Jason Drevenak is president of the North American Bushcraft School and began his relationship with the outdoors as a child on the same property where the North American Bushcraft School operates today. He was recently featured on the National Geographic program “mygrations” where he trekked across the Serengeti. He spent over six years in the U.S. Army as a combat medical specialist, created and operated The Conch Republic Kayak Company, a sea kayak company and summer camp in Key West, Florida, and has worked at several ACA white water and ocean kayaking schools on the east and west coasts of North America. Jason was the Manager and Head Instructor for The Nantahala Outdoor Center’s Wilderness Survival & Primitive Skills School for several years. He currently holds an NCEMT-Intermediate certification as well as being an AHA CPR BLS and AED Instructor.
Matt Weatherholtz found his passion at age 11 through traditional archery. Matt is well respected for his traditional bows, arrows, flint knapping, pecked and ground stone tools, bark tanned and buckskin leather, and archaeologically accurate constructions of prehistoric woodland dwellings. Matt has created woodland Indian exhibits at Frontier Culture Museum, Riverbend Park, Henricus Historical Park, and a poplar bark long house at Natural Bridge, Virginia that is the largest in the state. Matt has interpreted and taught his skills at Jamestown Settlement, Meadowcroft Rock Shelter, Virginia Tech and Berea College. He is a passionate and experienced teacher.
Jeffrey Gottlieb, MS (in Biology), has been a Naturalist, Outdoor Educator and Primitive Skills Instructor for more than 30 years. He works with school groups, nature centers, museums, scout troops and summer camps, builds full-sized wigwams and longhouses and replicates primitive tools and artifacts for display. His areas of special interest include fiber arts, flintknapping, basketry, edible and utilitarian plants, and nature awareness. He travels widely in the Eastern U.S. teaching at rendezvous, gatherings and historic fairs. He has written a how-to manual on building wigwams, and an instructors’ manual entitled Teaching Primitive Skills to Children. His new book on natural fibers and ropemaking is available directly from him. He welcomes correspondence and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 245 Red Dog Lane, Whittier, NC, 28789.
For the last 15 years, Nancy Basket has researched and shared her basketry and storytelling skills at Primitive Skills gatherings, Powwows, through the National Indian Education Association NIEA as a presenter of traditional and contemporary baskets. >The Schiele Museum in Gastonia, NC purchased Nancy’s miniature baskets representing many American indigenous cultures to display in one of their dioramas. The Barnwell Museum purchased her pine needle Cradleboard after it toured the US in the Wyoming Western Show. Nancy shares basketry and storytelling through the Pickens County Museum and Hagood Mill. The McKissick Museum recognized Nancy as a master basket maker in an apprenticeship program to a Catawba woman. She was given a grant by the SC Arts Commission to make a book of her basketry designs. In 1992 her two chapters were included in the book Natural Basketry. Two movie companies commissioned her basketry skills in the TV series, Young Indiana Jones where Nancy made a hot air balloon basket out of cattail leaves, and The Last of the Mohicans where she made cattail leaf mats, bark baskets and corn husk masks. One of her sons helped make the mats.
Skeffington Flynn has had a lifelong interest in music and rhythm. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Music from Towson University and has played numerous instruments and styles in a wide range of settings. After moving to WV in 2008 he discovered the Rhythm Bones while preparing to lead a workshop on playing the spoons to a group of children at a Martinsburg elementary school. He was instantly hooked and has served on the board of the Rhythm Bones Society since 2011, recently hosting Bonesfest XIX in Shepherdstown. He is dedicated to sharing his passion for the bones and leads workshops and instruction sessions at every opportunity.
Kristen Dorsey, QTP has been consciously studying and practicing healing in several of its various cultural forms since the early 1990’s. She has attended core and advanced shamanism training programs with Michael Harner’s Foundation for Shamanic Studies (FSS) and is a graduate of the Advanced Shamanic Training Program “Next Steps” offered by FSS staff Dana & Shana Robinson. Kristen is a graduate of the Green Comfort School of Herbal Medicine and holds certificates in medicinal herbalism and herbal apothecary. Kristen continues her herbalism training by studying under many of the great herbalists of the day. Kristen has also completed a 2 yr aromatherapy course of study with the American College of Healthcare Sciences. Kristen is a member of the American Herbalists Guild. Kristen believes that wellness is a unique journey for each individual. A hawk flies far above the field and sees truth, a mouse scurries between the blades of grass in the same field and also sees a different version of truth. So it is with each of us!
