Fianna Wilderness School seeks to guide people into deep alliance with the natural world and with themselves as an individual with unique gifts to offer, and a unique path through life.
The ancient Celtic warriors, the Fianna, were the heirs to the territories of the High Queens and Kings of Ireland. In preparation for their inheritance – a ruler’s responsibility towards land and people – they were obliged to roam the wild country and learn from the natural world. They studied the ancestral lore and were mentored by human and non-human teachers alike, often passing between the many worlds on their journeys of Self-Knowledge. This training facilitated their growth into true maturity, and a destiny of service in the defence of Life.
This is the ancient warrior code found in the roots of many cultures, and it speaks to a journey we all undertake: to move through the trials and tribulations of our growth in order to become fully ourselves, fulfilled and acknowledged in the unique offering we can make back to our world, sustaining Life.
Fianna Wilderness School seeks to support this journey of self-discovery for people, young and old, engaging the deeper currents of life to encounter our own guidance, and embrace our constant transformation. We believe that the world acts and evolves through us, and if we align ourselves to older rhythms and subtler voices, we will each find our unique part in guiding our culture, tending our land, and serving the life of humanity and all beings.
I am an educator and mentor in earth-based skills and ancestral ways. My family has been in the land that we now call Canada for five generations and I am grateful to be a settler, held in the arms of rivers, mountains, oceans, and deserts. I am a lover of wild places and my life is nourished by sharing in community, food, song, and story.
As an ongoing student of Martin Prechtel’s, I am fascinated with the beauty and complexity of myth and it’s existence in the unfolding of our daily lives. I have had the honour of studying with the Animas Valley Institute, The Haven Institute, The Tracker School, and with my mentors Annie Bloom, Jade Sherer, and Florence Dedame. I have learned a tremendous amount about the natural world and human culture while being a Senior Instructor and Director at nature schools across Western Canada. The kids, families, and adults that I have worked with have touched my heart and each one leaves a lasting imprint that enriches the tapestry of my life.
I am currently passionate about wildlife tracking and following the signs of animals across the land. To know that my feet are treading on ground where wolves, mountain lions, grizzly bears, and many more have tread, fills my whole being with awe. I believe in the wild animal and wild soul that lives in all of us. It is a life practice to follow the trail of that being in such a manner that one day, we might be so lucky as to catch a glimpse of their magnificent form.
“My daughter is a tough nut to crack and Stephanie is one of the very few educators who has the patience, kindness, sense of humour and skill to truly ‘get’ her, to engage her completely, and to lead and mentor her in a way that has built an incredibly strong and rare connection - both personally and with nature.”
I am a first generation settler in Canada, grateful to reside on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations. I left England aged 23 drawn to the Amazon by a mysterious yearning for something that was not offered me by my culture. I spent several years living and working in remote field settings and have had the good fortune to make strong friendships in communities of the Achuar and Kichwa nations of Ecuador. I have been closely involved with communities from Pastaza province, recovering sacred sites from colonized land and restoring them to their original purpose as spiritual sanctuaries under the protectorship of their Indigenous stewards. I have facilitated visits for Amazon teachers to North America, and for Northern visitors to Amazon lands.
I have lived in Canada since 2016 working for outdoor schools in BC, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, and have had the privilege of working closely with the Dene peoples whose rich culture and territory have been humbling teachers for me. I have studied with Wilderness Awareness School and the Animas Valley Institute and have learned to find deep nourishment in the animate landscape, in the unfolding mystery of my soul’s journey, and in the special honour of meeting and guiding others, young and old.
I am a student of myth and ancestral ways of being, with special intrigue in storytelling, singing, basketry and working with hides and leather. At any given time I can be found collecting wild plants, following the calls of birds, or tracking other mysteries through the land, and through my life. I write story and poetry, and play guitars, drums and flutes.
"My son had the opportunity of having Kes as his teacher while out on the land in Chief Drygeese Territory. Kes had shown to me that he was very knowledgeable on the land, had respect for traditional teachings and helped the children engage in a fun and educational way. He offered support and guidance to anyone who needed it. I would highly recommend any land-based/nature programs as a form of education as the growth that comes from it is more then what you will ever receive in a western style facility. Mahsi cho."
~Jasmine Dale, Yellowknife, NT
I was born in the traditional land of the Lhtako Dene, what is referred to as Quesnel, British Columbia. Behind my childhood home was the vast wilderness of the interior plateau. I spent my childhood traversing the forest on fallen logs, sneaking up on ducks in the pond and finding increasingly better spots to set up rope swings. This wild place became a great source of nourishment and refuge for me as a child and especially as a teenager. Looking back I realize how much the sights and smells and seasonal flows of that place have contributed to my internal resources and shaped who I am today.
I am a facilitator/mentor of deep nature connection, regenerative culture and wilderness skills. I have had the privilege of spending two years studying full time at the Wilderness Awareness School. Also at The Tracker School and with the 8 Shields Institute. I have been instructing and directing at various programs and schools around BC and Washington state.
I am a student of wild places, of the wisdom from those that came before us, and of the incredible intelligence of our bodies. I utilize the latest research in neuroscience, the timeless teachings of the art of mentoring and most of all the attunement of my own system in supporting the people that I have the opportunity to work with.
I am a grateful settler on the traditional territory of the K’ómoks First Nation and I am certain a lot of us share in the origin of this story, a story that welds our power of place here on Earth. Recollections that have become beyond stories of the day, into stories of a lifetime. One story I carry is collected as memories of Sundays in the woods. For unearthed there in those days of pine scents, colour and maple syrup, I became the naturalist, the photographer, the mage, the artist, the teacher, and the mentor I am today; all embodied in this fine and beautiful physic of nature.
Life and education have guided me, taken my hand and led me to many points on Earth. I have travelled as far south as the Patagonia, east to Indonesia, north to the Netherlands and west to our wild Pacific coast. I have had the pleasure of working with and meeting many children along the way, in all shapes, auras and forms, each with their own unique song-line strewn across the land, and their own way of seeing and being in the world. It is with every sparkle glimpsed in the eye, every moment cast as a stepping stone, that we grow together as them and I; symbiosis complete. And so I expand, receive and welcome this invitation into the spirit and stewardship Fianna envisages; to connect, nourish and become part of the emerging story of elders, loved ones and future land dwellers.
I grew up on the land of the Lək̓ʷəŋən people, known today as the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations. Growing up, we spent endless hours exploring the intertidal world on beaches and docks, and playing in the nooks and crannies of our neighbourhood. In university, my longing for deeper connection with the natural world was re-kindled through place- and nature-based field courses. And lucky me, I get to do what I love for work!
Today, I am a settler on K’òmoks First Nation territory. I am an ever-learning vegetable farmer, nature-based educator, support worker, and newly budding carpenter. I also love to spend time reading, biking, wild crafting, carving spoons, practicing languages, and drinking tea.
I am so grateful to live on this wonder-full land. The richness of this place offers the chance to explore and learn from the ocean, forests, rivers, mountains, soil, and the many beings that share it all. I have learned alongside a diversity of kids, peers, and mentors who have generously shared their curiosity and sense of wonder. I have also been humbled and inspired by so many strong people who are working tirelessly to care for the land and nourish their communities.
I am looking forward to weaving together nature-based education and farming, while following the seasonal flow of the land. In other words, I am excited to play in the forest and on the farm!