The instructors for the 2020 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!
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.
Barron has been making object his whole life. Started forging, casting and carving around 1970 and hasn’t stopped since. Earlier than that he started helping his granddad with simple timber frames and other homesteading skills.
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, “Cal,” has been studying plants for their entire life. As a child they were led on plant
walks by their father before they could walk on their own. Later, they formalized their passion
for the natural world and living sustainably in it with a degree in Ethnobotany from Drake
University. Cal then studied and apprenticed under 7Song at the Northeast School of Botanical
Medicine where they are currently employed. Cal practices as a botanist, herbalist and farmer in
Ithaca, New York and volunteers as a clinical herbalist at the Ithaca Free Clinic. Cal maintains a
strong wanderlust and rapt interest in the botanical arts and bird watching in their free time.
Cheng is an acupuncturist and computer engineer based in Florida and Central KY. She loves to integrate healing art with science, and share knowledge from her clinical experiences, from thousands of hours studying Functional Medicine and biochemistry, and most importantly, from healing herself out of 4 years digestive and autoimmune illness. Cheng holds three degrees in science and engineering, but find most happiness in foraging, basket weaving, loving and empowering one another. http://www.LogicGirl.com
Dan has lived at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, one of the country's most radical ecovillages, for the past 13 years. He grows his own food, makes wine from grapes in a vineyard he tends, built his own passive solar strawbale house from natural and reclaimed materials, and gets nearly all his water from the sky and all his power from the sun. He has been interested in sustainable living for over 30 years and has lived as sustainably as possible for much of that time. Dan loves sharing his sustainable lifestyle with others and currently does so to a larger audience on his YouTube channel, Hardcore Sustainable.
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.
World renown Large Scale Earthworks Designer, Waterflow Choreographer, Land and Human Pattern Researcher, Symbiotic Educator, Holistic Life Coach, budding Lorax, and Friend.
David's purposes both in research and consulting flow with patterns of nature and the design science/Philosophy of permaculture to develop systems that create an exponential growth of abundance.. David teaches, lives, and develops patterns on symbiotic abundance. Today, David's consulting portfolio includes the design and harmonious water flow of over 36,000 acres of land around the world.
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.
Elise Damilatis is a Holistic Clinical Herbalist, having completed the Advanced Clinical Program at the Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine in the amazing Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Her previous herbal studies include an intensive 13 week Shamanic Herbal Apprenticeship with herbalist Susun Weed in the ancient Catskill Mountains of New York. Elise also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Philosophy through Binghamton University. She is a shamanic Usui Reiki Master/Teacher. Elise has also completed a 250 hour Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher training program through Asheville Community Yoga and 'A Heart of Service' Shamanic training with Bloom Post.
Emily Hemeyer is an arts educator and eco-nerd from St Louis Missouri where she heads up the Wild Seed Field Museum through an entity known as SPORE Projects. Other endeavors include the Temporal Cities Blanket Fort Festival and meditative music project Ghosts I Have Been. Emily comes from a family of farmers, foragers, and crafters. She spotted her first morel playing in the creek at 6 yrs old. Over the past decade she’s spent countless hours learning about edible mushrooms and plants. On the long-term she’s working to establish a plant/fungus sanctuary on her family’s 200 acre farm in Northern MO.
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.
Eric is a lover plants and aspiring greenman who dedicates much of his energy to deepening the relationship between people and plants. Inspired by the wise words of world renowned ethnobotanist Frank Cook, Eric is continually encouraging people to respect the plants as individuals and eat something wild everyday.
Fuz is an endangered species biologist, Earthskills teacher, musician and storyteller. He has over 25 years as a wilderness instructor, naturalist, and research biologist for organizations such as 4H, National Wildlife Federation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, US Forest Service, US Park Service, and the Green River Preserve. Fuz coordinated the Earthskills Rendezvous for 8 years, and has now founded the Piedmont Earthskills Gathering in central North Carolina. Go ahead, ask him about birds.
raised in NC
Feral child wrangler
Crafter @ GetRad
James Clinkscales resides in the upstate of South Carolina where he hunts, forages and thrives on his homestead farm with his chickens and goats. Bee keeping, paddling whitewater and flatwater whenever possible are his passions. A lifelong primitive skills student and practitioner, avocational archaeologist and lover of life, James is always looking for a new adventure.
I have been actively experimenting with traditional fermentation of different foods and beverages for the past 7 years. I was on a quest to self heal, after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. It was then that I discovered, The Art of Fermentation, by Sandor Katz. He is my guru of all things fermented and through his teachings I was able to completely overhaul and restore my body to its optimal health, with zero medications.
I live in FL, where I enjoy time outside with my hands in the dirt, growing my own food, raising my chickens and wild foraging whenever I get the chance.
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
Jon is a world traveling adventurer who has spent his life connecting with others playing music, studying personal growth and inspiring people to be their highest selves. He was director of Montreal's largest children's day camp for 5 years and was a team building coach for high performance athletes. His passion and enthusiasm has inspired bicycle caravan circuses and traveling peace theaters. Jon has trained teachers on how to build connections through play, He has a business degree from Concordia University, and has studied Coaching for Transformation and Non-Violent Communication. Jon is also the co-creator of Awakening Harmony, a musical connection retreat that promotes emotional empowerment. He practices yoga, permaculture, music, acrobatics and woodworking, and grows his compassion with daily practice.
