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About the Authors
Todd Kesner is the Director of the Montana 4-H Center for Youth Development at Montana State University with a doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction. His dissertation research focused on experiential history education or "Hands-on History". His investigation into the learning of history by immersing young people in the clothing and lifestyle of the period coined the term Participatory Living History. He created the Montana 4-H Western Heritage Project in 2008 as an avenue to teach both firearm safety and history to teens. Dr. Kesner’s keen interest in the history of the American West began during his childhood on the family farm and after hearing his grandfather’s stories of the cowboy days in Montana. Dr. Kesner has been a lifelong outdoorsman, worked cattle from horseback in both Montana and Australia, was a collegiate saddle bronc rider, and has served as a 4-H educator for 31 years. He resides in Bozeman, Montana with his wife Lisa, daughter Lauren, and son Samuel.
Will Abbot is a former US Navy photographer whose professional career has included aerial, news, law enforcement, museum and documentary photography in the U.S. and abroad. Thanks to his lifelong passion for American history and youth development, Mr. Abbot has provided his photographic expertise to this project without compensation over the past three years.
Will has been an active historic interpreter since 1975 when he marched in a company of minutemen during the bicentennial recreation of the first battles of the American Revolution at Lexington and Concord. He currently conducts educational programs related to United States and Montana history including firearms of the 18th and 19th centuries. Will also travels across the United States as a nationally certified volunteer instructor in 4-H Shooting Sports and throughout Montana as the leader of the historic singing group Rocky Shoals based in Missoula, Montana.
Will, his wife Susan, and daughters Maria and Natalie, can be seen most weekends of the summer interpreting the history of the 1860s at the Nevada City Living History Museum, Nevada City, Montana.
Katelyn Andersen is happy to call Montana home after traveling her entire childhood as a daughter of an Air Force Officer. She now lives in Corvallis with her family and their chocolate lab, Sage. Katelyn graduated from the University of Wyoming (UW) in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences (focus in Textile and Merchandising). Continuing at UW, Katelyn then graduated in 2006 with a Master of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences. Katelyn has served as one of two Montana State University (MSU) Extension Agents for Ravalli County since June 2006. Her programming efforts include 4-H/Youth Development, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Community Development. She believes in lifelong learning and is an advocate of education. In addition to volunteering in her community through various organizations, she likes to fly fish, enjoys the outdoors, as well as, reading, sewing, and blogging.