The instructors for the 2018 gathering are listed below.
Alexander Ojeda was raised in the counter culture of the late 60’s and early 70’s. He was raised with the idea that we need to be more connected with the Earth and conscious of its ecological health. It was expressed that the human world is a very delicately balanced system that is in danger of collapsing at any time. Growing up with these guiding principles, he was never comfortable with the way the world was set up. There was always an underlying itch of concern about the future of our way of life and that of the ecological balance of the planet. One way to combat that concern was to learn the pre-petroleum living skills of people from the iron age to early Tudor life and permaculture living techniques. Many years later Alex is now a permaculture instructor that teaches and designs self-sufficient homesteads under the name of the Starwalker Project. Ever learning the next way to live a modern lifestyle connected to living systems, Alex says repeatedly that the teacher should always be an information hungry student. He is forever grateful for the opportunity to be with like minded people on this same mission!
I love to sing, dance, and co-create ceremony in community. I have been leading song circles for small and large groups of all ages for many years and I founded & coordinate Singing Alive Appalachia, a gathering of songlovers, now in its 5th year. I have created ceremonies that honor the Earth and her cycles, and been a facilitator of rites of passage for women of all ages (including Growing Goddess program for young women in Appalachia). I love to co-create experiences with others that include all our senses, visual and musical arts, dance & celebration, as well as provide a space for us to express our feelings and to deepen our connection with the Earth.
Angie has studied and used herbal medicines and natural remedies for more than 15 years with her family of five and in caring for and maintaining a dual-purpose beef/dairy herd of Jersey/Devon cattle, and a chemical/antibiotic-free healthy forage-fed goat herd. As antibiotic resistance becomes more and more widespread, knowledge of alternatives to antibiotics, especially in respect to wound care, are vital to our well-being.
Annie SewDev is an herbalist and EMT in central Florida. She offers donation based herbal wellness consultations, gathers and prepares herbal medicine, teaches at the Florida School of Holistic Living, and offers free herbal first aid in downtown Orlando. With great fondness for the place that she lives, she seeks to practice bioregional herbalism, utilizing local plants to improve the quality of life and reduce suffering. For more information about Annie, visit www.takerootherbarium.com.
Bill has over 25 years of martial art and body work experience understanding movement and tensions patterns that lead to physical pain.
Bill believes the nervous system holds the key to the body’s healing. It bridges the gap between what we currently know and the infinite number of possibilities for the body to heal in the realm of what we don’t know. This combination creates the shortest distance between a life riddled with pain to a high quality fully expressed physical life.
“You can’t think your way out of pain. Pain is not rational and doesn’t care what you think. You must feel your way out of pain through comfort. Through the weeks, months and years of injury and compensation patterns built up in your body limiting your movement and making you feel older than you are.” ~ Bill (The Knee Pain Guru)
His unique ability of identifying the blocks that keep people stuck in pain and skillfully removing them allows for lasting change and a new reality for his clients…
Here’s what just a few of his clients had to say...
"Bill's THE MAN. I've had him work on me and teach me for years now. He can do things I honestly didn't think were possible. He's patient, kind and funny and very, very good."
~ Patrick (44) Charlotte, NC
"Bill has a true gift for helping people in pain. I encourage everyone to allow him to share that gift with you so you, too, can get out of pain.”
~ Karen (57) Anchorage, AK
Cali Janae is an all-around nature nerd with a deep interest in sustainable living skills including accessible and empowering healthcare for self and community. Cali’s love for the wild was sparked early in life on plant and bird walks with their father in central Iowa. Cali’s training includes a Bachelor’s degree in Ethnobotany from Drake University. Following this up, Cali studied for three years at the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine, completing the Community Herbalism Intensive and two years of apprenticeship alongside 7Song. During this time Cali worked as a volunteer clinical herbalist at the Ithaca Free Clinic. Cali is currently working as an clinical and community herbalist and botanist in their own practice on a farm outside of Gainesville. In their free time they enjoy spending time with friends, beer-brewing, fermentation and gardening.
My background is in the arts. I love all things fiber and teach crochet, knitting, sewing, spinning, dying and felting. I taught high school art for 12 years and now I teach fiber all over the country.
Dave Cooper from Lexington, Kentucky is founder of the Whippoorwill Festival - Skills for Earth Friendly Living in Kentucky. He spent 10 years traveling across America as a volunteer on the Mountaintop Removal Road Show, an effort to educate Americans about the tragedy of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. He is also a founding member of Mountain Justice, a direct action campaign led by Appalachians to bring attention to the environmental impacts of mountaintop removal.
