Instructors

Snow Bear has been an environmental educator for more than 30 years. He's embarked upon a life-long pursuit of knowledge with an emphasis in living skills, medicinal and edible plants, utilitarian uses of plants, and world rhythms. He's studied with elders from the Cherokee, Creek, Lakota, Seminole, and Ojibway tribes. He has been involved with the founding of several environmental education organizations in the Southeast, including Earthskills Rendezvous.

Jeff Gottlieb has been an interpretive naturalist since 1980, and has specialized in primitive skills since 1987. He has taught people of all ages, and will share Nature and Primitive Skills with anybody who will hold still!

Denton Bragg has been an instructor with Earthskills Rendezvous since the early days at Unicoi State Park, GA, originally as a bowmaking instructor.  He regularly conducts wilderness programs for schools, Scouts, and other groups on all aspects of wilderness living skills, primitive skills, and pioneering skills, mostly in the Southeast.  Denton was raised in Tidewater, VA, where salt-marsh forests and tidal streams resisted the efforts of developers of the period.  These pockets of wildness were his boyhood sanctuary where he hunted game and ran a trapline for muskrats and nutria since he was 12.  He was a "Life" Boy Scout, and spent most of his free time in the woods and waters near home.  He was mentored starting about that age by Naturalist Roger Rageot, Herpetologist Mike Bishop, and other wildlife experts of that time and was introduced to and had the unlikely friendship of the redoubtable Dr. Doris Cochran, Curator of VErtebrate Zoology at the Smithsonian.  During his 3+ years in the U.S. Army he trained iwht the "Falscirmjaeger" German Rangers in Bavaria, which added skilled mountaineering and martial arts to his interests.  He worked as Asst. Curator of Reptiles at the Atlanta Zoo in the 70's.  He is retired from nearly 40 years as a furniture maker/designer and woodworking instructor, switching to luthier work designing and making custom guitars, banjos, and repairing of stringed instruments.  He currently concentrates on teaching fabrication and use of primitive hunting weaponry. 

Doug Elliott Whether he's singing about catfish, pontificating on possums, extolling the virtues of dandelions, telling Elliott will take you on an unforgettable, multifaceted cultural tour of North America's back country.

Coyote Smith has been a life long forager, primitive skills teacher, and student.  He is especially at home in the southeastern forest and on rivers and enjoys practicing his skills on hikes and camping trips.  His skills in copper work making copies of Native American artifacts from as far back as 5000 years has taken a lot of his recent attention.  He enjoys most teaching primitve survival skills such as traps and food gathering.  And, he enjoys expressing his spirit through the Native American flute. 

Buck Windsor is a master when it comes to stone-age cooking and transforming bamboo into a variety of usable tools, as well as being extremely skilled with bone and stone tools. He is one of the founders of the "Ways of the Ancestors Primitive Skills Program" and is a regular instructor at Earthskills Rendezvous.

Bob Orcutt is a has been interested in primitive skills for most of his life.   In 1999 he took a class from Chuck Patrick at Rivercane.  He was so intrigued by turning an old file into a flint and steel set that he joined his local blacksmith guild the day after he returned from the Rivercane outing.  He remains active in the guild serving at various times as board member and vice president.  He has taken a few classes at the Campbell Folk School in Brasstwon, NC and enjoys turning a piece of steel into a useful item.  Among his favorite things to make are various hooks, bottle openers, small neck knives, tomahawks, outdoor fire sets, and tools such as punches, chisels, tongs, and his own blacksmithing hammers. 

Scott Jones A Georgia native, Scott has made a life-long study of natual and cultural history, and the interconnections of the two.  This interest in natural science and human technology merged easily with his archaeological training, and in 1987 he began to apply his expertise full-time to the study of Stone-Age skills, ancient technologies, and their relation to our lives today.  He says: "We need to see ourselves in prehistory.  All of our ancestors, regardless of race or geographical origin, were using stone tools just a few thousand years ago.  Many of he basic skills were common to everyone."  Scott holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Georgia and an Associate Degree in Applied Science from the Community College of the Air Force.  He brings almost 30 years of professional experience to the field of primitive technology, and is the author of two books about primitive technology, A View to the Past (2008) and Postcards to the Past (2015).  His professional enterprise Media Prehistoria is dedicated to outreach and educating the pubic about ancient technologies and lifeways.  Media Prehistoria embodies the breadth of his experience, including demonstrations, presentations, experimental archeology, and consulting for archaeological firms, museums, documentary films, and universities throughout the southeast.  

