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After a two-year pause, the HumaNature podcast is back with a new season and host

A woman stands between three llamas and a black and white cow.
Steven Carroll
HumaNature host Megan Feighery at the Kindness Ranch in Hartville, WY for HumaNature Episode 4 “All Beagles Great and Small.”

A Wyoming Public Media podcast on where humans and our habitat meet has come back after a two-year hiatus. HumaNature's new season is currently underway. Wyoming Public Radio’s Kamila Kudelska spoke with the new HumaNature host and producer Megan Feighery on how the podcast was revived and her personal connections to the show.

The following transcript has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity. 

Megan Feighery: It was my first gig in public radio. So, I was finishing grad school in 2019. And I realized, “Oh, no, I was doing grad school to put off adult life for a few years. And now it's ending and I gotta figure something out.” And so I thought about what I really wanted to do. And I thought, “Well, I listen to podcasts a lot. And most of them are public radio podcasts. Maybe I could do podcasts for public radio.”

So I started emailing and cold-calling stations all across the U.S., and Wyoming said yes. They picked up first. And they said yes. And they said, “If you can come out to Laramie – if you can get out to Laramie from Southern California – you can spend as long as you want here. And we will teach you everything that we know.” And so I packed up my car and I drove from Southern California to Laramie, Wyoming. And I started interning on this podcast that I'd never heard of called HumaNature.

Kamila Kudelska: And what about HumaNature kept you on?

MF: So I mean, there's lots of podcasts. And some are interesting. Some don't float my boat. But I found that I really liked HumaNature. And I found that I had a pretty good knack for storytelling, and HumaNature is pretty much all storytelling. And I really liked that. I got very invested in what we were doing and the kinds of stories we were telling. I thought it was so fun to piece it all together. It was like a big audio puzzle. I have to say that I really did fall in love with HumaNature the podcast.

KK: It was about two years ago due to many reasons, HumaNature went on pause. So how did this revival come about?

MF: The station manager gave me a phone call, and said, “Hey, we want to bring the show back. It's been too long. It's a great show. We have a lot of fans. They want it back. We've heard from people. And if you're interested, and you have the time, would you want to be the host, producer or everything all in one, kind of a team of one?” And I just couldn't pass it up. So I said, “Yeah, absolutely.” Because from the second I started HumaNature, I wanted to host it. That was my dream, but I never actually thought it would happen.

KK: Obviously, you're a little different than the original host. You’re a whole different person. So how do you think you add personally to the new episodes? And what would you say to longtime fans of the podcast that they should or can expect?

MF: I would say to longtime fans that you're always going to hear classic HumaNature episodes that you can recognize. Those are never ever gonna go away, because they're fun and I love them. But you also can expect to hear some different episodes. Because starting out, I thought maybe some of these aren't exactly what we would have done before, but they're stories I really love and I'm really passionate about. And so I'm just gonna go for it and see what happens.

And maybe I throw a bunch of spaghetti at the wall, and it all falls off. But maybe some of it sticks, and maybe some people like the new style and episodes. I've also put myself a little more into these episodes than we would have done in the past. And I don't know, I think it adds a really nice personal touch. I want people to know me. I want people to know me as the host of HumaNature. I like putting myself out there and putting a little more of a personal spin on it. And hopefully, people really like what I'm doing.

KK: Can you explain to listeners that maybe haven't heard it yet, what is the premise of HumaNature? What do they expect to hear?

MF: Yes. Our tagline is, “real stories where humans and our habitat meet.” And really all that means is it's stories of folks just doing incredible things in the outdoors. Or sometimes it's about folks that have incredible things done to them by mother nature. It's people's experience and connection with animals with outdoor activities. We've done everything from grizzly bear attacks to the first all-black climbing team to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. We just did an episode on a massive animal rescue that an animal sanctuary in Wyoming had a big part in. In a world that is losing touch with nature and [with] climate anxiety on the rise, I think it's a really good reminder of why folks should care about the world outdoors and that there's still a lot of really great people out there having connections in nature.

KK: You already mentioned a couple of stories, but what was your favorite story that you worked on for this new season?

MF: My personal favorite is the first episode. It's Reggie the alligator. It's the story I instantly knew I wanted to do. Probably not one you’ve heard before. And it's all because it was a story that I followed when I was in college in Southern California. So it's a little bit personal to me. But I also think it's just a super fun episode. It's not often that an episode about an alligator being dumped after getting too big for someone's backyard in the middle of Los Angeles gets a happy ending. But this one does. I won't spoil it, but it's a happy alligator story.

KK: It was a good one. And so like you mentioned, the theme of the podcast is where humans and our habitats meet. That's a pretty general theme. So how do you go about when you're trying to find stories? The one you just mentioned was one you knew right away, but for the rest? How did you go about finding these stories and deciding that maybe this is the right one for HumaNature?

MF: Sometimes they get pitched to me. We're always accepting pitches for HumaNature. If you have a story you want to tell, send me an email. It's really that simple. Find us on social media, send us a pitch, and I'll get back to you either way. Other than that, I go to a lot of outdoor blogs and just look for stories that people write. I keep an eye out in the news for any stories that might catch my attention. And I think something important moving forward is I'm trying to think about nature and the outdoors in a different way. It's not always going to be in the Rocky Mountains. It can be, but also sometimes you can find nature in urban settings, or in suburban settings or in unexpected places. And so broadening what it means, I think, has been really important.

KK: What do you hope people take away after listening?

MF: I hope that they're smiling. Usually, the episodes are pretty happy. And I hope, if you already love the outdoors, you're probably going to feel a connection to a lot of these stories. And if you're the kind of person that I know…myself, for a few years, I lost touch with the outdoors. I got busy. I didn't have time to go outside as much. And actually, when I started working on HumaNature, it was such a good reminder. And it's so important. It makes me feel so good to be outside and be connected with the natural world. So if you're the kind of person who doesn't get outdoors maybe as much as you should – or you think you want to maybe dabble a little bit more in hiking or trying something new – I hope that it inspires you to do that.

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. She has won a regional Murrow award for her reporting on mental health and firearm owners. During her time leading the Wyoming Public Media newsroom, reporters have won multiple PMJA, Murrow and Top of the Rockies Excellence in Journalism Awards. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.

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