Currently, Julie’s job description includes being the Western Regional Director for Rescue 3 International, as well as the CEO and Founder of Sierra Rescue. She is a member of the Rescue 3 International Steering Committee, and helps in decisions affecting curriculums world wide. In addition to being Rescue 3 Instructor of the Year, Julie Munger is an
internationally acclaimed white water professional, and was a member of the world champion US Women’s Rafting Team from 1985-2001. A graduate of UC Davis; as well as the University of Central Lancashire in Technical Rescue Instruction, she has been a swiftwater and technical rescue instructor for over 25 years. She is responsible for the development of the Rescue 3 International RRC and WRT program, as well as assisting in developing the Wilderness First Aid program. She integrates her practical experience with professional teaching skills.
Munger has worked as a Hot Shot Wildland Firefighter for the USFS, and has taught agencies as diverse as USAF PJ’s, Fish and Game personnel, Search and Rescue team members, Fire Fighters, Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers, river guides, kayakers, the Hoopa Tribe and the Marine Warfare Training Center. Her ability to apply specific curriculum to the agencies she teaches is one of her many assets. Julie’s lifetime accomplishments include the first self-support riverboard trip down the Grand Canyon and co-owning Arctic River Journeys. She has been featured in such magazines as Outside, Paddlers, American Whitewater and Canoe and Kayak.
Abigail Polsby- Truckee, California
In addition to being an owner of Sierra Rescue, Abigail has been instructing wilderness skills for over 10 years. She is an Instructor Trainer for Rescue 3 International and certified American Canoe Association (ACA) Swiftwater Rescue Instructor. Abigail has a strong mountaineering, First Aid and teaching background. She was a lead instructor for Hurricane Island and Colorado Outward Bound Schools and works well with all ages and abilities. Polsby is a patient and dedicated instructor. She has worked professionally and volunteered for Search and Rescue and was previously the owner/ operator of Olympic Mountain Outdoors, a guide service offering backpacking, snowshoeing and backcountry skiing trips around Washington State. She has also worked as a rafting and kayaking guide for Mountain Travel Sobek. In 1998 she founded Arctic River Journeys, an Alaska whitewater rafting outfitter. When not river guiding or teaching rescue, Abigail can be found surfing in Mexico, skiing in Tahoe, or climbing in British Columbia. Most recently, Abigail Polsby was voted Rescue 3 Swiftwater Rescue Instructor Trainer 2006 and Instructor of the Year 2013.
Don Lester- Colfax, California
Born in Fresno, CA, Don Lester started boating, hiking and climbing at a very young age. His dad started some of the first programs in CA that took rival gang members into the Wilderness in an attempt to show them an alternative lifestyle to being in a gang. He spent much of his younger years with his dad around Yosemite and the Kings River.
During his summers in High School Don went to camps in Canada and Colorado which started him backpacking and climbing many of the 14000 ft mountains in Colorado. Don spent the last 15 years guiding rivers in CA, OR, West Virginia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Chile, and the South West. For several years, he was logging 150+ days on the river! In addition to his time on the water, he spent 2 years working as a full-time firefighter/EMT with Rocklin Fire Department. Don took an 81 Day Multi-Environment Outward Bound Course and a Wilderness EMT in Yosemite with WMI of NOLS.
“I love teaching rescue courses because I want people to learn from the mistakes I have made without having to make them themselves. I enjoy trying to bring the word and actions of a professional back to the boating world. It seems to have gotten lost somewhere." If you’ve ever taken a class from Don, you know he’s right up there with the best of them! When not teaching rope & water rescue classes for Sierra Rescue, you can find Don guiding onCalifornia rivers with H2O Adventures!
Mike Mather- Providence, Rhode Island
In the late 80’s, I found out I was free to leave Texas I headed for the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and started climbing. The next year Climbing Magazine did an article on endless climbing in the New River Gorge, West Virginia. I had to go check it out! At that time the only jobs available in WV for a guy like me were, a) Coal Miner or b) River Guide. I went with b and my life changed forever.
With my climbing rope skills and my passion for moving water, I jumped on the fast track to becoming a rescue instructor. That was a little more than 25 years ago and I am lucky enough to still be traveling the world teaching for Mather Rescue today. I became an EMT in 1991, Firefighter/EMT in 2003. I have a Rescue Educator Foundation Degree from the University of Central Lancashire. I am a Rescue 3 International Instructor Trainer for Rope, Water, Rescue Boats, PWC as well as an American Canoe Association Instructor Trainer Educator for Safety & Rescue and Rafting. I have also taken more FEMA courses than merit mentioning. With this and more, I hope I get to share my training and life experience with whomever is interested.
