I was born in 1954, in San Francisco, California. My Irish heritage, as taught to me by my uncle and my grandfather, has linked me deeply to Earth peoples’ philosophy of life.
I first went to the woods at age six. I knew then that this was my home. At seventeen I spent four months alone in the Canadian Wilderness practicing Earth living skills.
I began a career teaching wildlife conservation, in 1974. During this time I learned how to communicate with the spirits of the animals I worked with.
My most recent and important wilderness experiences have been greatly enriched by the teachings of Tom Brown Jr. the well known tracker and author.
In 1992, with Headwaters Outdoor School, I realized my lifelong vision to share what I have learned from the Earth and to inspire people to discover their own connection with the Earth.
Julie has been a part of the Headwaters family for many years. She first came to Headwaters as a student, then as an apprentice. She now works as Headwater’s camp cook and caretaker.
She loves to listen to your stories, so come prepared to share, while she serves you up one of her superb and satisfying meals.
I live on the land that we consider a national park with abundant wildlife and nature’s dynamic life-force. This piece of earth has for twenty years called to me to co-create earth art. Each piece I have created was given to me as I sat or stood silently listening to the wind and birds, my mind emptying of worldly things. The images of what I would create or rather co-create bubbled up like the springs on the land. Each piece is result of different decades that I spent reflecting on my life, the sometimes-overwhelming challenges that became the thresholds for the changes. Each piece is a physical manifestation of a Rite of Passage. Creating Rites of Passage for the various stages of our life has become a calling. If you would like to know more about me and Rites please click HERE.
Originally from Santa Cruz, Taeo’s journey at Headwaters began when he was 13 years old. He quickly became an apprentice and began devoting his summers to working and being on the land. After a decade of being at Headwaters, he has been teaching for five years and is now our Head Instructor. Along with running most of the classes, he is also instrumental in helping with the upkeep of the land.
During the off season, Taeo is very passionate about aquaponics and holds a BA in Sustainable Community Development from Prescott College. His goal is to bring sustainable agriculture to communities that have little to no access to healthy, fresh foods. He is currently in the process of designing and completing his first aquaponics facility at Prescott College in Arizona. Taeo holds a Wilderness First Responder certification (WFR) and extensive first-aid knowledge and training. In his spare time, he is an avid photographer and enjoys off-roading in the mountains.
Zander first came to Headwaters when he was 14 as an apprentice and has been returning ever since. He fell in love with primitive skills and has been mastering the art of friction fires, tracking, and foraging wild edibles. Zander’s deep connection with nature has been with him since childhood.
While forever a student, he has been teaching these skills at Headwaters for the last two years.
Zander is also skilled in gardening and helps upkeep the school’s greenhouses. He is also passionate about cooking and has trained under a Michelin star chef. When he’s not on the land, he’s working at a farm in the Santa Cruz mountains and surfing, hiking, and reading during his time off.
JB was initially attracted to the power of Nature by attending camp on Lake Winnipesaukee in rural New Hampshire in the 1940’s and in 1950 reading Wildwood Wisdom by Ellsworth Jaeger.
John is a veteran Sierra Nevada long distance hiker, an eager Mt. Climber having summited major peaks in the West and Hawaii, and a resolute telemark skier. JB has been an apprentice with Tom Little Bear of the Esselen Tribe since 1991. He pours and sings in the Esselen Sweat Lodge. JB started studying shamanic healing in 2003 with teachers from diverse shamanic backgrounds. He provides services as a shamanic healing practitioner.
In 2003 he received the gift of wholly immersing himself in Nature on a regular basis by moving here to Hammond Ranch and building a strawbale home.
Steph hails from all over the world (Russia, Sweden, Canada, and the Bay Area) and has finally made her home at Headwaters. She first came to the land ten years ago and has found her passion in teaching students to love nature. She specializes in cordage, weaving, beading, and other crafts. Along with Headwaters, she ran the Forest School program at Odyssey School of Denver for a year where she worked with diverse students ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade. Steph is also a certified Wilderness First Responder (WFR).
Steph holds a BA in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz with an emphasis in conservation biology and graduated with highest honors. During her education she worked closely with Dr. Allison Skidmore and traveled with her to the Russian Far East as a language interpreter during her investigation of illegal Siberian tiger poaching. The work was published in National Geographic and the article can be found here. Outside of education and research. Steph loves to hike, travel, and hang out with her dog Nox.