Staff Autobiographies

The Land-

I am nestled among the coastline of downeast Maine, where the ancient receding glaciers left behind rock, silt and clay deposits along McHeard stream. This stream is breeding habitat for brook trout and the blueback herring that love the dark tannic waters, moss and fern covered banks, and a enchanted waterfall upstream that oxygenates the water. A small spring fed creek divides my land, carving out abundant riparian habitat, that the river otters are often seen traveling. I am made of northern needle leaf forest with some re-emerging floodplain. The many patches of small spruce stands Offer habitat for ruffed grouse and snowshoe hare, and favored hunting grounds for the bobcats that weave through my land. The coyotes and three different owl species make up part of the nighttime choir. The original stewards of this unceded territory, the Penobscot people, traveled along mcheard stream connecting the ocean to more inland habitats. Two hundred years ago, European settlers altered this landscape, and remnants from their homestead are still visible. 

Hannah Sol Rhea- She/her

Instructor

The “weeds” in my garden as a teenager first showed me the world of wild edibles and medicinals. I followed the trail of those wise & playful plants out of my garden into the realm of ancestral skills. I studied and worked at various primitive skills school such as Hawk Circle, Flying Deer and Maine Primitive Skills School, teaching both adult and youth programs. I’ve traveled nomadically, sometimes with pack animals, gathering skills in other countries as well attending numerous workshops with knowledgeable instructors here in the United States/Turtle Island. My greatest mentors have been my wild kin and the skills themselves. I have a deeply rooted relationship to hide tanning, wild fiber arts, and the alchemical process of crafting with raw materials directly from the earth. My commitment to relearning how to steward the land through the daily participation of these skills, listening through the feelings in my body, and hard work, has given me the most intimate relationship to the earth I never knew was possible.

Colby Smith- he/him
Instructor

Living close to the earth, feeling her power and healing abilities has been important to me my whole life. During a 14 day solo survival trip in high school, I realized the vastness of our journey back to the earth. I have studied at various primitive skills schools such as Tom Brown Jr.’s Tracker School and Bear Traks, and later taught at schools such as Maine Primitive Skills School, Earthworks Programs, and the Ecology School. My strongest skills are in shelter design and construction, working with fire and water, permaculture, and animal/wild food processing. I’ve tested and honed my skills during extensive backpacking, sailing, and earth living adventures all over the world. In 2013 I completed my bachelors of science in adventure therapy at Unity College. Through these experiences and in helping design and implement several permaculture projects, I developed an ability to communicate with the land. I am committed to working in service to the earth by helping navigate a way back to resilience and health. 

Coleen Butler- she/her
Garden witch & Part time Instructor

I was born to the Sycamore Trees in the Schuylkill River Valley, land of the Lanape peoples. I am a hide tanner, cycle herbalist, and naturalist. I work with the visceral cycles of life and death and am passionate about earth skills, ancestral ways of living, hunting, foraging, animal processing, and self-care. I have a dream to live intimately with the earth with forest regeneration at the core. Over the years I have had many different teachers, from the Wilderness Awareness School, to Essex Farm, to the Wild Rockies Field Institute, to the University of Vermont. I have also taught earth skills to all ages at a variety of different programs including Village School at Bread and Butter Farm, Ageya Wilderness, the Wilderness Awareness School, and my own workshops. My heart feels full thinking of growing food for, and connecting and playing with the people who choose to be a part of the Immersion Program.

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