About Lauren Hall Ruddell, Ph.D.
Dr. Hall Ruddell holds a Ph.D. in social science from the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism from the University of Utah. Academic interests and research specialities include examination of the benefits of time spent interacting with the natural world, and the neurological mechanisms involved in these relationships which lead to improved human wellness. The physiological and psychological processes of mood disfunction, attention depletion, and chronic stress are specific areas of expertise, as is the means of remedying those complaints. Lauren also holds a Masters in Conservation of Environmental Quality from San Diego State University and an undergraduate degree in Zoology. She is now a professor emeritus at The University of Utah.
Dr. Hall Ruddell has been dedicated to walking the walk of conservation and sustainable agriculture. San Diego Zoo keeper, park ranger, owner and operator of an organic community supported agriculture enterprise, international expert on conservation of heritage breeds, certified wilderness guide, endangered species biologist and environmental analyst are some of the professional endeavors that inform her speaking and writing expertise. She has delivered numerous talks on the subject of Zoodulcis and The Human Dimensions of Wildlife. Getting children and older adults outdoors for their health is a driving passion, expressed through hikes and interpretive talks on raptors through exhibitions of falconry skills and techniques, presentations to local and international children's groups as an educator at the San Diego Zoo, farm summer programs for grade school children, and organized goat hikes for people of all ages.
Ever since I was a small child, I traipsed through sage scrub chaparral, oak woodlands and riparian areas in search of adventure and wild critters. I was one of those children in the woods, unsupervised and free, that many contemporary authors bemoan as a disappearing breed. As a horse crazy teen, I rode far and wide in parts of Southern California that now host housing tracts as far as the eye can see. I consider myself exceptionally privileged to have enjoyed opportunities for exploration and growth that few children have access to these days. When not traipsing on the trails, I was often zooming at the zoo. Not the kind of zooming kids do now, but arriving before the zoo opened and leaving after dusk with my bus driver father during the summer. It was only natural that I grew up to be a wildlife biologist.
Observing nature captured most of my waking moments outside of school, but eventually the urge to be engaged in growing things took hold. I became both a master gardener and a master naturalist in order to fully scratch that nature itch.
My long-suffering parents supported all of these activities, as well as my interest in backpacking with an Explorer Post at the age of 15. The Sierras became a second home whenever possible, much as the Rockies are now. Teaching as an outdoor recreation instructor at San Diego State followed those early excursions, as well as becoming a certified wilderness guide through training treks in the Rockies. Those skills came in very handy later in my farming years, when I raised goats for packing and dairy. I still enjoy goat packing with my own string of patient and beloved caprine family members to this day. In another mash-up, my love of Irish music, dance and culture, along with goats, landed me on the board of The Old Irish Goat Society.
My focus now is sharing my insights and knowledge with people who know they need more than 4 walls and a corner Starbucks can offer, and this drives my thinking, feeling and writing. That's when I'm not outside with the goats!