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. Mu ancestry is Irish/Scottish, and English/Burmese. I left the UK 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, traditional music, 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 poetry, perform traditional Gaelic stories and songs in my band Siarimis, and lead a Latin band called El Combo Cumbialandia.
"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 on the occupied lands of the Kanien'kehá:ka/Mohawk Nation. It's there on the land of the Wendake-Nionwentsïo peoples that I fell in love with the mountains, the colours of the four seasons and the smell of autumn.
I live and breathe my work. My teachings draw on my ancestral heritage, and through these teachings, I am reclaiming a sense of belonging. I am cultivating a deeper connection to my European earth-based roots, while unlearning colonial ways and making reparations that honour the Coast Salish Peoples.
I am a Certified Forest School Practitioner through Forest School Canada. I have learned from some of the most generous mentors at the Institute of Permaculture Education for Children. I also have an ongoing journey of Nature Connection with the Wilderness Awareness School and the 8 shield model.
In 2014, I visited the Green School in Bali, Indonesian. This experience inspired me to Found and Direct “Little Knapsack Club”, an outdoor immersion program for children ages 3-9. As an educator, I aim to facilitate environmental, social, and cultural healing while supporting each child's unique ideas and inherent wisdom.
Nature is our greatest teacher.
Lead Instructor, Comox Valley Wayfinders
I am grateful to be a visitor on the traditional territory of the K’ómoks First Nation, who today refer
to themselves as Sahtloot, Sasitla, Ieeksun and Puntledge people. I live in the Comox Valley and am tremendously honoured to be part of Fianna Wilderness School. From a place of gratitude and humbleness, I have spent the past several years learning from those who have called this place home since time immemorial - specifically the Anishinaabe and Mohawk people in what is now known as Ontario, and most recently from the Ktunaxa, the Syilx, and the Sinixt peoples in the Kootenays.
I have spent the past several years working in various outdoor schools in both BC and
Ontario as an a mentor, educator and outdoor guide - bringing people of all ages into the
natural world to share what has so generously been shared with me. I have studied with
the PINE project, Dominion Herbal College, and most recently received my BA in
Indigenous Environmental Studies and Science. I am currently working towards becoming a BC
I love to be in wild places and spaces and to lean into the mystery of all that is by diving
into my own Celtic and Mediterranean ancestry and traditional ways of being. I feel most
nourished being in the mountains, where I feel held by the trees, the waters, and the
stones. I am a lover of plants and herbal medicine and always will be a curious student
of the ways to work with them. Lately I have been fascinated working with natural fibres
and am enchanted by the creations manifested when the relationship between animals,
plants, and my hands come together. I can often be found tending to my garden,
spinning wool, climbing mountains, and with my nose deep in the pages of a book with a
a nice cup of tea.
Lead Instructor, Comox Valley Seedlings
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.
Instructor, Comox Valley
My journey here to Fianna began in a place called Belcarra, a quiet seaside village surrounded in forest, up Indian Arm on the mainland coast where I was born. This place was recently renamed təmtəmíxʷtən (meaning “biggest place for all the people”) to reflect its importance as traditional lands of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Though in my youth I had no knowledge of the rich history of this place, it was here where I fell into a deep relationship with the natural world, one that guided me toward the life I still live today – one of reverence, embedded in the outdoors, in connection every day with Nature, truly my heart.
Out of university, where I naturally studied life sciences (Bachelor of Science), I landed my first ‘dream job’ teaching at the Bamfield Marine Station. It was here where I first realized my love for teaching, sharing my passion for nature with others. Today, after many years, I feel absolutely blessed in my life working as a certified teacher and guide – and all in the outdoors! I spend my summer months as a wildlife guide in the Broughton Archipelago, and the rest of the year now with Fianna where I have the immense pleasure of spending my days in the forest and on the farm in the company of some incredible children! Talk about ‘dream jobs’! I am truly grateful.
