Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cool People Profile: Hazen Audel

Name: Hazen Audel 
Nationality: USA, Coast Salish American Indian
Profession: High School Biology Teacher, Adventure Ecotourism Guide, Artist, TV Show Host
Employer: National Geographic (host of Survive the Tribe TV series), Joel E. Ferris High School (Spokane, WA USA), The Wild Classroom (founder), Hazen Audel Artworks, Untamed Science
Quote: "In nature there is no right or wrong, only consequences."

Social Networking
1. Facebook
2. Instagram

1. Hazen Audel Artworks
2. The Wild Classroom

Variably described as an educational producer, ethnobotanist, adventurer, big kid, wild man, and artist, Hazen exemplifies a modern Naturalist Renaissance Man. I first met Hazen in Hawaii in 1998 and like many others, I was infected by his enthusiasm.

What struck me most was how focused he could be towards whatever task he set for himself. He is half Coast Salish, an American Indian tribe in British Columbia and western Washington. When he was 17 years old, even under threat of being disowned by his Indian mother, he traveled to Ecuador, got on a bus in Quito and took it as far as it went into the rain forest, got off and walked in for several days before setting up camp. Over the next 2 years he would spend a total of more than 15 months living off the land of the Ecuadorean rainforest, eventually being "adopted" by a native Quichua-speaking tribe, learning their language, and later creating an adventure ecotourism company to bring people into the rainforest and help that tribal family economically.

Whenever he set other goals for himself, he also succeeded. One day I was amazed by his trials-style prowess on a mountain bike (leaping stairs, navigating railings, spinning, etc.) and asked him how he learned it. He bought a bike and practiced 8 hours a day for an entire summer: about 700 hours over 3 months. Later, when he sold his first major metalworking art piece to a Washington bank, he took all the money and invested it in machinery and supplies to continue making art, even though many would have taken the mid-five figure commission and lived off it. I was also amazed that he had such a great body but didn't life weights and he shrugged it off saying that he did work out, only he did so in nature. He would regularly hike through the mountains of Hawaii (where we first met) in search of wild mangoes, papayas, and guavas. He would hang from tree branches and do pull ups or climb trees and swing himself along one branch to another tree. He reminds me more of a modern-day Tarzan than anyone else I've ever met, and I mean that as the sincerest compliment.

But that's the kind of man he is: he gives everything he is involved in an obsessive amount of focused energy. And when you look at his videos or meet him in person, you are immediately drawn in to his enthusiasm and captivated. He makes you want to learn more about him and his adventures at every step, without being a self-promoter.

To help share his enthusiasm for nature, he became a high school biology teacher and created The Wild Classroom as an educational outreach site for the group Explore Biodiversity. He still runs sporadic ecotours to the Ecuadorean rainforest, so if you are lucky enough, join him on the journey of your life.

For his unending quest to share his enthusiasm for nature and for being able to make a living as an artist and adventurer, Hazen is more than worthy of the title of "Cool Person."

Update 2015: Since writing this profile in 2010, Hazen Audel and his adventures were picked up by National Geographic in a six-part series called Survive the Tribe. Based on his present exploits teased on his Instagram feed, it seems likely that a second season of Survive the Tribe may be forthcoming, at least in Asia, where his show proved more popular (in terms of ratings) than in the United States. He, more than me, really epitomizes the title of "Adventure Naturalist."


  1. How to contacts Hazel, I really want text him, I am a mother with 2 kids, I just admire and willing get to know Hazel, please inform me to 081314233104

    1. Hello. Yes Hazen is an amazing guy. I will give him your contact info. He is also on Facebook so you can search his name and send him message there

    2. I went to college with him at UH (Hawaii). He told me about living in the rainforest. We hung out quite a few times. He even made me eat things he decided we should try (stuff he just pulled off trees), HAHA. He's an amazingly easy going, mellow, and HAPPY person. I'm so glad to see him doing so well.

    3. I went to college with him at UH (Hawaii). He told me about living in the rainforest. We hung out quite a few times. He even made me eat things he decided we should try (stuff he just pulled off trees), HAHA. He's an amazingly easy going, mellow, and HAPPY person. I'm so glad to see him doing so well.

  2. Hi, how could someone join hazen on one of his ecotours. Im heading to ecuador next year through a different tour company but it would be an amazing experience to go along with someone as experienced as him. I would love to join one of his ecotours. Had no luck contacting on social media,the private messages arnt going through, could my contact details be sent to him?

    1. Hi Stacey. As Hazen is now with the National Geographic Channel, I'm uncertain that he is doing guided ecotours anymore or on a scheduled basis. If you are able to send me a private message with your contact details I can forward them to him. Also give your specific dates. I am not privy to his travel schedule (it is kept secret due to filming and televising), but I can at least forward a message on to him. Cheers

    2. Hi, thank you for the reply. I was thinking that myself but I suppose enquiring won't hurt. How do I send you a private message on this?

    3. I have added a contact form on the right-hand side of my blog. If you enter the email you want to be reached at and you list any message you want me to forward in the comment section, only I will see it once it gets sent directly to my email account. I will forward the information, but again, I can't promise anything. Cheers, Robert

    4. Ok thanks. I have sent a private message so hopefully you got it. Thank you very much for your help

    5. Yes, thank you. Your comment was received and forwarded to Hazen. I received confirmation that he got your message. Hopefully he will be in touch with you. Cheers