Will Norris- Bryson City, NC
Joining the NOC family in 2001, Will honed his leadership skills guiding rafts on our seven commercial rivers- all along building his kayaking skills to match. Will became part of our instruction team in 2004 and enthusiastically teaches kayaking, canoeing, SUP, rowing and our annual spring raft guide school. A Rescue 3 International swift water instructor as well, many of his weeks are spent "in" the river teaching recreational paddlers, fire/rescue professionals and elite military teams essential rescue skills. Will's students appreciate his emphasis on the interpretive knowledge; he studies the river environment and sees it as an integral part of the river paddling experience. When the opportunities present, Will is always eager for another Grand Canyon trip, kayaking abroad or SUP'n in the Caribbean.
Ron Morris- Smithers, BC
As a co-owner of Raven Rescue Ron has accumulated over a decade of delivering rescue, medical, leadership and adventure skills for first response agencies, government, industry, and universities. He serves on WMA’s Faculty Committee and is on the Curriculum Steering Committee for Rescue 3 International. Ron is an expert on standards surrounding technical rescue, including the NFPA, and is a Pro-Board Rope Technician examiner and a leading expert in the field of technical ice rescue. Ron’s swiftwater credentials come from years as an expedition paddler, he has served as Education Chair for Paddle Alberta and is an examiner for the BC Raft Outfitters Association. Ron is a graduate of Lakehead University’s Outdoor Program.
Tren Long- Banks, Idaho
Tren Long started his life out in the water. The youngest of 3 brothers he grew up slalom racing eventually representing the USA across the world. When he was not racing, he spent all his time at the family rafting company Cascade Raft and Kayak on the Payette River working as a safety kayaker. The years spent honing his skill and abilities shepherding hundreds of rafting trips instilled a love for swiftwater rescue and a very hands-on approach. Through the years with his brothers, he had dozens of live rescues from working with the volunteer ambulance services in the area and having a working relationship with the local fire and rescue services. The experience and passion for rescue shine through in all his classes. As an Instructor Trainer for Rescue 3, Tren teaches Swiftwater Rescue, Technical Rope Rescue, PWC Rescue (both surf and river), and is the agency instructor for Chile. You can find Tren teaching in Idaho and the western U.S. March through October and in Chile from November through February.
Jim Coffey - Davidson, Quebec
Jim has worked in the whitewater industry for over 30 years. His career started as a “summer camp brat” paddling open canoes on expeditions in Ontario, Quebec and the Northwest Territories of Canada.
He subsequently started to race both slalom and downriver C1 and C2 and competed on both a national and international level.
Racing led to working as a whitewater rafting guide affording time and a place to train near world class whitewater. This prompted a move to the Ottawa River valley.
Upon taking a year off of university Jim hit the road looking for fame and fortune as a “whitewater specialist” adventure travel guide. Although fortune remains elusive Jim has worked in the Whitewater Industry full time since 1984. His success has allowed him to work on many of the world’s greatest rivers in Canada, the U.S.A, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Argentina, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, India and Nepal. He captained the Canadian Rafting team to 5 top 10 finishes at the World Rafting Champonships.
In 1990 Jim brought the Rescue 3 Swiftwater Rescue program to Eastern Canada and was trained as an instructor by Rescue 3 founder Jim Segerstrom. In 1992 Jim started teaching classes for Rescue 3 in Eastern Canada and in 2010 started a strategic alliance with Raven Rescue as a specialist in providing training courses for the recreational and professional paddlesports industry. Jim teaches contract courses worldwide particularly in Mexico and throughout Latin America where he resides during the winter months. Jim is also an accredited instructor with the American Canoeing association (ACA), a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-B) and is a member of the Board of Directors of the prestigious Higgins and Langley Award for Excellence in Swiftwater Rescue.
Jim is the Founder and Director of the award winning whitewater adventure travel company Esprit Whitewater Worldwide. Esprit is a respected industry leader well known for its rafting, canoeing and kayaking operations in Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica. Esprit took top honours in National Geographic's rating of whitewater outfitters worldwide.
Jim is the Founder, Director and Lead Instructor of the Whitewater Intensive Leadership Development School (W.I.L.D.) known as the world’s most comprehensive whitewater guide training program. W.I.L.D specializes in training participants in Swiftwater Rescue, Wilderness First Aid, Rafting, Canoeing, Kayaking, Riverboarding, Adventure Leadership and Wilderness Ethics.
Apart from his extensive professional experience, Jim is recognized as an elite paddler being filmed for a variety of canoeing “first descents”. He has recently been featured in both the Canoe Movie and Canoe Movie 2 Uncharted Waters.
There are few whitewater specialists that can combine the extensive experience that Jim has accumulated across the whitewater disciplines of rafting, canoeing, kayaking and whitewater rescue and possess the ability to teach them in a fun, secure and engaging manner.
His newest project Rescue for River Runners (R3) is a collaboration with acclaimed whitewater videographer Mike McKay of Five2Nine productions. Together their goal is to create a series of short videos focusing on rescue “techniques, tips and tricks” to help whitewater paddlers become better rescuers.