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Our Team

OUR MISSION

We guide people towards being comfortable in nature by providing hands-on experiences.

 

We are a collective of ancestral skill instructors, nature nerds, adventurers, healers and educators that mentor and teach with knowledge, experience and passion. Together we combine decades of practice and deep reverence for the earth skills and offer various immersive and experiential programs for kids, families, teens and adults. Alongside our public offerings, we also teach in private settings, school classrooms, and 1:1 mentoring.

 

Programs can range from a one hour class on tracking, to weekly ongoing programs for homeschool groups, and even week-long back-country living and adventure, and more. To create a customized program with us, click on the links to see the skills and services we can offer and contact us to schedule your program.  Earth Living Skills Collective Instructors are located in the NYC Tri State Region.  Please contact us for customized programs. (347) 661-4204 

 

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Nancye Good
Co-Founder, Instructor

Nancye spent her childhood roaming the forests and beaches of beautiful Whidbey Island in the Pacific Northwest. Raising two children in New York City, Nancye realized how difficult is is for city kids to have that nature immersion experience she enjoyed as a child. In 2008 Nancye attended Coyote Tracks summer camp with her family. The wilderness living skills taught there helped her feel deeply re-connected and re-awakened to nature.

 

Since then she has taken many other wilderness skills programs (including at Tracker School and Art of Mentoring) and has redirected her life towards sharing the skills. Nancye greatly appreciates the enthusiasm and passion of all of the children and families she has shared the skills with, and treasures what she has learned from them. In 2019 Nancye moved to upstate New York where she is running programs in various natural settings, as well as continuing to work with homeschoolers and schools in NYC. Nancye is a certified Wilderness First Responder, wildernessFusion trained Healer, and Level 1 CyberTracker. 

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Zach Fisher
Co-Founder, Instructor

Zach Fisher

My name is Zach Fisher.  I'm an Earth Skills Educator, Adventure Guide and Artist based in the Hudson Valley, NY.  Originally from San Francisco, I got my start in the outdoors when my family would take camping trips up and down the California and Oregon coastlines, into the Redwood groves and up in the mountains of Lake Tahoe.  We eventually moved to Sonoma County where I was able to roam freely along the creek in our backyard or across the fields to visit friends and explore the landscape. 

As an artist and musician, I was inspired to move to New York City and at the behest of my younger brother, Geoff, began attending classes at the Tom Brown Jr’s Tracker School. I quickly developed a deep connection within the natural world through the study and practice of Earth Skills. It was the type of education that I had always been searching for, infusing practical skills with art, health and spirituality.

Since then I have studied, taught and guided with many incredible teachers and organizations throughout the Northeast and beyond. 

As a teacher I aim to create an inclusive learning environment that is equal parts challenging, empowering and fun for students of all ages, backgrounds and levels of experience. I know I’ve done my job when I send people home inspired, with dirty hands and a big smile.

Email Zach directly at zachariasfish@gmail.com

Also find him at Vulpes Wild Arts 

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Michaela Himelfarb
Instructor

Michaela lives on co-owned land near the edge of Kingston between the Esopus and Rondout watersheds with her husband Eric and daughter Raina. 

 

In 2011, after many years as an outdoor educator and gardener, Michaela spent two years in Washington State at Wilderness Awareness School in the Adult Immersion and Apprenticeship program. During this time, she focused on wilderness living, ethnobotany, field naturalist skills, tending relationships, stewardship, and working with youth and teens. While out in Washington she spent a year training as a rite of passage guide with Rite of Passage Journeys and the following two summers leading Rite of Passages for youth and teens throughout the Cascade Mountains and the Olympic Peninsula. Upon returning to her home on Long Island, Michaela soon found Wild Earth and moved up to the Mahicantuck River Valley (currently known as the Hudson River Valley). Michaela worked with Wild Earth for 5 years before leaving at the start of the pandemic. At Wild Earth, some of Michaela's passions were coordinating and co-leading the adult apprenticeship, running the counselor in training program, and helping to facilitate initiatory experiences for teens and adults. 


Michaela loves storytelling, hide tanning, basket making and spending time with friends and family. She is currently working on her Master's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at Prescott College, focusing on the ways scientific ecological knowledge and regenerative and restorative life ways intersect.

