Environmental Leadership Staff and Instructors
DJ Owens lives, breathes and bleeds Mo-Ranch, and has done so since his first day at Mo in 2009. He is an Oklahoma transplant, and is so glad that he gets to call Mo his home! DJ knows almost every inch of this property due to his widespread exposure to Mo-Ranch throughout the years.
DJ previously worked at Mo for 8 years in both our summer camp and outdoor education ministry departments, and he has extensive experience scheduling and organizing programs within these departments.
As the manager of our outdoor education ministry, he enjoys being an ambassador and representation of Mo-Ranch; he truly loves Mo’s capability to amaze and change the lives of our guests.
“My vision for the environmental leadership program is to continue our focus on the personal growth of the children that partake in our program, team building and teaching environmental education.”
DJ appreciates that his job role allows him to put every ounce of his training and life skills into helping guests and co-workers obtain the best possible experience from their time spent here. DJ enjoys seeing the smiling faces of his co-workers anytime he steps into a building and relishes in the excitement of guests as they arrive on the ranch.
From 2017 until now, DJ took a brief hiatus from Mo-Ranch to pursue a career in the golf world and even worked on his PGA membership to become a head golf professional. Mo-Ranch beckoned DJ back, and he jumped at the opportunity to return to a place that hosts people from all over the world and enables them to learn, relax, play and pray in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.
DJ grew up playing golf and various other sports, and he still loves to follow many college and professional level sports. He only really has one favorite team though—GO RED SOX! In his free time, DJ enjoys golfing and traveling. He loves visiting the northeast United States, especially Boston, due to the rich history and pride he feels in those places.
Ellen Ludwig is a Kansas State University alumna, and she graduated in 2014 with a fine arts degree in ceramics and photography. Ellen has an extensive camp background; she has worked in Missouri, Alabama, North Carolina and even France during her camp experiences. Ellen previously worked at Camp Lakewood in Missouri overseeing their leadership program. She worked in Alabama at a 4H camp and specialized in educational programs regarding their birds of prey and reptiles. She then taught in North Carolina at Camp Don Lee in their marine biology program, where she educated children about the beach and sea turtles. Ellen has also taught children English in France for various summers.
Ellen joined the Mo-Ranch family in February of 2017 and was promoted to adventure programmer in December of 2017. Ellen loves showing campers and visiting school groups new things on the ranch, and she enjoys helping others accomplish things that they never thought they could or would be able to do. She relishes in the little things she notices at Mo, such as a porcupine in a tree! Can you believe porcupines climb trees?!
Since becoming the Adventure Programmer, Ellen now creates new activities and lessons for Mo’s visiting school groups. She thoroughly enjoys fostering relationships with our school groups and discovering what activities they want to incorporate into their educational visits.
“I always love seeing kids learn new things and see their faces of ‘I get it’. There is nothing more rewarding this seeing a child succeed at something they never thought they could. Mo-Ranch is a great place for students and teachers to experience not only nature out here but also experiencing a different way of learning.”
Ellen is an artsy person that loves to craft jewelry and capture photos on her film camera. She is also obsessed with movies—in fact, she has over 450 DVDs in her personal collection!
Previously, Stephen managed a zip line course in Indiana for two years and was certified as a white-water kayaking instructor in Idaho. Since he joined Mo in 2015, Stephen has worked as a lead counselor for our Teen Day Camp and as a field instructor for our environmental leadership program. He currently serves as a lead field instructor.
Stephen loves the sense of community at Mo and enjoys working with people from all different walks of life. He enjoys being able to share his love and passion for the outdoors with our visiting students.
“When students visit Mo-Ranch, they are able to escape their typical routines and explore and learn in a different, interactive setting. I thoroughly enjoy working with all of our various student groups and enabling them to see the world in a different light. They are truly able to leave after their outdoor education experience and apply their newfound knowledge and skill sets into their everyday lives.”
Stephen views Mo as his giant playground, and you can frequently see him hitting up the kayaks or hiking along the trails. He is a comic book, video game and movie fanatic, and he self-admittingly agrees that he probably owns more DVDs than the average human. He’s pretty sure he can beat Ellen’s DVD count of 450, but we haven’t put that to the test just yet!
Trent Allen Erickson Lawrence loves his job here at Mo-Ranch as a lead field instructor. In the last two years that he has spent working at Mo, he has learned at least one very important thing, and he often tells it to the kids in our Outdoor Education Ministry program. That thing is: if you don’t have fun at your job, find another job.
As a lead field instructor, it’s the first job that he’s had in his life of which he is proud. Trent is an outdoor enthusiast with numerous wilderness survival skills, hobbies and talents, including but not limited to blacksmithing, leatherworking, atlatl throwing, flint knapping, outdoor cooking, mycology, horticulture, woodwork, bushcraft and general nature lore.
His hope is that he can use his passion for the outdoors, wit, intellect and humor plus whatever tools he has at his disposal, to share the things he loves with the children that will build the future of this planet. Trent hopes to put a spark in the children’s heart so that they can share that spark with others, as he has shared with them. His dream is to teach the kids to love the woods again and that it’s okay to have dirt on your hands. Trent wants to enable them to have the confidence to throw a spear or use an ax and encourage them to look beyond the view of the world through the light of a small screen in their pocket.
He believes that the spark, confidence and open-mindedness are already inside them, in their very DNA, just waiting for someone to show them how to tap into that strength and passion. Having the opportunity to do just that is what Trent loves most about working in the Environmental Leadership Program here at Mo-Ranch.
The Environmental Leadership Program is staffed by a group of professional, caring adults from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Field Instructors go through a rigorous selection process that includes interviews, references, criminal background checks and a drug screening. All staff participate in an extensive training program that focuses on communication and teaching skills, child behavior management, age level expectations, risk management and child abuse prevention. Staff receive specialized training and/or certifications in CPR, First Aid, Lifeguarding, Ropes Course Facilitation, Canoeing and Archery.
If you are ready to apply or are looking for additional information about job openings at Mo-Ranch click here to visit our jobs page.