James - lead mentor
I have spent my life gathering skills through countless experiences and from many mentors including my father and grandfather and many other masters of their craft. Nature is also one of my greatest teachers as I've learned to not only pay attention to my environment but to integrate with the land and listen to the wisdom inherent in being connected to nature.
My skills and interest are many and include ancestral crafts (wood carving, weaving, felting, forging), primitive skills (fire by friction, archery, tanning, axe and knife skills), survival skills (hunting, animal processing, foraging, shelter building), nature enjoyment (hiking, rafting, surfing), homesteading/farming (animal husbandry, natural horsemanship), and more.
Having had a small family farm in Southern Oregon raising sheep, cows, pigs, chickens and rabbits for food has nurtured a deeper understanding of our place as humans in this modern natural world, and how to inhabit that space in a positive and compassionate way. It reconnected me to my experiences as a kid on my grandfather’s farm where he taught me to raise, care for and process rabbits and other livestock as a natural course of living a connected life.
Over the years I’ve expanded my skills as a mentor by attending various events, gatherings and workshops as a student and as a teacher and by working as a mentor with other groups and organizations. I am also a husband, father, artist, children's book author, adventurer and explorer.
Sage - mentor
I've been part of the nature community ever since I could walk. As a young kid I grew up exploring the woods and the waterways all along the Central Coast of California.
I've had a number of very influential mentors in my life and more dirt time than I can count. I've attended skills gatherings for the past 6-7 years including the Buckeye Gathering and Acorn Gathering. During those events I had the opportunity to study with some amazing people and develop a love for ancestral arts and primitive skills.
I recently completed an amazing NOLS outdoor wilderness leadership adventure in the Pacific Northwest that challenged me in new ways and strengthened my love for the outdoors. I love surfing and rock climbing, and pretty much anything that involves outdoor adventure.
Paula - lead art mentor
As a child I instinctively made things from the materials around me, and since I was usually outside those materials were gifts from nature: baskets woven with vines and grasses; "cups" made of mud; crowns of entwined flowers; mats of braided reeds; and so very many fanciful and magical adorned sticks, rocks and leaves. It was natural to turn the materials around me into useful and beautiful things, and in doing so I was connecting to a lineage of ancestors who have crafted from nature for as long as they have roamed the earth. This deeply rooted practice of crafting and making art has continued throughout my life and led me to earn my bachelors degree and my teaching credential in art. Through the years I've also been blessed to have many, many teachers of arts and crafts. I am grateful for their generosity in sharing with me.
I've also taught art and crafts formally and informally to virtually all ages for over 25 years. I have a deep love for people and for sharing my love of craft. Making things is who I am; it's what I do, and teaching is my opportunity to share the wonderful practices I've acquired.
Mentors joining us for Summer Camps
Kira - mentor
The nature connection community has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. The natural world is beautiful. It has been here for countless years before us and will exist long after we are gone.
Introducing new people to the amazing learning opportunities and treasures nature offers is the kind of activity I’ve grown up with. I am so grateful to work as a nature mentor and guide a new generation of young people, as they find this same sense of community and connection in their natural surroundings.
Ezzy - mentor
Growing up in community since age 2 I've always been surrounded by caring people in my life. Large groups of multi-age kids, adults, elders and people willing to teach or share their skills and/or experiences with me built a desire in me to share and mentor others. The mentors I've had growing up are some of the most influential people in my life.
I spent many years in outdoor nature programs and skills gatherings. Some of my favorite memories are from "Four Fires", a week-long scouting experience that can best be described as the most challenging and fun week of "not sleeping" and stress ever!
I love hiking, surfing, horsemanship and rock climbing and I really enjoy working with kids and helping them to challenge themselves and find their edges.
Petra - mentor
I discovered nature as a young girl playing in the dirt barefoot. I spent many years in nature programs, and I now enjoy passing forward my love of exploring nature and finding cool little hidden spots. These days, my love of nature takes me from local creek wanders to the mountains of Big Sur and Sequoia National Park. Road trips are always about discovering new places in nature. When I am in nature I feel more confident and freer to express myself.
I have also loved horses from a young age and work with them regularly, both teaching and playing. From gentling rescued mustangs to riding on the beach with the wind in my hair to playing polo, my bond with horses continues to deepen.
"Sage was so proud of his rabbit hide and we loved hearing about the process. Thanks so much for everything you are teaching the kids!"
-- Comments and Feedback --
"That's so good for those kids. Great that you're doing it."
"Love that you are doing this. You are making a huge difference in the lives of these kids."
"Precious life skills and creating memories!"
"I’m amazed and delighted! Very impressive and lively fun!"