Meet Straight Up Outside!

We, Annie, an English teacher and Nick, a Science teacher are behind Straight Up Outside.

After hours of conversations over coffee (among other beverages), we discovered that our true passion is the environment. Discovering new details about locations we’ve visited before, buying eco-friendly products, growing our own garden and meat… we’ve experimented in every way to find the best ways to live sustainably and preserve our world.

Originally, the path to SUSTAINABLE LIVING was very different for each of us.

Nick Schmitz
Nick canoeing with Luna swimming behind him.

For Nick, growing up on the Le Sueur River helped him develop a curiosity for the natural world. This curiosity followed him into college, where he graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in Natural Resources.

After his undergrad, he moved to Omaha, Nebraska, and received a Masters in Real Estate Economics from the University of Nebraska, Omaha. After seeing the inside world of Economics, Nick quickly learned how little was being done to protect the environment.

So he quit.

Then moved back home to Mankato, Minnesota, and started working on a second Master’s in Education. The economics degree had taught Nick that everything in life has value, so he wanted to CREATE value and teach students to love the environment, too.

Nick has taught science for 11 years, including Life Science, Earth Science, and Chemistry.

Annie Schmitz
Annie standing in front of the moon with the kitty nearby.

Growing up, it was all about animals for Annie. From petitions to her parents to get more pets, to bouts of vegetarianism to avoid the terrors of the meat industry, she was always looking for ways to be kinder to animals.

As an adult, she spent countless hours on the internet finding products not tested on animals and adopted her dog, Luna, from Petfinder. When she met Nick at work in 2016, she was introduced to the farm lifestyle that allowed her to have the menagerie she always dreamed of.

Now, her love of animals has morphed into a love of the whole environment. It’s easy to suffer from eco-anxiety and feel so helpless in the fight to live sustainably. But Annie believes if everyone does a little bit, we can have a huge impact on the fate of our world.

In addition to running Straight Up Outside, Annie is an English teacher. She’s taught for 6 years and is currently teaching high school Special Education.

Now that you know the “who,” it’s time to learn the “what.” Check out our “Start Here” page next!

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