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Phil Johnston is a professional wildlife tracker, mountain lion expert, outdoor educator, wildlife K9 handler, and musician. He lives in Humboldt County, California where he works as the mountain lion biologist for the Hoopa Valley Tribe. He holds a Bachelor's of Science in Wildlife Management and Conservation from Humboldt State University, and has been working with mountain lions since 2011. He is regularly contracted as a mountain lion specialist by government agencies including the National Park Service and California Department of Fish and Wildlife, where he assists with staff trainings, mountain lion live-captures, and other lion-related field work. He has also worked as a wildlife guide in the production of "Blue-Chip" wildlife documentaries for National Geographic and WildStar Films. Phil also maintains a small pack of wildlife research hounds, specially trained for safe, ethical and effective live-capture of mountain lions. 

Phil is certified by CyberTracker North America as "Track & Sign Specialist", "Trailing Professional" and "Tracker IV", and believes in the power of tracking as a scientific tool and method of logic which can be mastered by anyone. His greatest passion as an instructor is seeing students realize that what seemed magical and unattainable to them a second ago is now suddenly very practical and achievable. Phil advocates for learning tracking with a scientist's mind and servant's heart, with absolute humility and complete transparency. 


Phil was born in San Jose and spent half of his childhood in Atlanta, Georgia and half in the SF Bay Area. He knows that anyone can learn to be comfortable in the wilderness, regardless of their background. He is passionate about helping others connect with wilderness, with wildlife, and with their own inner wildness and strives to contribute to the conservation of Earth's precious wild ecosystems. 

About Earth At First Sight

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All images and videos copyright Phil Johnston 2019

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