OUR TEAM

Amara Dreamer

Amara Dreamer

Founder, Program Director, and Instructor

As a lover of nature, Amara Dreamer teaches connection and respect for the natural world in all of her pursuits. Amara’s nature experience includes farming edible and medicinal plants, facilitating classes to preserve indigenous and natural life ways, working for a wilderness protection non-profit, backpacking, undergoing nature-based rite of passage initiations, and spending a lot of time simply being in outdoors. A student of wisdom traditions from North and South America, Amara holds a Bachelor’s degree from Arizona’s Prescott College, with a competence in Cultural Anthropology and a breadth in Environmental Studies. In alignment with the college’s mission to promote social justice and environmental sustainability, Amara focuses much of her time on social and environmental education for children and adults in her community. She believes in bringing young people as well as adults the opportunity to develop an intimate understanding of nature that will help them live in harmony with the earth. Amara is certified in Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED by the American Heart Association.

Rainbow Dreamer

Rainbow Dreamer

Founder and Instructor

Rainbow Dreamer lives up to his name as a visionary healer, artist, and teacher. As a natural mentor to young people, he offers a caring, enlightening, and joyful presence. He has spent the last few years learning the art of brain tanning, and keeps a regular practice of tanning hides for sale and for personal use. While he primarily works with deer skin, Dreamer has experience with elk, beaver, raccoon, squirrel, otter fish, snake, buffalo, and bear. When he is not tanning and creating clothes and sacred items with his leather, Dreamer spends much of his time following these animals in the woods, learning deeply about art of tracking and communicating with nature. Dreamer completed his Bachelor of Arts Degree at Prescott College with a competence in Medical Anthropology and a Breadth in Environmental Studies. Gifted at working with young people, Dreamer facilitates excitement, curiosity, and respect for the natural world. He is certified by the IAKP (International Association of Kambo Practitioners) to offer Kambo in a professional, safe, legal container. He is also certified in Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED by the American Heart Association.

 

Trail riding, instructor on horse in Bend Oregon

Courtney Mariposa

Instructor and Administrator

Courtney grew up in California in the lands of White Sage and Coastal Live Oaks. She spent her childhood coated in a layer of salt from the sea, getting lost in the high desert mountains on horseback, camping under the stars and being present with nature in silence and stillness. As a teenager she had an awakening which sparked her un-schooling process and lead her down a path of healing herself and the earth by sustainable practices and reverence for the natural world. Through her activism for the protection of the wilderness, endangered species, and water, she is a guide and advocate for sustainable ways of living. She believes that children are especially sensitive and intuitive to the forest, and that they are essential to guide society to its roots of living in commune with nature.

She joined Healing Hands school of Holistic Health in 2012 where she studied massage therapy of eastern and western traditions and learned ancient plant wisdom and medicine applications. As a healer and young mother of two boys, she brings a nurturing and empathetic energy to the children she guides. Her intention is to unveil the magic of the forest, and empower children to embrace their true essence, the place where the universe resides in each of them. To have meaningful experiences in nature, with a reciprocal relationship with the earth, giving to and receiving.

Today she spends her time exploring the forests of Oregon with her mustangs, organic mini-farming, enjoying Sit Spot in the woods and unschooling her two beloved sons.  Courtney is certified in Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED by the American Heart Association.

 

Katerina Brown, Wildheart Instructor

Laura Parker

Instructor 

Laura was born in Bend, where she has since wandered out in all four directions to explore the desert, mountains, rivers, and forests. She spent her early childhood years cross-country skiing and hunting for crayfish in the river across the street from her house. From a young age she helped her dad clean wild poultry and fish after his hunts, which nurtured an important appreciation for the giveaway of the animals and for knowing that all food comes from the earth. She is the founder of Central Oregon Urban Homesteaders, a group that is committed to educating the community about nourishing and local foods. 

Laura earned an Associate of Arts degree at COCC and studied Literary Discourse through Eastern Oregon University, with a major focus on writing. Her first novel/memoir is in its final revision phase and it will be published later this year. 

Laura is currently enrolled in a correspondence course through the Wise Woman University with Susun Weed, where she is learning the ABC’s of herbalism. She is continually deepening her relationship with plant medicine, learning to speak with the plants and listen to them as the elders of the modern world. Along with practicing herbalism, she teaches workshops for empowerment, working with ceremony, birth, nourishment, earth awareness, and plant identification. 