Sangoma Oludoye is a traditional Yoruba priestess, Afin cheif and member of the Egbe Moremi, National African Women's Society in the Kingdom of Oyotunji African Village, located in Sheldon, SC.  Founded in 1970, Oyotunji is North America's oldest authentic African community.  Sangoma's specialities inclue shamanism, women's history, pan Africanism, and Wise Woman Traditions.  She has taught at numerous summer camps and Earthskills Gatherings, and is a sacred activist.  

Hawk Hurst has been practicing and sharing ancient living skills for close to three decades.  He specializes in the making and playing of primitive musical instruments, including an assortment of flutes, percussion, and string instruments.  An accomplished storyteller, folk musician, and craftsman, Hawk has visited hundreds of schools, summer camps, festivals, museums, libraries, and skills gatherings to share his love of earth skills.

Kaleb Wallace says by day you might find him pontificating on diet, nutrition or fermentation, cooking for the gathering, observing the birds, or running the Ancdstore.  By night, he might be shooting dice, playing music, or wandering thru the cosmos during an evening astronomy lesson.  Come and sit a minute.

Matt Hansen is a self-described maker and do-er of many things wilderness-y, I love exploring new areas and finding at least one "efficient" way to hang it, scrape it, eat it, launch it, dance upon, relax into, slicedicesplicefillet, harvest and/or have fun amongst....sometimes as uncivilized as possible. sometimes noshing a carne asada burrito like the rest of 'em. at rivercane I hold it down at the bow tent where we use tools with the intention of flinging objects forward, but would love for my attention to be diverted to other subjects I'm interested in including survival, fishing, ethnobotany, anthropology, forestry, ecology, h/g culture, and the eating-preserving-fermenting of food.

Keith Grenoble leaves home a week before Rendezvous begins so he can stop at every rock out-crop along the way to load up his car with goodies! He is an excellent potter and flint knapper, and is also skilled at cordage, bone working, hide tanning, and basketry.

White Eagle is a long-time rendezvous instructor specializing in rivercane flutes and blow guns.

Jerry Two Bears Blalock offers terrific programs for all ages! Bull Roarers, kites, and other exciting games!

Vicki Blalock keeps a working homestead with husband Two Bear.  Her classes might include cannin meat by different methods, canning vegetables, shell wind chimes, net bags, tinctures, magnesium oil, Dutch oven cooking, worm composting, and whatever she is into at the moment. 

Nancy Basket has taught as a South Carolina artist in education since 1989.  She makes kudzu into baskets, large sculptures, weavings, chandeliers, and paper folkart in hundreds of designs.  She tells Cherokee stories in all her classes.  Learn more at her website and check out her FaceBook page: Nancy Basket's Kudzu Kabin.

Dean Smith is an amazing photographer and Outdoor educator. There's no telling which wonderful skills he'll teach at the next rendezvous!

Russell Cutts is the founder of Native Earth, Inc. and The Wyldecraft Company. He has 20+ years of professional experience teaching earth skills, American Indian history/prehistory, and outdoor education. Russell will be teaching his passion, fire!

Forest Hilyer the has apprenticed under and worked with Mark Warren of Medicine Bow Wilderness living skills school in Dahlonega, GA, and currenlty works as an outdoor educator/nature specialist for two Montessori schools.  Engaging in Nature and helping others bridge a connection is his passion.  He has been enjoying the earth skills gatherings family for 5 or 6 years.  He also Chairs the organization that facilitates Hemlockfest (www.hemlockfest.org : an awareness and fund raiser to help save hemlock trees); he has a small mushroom farm (forestfungi); he works for Appalachian Outfitters (canoeing and kyaking river outpost); and he as a window cleaning business (The Window Guy).

Nick Neddo is an artist, author, naturalist, primitive skills educator, and craftsman.  He has been teaching people wilderness skills since 2000.  He makes his art supplies from materials that he gathers from the landscape, which is the topic of his book: The Organic Artist.  Nick enjoys clean air, water, food, and dirty hands.  