Doug Elliott is a naturalist, herbalist, storyteller, basket maker, back-country guide, philosopher and harmonica wizard. Whether he's singing about catfish, pontificating on possums, extolling the virtues of Spanish moss, pondering the “nature” in human nature, demonstrating basketry techniques, telling wild snake tales or wailing out a jivey harmonica tune, he is known for his lively presentations as well as his broad, practical, scientific and cultural knowledge of the area's many useful wild plants and interesting critters. He has authored five books, produced a number of award winning recordings of stories and songs, and is occasionally seen on PBS-TV and the History Channel.
Eric Blevins is from east Tennessee in the Katuah bioregion. He started learning knots in 2006 as part of learning to climb for direct action so he could get in the way of coal companies blowing up mountains. He worked with Mountain Justice in the fight against mountaintop removal for over 10 years. He has taught at the Firefly Gathering, Whippoorwill Earthskills Festival, Florida Earthskills, Mountain Justice camps, Earth First! camps, and other direct action camps. He loves yoga, acroyoga, Thai massage, reading, playing guitar and singing folk songs, collecting vinyl records and seeing live music, contra and square dancing. He currently lives near Nashville.
Grandma KoKo is a displaced homesteader with a plan to assist the growth of Homesteading Eco-villages, because homesteading is a community sport, it takes a village. Planned Homesteading Communities based on sustainable, earth friendly and locally-self-sufficient practices will provide rewarding livelihood and economic security. This is the new way to create ‘jobs’ on the local level. The PLAN is friendly, affordable and up-lifting. KoKo manages a web site dedicated to promoting the possibility of an Earth centered set of living arrangements, painting a brighter vision for our future. The Plan is called Live Rent Free, A Safe Place to BE, it offers details of the What, Why and How for Planned Homesteading Communities. Read it on-line or download the pdf file at moretocome.us. Plans have already begun for a just such a homesteading community in Tennessee based on The Plan.
Gma KoKo on Facebook
Jeff , MS (in Biology), has been a Naturalist, Outdoor Educator and Primitive Skills Instructor for more than 30 years. He works with school groups, nature centers, museums, scout troops and summer camps, builds full-sized wigwams and longhouses and replicates primitive tools and artifacts for display. His areas of special interest include fiber arts, flintknapping, basketry, edible and utilitarian plants, and nature awareness. He travels widely in the Eastern U.S. teaching at rendezvous, gatherings and historic fairs. He has written a how-to manual on building wigwams, and an instructors' manual entitled Teaching Primitive Skills to Children. His new book on natural fibers and ropemaking is available directly from him. He welcomes correspondence and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 245 Red Dog Lane, Whittier, NC, 28789.
A student of primitive and Native American cultural skills since the early days
of the Earthskills Workshops at Unicoi State Park, Joan has taught Native American style beadwork,
buckskin sewing, canvas tentage construction techniques, twined bags, pottery, batik, toothbrush rag rug making, moccasins,
capotes, rainwater catchment, healing with nutrition supplements & herbal medicines, salves, tinctures, lip balms …
and bellydancing. She made her first tipis under the tutelage of Rivercane Rendezvous founder Darry Wood in the 1990's,
and now teaches tipi living skills. Joan and husband, Tom Strode, are building homestead and community in
Hardyville, Kentucky. www.sweetwatertipi.com
Kelly combines her love of the natural world with her joy of crafting and creativity to the dye pot. An exuberant experimenter, kelly has been tinkering with and teaching natural dyes for 5 years. She has developed a vast knowledge of dye plants and mushrooms native to the Appalachian mountains and beyond. Kelly resides in western North Carolina, she has a background as a horticulturist, and more recently spends her days gardening, crafting, exploring new trails, and playing with kids in the woods.
Maria Minno has a master’s degree in botany from UF and a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology from UC Santa Barbara, and is a Reiki Master and Licensed Massage Therapist in Florida. She has done volunteer work as an environmental health advocate, and has been studying alternative healing and traditional nutrition independently for over a decade.
Marie-Lies Van Asten
Marie-Lies grew up in Belgium and has been living in Atlanta, Ga for 15 years. She has been making her own soaps and body products for the last 10 years.
Maurice White is a “lukku kari” (indigenous island indian name for island people). Having lived on the remote island of Eleuthera for over 25yrs, he has learned the island earth skills lifestyle of hunting for fish underwater, growing food in rocky shallow terrain, mastering coconut skills, bush medicine skills and indigenous peoples skills. Maurice has a passion to unite the one world tribe and to assist the tribe in the healing of the environment and humanity.