Laura is the mother of three boys, who have taught her about her strength as a woman, and also shown her how to dance and sing in the ever-changing dynamic disequilibrium that is life. Laura drums, sings, and cooks her way through each day. She is always grateful to walk among the magic of nature, which motivates her to inspire others to reconnect with where they came from. Laura is certified in Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED by the American Heart Association.

 

Katerina Brown, Wildheart Instructor

Shireen Amini

Instructor 

Shireen Amini was born in Puerto Rico to a Puerto Rican mother and Iranian father, raised in the Bay Area in California, and received her B.A. in Ethnomusicology at UCLA. After a life changing abroad experience in Perú, Shireen moved to Central Oregon where she discovered the healing power of nature. She has since developed a deepened sense of belonging and care for the natural world, which she believes inspires wholeness and an intrinsic desire to protect it. 

Shireen’s background is primarily in music. As a singer-songwriter, percussionist, and multi-instrumentalist, she has performed music in Central Oregon for 15 years. She also has over 10 years of experience working with youth, leading a choir and drumming groups at Westside Village Magnet School, preparing youth concerts for Bend International School, and also leading youth recreation through Bend Parks and Recreation Kids Inc. and summer camps. 

In recent years, Shireen studied Sound, Voice, and Music Healing at CIIS in San Francisco and since has interwoven her music background with her passion for healing and indigenous wisdom through the development of “music medicine” offerings. These have included intentional community singing events, interactive concerts, sound healing events, and hand drumming classes for adults. All the while, a calling has been brewing to bring together the wisdom and magic of nature with the joyful and empowering experience of making music in her work with youth as a way of supporting healthy soul development and restorative-generative culture. She is honored and excited to begin this endeavor with Wildheart Nature School.

In her leisure time, Shireen loves to paddle on the water, adventure outside through biking, rollerblading, and hiking, make nature crafts and take nature photography.

 

Katerina Brown, Wildheart Instructor

Amber Grace Kliger (she/hers)

Instructor 

Amber is an ally, big sister, teacher and loving guardian to the children she gets to work with. As a long time nanny and outdoor educator, she is always looking forward to playing with the little ones and seeing what she can teach them, as well as what sparks their joy and curiosity!

Having worked in the Wilderness Therapy Industry for several years, Amber spent time working one-on-one with troubled youth as a field instructor. She lived and worked in the Wilderness with each therapy group for 8 consecutive days every other week. She advanced to be a Senior instructor, taking on the additional responsibilities of managing the structure of the days, staff team, department communications, and much of the field logistics. This helps her be confident in co-facilitating an outdoor interpersonal program, as well as working with youth and any troubles that arise on the day to day.

As a longtime lover of nature and the wilderness, Amber has spent countless hours camping, backpacking, hiking, and exploring. Over the last several years, she’s found interest and joy in learning more specifically about ancestral skills as well as foraging and wildcrafting. She holds a current Adult/Pediatric CPR cert, and has Wilderness First Responder training. Amber loves to share a digestible version of outdoor skills and fun facts with the littles when learning opportunities arise, as well as step back and let them self guide their experience.

When Amber is not working with kids, you can find her working her craft in the healing arts as an Oregon Certified LMT, cooking or wildcrafting in the kitchen, or gone on a nature excursion. 

Amber looks forward to lovingly spending time with the kids that come through Wildheart Nature School and being of service where I can!

 