Jason Beever is an internationally known bowyer, located in the New York Catskill Mountains. His repertoire ranges using primitive and modern methods from cultures to craft bows ranging in eras and locations around the world: from the Asiatic and Eurasian composite horn bows to the long bows, recurves, and other individual styles of the indigenous peoples of Northern Europe and North America. Jason believes that each and every method in the creation of a bow or arrow provides an opportunity for deeper understanding about ourselves, the trial and error of innovation, the relationship we share with our earth and past, and an opportunity to honor the earth’s creative beauty. When Jason is not being a bowyer, he is also a musician and a concrete artisan.
Elet Hall was born on a dairy farm in New York and raised in Appalachian Maryland. He grew up with a family who fostered in him a love for the natural world. He has traveled the country to teach, train, and continue his scholarship of parkour, fitness, and outdoor skills.He has competed in seasons 4-6 of American Ninja Warrior. Elet has 10+ years experience in parkour, he is an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and American Parkour Level 2 Parkour Coach.
Charly Aurelia started ‘formal’ training 30 years ago with some time studying Choy Lay Fut Kung Fu, Aikido and Hapkido. In addition to Combat Systema he currently studies and has assisted teaching Integrated Martial Arts with Brian Adams. Charly also trains in and teaches fighting with firearms, knives, sticks and improvised weapons. He is a former career Firefighter/Paramedic and Fire Officer with an extensive background in urban, suburban, rural and wilderness emergency care, technical rescue, leadership and incident management.Charly has taught at the Maine Primitive Skills School, the Burdock Gathering, the Maine Primitive Skills Gathering, the Firefly Gathering (including being invited to teach two Post Camp Intensives), the Florida Earthskills Gathering, the Piedmont Earthskills Gathering and the Thrival Convergence. Charly is an educator who shares his love of movement and his knowledge of non-destructive joint mobility principles and techniques. He shows that we can move more freely, with more power and control as we learn Combat Systema and integrate this into a healthy lifestyle. Learn more about Charly and his offerings of self-protection, emergency care, outdoor skills and self empowerment at www.mountainforge.org
Cindy Suter AKA Bluefeather has been involved with The MAPS Meet (Mid-Atlantic Primitive skills) since the very first event. In the beginning, she helped co-organize the events and is now an instructor. She hasbecome personally fond of working with dried gourds. “I find it so fulfilling to watch young participants return year after year and now come to teach others. It is such an Honor to have met so many kindred spirits and friends. I feel so Blessed to be a part of this.”
Lyle Lincoln has been playing guitar since he was a child and started working on guitars as a teenager. He repairs, builds and restores string instruments such as acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins and banjos. He enjoys meeting and playing with fellow musicians, and likes to think he can learn something new from everyone.
Bob ORCUTT 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 Brasstown, 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.
David Roy Ritter grew up along the mighty Potomac River where he turned to the outdoors as a source of confidence as a child. He flourished at Berkshire School in Sheffield, Massachusetts where he found his love for mountaineering, climbing three Mexican volcanoes and the two highest volcanoes in Ecuador, while also founding a mountain rescue team. While in college he spent six months living on and off the street in Northern India and climbed both Denali in Alaska and led an expedition to Mount Aconcagua, the highest point in the western hemisphere. After college he started his own business after traveling /living in his truck for a year exploring all that the United States had to offer. His Outdoor Education school and summer day camp was called “OUTERQUEST”. After six years of running his own business, he merged with CALLEVA based in Poolesville, MD., his biggest competitor and closest industry friend. He has developed a drive to help people understand and thrive in the natural world. David’s certifications include: ACCT Challenge Course Manager, ACA Swift Water Rescue Instructor, LNT Master Educator and Certified Climbing Instructor. He is also certified in Project Wet, Project Wild, and Project Learning Tree. David is a loving husband and the proud father of a three year-old explorer.
Jeff Moore is a 26 year teacher of environmental and natural history education. He is a Colonial history re-enactor, musician and storyteller. His love of nature, history and indigenous cultures led him to explore primitive skills for the last 15 years. Jeff shares his knowledge of ancestral skills at various gatherings from Maine to Georgia. Jeff is the coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Primitive Skills Group works as a Naturalist for Killens Pond State Park in Felton, DE.
