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The Divers Institute of Technology is one of the premier commercial dive schools in the country. For the past 49 years it’s been churning out graduates from its headquarters on Seattle’s Lake Union to tackle some of the most demanding work in the water. 

By Will Grant


Diving in radioactive water presents a unique set of challenges. The trick is to avoid contact with any of the microscopic bits of irradiated material that could stunt a family tree. But every nuclear power plant in the world needs a lot of water—some as much as 1 billion gallons per day—to both generate steam and to absorb the heat produced by splitting atoms.

As the plants log the years and megawatts, their massive cooling tanks...

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In the freshly snow-blanketed Pack Forest of Eatonville, Washington, we spent the day with the team at Conservation Canines exploring the facility they call “home base.” The dogs at Conservation Canines are not your typical pets, with their intense drive to play often misunderstood as stubbornness. The biologists at Conservation Canines harness this energy by using the dogs strong sense of smell and retrieval skills to non-invasively collect scat from endangered animals, sniff out toxins and find specimens easily overlooked by the human eye. Dogs that may have been once unfit as pets now rehabilitate ecosystems.

We sat down with Conservation Canines Lead Instructor and Director of Field Opera...Read More
karelian bear dog
Nils Pedersen is a bear biologist at the Wind River Bear Institute. Soledad, a 6-year-old Karelian Bear Dog, is always by his side. Together they work to resolve bear/human conflicts across North America, and are now pioneering the application of Wildlife Service Dogs for detecting polar and grizzly bear dens in the Arctic. Below, learn more about Soledad and how this ancient dog breed was chosen for bear-conflict work due to an innate hunting drive and unique ability to shepherd bears.

Soledad is a 6-year-old Karelian Bear Dog working as a Wildlife Service Dog for the Wind River Bear Institute. Born in Florence, MT, she was the only puppy born of her litter earning her the name "Soledad", me...Read More

Filson Life - Nicholas Coleman Painter

Nicholas Coleman was born in Provo, Utah in 1978.  Brought up in an artistic home, Coleman has been painting and drawing for as long as he can remember. Coleman has found much of his inspiration in his travels across North America, Canada, Europe and even into Africa. Hunting and fishing along the way his interest often include exploring hidden streams and valleys looking for signs of wildlife. He gained an appreciation for the subtle details hidden in plain sight. In his own words he wants to "preserve the heritage of the American West."


Filson Life - Nicholas Coleman Painter


How did you start painting Nicholas?


I have fond memories of visiting my dad’s studio at a very early age and begging him to let me paint on his paintings...

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Filson Life - Eric Blinman, Archaeologist

Eric Blinman has been an archaeologist for nearly 50 years. He has worked throughout the western United States but has focused on the greater Southwest since 1979. Working for the Museum of New Mexico’s contract archaeology program since 1988, he is the current director of the office, overseeing salvage archaeology projects that deal with all periods of New Mexico history, from ice age hunters to the building of the first atomic bomb.


His personal research interests are the cultural diversity of Southwestern peoples, climate change and its impacts on ancient economies and societies, ancient pottery and yucca textile technologies, archaeomagnetic dating, and most recently the development of l...

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Filson Life - John Dunaway, Merchant Marine

With oceans that refuse to relinquish any of their might regardless of our technological advances, the modern sailor continues to face the same elements which all that have sailed upon her waters have ever seen. “We must always remember that the sea is no respector of ships or person. The sea is always ready, at the first sign of failure, to rush in and destroy the very craft it so readily supports upon the surface of the water.”1 Merchant mariners, both on deck and below in the engine room, know that once land falls below the horizon, they are left to their own skills and tools for prosperity and safety.


John Dunaway has spent the last 8.5 years in the U.S. Merchant Marine sailing across th...

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Filson Life - Haven Boatworks


There is a rich history of maritime pursuits in the foggy inlets and jagged shorelines of Washington State. From the hand-carved canoes of the Pacific Northwest’s original settlers to the welded aluminum hulls of modern fishermen, the shipbuilders and sailors of this region are known for resiliency at sea. Nowadays, many of the boatyards along Washington's coast have become specialized in traditional wooden boat building and repairs, unlike many East Coast counterparts. Areas like Port Townsend are well-known for this unique skill set, drawing more wooden boats there for repairs, and creating jobs for talented shipwrights in the region. Many of these skilled shipwrights work at Haven Boatwo...

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Filson Life - The Norwegian Rat
Perched in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, Dutch Harbor has been owned by Russia, settled by gold rush prospectors, fortified by the U.S. Navy, bombed during World War II and now, made famous by reality TV. Surrounded by the Bering Sea, one of the most productive fisheries in the world, this noteworthy area attracts hard working individuals from all over the world. Rich, the bouncer for the local bar the Norwegian Rat, followed this same path; navigating to this remote island in Unalaska to earn extra money before returning home to California. We had a chance to catch up with him over a refreshing Adios M.F., one of the saloons de facto drink specialities, as he worked the door late on a Sa...
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Filson Life - Wyoming Cowboy

Raised in a small town in Illinois, Phillip Lee McGinnis grew up working for a horse trainer and knew early on he wanted to become a cowboy. After a tour of service in the United States Marine Corps, Phil spent time in Hawaii roping wild cattle and starting colts, then moved to Montana and lived in a wall tent working with cattle in an area where grizzly bears are a constant threat. In this Filson Life, learn how he came to settle in Sublette County, Wyoming, where he lives out his dreams of being a cowboy in the least-populated county in the least-populated state in America. 


Filson Life - Wyoming Cowboy

Tell us your story Phil. How’d you grow up? Where are you from? 

Well, I grew up in Illinois in a tiny-town of about ...

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Filson Life - Elliot Anderson - Dogsledding

Born in the heart of dairy farming country, Elliot Anderson (better known as "El"), was raised hunting, trapping and fishing in the north woods of Wisconsin. El’s father David imparted romantic tales of Robert Services’ writings into his childhood. Sharing legends of gold, mountain men, and remnants from his own Alaskan days, David created a magnetic pull towards the life of an outdoorsman that El would never shake. Now, El has been drawn to the Iditarod; one of the most revered races in the world. In this Filson Life article, learn more about the man, El, who appears alongside his crew in the November Filson catalog.


Words and revisions by Elliot Anderson, Shivani Kakde and Kimberly White.


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