Cat Bigney is a prominent female in the arena of anthropology, primitive skills, and outdoor survival. Cat did not have a typical American childhood. She spent much of her time in a tipi and exploring the Rocky Mountains. One of her earliest childhood memories was of her grandfather, a previous POW and contracted trapper, giving her a beaver trapping and skinning tutorial. Her father gave her a fire-making set and stone tools when she was young.
Her formative years allowed for her to disappear into the Rocky Mountains, while also demanding some understanding of survival, built on trial and error, hard work and innovation. As a teen, she built and lived in her own fire-heated shack in an area where winters could serve up temperatures nearing -30 degrees F.
In addition to this formative life in the wilds, Cat spent some of her childhood on a sailboat on the East Coast. This required her to become city savvy at an early age, negotiating Boston and New York subways for supplies, a different type of survival.
Her atypical background and love for the wilderness led her to Boulder Outdoor Survival School (BOSS), where she sought mentors and proved, even as a young female, she had the skillset and knowledge to collaborate with the top survival experts in the world.
She became the youngest female Desert and Mountain Head Survival Instructor at BOSS and quickly gained a reputation for taking on difficult contracts and developed survival-based training and experiences for groups like the Young Marines and French Geo Magazine.
Cat has a B.S. in Behavioral Sciences, Anthropology Emphasis, and Earth Sciences. She focused the capstone of her studies on ancient arts and reflection of this on cognitive archaeology. Studying ancient adornment in the Cultural Resources Center of the Smithsonian and recreating ancient tattoo techniques and tools has driven her more recent personal and professional endeavours.
Cat was accepted into a graduate medical program but deferred to continue here work in the wild. She has extensive remote medical training and instructs for the Wilderness Medical Institute of NOLS.
Cat has also been actively involved in survival shows on TV. Cat was instrumental in the success of the first all-female group of castaways on the Island with Bear Grylls. Although she mostly works in the media realm as a writer, consultant, producer and researcher, she occasionally will take on on-camera roles. In this respect one of Cat’s most meaningful projects was as co-host for National Geographic’s The Great Human Race, during which she demonstrated her ability to embed herself in and decode new environments across the globe (ranging from the jungles of Africa, deserts of the Middle East and tundra of Mongolia) while representing ancient technology and mindset. She embraced the challenges of this as not only to demonstrate how to survive, but to deliver essential information and historical points, as well as to translate her experience to an audience displaced from her.
Cat has been a segment producer and on camera contributor for PBS’s Human: The World Within, discussing the physiology of survival and our immune system. Cat is also a credited Executive Producer and Art Director for The Lion and the Firebird, a film that unveils the cognition and culture of early Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals.
Cat’s passions include art, writing, athletics and global human empowerment (especially concerning girls and discriminated or underprivileged communities). In her youth, she was a visual art Sterling Scholar and participated in art apprenticeships. She has played several contact sports, Water polo, semi-pro Women’s Football and Women’s Rugby. She has been a member of a Premier League Women’s Rugby team and played in the U.S. national playoffs, earning the Division 1 gold medal.
She believes in the intense and committed pursuit of life. Taking meaningful risks and making a difference is motivation for Cat to go “full throttle in life”.
With her infectious and endless energy, courage when facing challenges, and love for people, we are very much looking forward to welcoming Cat to the GBS in 2022.