Instructor, Comox Valley
Bio coming soon
Instructor, Comox Valley
As Edgewalker, Artist and Guide for Deep Nature Connection, I believe in the wisdom of Mother Earth, guidance of experiential learning, and spirit of co-creation. I trust curiosity to widen my comfort zones and deepen my journey.
What a blessing it is to now live, learn and play on the unceded traditional territory of the Pentlatch, E’iksan (eye-ick-sun) Sasitla (sa-seet-la) Sathloot (sath-loot) and K'omoks peoples, traditional keepers of this land. I am grateful to feel belonging as a settler who is eager to participate in the stewardship of living Land, Water and Sky.
I approach life with my clown nose and abundant heart. I find deep restoration in sitting in silence and songwriting in wild open spaces. I delight in following the fruitfully-whispering “come find me” fungus, and finding more questions than answers. As I explore the natural world, I notice how my relationship to self deepens, and how to access my gifts within the invisible classroom.
I have found rich mentorship within a plethora of life-changing communities; from ashram, eco-village, overnight arts camp, and outdoor adventure lodge, what a privilege it is to explore and live as part of the village. In 2018, my curiosity fuelled me cross-country to participate in the 100-day Canadian Outdoor Leadership Training program with Strathcona Park Lodge. Here I met Soil and Sea as I trained and mentored open-air youth programs; these years grounded my “RootZ” and affirmed my adopted nature name.
Since then, I am connected with Ingrid and Jean-Claude of the Wisdom of the Earth Wilderness School’s mentoring journey (NCMJ) and many vibrant wild-childs through Partners in Education and Wild Craft Play as Behavioural Specialist, and Hand in Hand Nature Education as Nature Educator and Founder of stewardship homeschooler hive: the Curious Bees.
I am alive with an enriching 20 years of creating and reshaping responsive, learner-led programs where connection is active in present-moment possibility. What an ongoing gift to embody countless kinaesthetic learning experiences and stories. Infinite thanks to my many little mentors of authenticity!
May I always be exploring Nature's mysteries with my wild child heart.
Lead Instructor, Gabriola Tadpoles
I grew up on the traditional territory of the Ramaytush Ohlone/Costanoan peoples, what is colonially known as the San Francisco Bay Area. I left California after high school to study at UBC on unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) territory where I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Conservation in 2011. I went back to UBC in 2018 to get my diploma in Early Childhood Education and Development and I am now a certified ECE.
Currently, I am a settler on Gabriola Island, the Hul'q'umin'um' speaking Snuneymuxw First Nation's land, where my partner and I steward a small farm. I am forever a student and am grateful for the many mentors who have indulged my incessant curiosity along the way. If I don't have a book in my hands I love to knit, take photos, and cook elaborate vegan meals.
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.
Instructor, Powell River
For as long as I can remember I've held a curiosity for our natural environment. Having grown up on a small acreage surrounded by endless wild lands, I would often find myself exploring the wetlands, stands of poplars and local wildlife. The environment I grew up in inspired me to be the environmental professional I am today.
In 2007 I enrolled into the Coastal Ecology program at Northwest Community College in Prince Rupert, Northwest coast of British Columbia. As I progressed through the program my interest in the natural world grew exponentially and I found myself wanting to learn as much as I could about coastal wildlife. After graduating from the program in 2009 I worked as a field biologist for a year and a fish & wildlife technician/biologist for nearly four years. In 2012 I shifted career paths and I enrolled into the Ecotourism & Outdoor Leadership bachelor’s degree at Mount Royal University.
My passion in life remains to be my beautiful wife and daughter (and fishing of course). With every passing year I’m able to teach my daughter why our natural world is so important and what we should do to keep it healthy.
Fishing is my weakness; I began fishing when I was old enough to hold a fishing rod. Other interests include hunting (sustainably, not for sport), hiking, camping, mountain biking, and archery. My skills in the outdoors are exceptional and I often like to reinforce outdoor survival techniques by practicing the skills necessary to survive in the wild.