Ryan grew up in southeastern Minnesota and for twenty-some years managed to put up with the humidity, mosquitoes, and six month long winters; just a few of the many reasons that would eventually lead him away from his home state. In his early twenties he began to think consciously and deeply about the world and his relationship to it which sent him down a rabbit hole of searching for answers and searching for purpose. Throughout this confusing but necessary process, Ryan involved himself in various activist and advocacy groups spanning political campaigns to social movements. However, at some point in this progression he started to realize that these attempts to help create social change did not actually include much of an effort to change his own lifestyle. All that time clamoring on about things such as the detrimental effects of capitalism and consumerism, yet himself regularly participating in both, forced him to confront his own hypocrisy. The result of this confrontation would ultimately lead him to Quail Springs.
With a renewed sense of motivation, Ryan dedicated himself to a plan that would require him to quit his desk job of six years, give up his comfortable and affordable apartment, sell most of his belongings, pack what was left in his Honda Civic and head out west to learn about natural building, permaculture, and off-grid living. After doing nine months of work-trading on several natural building projects throughout California, he discovered that a place called Quail Springs – a place that he had been hearing very good things about – was holding a natural building internship program and he jumped at the opportunity. As the internship came to a close, the offer to stay on for longer was proposed to him and gratefully accepted. As Ryan’s relationship with Quail Springs and the community therein grew deeper, so too did his roots.
Much like the rest of the Quail Springs community does, Ryan has contributed to the organization in ways routine, obscure, and specialized – from washing dishes, to building cat doors, to web design. Given his skill in most things digital, he naturally and effectively fills the roll of photographer, web & graphic designer, and in-house on-demand computer problem fixer. He balances his time behind the computer as a fill-in teacher of natural building, playing in the homemade Quail Springs band, Cuyama Mama & The Hot Flashes, and the occasional evening goat walk, among other passions.
Quail Springs is and continues to be a profound source of inspiration to Ryan and the directly observable impact that it has in the world serves as a living reminder of why he chooses to call Quail Springs, “Home.”