Alsia, Wildheart Instructor Outdoors

Alsia Hunter

Instructor 

Alsia grew up in the Southern Mountains of Tennessee. Nestled just outside of the Cumberland Gap, she spent most of her days outside in the creeks and forests surrounding her home. Mudpies, puddles, and woodland creatures filled her being with joy. She spent most of her days, alone, with the creatures of the forest basking in the unknown of her own imagination. On special days, her parents would take off into the wilderness with her, showing her how to white water canoe, hunt for mushrooms, and identify rocks and different plant life. From a young age the mysteries of the Great Outdoors sparked a small flame that never stopped burning. This instilled a deep love and connection to the earth. She carried this with her throughout her teenage years, where she went to Outward Bound, and then later she became an Outdoor Guide. During college she began leading outdoor trips, including whitewater kayaking, backpacking, hiking, and star gazing. She learned many secrets of forest in the Great Smoky Mountains and into North Carolina’s Pisgah National forests. It gave her great pleasure to take fellow peers into the wilderness for the first time. Helping them identify plants, animals, insects, and even mapping the stars was what she felt like she was on this earth to do. While attending College, she became sick and needed both western and eastern healing in order to live. She accounts her remarkable recovery to the Master Healers who helped her through this time. Through this, she learned that healing work was an integral part of her reasoning for being on this planet. She practices many different modalities of healing including energy work, clearing of the subtle bodies, and using different plant medicines to activate and clear different channels in the body. After recovering from her illness, she went back to school studying Eco Psychology, and spent her college days focusing on the healing power of nature and the elements. “Nature truly saved my life as a child, having an allergy that caused many different behavioral issues, I spent most of my days in the forest alone, where I felt that I could be understood.” Because of this, Alsia believes it is the utmost important to tend to our children and to teach them the importance of our earth. Her teachings revolve around connecting to the spirit of the forest, and teaching survival skills to our young ones so that they may know what it is to truly live and be one with the earth. Alsia is certified in Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED by the American Heart Association.

 

Photograph of Tess Vining

Tess Vining

Early Childhood Waldorf Teacher

Inspired by the holistic approach to education in Waldorf pedagogy, Miss Tess completed a two-year intensive teacher training at Waldorf Teacher Education in Eugene, Oregon, and began working as an Aftercare Teacher at Corvallis Waldorf School, before becoming Director of Early Childhood at CWS. The incredible community of the Waldorf School of Bend brought Miss Tess to Bend in 2016, where she assisted in early childhood and grades classes before leading the Huckleberry Preschool.  During summers, her son attended Wildheart Nature School camps and learned environmental stewardship and the virtues of being a reliable, resilient and loving friend in a greater community.  Integrating the values of Wildheart nature education and Waldorf, the Wildheart KinderCamp was formed to serve Kindergarten-aged children. When not teaching on the farm, Miss Tess is playing in the PNW mountains with her family and friends.

 

Rainbow Dreamer

Brenden Butler

Instructor 

Brenden Butler grew up spending his time independently exploring and creatively connecting with nature. Unschooled until age eleven, he traveled to various folk arts festivals, storytelling festivals, and primitive skills rendezvous across the eastern United States. These childhood experiences shaped his values and perceptions of the world, inspiring him to always work towards building a more harmonious relationship with Nature, the Earth, and the Essential-Self, which he believes are the keys that can help provide a simple, connected, and meaningful life for anyone that chooses.

Brenden moved to Bend in 2003 where he volunteered with Making A Difference Teen Theater, working directly with youth regarding moral values and life choices until 2006 when he began working with kids with Parks and Recreation Department. Today, Brenden offers alternative counseling and intuitive therapies. He is a certified provider of intentional peer support, and is knowledgeable in Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s compassionate communication techniques. He also works with children and families to overcome challenging behavior through a neuroscience-based, trauma-informed model of care called Collaborative Problem Solving.

Brenden enjoys his free time swimming in the rivers, hiking and biking along the rivers, meditating by the rivers, contemplating on the rivers. He really likes rivers! They remind him of the nature of life, always flowing, and always growing, back to the Sea. Brenden is certified in Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED by the American Heart Association.

 

Rainbow Dreamer

Elizabeth Strauder

Instructor 

Elizabeth has devoted her life to maintaining a deep connection with Mother Nature on many levels. She grew up in the Central Oregon high desert and made regular journeys into the mountains, rivers, fields, and valleys of the Pacific Northwest throughout childhood. Venturing into the natural world for play as well as rites of passage has become an essential part of her lifeblood. Nature is her friend, teacher, guide, and mirror.

Elizabeth graduated college with degrees in sociology, Spanish, creative writing/English, philosophy, and gender studies. She has spent several years traveling and living abroad in places such as Guatemala, Spain, and Peru. Working and living in a variety of cultures has helped her develop a capacity to relate deeply to a diverse range of lifestyles, beliefs, and cultures.

She offers her experience with rattle making, drum making, edible/medicinal plant identification, storytelling, shelter building, natural camouflage, Mind’s Eye skills, and deep nature connection to Wildheart classes.

