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Meet Our 2019 Team

Sunny Cove is proud to have a diverse group whose love of the outdoors and Alaska has brought them together in this place we call home. Their commitment to the environment and passion for the wildlife and natural beauty is reflected in their quality of service to our guests. 

All of our guides are Wilderness First Responders and are assessed for Level 3: Essentials of Kayak Touring Trip Leader, from the American Canoe Association.

Many of our staff members return year after year, to continue their exploration of every nook and passing that experience along to you. Take a peek at our staff!



John came north in 1983 in pursuit of big mountain skiing.  He quickly fell in love and spent a good amount of time skiing, exploring, photographing and writing about Alaska before settling in Seward. 

In 1996 he started Sunny Cove on remote Fox Island.  Kayaking fueled his desire to share this place with others.  Since then Sunny Cove has introduced tens of thousands of people to the wonders of Resurrection Bay, Fox Island and Kenai Fjords National Park.


Hailing from Florida, Kat spent her weekends indulging in her passion for the outdoors.  In 2004, she and a group friends organized a trip to Northwestern Fjord with Sunny Cove.  This was a life changing experience, and she found herself moving to Alaska in 2006 to manage the reservation office for Sunny Cove. 

Since then, John and Kat wed, and now can be found outdoors hiking, kayaking, skiing and traveling to places not yet explored.



Stephanie grew up in the backwoods of Wisconsin, running through the forests and fishing the rivers. Skiing her passion, which left her summers open for exploration. She began guiding in SE AK in 1998 and found her way to Sunny Cove in 2006.

Once here she soon became our Operations Manager and a full-time Alaska resident. She shares with us her nearly two decades of Alaskan experience and is a Wilderness First Responder, and a Certified Alaska Tour Guide Trainer. 


Originally from Atlanta, Matt dropped off the career path, and wandered up to the last frontier to see what it was all about. Matt joined Sunny Cove in 2011 and has since trained and guided in Florida, the Caribbean, Georgia, New Zealand and Baja.

Matt is a certified Level 4 ACA instructor with a Kayak Camping endorsement, a BCU 3* paddler, and a Wilderness First Responder. As our most seasoned Lead Guide, Matt is heavily involved in staff training and day-to-day operations of Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking.



Northern Indiana gave Danny his first taste of kayaking and he has been on the water ever since. He joined Sunny Cove in 2013 and has since worked as a guide in Hawai'i and an outdoor education instructor in Malaysia. He has an education background and spent many years working in student leadership development at the University of Central Florida (UCF).

Danny is a certified Level 2 ACA Coastal Kayak Instructor, a Certified Alaska Tour Guide, a Leave No Trace Master Educator and a Wilderness First Responder. Danny assists in facilitating our training program and day-to-day operations, and proudly upholds his role as the “Mature Bald Eagle.”


Arthur grew up in the greatest state that starts with a C. Connecticut that is! He was able to find his love for wilderness by hiking in the Appalachian mountains and paddling on any body of water he could get on.

Arthur is a true believer in the importance of reconnecting with nature and there is nowhere better in the world for that than Alaska. This will be his fifth summer working for Sunny Cove and in the Kenai Fjords. For Arthur, this place has the power to change your life and outlook on what is possible.

Arthur has been trained as an Alaska Tour Guide, Leave No Trace, is a Wilderness First Responder, and has a Level 2 ACA Certification.



Russ originally hails from MA, and graduated from Nichols College.  While in college he traveled through Africa, Asia and S. America, eventually ending up in Asia teaching English.  After his stint in Asia he moved to Bar Harbor, ME to pursue kayak guiding.

Russ loves to share his joy of kayaking and the beauty of the ocean.  He's a Wilderness First Responder, has his ACA Level 3 Assessment and is a Registered Maine Guide.


Emma was born in a small town on the coast of CT and grew up a beach rat. Always a boater, she didn't find kayaking until she moved up to Maine and fell in love with the rocky coast. She soon realized that Maine was great, but there were a lot more whales in Alaska, and she needed to go commune with them. She has not broken down that language barrier yet, but is still working on it.

Emma also has experience tramping around South America, mountianeering up volcanoes, and scaling rock walls. Most recently she chased summer down to the southern hemisphere and guided kayaking trips in Fiordland NP, NZ. She is ACA Level 3 and aspires to be a David Attenborough level naturalist. When she is not kayaking she is often found playing the tin whistle in serene mountain valleys.



Emmy hails from Atlanta, GA where she worked as a high school math and physics teacher before deciding to pursue a career in outdoor guiding and education. She has spent significant time living in Guatemala, England and her car while exploring the American Southwest. She has worked and guided in Pisgah National Forest, NC, Desolation Wilderness, CA and on the volcanoes and mountains of Guatemala. 