Sam Moore teaches primitive skills and wilderness survival. His love of the outdoors has led him to work at boy scout camps and primitive gatherings up and down the east coast. Sam’s specialties are deadfalls, traps and primitive slings.
Eddie Starnater is one of the top Primitive and Survival Skills experts in the United States, and has been practicing and perfecting Primitive and Survival skills since childhood. Over the past 40 years Eddie has become a Master Flintknapper (his points are in collections all over the world), an expert bowyer, tracker, primitive potter and maker of all types of primitive weaponry. He has spent years living in the woods and off the land, learning edible and medicinal plants and perfecting his wide range of Wilderness Survival skills on countless survival outings in many eco-systems around the country, and while living for months at a time in a long-term shelter in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. More than just an expert practitioner, Eddie has an amazing ability to teach the many skills he has perfected and pass them on to all who wish to learn. After teaching primitive skills for over 20 years Eddie tired of the huge class sizes and lecture format of schools that had become more focused on “notebook knowledge” over hands-on learning. Eddie founded Practical Primitive (www.PracticalPrimitive.com) together with Julie Martin in January 2007. Their small-group, adult-only workshops provide an unparalleled opportunity for those who wish to learn quality skills from one who has dedicated the majority of his life to working, learning, and perfecting the Sacred Primitive Arts.
Julie Martin has been practicing Primitive & Survival Skills full time for the past 10 years and teaching for the last four. She was raised on a farm in the Mennonite region of Southern Ontario, where wild edibles, organic gardening and traditional methods of food preservation were a regular part of life. After 15 years of traveling, and pursuing a career as an actor/singer/writer/ in cities throughout Canada and the United States, a serious car accident caused Julie to re-evaluate her life, and she left the urban world without looking back to once again focus her life around the earth-centered skills of her youth. What started as a way of overcoming the trauma from her accident quickly developed into a life-changing passion into which she jumped head-first. While she is fascinated and humbled by all the skills of our ancestors, Julie’s biggest passions have become fire, rock, and plants. After interning at, then working full-time for another school, Julie co-founded Practical Primitive (www.PracticalPrimitive.com) with Eddie Starnater in 2007. Together they follow their strong and uncompromising vision to provide a place where people can receive hands-on instruction in a small group setting from instructors with a depth and breadth of skills, knowledge and understanding.
Jamey Hueston began her relationship with the earth, its wisdom and gifts many years ago while accompanying her young child to nature camp to encourage his respect and love for the earth. Since that time, Jamey has been studying, teaching and sharing her passion of earth-based exploration and skills. She is the immediate past president of Ancestral Knowledge for 10 years and has taught yearly at the MAPS Meet, as well as at various earth-based events including Primitive Café wild foods programs and Earth Connection. Her expertise includes gourd craft, basketry, ropes, knots and cordage, edible plants and nature awareness. When not in the woods, Jamey is a state judge in Maryland.
Wild food is Hueston’s obsession. He gathers, prepares, eats, drinks, and thinks wildfood. Rick Hueston is a forager from the mid-Atlantic region who has extensive wildfood experience in a variety of North America’s temperate, boreal, mountain, grassland, and desert ecoregions and biomes. Voted most likely to survive the apocalypse without having to eat one of his neighbors, he can easily turn backyard foraged plants into a gourmet meal. Hue, as he likes to be called, is a life time wildfoods and primitive skills enthusiast with a passion for teaching foraging skills since 1995, particularly how to turn wild edible plants into an authentic “wild” gourmet meal. Hue began exploring wildfoods at an early age when the promise of excitement and adventure drew him to the wild places in the Northeast without a lunch sack, leaving him extremely hungry. Twenty years in the military gave him ample opportunity to experience wildfood in differing environments from Alaska to Arizona, east coast to west coast, and mountain to prairie. He was the Mid-Atlantic Primitive Skills Group Coordinator for 6 years and has been teaching primitive skills for over two decades. You can follow Hue’s foraging and epicurean explorations on Facebook at Primitive Cafe and on his website www.primitivecafe.com. His most popular class is the Annual Wildfood Gourmet Cooking class at Abram’s Creek in West Virginia held the last weekend in April.