Michael Adler is an ecologist, and horticulturist, among many other things. He ran the Edible Plant Project (a nonprofit food-plant nursery) for ten years and currently serves in an advisory capacity. He is also the designer and manager of the Tortoise Garden Restoration Area (longleaf pine forest). He currently works for South Florida Engineering and Consulting as an environmental scientist and GIS tech. Michael is also an expert at foraging for wild plants and mushrooms, and at freehand sharpening of metal blades.
Kuya Guro (big brother teacher) Nathaniel Cajudo Jr. is a certified instructor in Pambuan Arnis, a Filipino martial art, which is based on impact, edged and flexible weapons as well as empty hand combat. With 18 years of training and experience in the same art, he specializes in reality-based self-defense, "dirty" boxing, short sword fighting, close range rape defense and evacuation. In contrast to competitive martial arts, his classes will be based on survival and street combat, edged and impact weapon disarming.
Nicholas is a mycologist and forager. He has taught at other skills-based gatherings on mushroom ID and cultivation.
Nina's work is inspired by her ever-deepening explorations within the field of intimacy, and she is devoted to facilitating learning environments that foster interpersonal connections and deepen somatic awareness. As a licensed massage therapist specializing in Thai Yoga Massage and as an ardent musician, dancer, and bodywork educator, her passion lies in exploring the interface between the expressive and healing arts, and in discovering the infinite ways we are able to connect with one another and our environment through movement, sound, and touch.
Patrick Walker, a self-taught blacksmith and throwing instructor out of Tallahassee Florida, teaches at gatherings and private ranges and lives outside 365 days a year, prefering to make a thing, rather than buy it.
For over 25 years, Raven has been studying and practicing various aspects of Shamanism in ceremonies that range from Full Moon and New Moon Ceremonies to Equinox and Solstice Ceremonies to Cord Cutting and Sweat Lodge Ceremonies, as well as wedding and baby blessing ceremonies. And in individual Shamanic Healing sessions.
She has studied with Kyandelas, a Mohawk Iroquois woman from the upstate NY/Canada border; Agnes White Mouse, Lakota Medicine Woman from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota where she became a Pipe Carrier and Sun Dancer; Hawk Little John, Cherokee Elder; Spirit Eagle, Navajo Medicine Man among various other teachers of earth based traditions, ceremony and philosophy.
Raven is also a Reiki Master, Certified Yoga Instructor and writes a newsletter on working with the moon and also an Astrology column based on Moon Astrology.
Samuel Thayer is a forager, botanist, and writer who has been teaching
about edible wild plants for more than twenty years. His award-winning
books Nature's Garden and The Forager's Harvest have sold nearly 200,000
copies. Besides writing and teaching, Sam makes his living making maple
syrup; harvesting wild rice, berries, and nuts; and from his small organic
orchard. He lives in northern Wisconsin with his wife, Melissa, and three
Sara loves a good conversation about things that matter. Her current passions include conscious communication, peacemaking, leadership, 8 shields, ancestral healing, and dancing. Longtime resident of Athens, GA, she recently relocated to the mountains of North Carolina to do some soul searching and live the homesteading life.
Sarah grew up in the primitive skills community and now pursues all things fiber. She is a knitter, spinner, sewist, felter, jewelry maker, and beadworker currently living and making in Charleston.
Tara Rawson has spent nearly 20 years studying all facets of yoga, meditation and herbalism throughout both India and the U.S. She has owned and operated health facilities and taught various holistic health modalities internationally for the last decade.Tara offers classes, trainings, thai bodywork, herbal consults and holistic land design through the Regenerative Living School based in Jacksonville, Florida. It is her sincere love and passion to share her experience and wisdom of holistic health and regenerative living with her community.
Todd has lived for 10 years at Wild Roots, a way station for many folks on their journey of learning and practicing primitive skills. Located in North Carolina, Wild Roots is a place dedicated to the honing of these traditional ways. Todd lives and practices these skills on a daily basis while encouraging the development of skills in those who visit this mountain sanctuary.
Turnstone is a product of the Back to the Land movement and the close ties to native communities he experienced from an early age. Knowing that our ancestors made their living from the land, Turnstone started making stone tools represented in the rich archaeological record of tidewater Virginia. Turnstone is passionate about making simulations of prehistoric cook pots, but still catches a knapp here and there.