When she's not kayaking, you can find her weight lifting, baking sourdough bread, and exploring Alaska's hiking trails. She recently earned her Level 3 ACA Coastal Kayaking Instructor credentials and is also a certified Wilderness First Responder.


Laurie is a native born Sconnie, and when she's not in Alaska she calls Wisconsin home. Over the years she's hiked, camped and paddled the multitude of waterways of home finding fun around every corner.

Her ties to Alaska began at three years old when her Native Alaskan sister came to live with her family. Since then she has always longed to visit The Last Frontier. The first time she visited Seward she fell in love with the area and has been returning every year since. Eventually, Laurie and her family purchased a business near Seward. Look for Laurie at the Adventure Center, or out adventuring around Seward!

Cara Wallschlager


This will be Cara’s fifth year working seasonally as a tour guide. She spent three summers with American Adventures, driving passengers on 1-3 week road trips to different national parks and cities in the lower 48.

She checked the 50th state off her list by joining Sunny Cove and immediately preferred the more active and nature encountering aspects of this style of guiding. Work on the ocean felt like a perfect fit. She followed the whale migration and spent the winter in Maui, continuing work as a sea kayak guide where she’s been playing and enjoying warm waters before another summer in the cooler Alaskan waters. She has her Wilderness First Responder Certification and is an avid outdoor enthusiast.

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Andrew was born and raised in north Texas, attended the University of Texas and then served in the Peace Corps in Cambodia. After his service, Andrew utilized his degree by pursuing a career in finance. Although he enjoyed the field of finance, he eventually got smart and found his passion as a sea kayaking guide. 

From the San Juan Islands of Washington state, to south central Alaska and most recently on Maui, Andrew has led and educated paddlers through a multitude of environments. Along the way, he obtained his Wilderness First Responder Certification. With a massive amount of excitement, he is returning to Sunny Cove for his second season and will proudly uphold his role as “the Juvenile Bald Eagle”.

Amy Farris


Amy hails from Western New York and is joining us for her first year with Sunny Cove. She graduated from Alfred University having studied foreign cultures and languages. She’s a world traveler and has been all over the US, and has visited Switzerland, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia. She’s worked and volunteered at farms around the US and in Nicaragua and has an interest in agricultural sustainability.

Amy spent her first summer in Alaska traveling and working at farms and her second summer guiding at a remote lodge in Kodiak, AK where she spent her time kayaking, hiking and helping out with lodge duties. She has her Wilderness First Responder Certification and loves to learn everything and anything.

Kyle Price


Kyle hails from Orange County, CA and attended electrical trade school, and competed a four year electrical apprentice ship. He also has spent six years guiding sea kayaking and SUP trips in Southern California. He’s also instructed and guided in Los Alimitos Marina, amongst giant kelp beds, Grey and Blue Whales, Dolphins, Seals and Sea Lions.

Kyle has traveled much of the west coast and is looking forward to exploring North to Alaska. He’s a Wilderness First Responder and loves rafting, ice hiking and climbing. He’s excited to share his enthusiasm of the outdoors and to help folks connect with kayaking and mother nature.



Nicole has always enjoyed the outdoors and had the opportunity to spend her first summer as a guide in Alaska in 2018 and absolutely loved it. She has experience guiding hiking, rock climbing and ziplining day trips as well as multiday trips for backpacking and mountaineering.

She was born and raised in California, and spent the last few years rotating between Colorado, Montana and Alaska. Nicole has a BS is Biology from UCLA, and has earned her Wilderness First Responder Certification. She’s excited to help people enjoy a great Alaskan experience!

Jen Gardner


Jen was born in Florida, but grew up in North Carolina, until high school, when she moved to Utah. After high school she joined the Navy and was stationed back in Florida. After the Navy, she moved back to Utah to attend college, gaining her Bachelor’s in Wildlife Ecology and Management.

While in college, she guided for the school’s Outdoor Programs and is an avid outdoor recreationist/adventurer. Her travels have taken her to 23 countries, and this will be her first summer in Alaska. She’s a Wilderness First Responder, and loves helping others enjoy being outdoors.

John Winch


John is from Dayton, Ohio and is studying philosophy at the University of Dayton. He has traveled extensively throughout the US, Central America, Caribbean, Australia, Africa, India, Thailand, Cambodia, China, Ecuador and Peru. John has a strong love for music and can play most instruments to some degree.

John spent a semester with NOLS in Alaska, backpacking and kayaking. He is also a graduate of a few other NOLS courses and is a Leave No Trace Master Trainer. He also holds his Wilderness First Responder Certification. He’s lookin forward to more time in Alaska and can’t wait to share his passion and to make connections with his paddling companions.