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Skye W. Cooley



Mission Valley, MT


BA Geology, Whitman College - Thesis: Pleistocene clastic dikes, south-central WA

MS Geology, University of Wyoming - Thesis: Proterozoic anorthosite, Laramie Range, WY

PhD Studies, Utah State University - Thesis: Paleohydrology of the Bear River, ID-UT

Sea Education Association Class W-130 (R/V Westward)

Top Undergraduate Major, University of Wyoming Geology Field Course



Intern, Exxon Mobil

Soil Scientist, Colville Indian Reservation

Owner, Cirque Geoscience Consultants

Adjunct Geosciences Faculty, Boise State University


Field Geologist, Idaho Geological Survey

S.W. Cooley Fine Woodworking

Owner, The Weatherside AirBnB


I am an experienced Field Geologist and Mapping Geologist. I've worked on a variety of projects in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains. Field skills are in short supply these days, but remain incredibly valuable in all aspects of Geoscience.

From time to time people will ask me about my career or my employer. I am an independent Geologist and a small business owner in Montana. My wife an I have been residents in 6 western states over the past 15 years. We've bought and sold homes in three of them (Alaska, Idaho, Montana). In 2009, Hilary and I began to be inundated with opportunities that were pulling us in wildly different directions. We decided to prioritize her career in large carnivore management and I would pursue the best work I could find wherever we landed. I've been a soil scientist, university instructor, geologic consultant, and fine furniture maker. Hilary found her dream job, managing the Grizzly Bear Recovery Program for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Before that she worked with Gray Wolf and Polar Bear. Its been a trade off - my early career for an all-around good life. We're now settled in the Mission Valley and I am able to pursue new opportunities from a stable home base.

Where would I prefer to be? East of the Cascades. I enjoyed college teaching tremendously, especially field geology. My skillset is broad, from technology to traditional hand tools to technical mountaineering. My schooling is in surficial processes, Quaternary geology, and remote sensing, but I cut my teeth in the Wyoming foreland doing traditional bedrock structure and stratigraphy.


If you had asked me 20 years ago where I thought I'd end up, I'd have said either teaching at a small college or in management at an international mining company. Interesting where life takes us, isn't it?

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