Hazen Audel is an American adventurer, television presenter, biologist, educator, natural history guide, and artist who is best known for his National Geographic series 'Primal Survivor'. The series, which is running successfully for four seasons since 2016, documents his journeys to remote locations and 'survive' the rigorous life of indigenous people. He had previously collaborated with the channel to film living with a Native American tribe for a week in the 2014 series 'Survive the Tribe'. Known for his infectious enthusiasm, Audel has traveled across the world for over two decades, and has participated in exotic activities including crocodile egg hunting in Papua New Guinea, spear-fishing in the Western Pacific Coral Islands, and herding reindeers in Norway. As an educator, he taught biology and art at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington for 11 years starting in 2003. He co-founded 'The Wild Classroom' and is one of the original members of 'Untamed Science'.
Rise to Stardom
As a child, Hazen Audel was fascinated with bugs and snakes and aspired to be a mix of Dr. Herbert R. Axelrod, David Attenborough and Tarzan. He was the first in his family to pursue higher education beyond school, and entered college to become a botanist. However, he was soon bored with traditional teaching methods, and dropped out to seek adventure in the Amazon. 19-year-old Audel, who already owned all the required camping equipments, bought a ticket to Ecuador for $680 and a 25lb bag of rice for $20, and embarked on the journey with little money left in his pocket. The farthest he could go by road was to Rio Misahualli, a tributary to the Amazon, where he set up his camp near a settlement of indigenous Quechua people. He only watched them fishing from a distance for some time, while attempting to catch some fish himself, until one day he was invited to a dinner.
He began transporting coffee up and down the river, and learned more about the tribal lifestyle, and more importantly, where the bugs and snakes were to be found. He stayed there for over eight months and came back every summer for the next five years, every time venturing further into the wild. Back in the United States, his experience earned him a scholarship to the University of Hawaii, from where he completed a degree in ethnobotany, cultural use of natural resources, Meso-American traditional hunting practices and tropical ecology. Determined to improve the educational system, he became a teacher at a local school and began filming educational videos of his summer adventures to inspire his students. His videos attracted the attention of National Geographic channel, which sponsored his six-part TV series, 'Survive the Tribe', in 2014.
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Chasing animals in the wilderness is not the only thing Hazen Audel is good at. He founded an adventure ecotourism company in 1993 and began guiding expeditions to the rainforest to provide economical boost to the tribe that had sheltered him during his first adventurous trip to Ecuador. He is also an artist who learned the craft from his father, who was an artist and hot-rod builder.
In 1999, he founded Hazen Audel Architectural Artworks and Custom Fabrication, and started working as a commissioned artist building metal sculptures and other artistic pieces for architectural projects. He has also created hand illustrations and paintings for various publications. Along with Robert Nelson and Jonas Stenstrom, he began documenting his adventures in the wild to inspire the youth, which led to 'The Wild Classroom' in 2002. It was an educational outreach site for 'Explore Biodiversity' and later shaped into the educational portal, 'Untamed Science', which consists of a group of scientists, educators and filmmakers who attempt to make learning fun and easy. Audel had contributed to their very first video, the documentary 'Biodiversity of Mexico Project', and continued to serve as a host and educator for the group.
Family & Personal Life
Hazen Audel was born on January 25, 1974, in Spokane, Washington, the United States, to Kootenai and Salish Native American parents. He also has Greek ancestry. He studied Zoology, Chemistry and Ceramics at Eastern Washington University between 1992 and 1994, and despite dropping out midway through his studies at the Western Washington University, came back later to complete his Bachelors in Science in Biology with emphasis in Entomology and Art in 1998.
He obtained his Masters degree in Ethnobotany and Tropical Ecology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu in 2001. He also did a Masters degree in Teaching from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, in 2002. He is fluent in English and Spanish, and can converse in Quichua and Vanuatu (S. Pacific) pidgin. Despite travelling around the world regularly, he spends most of his time in his hometown and is very close to his parents.