Charity Cimarron is a mother, woodswitch, craftswoman, Waldorf Music and Handwork teacher, community organizer, and performing musician.  She spent many years living alternatively, off-the-grid in a straw-bale house, on a converted school bus, in tents, tipis, and yomes across the country.  She love to spend countless hours hiding out in the underbrush, learning bird songs, eating wild foods, and making medicine.  As an accomplished craftswoman, she has many years of experience weaving, spinning, sewing, book-binding and basket-weaving.  And in between all of these she squeezes in a little song or two. 

Luke Cannon Learningdeer is more than a Botanist.  Luke is a long time pursuer and teacher of our astounding wild world.  His passions to study and understand the beautiful ecological intricacies of our planet have led him throughout the Americas and across the globe.  An avid naturalist, Luke draws from a diverse pool of knowledge, combining his botanical studies with his life experience and training in: survival skills, organic farming, permaculture, Appalachian ecology, homesteading, and experiential learning.  Luke currenlty lives in the mountains of North Carolina studying ecology, orinthology, peace practices, and place-based learning while making his living as a naturalist and educator.  He offers regular public woods walks and classes to share his knowledge of the local plants, birds, and mushrooms and his enthusiasm for building closer relationships with the wilds around us.  Find his niche in the web at:  www.AstoundingEarth.com

Joan Candalino teaches tipi living skills, skills for sustainable living, and a range of earthskills crafts.  She made her first tipis under the tutelage of Darry Wood in the 1990's.  She and her husband, Tom Strode, are building homestead and community in Hardyville, KY.  www.sweetwatertipi.com

Christina Gordon co-owned and operated Whitestone Farm, a U.S.D.A. Certified Organic farm specializing in wild foods, sustainable farming practices and humane animal husbandry practices for 5 years. She has been involved with primitive skills and outdoor education since 2003 and currently sits on the Board of Directors for Earthskills Rendezvous' Inc. Christina is a skilled brain-tanner and has taught and demonstrated hide tanning and animal use for public schools, numerous festivals, federal parks, primitive skills events, living history events and private classes throughout the United States.

Becky Beyer is a woman of many talents, namely all things gardening, carving, and Appalachian folklore.  She teaches spoon carving, garden planning, net making, nutrition, and more.  You can see her take on Appalachian plant lore at www.bloodandspicebush.com

Todd Elliott is a native of the southern Appalachian Mountains and works as a freelance biologist, naturalist, and primitive skills instructor.  His students in global biodiversity and interrelationships in nature have taken him to remote corners of six continents and allowed him to learn from indigenous people still living traditional lifestyles.  One of Todd's latest projects has been writing the Timber Press field guide Mushrooms of the Southeast, which will be released later this year.  Known for his entertaining and fact-filled programs, Todd teaches a range of subjects centered around primitive skills, foraging, ecology, traditional life-ways, and the human interface with the natural world.  To learn more about Todd's work, visit his website: http://toddelliott.weebly.com/ and Instagram: @toddelliott .

Bill Kaczor is a foothills native of Maryland and the CEO and co-founder of Ancestral Knowledge.  In 1994 he started studying with masters in the fields of: youth mentoring, naturalist studies, primitive technology, and animal tracking.  Being a natural traveler Bill has accumulated countless hours of dirt time testing his skills around the country.  Bill began to offer what he has learned to the public in 1998 and helped form the MAPS Group and Woodland Trackers in MD.  In 1999, Bill chose to leave his 11 year old skateboard/snowboard business to dedicate his life to living his childhood vision of connecting people to their ancestors through ancient living skills.  Once Bill began to live his vision he spent five years as a lead instructor for Children of the Earth Foundations - Coyote Tracks programs, and two years as their assistant director.  He has taught students at the University of Maryland, Georgetown University, Earthskills Rendezvous, Roots Rendezvous in VT, Mid-Atlantic Primitive Skills Gathering (MAPS Meet), Wild Abundance, and Firefly Gathering Intensives.  Bill spent five years as an instructor at Tom Brown Jr.'s Tracker School teaching primitive traps, bow and arrow making, archery, flint knapping, hunting, pottery, and hide tanning.  In 2003 Bill co-founded Ancestral Knowledge in the Washington DC area.  Bill specializes in bow making, stone tool technologies, hide tanning, fire by friction, and primitive bow hunting.  Read what Tom Brown Jr. had to say about Bill...

