Jo Watson Hackl, Founder

My name is Jo, and I’m a writer, a corporate attorney, and an outdoor enthusiast. I created Outdoorosity as a free resource of inspiration and information about the outdoors. Spending time outside has such a huge impact on my life that I want to help busy professionals, students, and families get outside more often. 

I grew up just outside a ghost town in the middle of the Mississippi piney woods where storytelling is a major form of entertainment. This tradition inspired in me a passion for writing and for connecting with nature. I spent my childhood inventing characters, roaming the woods, and picking way more than my share of butter beans. 

Now I live with my chef husband and three children on the side of a mountain, where I write every day, take as many photographs as I can, and raise fruits, vegetables, flowers, and many, many weeds. My middle grade novel, Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe, was released in July, 2018 from Random House Children’s Books.

More About Me: 

I graduated from Millsaps College and Yale Law School. I’m a lawyer with Wyche, PA., whose lawyers have worked to preserve over 100,000 acres of land for future generations. To build my skills in wilderness self-reliance, I studied with the generous and knowledgeable Alex Garcia of Earthskills, LLC.


Meet my team! 


Alexa Anders, Writer and Intern

Alexa Anders is currently completing her at Furman University. She’s always loved the outdoors, especially hiking and swimming. She also enjoys making arts and crafts using nature, including making bird feeder pinecones and using natural clay to make pottery. She’s very interested in researching how the outdoors can improve mental health and physical wellbeing, as well as many other topics involving the benefits of spending time outdoors.




Samantha Bell


Samantha Bell, Writer and Content Manager 

Samantha is a children’s writer and illustrator, art teacher, and homeschooling parent. She’s the author of more than 150 nonfiction books for children. Her books cover all kinds of outdoor topics from endangered wildlife to building a solar cooker to surviving in the wilderness. Her favorite days are those she spends outdoors. You can also find her online at




K. Allison Brannon, Guest Contributor 

K. Allison Brannon is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mom to five, and a writer. She is a firm believer that “Go play outside” are words kids need to hear every day. She writes and edits Bible studies and she is about to publish her first novel. In her free time, she loves to read, spend time with her people, and be outside in the woods, by a lake, or just on her back deck. You can find her at, or follow her on instagram at @kallisonbrannon.




Kelly Byers-3

Kelly Byers, Guest Contributor 

By day, Kelly is the Community Engagement Specialist at Roper Mountain Science Center, where the mission is to ignite the natural curiosity of all learners to explore and shape their world. She enjoys getting out in the community and sharing success stories, helping people connect to their passions, and raising funds for impactful, innovative projects. Kelly also contributes to local publications, including the Travelers Rest Tribune and edible Upcountry. Meaningful community involvement is incredibly important to Kelly. She serves on many local boards and committees as well as City Council of Travelers Rest, South Carolina.

Growing up, Kelly’s mother encouraged her to join 4H or FFA.  Prior to her senior year of college, Kelly had the opportunity to volunteer on a farm in Japan.  After the first day spent barefoot in a rice paddy, Kelly’s world changed.  When she returned to college she co-founded a community garden and then earned a Masters in Agricultural Leadership at the University of Georgia, where she focused on the psycho-social benefits of gardening.     (Photo by Heather Cirincione Photography)

Laura Dame, Guest Contributor 

Laura has a B.A. in English from Furman University. Her poetry and prose have appeared in The Rhapsodist and The Echo. She loves observing the natural world and reveling in the variations of the weather. 

Suzanna Greer bio for Outdoorosity

Suzanna Greer, Guest Contributor

Suzanna grew up calling the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains home. Hours spent outside honed her eye for detail and her appreciation for the natural world. She now works professionally as an educator, administrator and teacher trainer at Camperdown Academy. As a Fellow of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators, she trains educators to teach dyslexic students to read and write.

During the school year, hiking and gardening are two of her favorite ways to relax. She is delighted that her yard blooms from March to October so that she can indulge in arranging fresh-cut flowers for her home and office. In the summer, you will find her on the beach wiggling her feet in the sand in hopes of finding tiny rainbow-colored coquina clams.



Abby Hackl, Research and Photography Editor

Abby is a graduate of Emory University with a degree in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology. She loves exploring the natural world and has trained extensively in outdoor self-reliance skills.  She also enjoys collecting and curating research about the mounting body of evidence about the physical and mental benefits of exposure to the natural world.




Karissa Horn, Guest Contributor 
Karissa is a Religion and Creative Writing double major at Furman University, class of 2026. She has published poetry, essays and short fiction in Young Emrys Journal, Christo et Doctrinae Journal, and The Echo, and has served on the editorial board for Christo et Doctrinae and The Echo as well. She dreams of being a novelist. Growing up as a homeschooled student, Karissa was heavily encouraged to spend time in the great outdoors, camping, hiking, fishing, kayaking, and exploring. She has enjoyed volunteer work at Furman’s farm, and is a member of the Furman University Outdoors Club. She currently helps care for her family’s six chickens (and a rooster).

Evan Hutchison, Guest Contributor

Evan is a senior at Appalachian State University majoring in architecture. As a child, he spent much of his free time outdoors and is passionate about both exploring nature and incorporating it into his work, focusing on sustainable and “green” architectural practices. He is particularly interested in the nature-centric design of traditional Japanese houses, tapping into his cultural roots. One of his favorite pastimes is walking down to the large lake near his house to wander its beaches and surrounding forests. He loves to write, something he gleaned from his father who is a published author, and is currently working on both fiction and non-fiction pieces.



Stacey Parkins Millett, Guest Contributor  

Stacey Parkins Millet retired from a full-time career in philanthropy, health equity, and community development. Now she writes creative fiction and nonfiction in multiple genres. She and her husband spend time living between New York City and western North Carolina. Stacey is an accomplished runner who has completed 60 marathons in rural and urban settings.





Naomi Shibles, Guest Contributer 

Raised on St. Croix, Naomi Shibles began her career as a newspaper reporter and went on to be an editor in New York City before starting her family. She is a member of SCBWI, the Authors Guild, and Pen Parentis. Her work is forthcoming in 42 Stories Anthology’s Book of 42. She lives in Charlotte.