Josh Fox is a plant-enthusiast with a great love for teaching. He is an experienced guide to our local abundance of plant food and medicine incorporating his knowledge of Chinese medicine with nine years of Western herbal studies. He is a licensed acupuncture and herbal clinician and regularly offers plant walks, workshops, and weekend retreats integrating physical and spiritual healing. When he's not working with plants, you might find him dancing, stilt-walking, or singing songs.
Luke McLaughlin is a primitive skills instructor and founder of Holistic Survival School, based in Asheville, NC. Luke combines humor, knowledge and his deep passion for primitive skills to meet students where they are at in order to help them live a life that is more wild, and rooted in the natural world.
Makeda Meeks is a Writer, Activist and Educator in Gainesville, Florida. She was educated at the University of Utah with a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy with an emphasis in Social Justice and Critical Race Theory. A native of Live Oak, Florida she grew up on her family's farm playing in the springs and rivers around Suwannee County.
She is Someone who respects life and is intuitively predisposed to defend lives of all species. A person who’s hardly satisfied, because she believes there’s so much to be done and she's constantly afraid of running out of time.
An individual who leads with her heart, she looks forward into the future with great optimism and love for people and the planet.
Mallory is a massage therapist in Asheville, NC, where she keeps and tends to her private massage practice. She enjoys all-things-creative. Food projects, fermentation, primitive crafts, medicine making and foraging are activities that she enjoys in her day to day. She is particularly passionate about working with materials from the earth, and finding ways to transform raw materials into delicious and useful products.
Matt is deeply interested in village building and connecting with the ecosystems that sustain him. He has been a teacher and facilitator in many different spaces - earthskills, community facilitator, naturalist, tutor, mentor, drum instructor, organizational development specialist - for the past 15 years. He has been practicing and teaching earthskills and nature connection skills, such as bow hunting, fire making, foraging, animal processing, hide tanning, pottery, and food preparation, since 2015. He spent 2018 living primarily outside, cooking over wood fire, and living in a bark-covered home. These days, he lives in the city of Asheville, located on the ancestral lands of the Cherokee people. You can find more out about Matt at www.mattcolombo.org
An endless search of meaninglessness within the context of meaning, and how to wrap it around, hang it down, and not throw the baby out with the bath water. What has worked for thousands upon thousands of years is my interest base. Slowly I'm acquiring the epic experiences of a life lived transciently. I like: making things. carving. food. fat. greens. being with people harvesting and processing food. making camp. leaving camp.
I have been passionate about animals and learning what they have to teach us my whole life. I have worked professionally as an animal trainer and teacher both extensively in the US and Europe. My business Whole Horse Equitation based in Alachua, FL has a primary focus on holistic minded work with horses and their people for the goals of health and healing.
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.
Nina Lombardo is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Somatic Educator, Women’s Mentor, and Artist who weaves together her background in yoga, sacred sexuality, and the expressive and healing arts to create immersive experiences designed to liberate and nurture profound states of embodied clarity. Nina's work is inspired by her ever-deepening explorations within the field of intimacy, and she is passionate about discovering the boundless ways we are able to connect with the pulse of Now through embodied, creative practices. Learn more at wayofdevotion.com
Sangoma Oludoye is a sacred activist and cultural arts educator. She is an elder of the Primitive Earthskills Leadership Council, Wild Intelligence Year of the Coyote program and a traditional Yoruba priestess and chief of Oyotunji African Village, in Sheldon, SC. She has facilitated women’s empowerment retreats and earth camps for youth from a diversity of communities for more than three decades.
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.
Sara Henry learned to make pine needle baskets two and a half years ago from Nancy Basket, and she’s been hooked ever since. Each time she saw Nancy at a gathering afterward, she would show her the new baskets she had made and Nancy would critique them, giving her tough love advice on how she could improve. It was a big day for Sara when this past summer, while she was assisting Nancy in teaching at the Firefly Gathering intensives, when she showed Nancy a basket and the feedback she received was a firm “good.”
Sara has a passion for learning about the lifeways of the ancient peoples of Florida.
In her spirit, Sara Hosburgh is an artist. In all practicality, she is a maker. She is forever seeking chances to help herself and others experience life through the tactile sense.
Stephanie has been studying all things homestead and primitive culture related for over a decade now, with her interests primarily focusing on the creative and agricultural themes. It has always seemed like a great mountain adventure; with every plateau there is a realization that there is always another level to be obtained, another goal to reach. For more than a handful of years now, she has been building up her own homestead full of chaos, critters, lots of hard work and happiness with her little diva. Heart and Homestead focuses on becoming a creative self sufficient homestead and teaching others how to do all of this for themselves as well! Which takes a number of skills and a great community to be successful but obtainable by everyone! Bring back the skills!
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.
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.