Michelle’s passion for the wild led her into environmental conservation early in life. When she was 19 she spent five-and-a-half months thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, which launched her into the world of wilderness skills. She soon began taking classes with the Tracker School in New Jersey, focusing on Philosophy and Healing. Michelle complements these studies with training in naturalist mentoring and community building with Wilderness Awareness School and Vermont Wilderness School. In 2001, Michelle earned degrees from Prescott College in Environmental Education and Eco-psychology. She has enhanced her skills by studying herbalism and mentoring with Lorene Wapotich of Her Feet on the Earth and becoming a Kripalu Yoga teacher. Michelle discovered Flying Deer Nature Center in 1999 and fell in love with the beauty of what she saw. She returned in 2000 to take a leading role in guiding its growth as a Naturalist Community. Michelle is passionate about working with children and families and specializes in leading programs for women and girls.
Devin has loved exploring in and learning about nature since early childhood. He discovered his thirst for the Wilderness Teachings in 1994 and has been walking the wilderness path ever since. In his first four years, Devin studied Survival, Tracking, and Awareness skills with Dan Fisher of Wilderness School in Maine and Tom Brown Jr. at the Tracker School in New Jersey. He has trained for six years in Naturalist Mentoring and Community-Building skills through Jon Young and the Wilderness Awareness School, as well as Mark Morey and the Vermont Wilderness School. Devin received a degree in Environmental Education from Prescott College in Arizona in 2001. He joined Flying Deer Nature Center in 1998, where he was mentored by Leonard Brown in the ways of Coyote Teaching and the Medicine Wheel. Devin deeply loves working with children and nature through creating the Naturalist Community that has been his home since 1998. Devin and Michelle have been running and directing Flying Deer Nature Center since 2001 under the guidance and encouragement of Leonard and Deborah Brown, the center's founders and elders.
Josh brings his passion for outdoor living, primitive skills, tracking, and nature connection into focus as Assistant Director and instructor at Flying Deer. Drawing on his childhood experiences building forts, honing slingshot skills, and exploring wild places, he strives to create an environment for his students that reflects the fun, wildness, and freedom that children seek out naturally. He has traveled extensively around the country and studied with the Tracker School and the Wilderness Awareness School. His bow-making and frog-catching skills he owes to his two boys, Angus and Ezra. In his free time, Josh enjoys playing guitar and tenor banjo, chopping wood, and catching up on the latest happenings in the back 40. Keep your eye out and you might find him wandering Rattlesnake Den Mountain with his family. Josh holds a Level III Tracker certificate through Cybertracker Conservation.
Instructor Kevin Bose has an endless supply of excitement and curiosity for bird language, wild plants, tracks, critters, stories, and any other natural mystery. He is grateful to have shared this enthusiasm with young people, as a mentor for eight years at Forest Floor Wilderness Programs in Asheville, North Carolina, and now at Flying Deer. Kevin sees nature connection as a powerful tool not only for bringing out an individual’s gifts, but also for rebuilding the "village" in the human community. He is a graduate of the yearlong Regenerative Design and Nature Awareness Program, focusing on nature mentoring, culture repair, and permaculture design, where he was mentored by Jon Young, Penny Livingston, and James Stark. Kevin also holds a master's degree in Culture, Ecology, and Sustainable Community. He loves to explore the forest with his two boys as often as possible.
Dan Corral spent his childhood years roaming the fields and forests of the spirited and ancient landscape that Flying Deer calls home. At 14, he became the first counselor during the second year of Flying Deer summer camp, having been taken under the wing of Lenny Brown, the original Flying Deer founder. After years spent in Alaska and studying marine mammals in the Northeast and throughout the continent, Dan has returned to his roots. His heart is deeply connected to this land and to his work with children, which brings him immeasurable joy.
Theresa grew up free to roam in the wooded patches and sandy beaches of her childhood home. This play and freedom in nature led to a deep love and respect for the natural world that she is joyfully determined to pass on to children in Flying Deer programs. Over the past seven years, she has been involved first with the Wilderness Awareness School in Washington State and now with Flying Deer as a community member, student, instructor, and homeschooling parent. Her loves include plants, laughing, yarn spinning (both kinds), learning, hot chocolate, and rock topple.
Max Galdos-Shapiro is an educator, naturalist and primitive technologist with a passion for sharing his knowledge with others. His work with at-risk youth has given him a keen awareness of the transformative power of outdoor experiences to help students develop self-reliance and critical thinking skills. Above all, Max is fascinated with the relationship between man and nature, which he enthusiastically explores with students through nature awareness, naturalist studies, and storytelling. Max holds an undergraduate degree in Ecology and Outdoor Education, a Master of Science in Ecological Design, and is a graduate of the Origins Primitive Living program from the ROOTS School in Vermont.
Julie Kunz grew up in New York City, but she has many fond memories of roaming fields and mushroom hunting in the forests of Switzerland, where her family is from. After a decade of teaching young children, she comes to Flying Deer passionate about healing the lack of connection to the natural world she has witnessed in most early childhood settings. She believes nature can be our greatest teacher if we learn to speak her language, and the freedom to explore and play in the woods can be deeply transformative. Through both the Flying Deer Naturalist Leadership and Awakening Wild programs, Julie has gained the skills she needed to become a more wholesome teacher, parent, and person. She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education from CUNY Hunter College, and is fluent in French and Spanish. She enjoys fire making, intuitive forest wandering, poetry, and leading women’s moon circles.
Much of Raven Ross Kelso’s early years were spent running, stalking, and otherwise gallivanting in the Flying Deer forest. The Flying Deer community and land have been instrumental in his development as an educator and a human being. Since he was six years old, Raven has not spent a summer without taking part in a Flying Deer program, first as camper, then a counselor, and now an instructor. Raven’s passion lies in witnessing the spark of pure joy that comes from students and teachers alike learning and thriving in nature.