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Levi O’Brien
Instructor

Dubbed a modern-day Johnny Appleseed, Levi first learned that he loved teaching people about trees while studying and teaching dendrology, entomology and biology at SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry. But he doesn't believe universities should have a monopoly on an in-depth knowledge of trees—something that for centuries belonged to the people. After giving tree talks to a range of audiences around the state, Levi returned to his NYC roots last autumn, where he started giving weekend tree tours on the Upper West Side. From teaching middle-schoolers and high-schoolers in Prospect Park to fawning over the fringe tree while instructing at the Greenwood Wrightsfest in North Carolina, Levi loves sharing his passion for trees with anyone who wants to gain a greater appreciation and understanding of trees.

 

He's available to instruct homeschoolers, and welcomes the opportunity to tailor tree tours, talks and classes to a range of ages and interests, from identification, biology and ecology, to historical use, cultural relevance, and hands-on learning. In addition to teaching about trees, he can lead classes in traditional green-wood craft (spoons, bowls, and similar work). Levi also currently teaches adult ed classes at the New York Botanical Garden. He's worked as an arborist consultant for the NYC Parks’ street tree program, is an ISA Certified arborist, and has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology from SUNY-ESF.

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Ian MacKinnon
Instructor

Ian Mackinnon first learned about wilderness survival in New Jersey, at Tom Browns Tracker School in 2003, and after taking several courses, went onto intern at the school in 2008. Since then he has worked as an instructor for a non-profit organization called Children of the Earth Foundation, also based in NJ, which specializes in teaching wilderness skills to children. Ian grew up in rural Connecticut, and has had a strong affinity with the woods, fields, and streams there since he was a child. He sees wilderness survival as a great way for children and adults to interact with, and eventually become more in tune with the natural world.

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Emily Shaw

Instructor, Healer

Emily infuses years of working with her own personal healing journey and earth connection skills as a catalyst for nature mentorship. She bridges a passion with ancestral skills, plant spirit medicine, earth based healing and a drive for regenerative agriculture to provide a container that meets kids and adults where they are at; to find the edge of what we can explore with ourselves and the earth. After first diving into the world of survival skills with Primitive Pursuits in Ithaca, NY, she wanted to gain a more immersive understanding of what this world has to offer.

 

Emily spent 9 months with the program formally known as Anake Outdoor School, and went on to teach and mentor for three years at Wild Earth in Kerhonkson, NY. She has an extensive background in healing work, and currently in the 6th year of school at Wilderness Fusion. She has worked with teens at Art of Mentoring, and combines years of working with children from newborn to teen aged through various nature based programming. Her own passion to explore the healing art of earth based skills and connection will offer a doorway for others into what the earth has to teach us internally and externally.

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Arturo Quinones
Instructor

Connecting with nature has been a lifelong challenge for Brooklyn born and raised Arturo. Through travel and an open mind he learned to discover and appreciate the wild places in and around New York City. He began sharing what he found professionally in the ‘90s as a New York City tour guide. Soon after he and colleagues created a “Adventure Planning Center” in an unused space of a local outdoor retail store in SoHo. It was a library where locals and visitors alike could come, spread out maps and books and share info and inspiration.

 

Arturo began personally leading trips out of the city and on the east coast in 2017 as an outdoor educator and guide for children and adults. Teaching outdoor skills and how to work with nature not against it, he hopes to encourage in people an appreciation for the nature all around us. His goal being to help others live a full city life that is more balanced and not disconnected from the rest of nature.

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Taryn Fitzgerald
Artist, Poet, Healer

Living in NYC, Taryn has always found refuge and inspiration in nature, which has allowed her to slow down and tune in to herself as well as to the wonders of Earth, its creatures, and the Cosmos. When she had her son, she wanted to share with him that deep nature connection, and so signed up for Coyote Tracks classes and family camps in NY and NJ, which she participated in with him through his early teen years.

 

Taryn has taught drawing from nature classes and organized survival skills summer camp classes for kids with special needs. She sometimes teaches survival skills to kids in Brooklyn with Nancye Good. Taryn is also an artist and poet and a 4th year student at Wilderness Fusion, an Earth-based energy healing program.

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