu.
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Desiree Ramirez’s passion in life is to work with historic collections in our nation’s treasured locations. The root of this desire is to protect materials for future generations to enjoy. She earned her B.A. in History at Whittier College, in Southern California, and her M.A. in Historical Administration at Eastern Illinois University. Desiree’s occupation led her to work in museums and archives across the country, including the Catalina Island Museum off the coast of California and the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, Maryland. However, once she discovered the peacefulness and indescribable beauty of our national parks while working with the National Park Service, she could not let go. Working at parks such as Rocky Mountain, Yosemite, and Grand Teton allowed Desiree to not only cherish the beauty of our nation’s sacred sites but to also experience the joy of holding their history in her hands.
Most recently, while at Grand Teton National Park, she began preparing for a talk at the Teton Science Schools about the Murie Museum, by reading Wapiti Wilderness. Mardy and Olaus Murie’s words cannot help but bring calmness to a person; their reverence for the howling of a coyote or the bugling of a wapiti flows into a reader. It is the same serenity Desiree felt when settling into life at the base of the Tetons. Desiree enjoys preserving the Muries’ legacy while also making their collection more accessible to a diverse audience.