Sera Drevenak developed her connection with the earth as a kid in the Virgin Islands. After getting a masters in environmental management she went on to spend 2 1/2 years in the Peace Corps living very primitively and studying the ways of life off the coast of Panama. She is the vice-president and co-founder of the North American Bushcraft School and a marine biologist by day.
Anne Hamilton has been playing the djembe with musical and drumming groups for 6 years. She facilitates drum circles for all experience levels and ages, holds workshops and teaches private lessons. A particular interest in doing rhythmic activities with children inspired her to create Stone Soup Rhythms. You can get updates on drumming activities in the local area hosted by Anne as well as other facilitators on the Stone Soup Rhythm FaceBook page.
A life long lover of mythopoetic narrative, Lauren Jacobs uses surrealism to discuss links between body, emotion, wilderness and architecture in her art. In this discussion between person and place, she has collaborated often with environmental and community outreach programs, and has been involved in wilderness studies and urban permaculture for over a decade. Jacobs received her Bachelors of Fine Art from Maryland Institute College of Art, after double majoring in sculpture and fiber art, and her Masters of Fine Art from Cranbrook Academy of Art, where she concentrated in fiber sculpture. She currently teaches fine and applied art courses at Northern Virginia Community College, the Art Institute of Washington, and the University of Mary Washington. Her art has been in over forty-five shows and counting.
Jan Macario has been attending and teaching at primitive skills gatherings for the past 10+ years. He focuses on plant identification and cordage making. He coordinates the Northern Virginia Primitive Skills group and maintains the website http://WildPlantDatabase.net/.
Ex Umbra went on his first Deer hunt at the age of 4 and has been in the wilderness ever since. His answer to the classic question from adults of “what do you want to be when you grow up? “ was always answered “ I wanna be able to live off the land like an Indian!!” The notion never left him. Umbra went on his first knife-only survival test at age 13 and soon after began teaching classic outdoor & basic bushcraft skills to youth and adults alike from His position in the youth program of his local Search and Rescue group as a young teenager and would continue to do so for the next 7 years. At 22 years old Umbra began attending courses at the Tom Brown Jr. Tracker School where he attended 12 classes including Advanced Scout, Expert Tracking, Expert Awareness, etc.These skills are one of his two life passions: primitive living skills & competitive shooting. In 2008 Umbra unplugged from the rat race, dropped out of typical society and began living primitively and teaching primitive skills and marksmanship classes full time. Just as the rest of the world is specialized so are primitive skills instructors; Umbra’s specific passion is the core skills or “The Sacred Order” of primitive survival skills.That is to be able to meet peoples direct and immediate needs in wilderness for an indeterminate amount of time. John McPherson’s quote “That bead work sure is pretty but it won’t put food in your gut” pretty much sums up Umbra’s approach to and love for His area of primitive skills skills.
Marsha Verber has been learning medicinal herbs and foraging from my grandmother since I was a child over 60 years ago. Other skills have been picked up along the way because of a fascination with how things were done long ago. Part of the joy of acquiring knowledge is passing it along to others. Without the sharing of knowledge, it will not continue to live on through others. I have been practicing permaculture for the last 20 years or so on a farm with horrible soil in Virginia. It actually is turning it around!
Keith Turnstone is a product of the back to the land movement and the close ties to Native communities from an early age. Knowing that our ancestors made thier living from the land, Keith started making stone tools represented in the rich archaeological record of tidewater Virginia. Keith is passionate about making simulations of prehistoric cookpots but, still catches a knapp here and there.
Sara Callaway is a former organic farmer, current teacher of cultural transformation, and perennial student of life. She is acutely interested in the intersection of nature and culture and loves a good conversation. Past lives include time as a Wilderness Therapy Instructor, Organic Farm Manager, Aerial Dance Artist, and Adult Program Director for Wild Intelligence. She has been a part of the Earthskills community for over 14 years and is glad to be here!
