Your Guides


Kelly Sturner – Founder 


I love to spend time outside with my husband looking for birds, flowers, insects and fungi, because it makes me feel like a kid again, full of curiousity and wonder. I believe sharing our enjoyment of nature with others is one way to help preserve our environment. For my day job I work at the University of Tennessee coordinating science education & outreach programs, including several encouraging young girls in science (Gadget Girls, Adventures in STEM Camp, programs at Tremont, and more). In my free time I like to hike, bird watch, camp, bike, and I volunteer at Ijams as a naturalist. I also enjoy traveling and seeing National Parks, my favorite of all time being Glacier National Park in Montana. I currently live in South Knoxville, but have lived in Illinois and Northern California. Fun fact: I played in the dirt as a soil ecologist for many years, and still appreciate a good silty clay loam when I see one.

Miriam Davis – Founder



My fascination with nature began by wandering around my own backyard as a child in Hyde Park, NY, discovering mushrooms, flowers, and interesting rocks and continued during family vacations to beaches, lakes, and the north woods. That love led me to a science career with jobs in conservation, natural resource management and science information management.  I have explored most parts of the United States, but didn’t start hiking regularly until I was an urban dwelling young adult in Boston, MA. As a personal challenge, and to raise money for an organization supporting women in transition, I completed a three-day hike through the Presidential Range of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. I was hooked and have tried to hike as often as possible since. As a busy working mother, I know how hard it is to make time to get outside and explore the trails. Girls Outside is a way for me to combine all my loves, get outdoors, and inspire girls to do the same.

Lisa Silverman – Partner



I am originally from the NY/NJ metropolitan area, but 4 years ago I traded in the hustle and bustle of the northeast for a slower and more peaceful pace of life in East Tennessee. While I didn’t get bit by the hiking bug until I was an adult, once I caught the fever there was no turning back for me. I have been avidly hiking for the past 14 years in parts of the United States and various countries all over the world. Some of the highlights for me were hiking in Hawaii, Costa Rica, and Norway. In my spare time you will find me hiking the trails of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park right in our own backyard. I love living in the Knoxville area because we are so close to this gorgeous national park which to me is nature’s playground. Currently, I am a graduate student in child and family studies at the University of Tennessee. I have a background in chemistry, and prior to beginning my studies at UT, I transitioned to working with children and families by working as a science educator in a children’s science museum for several years. Additionally, I have also served as a “big sister” mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters and a hike leader with the NY/NJ chapter of Appalachian Mountain Club. I am so thrilled to be sharing my experience of and passion for the outdoors with girls of all ages because I enjoy it so much. Also, I believe that providing young girls opportunities to spend time in the outdoors with enthusiastic women role models can foster their sense of self-esteem and self-empowerment with which they may carry into adulthood.

Sarah Daby – Hike Leader

Sarah Darby


I am East Tennessee born and raised and so thankful to have such beautiful surroundings to call home! My love for the outdoors grew during college when I worked as a camp counselor; I loved spending entire days outside with awesome kids exploring, learning, and growing. I also volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club where I enjoyed being able to mentor young girls. I believe young girls are smart, creative, kind, and strong, and spending time outdoors helps each one of us to see ourselves that way. My husband and I love going on day hikes and backpacking trips around the Smokies. Some of my favorites are Mt. Cammerer, Mt. Leconte and the Chimney Tops. I can’t wait to explore the trails with you!


Catherine Crawley – Founder Emeritus


Since she was very young, my daughter Hannah has joined me on many hikes in the mountains. I hope to instill in her a love for the outdoors and a curiosity about the natural world. I am an avid hiker and enjoy long-distance walking for exercise. I write about science for the National Institute for Mathematical Biology at the University of Tennessee. Although I love the ancient and beautiful Appalachian Mountains, from Tennessee to Vermont, I am drawn like a fish to the ocean and enjoy looking for treasures in tide pools at the sea shore. Corona del Mar in California holds special outdoor memories for me.

Trena Paulus – Founder Emeritus



Originally from northern Indiana, I have been hiking, biking and backpacking in the Knoxville and surrounding areas since 2003. During the work week I am a professor at the University of Georgia, but on weekends I try to be outside as much as possible. Prior to becoming involved with Girls Outside, I coordinated the Second Saturday Striders women’s hiking group for five years and participated in trail maintenance events on the Appalachian Trail with the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club. Some of my favorite places to hike are in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – White Oak Sinks in the spring, Gregory’s Bald in the summer, Mt. Cammerer in the fall, and Charlie’s Bunion in the winter.


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