Kerry Fulford says, "As a child, I could feel how being close to the he natural world helped calm my heart, and now, as an adult, I am aware of the necessity of being close tot he Earth and its elements to balance my sense of well-being.  I have committed my life's work to sharing these connections.  After receiving my B.A. in interpersonal and public communications from the University of Georgia, I began to really sense how many of us humans had lost our true conneciton to the Earth, thus losing our vitality, health, and happiness.  I began to attend earth skills gatherings and . . . WOW . . . did it change my life!!!  After my first Rivercane and Falling Leaves gatherings in Unicoi State Park with the Earth Skills Rendezvous group over 27 years ago, I studied everything I could and felt hope an grace in my life again.  I managed several health food and medicinal herbal healing stores and took part in many medicinal and edible plant courses and apprenticeships that continue to this day.  I have attended and taught earth based classes and workshops now for several decades and count these gatherings as one of the most healing things I do for myself.  Along the way, I fell in Love with the science of Yoga and I saw how it also teaches ways to help stay connected with our true selves and the Earth we walk upon.  In 1995, I received my certification in Integral Hatha Yoga and later progressed to study and teach all levels.  I have also enjoyed getting certifications in assisting those with special needs and working with a physical therapist for four years with assisted Yoga programs.  Then after studying Thai Yoga Massage, I began my own business, incorporating these passions called Athens Yoga Therapeutics in Athens, GA.  I offer therapeutic massage, privage Yoga and group classes, earth skills classes and workshops, and mroe.  I teach edible and medicinal plant classes andhow to prepare helpful medicines.  I call my class "Magical Medicine Shelf," as a reminder to us all about the real meaning of the word "first aid," and to empower ourselves and help others on our path enjoying hte gifts of nature all around us.  One of my favorite acitivities is sitting with others sharing aobut our lives and telling our stories.  For many years, I have facilitated healing circles where we honor the wheel of the  year or hold sacred ritual for big life changes recongnizing and sharing compassion.  This is true medicine and my hope is that you will treat yourself, your friends, and your family to these wonderful earth skills gatherings where we sit, learn, and share together on our Earth. 

Bill Parravano is "The Knee Pain Guru" and "The Best in the World at Eliminating Knee Pain without Drugs, Shots, or Surgery."  He 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.  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.  https://www.thekneepainguru.com/

Josh Fox has built a life around the healing powers of plants, people, and community.  He weaves herbs, songs, and acupuncture into his private practice, and writes music that uplifts the heart, honors his plant allies, and tickles the human spirit.  With the same gentle, grounded natuer he receives patients, he regularly holds group ceremony space around grief, heart-healing, and song-sharing.  Visit his website at http://www.foxhealing.com.

Jon Handelman healing powers is a world traveling adenturer 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.

Alexander Howe is a passionate herbalist and flamboyant performer.  He has been adventuring in South(ern) Africal for most of the past 7 years, and attending Gatherings at home whenever possible.  Alex earned the moniker "Bush Ninja" while having many wild African experiences (that are best related around a campfire).  He also honed a number of interesting skills including fire dancing/flow arts, practical herbalism, artisan salve making, and South African plant and spirit medicine.  He's delighted to be teaching about these passions, as well as offering a special rendition of The Lorax, and inflamatory fire dances to accompany the music!  Be sure to see the amazing African herbs and artifacts he has for trade!

Tyler Lavenburg lives for the opportunity to work with his hands.  Whether it be weaving baskets, sewing buckskin, or fletching an arrow, it is in this realm of focus and awe of creation that he truly revels.  Over the past ten years, Tyler has apprenticed and taught with many traditional skills schools and events including Wild Abundance (North Carolina), The Roots School (Vermont), Living Earth School (Virginia), Earthskills Rendezvous, Firefly Gathering, Florida Earthskills, Whippoorwill, and more.  Currently, he is working on developing his homestead with his partner in the Reems Creek Valley, the home of the Holistic Survival School!  An experienced instructor, Tyler has worked with hundreds of children and adults thorough public/private schools, homeschool cooperatives, and special events.  He is devoted to understanding material use in context of its ecological niche - uniting ancient and scientific wisdom with appropriate technologies.  Nose to the grindstone (sometimes literally), whether it be putting by wild foods or working with stone tools, bows and arrows, hides, baskets, fiber or woodcraft, Tyler orients his life by the skills that have kept our ancestors alive for thousands of years. 

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