Tim MacWelch has been a survival skills and outdoor writer for numerous publications over the past ten years, including Outdoor Life, OFFGRID magazine and American Survival Guide. He has also been a professional wilderness survival instructor for the past eighteen years, and teaches classes year-round in Virginia. MacWelch has personally trained members from all branches of US Armed Forces, along with many State Department, DOD and DOJ personnel. He also offers a wide range of training to the public. For info on his school, visit www.earth-connection.com
Laurae Hughes-Cummings, owner and operator of Gray Fox Farm in Harper’s Ferry WV, has been a beekeeper for over 8 years. She has mentored numerous students, and served as the president of West Virginia Eastern Panhandle Beekeepers Association for two years.
Ever since MICHAEL MASTRANGELO‘s father-in-law handed him his 1st bottle of homebrewed beer, he was hooked. For approximately a decade, his desire to brew excellent beer has grown & matured. The days of extract brewing slowly came to an end and turned into a love of all – grain homebrew. Sharing the final product is always a gratifying experience for both the brewer &the drinker. But as the old saying goes, “Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime. ” So, come learn the craft of homebrewing, as we demonstrate how to brew all – grain beer.
David Gracer lives in Providence, RI; teaches at Community College of Rhode Island; and has advocated for entomophagy since 1999. He’s published a few articles and contributed to many entomophagy-centered events, including the international FAO Conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in February 2008, and a TEDx Conference. He has also archived articles, papers, and physical objects related to the subject of insect consumption. Having earlier studied the specific details of entomology and anthropology, his focus has turned towards the best possible answers to why insect consumption is so difficult for a great many people. We know that large-scale insect-food-production will be essential to humanity’s future, and that the depth of the revulsion to entomophagy is extreme, and potentially disheartening. The time is coming to address and challenge that perspective.
Hillary Banachowski is a community herbalist, grower, medicine maker, forager and teacher, for whom herbalism, organic gardening, and permaculture are a way of life. Hillary teaches classes on all aspects of herbal wisdom and organic vegetable gardening, and facilitates nature based retreats, and celebrations that bring people closer into alignment with their wild selves and our blue planet home.
Willie Clark: Beginning his musical journey at 7 years of age he has spent over a decade preserving and experimenting with traditional music including: blues, folk ballads, bluegrass, and jazz. Clark now has brought fresh perspective and a focus on technicality to guitar, mandolin, bass, and banjo. Looking not only to preserve music for the tunes and lyrics, but the lessons found only when those two meet. “Music will teach them a lesson, but only if they hear it”
Todd Kershaw learned to do bark or vegetable tanning about 12 years ago and has tanned uncounted hides of various animals. Living without electricity at home, this means going out into the forest with a pack basket and stripping the bark off dead hemlocks or fallen red oaks with an axe and draw knife. He Then pounds the bark with a large mortar and pestle and boils it to extract the tannins. Most of his hides come from a butcher or from roadkill with the exception of the rat hides which I trap at home.
Ryan plays in the woods professionally, in the realm of wild-crafting. His focus is preserving these raw gifts into wild medicinal extracts, and nutrient-dense wild foods products. A southern appalachian native, Ryan started life immersed in nature. With a wildlife biologist/special forces team leader as a Father and a horticulturist/ nursery owner/ native plant expert as a Mother, it was inevitable that he would be passionate about his extremely biodiverse environment. The first question Ryan recalls asking while landscaping for his Mother was, “What’s this plant’s use?”….oh, another ornamental 🙁 With amazing mentors like Joe Hollis, David Bruce Leonard, and inspirational beings around like 7song, Juliet Blankespoor, Frank Cook, Marc Williams, Alan Muskat, Ken Crouse, etc etc, it is no wonder that Ryan has been able to etch out a life revolved around foraging. Ryan owns Asheville Wild Foods, a company specializing in sustainably wild-crafted creations.
Christina Pelli is a licensed massage and bodywork therapist that was raised in the marshes of South Georgia. Christina left home at a young age with thirty dollars in her pocket, and a dream to travel the world. Her first adventure was Alaska where she lived in a tent, and worked at the front desk of a hotel. She has since backpacked on a shoestring through more than 30 countries, modeling that independent female travel is an empowering, strengthening, and invaluable teacher not to be feared. Christina has put down the backpack for a while,and has decided to plant her roots in Western North Carolina. Christina enjoys hiking, camping, mountain biking, knitting, macrame, drawing, and crafting with uncommonly used materials. Christina has recieved Thai massage training in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and attended the Center for Massage and Natural Health in Asheville, North Carolina. She has been practicing massage for 2 years now.