Elizabeth regularly uses nature rituals in her life for herself and with others.  She is in the process of launching her own private healing practice, and involves herself in community activities for the furtherance of healing humanity into remembrance of our true nature.  She is committed to seeking ever deeper ways to heal through tapping in to the inherent wisdom of Nature, and believes that exposure to the raw presence of the natural world is one of the surest ways that healing will come for all of us, now and in generations to come. Elizabeth is certified in Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED by the American Heart Association.

 

Katerina Brown, Wildheart Instructor

Katerina Brown

Instructor 

Katerina Brown

As an international traveler with deep roots in the Appalachian mountains, Katerina has a strong connection with the natural world. She desires for all people to have access to nature education and strives to help others appreciate and respect our Earth.

Her kind, compassionate personality and innate ability to teach and work with children was sparked in her youth when she helped raise her younger sister. From there, she taught at summer camps, Girl Scouts, art and music classes, mentored, and tutored one-on-one. Realizing how to offer these gifts in college (University of North Carolina at Wilmington), she studied Social Work and focused on supporting and empowering children and families, specifically those at-risk, low income, and disabled. She ran non-profit programs such as the Strengthening Families and the Grandparent Support Network. Katerina believes everyone deserves a safe outlet for full self-expression.

She is also an Earth Path Education (Asheville, NC) instructor, with a dedication of inspiring and connecting as many children, despite age or demographic, to the magic of our surrounding plants, animals, and elements. As a dancer and a certified yoga teacher for children and adults, she truly believes in the power of body movement.

Today, she brings her love of nature into her pottery work and her birth work. She is a certified labor (Hypnobabies) and postpartum doula, lactation counselor, and placenta specialist who has also studied with herbalists in women’s health. Having grown her own foods and medicines, she believes in the healing power of plants and is an advocate for living with the land. Her dedication to sacred songs and sweat lodge ceremonies has allowed her to dive deep into her spirituality and truly understand the importance of preserving tradition and the earth itself.

 

Rainbow Dreamer

Clay Savely

Instructor 

Clay was fortunate to grow up in the dense Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina on a magical property with flowing creeks, springs, lush, diverse rain-enhanced forests, and abundant animal life. He spent most of his time outdoors as his parents encouraged a deep connection with the spirit of the land. Clay developed a deep connection with the forest and the unseen forces alive within the micro and macro worlds of wonder at an early age. Through growing food with his family, he became intimately connected with the cycles of the seasons.

As he grew older, Clay learned more about himself and the world through traveling, music, art, and community. Eventually going to college at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington on the Atlantic Ocean, he discovered a deep connection with fire and water through the presence of the ocean and the wonders of creating fire out in the forests at night. He studied Environmental Science, Film, and Creative Writing with some time abroad in Australia as well with an abundance of diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Clay eventually realized that instead of being a scientist and studying nature, he wanted to work with children and open their minds and hearts up to the vast wonders and spiritual connection that he had experienced first-hand as a child and young adult. He was called back to the mountains after school and began teaching for experiential education groups outside of Asheville. He fell in love with guiding trips in Pisgah National Forest, a temperate rainforest with remnants of the magic first encountered and revered by the Cherokee peoples.

Clay is passionate about teaching primitive skills, survival skills, plant knowledge, environmental science, writing, nature art, and ceramics among many other things. He particularly enjoys sharing his father’s unique art form of impressing plants and flowers into clay and creating complex designs inspired by nature’s majestic creations. He is certified in Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED by the American Heart Association.

 

COLLABORATORS

Katerina Brown, Wildheart Instructor

The Children’s Forest of Central Oregon provides a network of outdoor places and programs dedicated to moving all children along a continuum of learning, exploration, and healthy living through engagement with nature.

They seek to:

  • Develop opportunities for all children and youth to safely and accessibly engage in free play, exploration and recreation activities that connect them to nature
  • Provide all children and youth first hand connections with nature by providing meaningful, inspirational, and interdisciplinary education programs including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), social studies, creative writing, and art
  • Improve health outcomes in youth by providing opportunities that lead to increased physical activity outdoors
  • Develop programs that foster leadership skills in youth, promote a sense of connection and stewardship for public lands, and provide potential environmental and natural resource career paths.

 

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