Instructors and Offerings

 Our Instructors!


Our instructors are amongst the most skilled, knowledgeable, experienced, and passionate educators in the Western U.S. (and beyond!).  They are both cultural torch-bearers and cultural architects; we are forever indebted to them.  They are the heart of this Gathering, and the treasured strength of this community.  Please, meet them:

 Any instructor’s name in green means you can click on their name to link to their website, and get to know them even better.

2017 Instructors:

please note that it will take us some time to get all of our instructors’ info posted here.  you can expect around15 instructors to be sharing skills at the Gathering!



offering teachings in Wild Plant Foods and Intuitive Plant Wisdom

Katrina Blair began studying wild plants in her teens when she camped out alone for a summer to focus on eating wild foods.  She later wrote “The Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants of the San Juan Mountains” for her senior project at Colorado College.  In 1997 she completed a MA at John F Kennedy University in Orinda, CA in Holistic Health Education.  She founded Turtle Lake Refuge in 1998, a non-profit, whose mission is to celebrate the connection between personal health and wild lands. Turtle Lake Refuge is a wild harvested, locally grown and living foods café and sustainable education center for the community.  Katrina teaches sustainable living practices and wild edible and medicinal classes locally and globally.  She is author of a book titled “Local Wild Life- Turtle Lake Refuge’s Recipes for Living Deep” and “ The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival” published by Chelsea Green 2014.

offering teachings in West African Drumming, and leading the Drum Corps on Drum&Dance Night!

Vanessa began playing the djembe and dununs in 1995. A student of Mamady
Keita (one of the worlds most accomplished true Masters) since 2004, she has attended
several camps and classes with him since that time. She has also studied with Famadou Konate — universally respected as one of the world’s premiere djembe Drum Masters.

In 2011 she attended the Drum Instructor Training with Bill Scheidt of Tam Tam Mandingue Winston Salem to hone her teaching skills as well as Drum Circle Facilitation with Jim Donovan.
Vanessa founded Durango Drums in February 2011 to share her passion, experience and love for the traditional polyrhythms of West Africa. Since meeting Herman Kathan in 2013 her current focus is on trance rhythms, attending camps and workshops with him in Germany, Italy and the US.


Sage Petersen
offering teachings in Tai Chi, various Martial Arts, and other movement skills
Sage Petersen is passionate about nature, playfulness and vitality. He has been involved in vitality living since he was a kid and has since studied movement, nature, leadership and neuro-science to further develop his teaching and mentoring skills. He harnesses nature awareness, bodily expression skills such as martial arts, and practicing playfulness to merge joyful living with self-directed success. Sage teaches vitality lifestyle and movement seminars and is developing online courses and books on martial arts and vitality lifestyle for children and adults. He lives in Durango, Colorado.
Through teaching yoga and plant medicine, Deb enjoys fusing devotion, strength, integrity, and grace in order to inspire contagious enthusiasm in service to Mother Earth, Community and Self.As a yoga teacher, Deb finds deep interest in Yoga as a rich path of transformation, awakening innate intelligence and healing through which yoga combines the practical with mysticism. Deb embraces the boundless yoga practice as something that can open up paths of transformation and nourish one’s unique spiritual way of life through exploring Yoga as a pathway toward one’s authentic Self. Her specialty is to encourage students toward self-inquiry through their connection to nature as well as exploring how a yoga practice can be a metaphor for how we choose to be in life and in relationship. She loves to explore and continuously question how to embody the practice; how to really walk the talk. She perceives yoga as a powerful framework for refining ourselves towards wholeness. She loves to blend the teachings of the plants, relationship with the natural world and the 8 limbs of Yoga. Deb teaches yoga at Yogadurango in Durango, Colorado and travels to teach in different states and countries periodically. She has trained with the amazing teachers through Yogadurango, Indira Kate Kalmbach in Costa Rica and is currently in study with her teacher, Bhavani Maki, diving deep into the heart of Yoga Philosophy and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.As an herbalist, Deb has an incredible devotion for facilitating the transmission and reception of plant medicine in the oral tradition. Her curiosity drives her to dig deep, to embark on the adventures of creating relationships with our plant relatives and to seek out those that had the knowledge, the wisdom keepers. She has learned with Elders/Wisdom Keepers from around the globe. Deb’s dedication in her work is to facilitate the transfer of the messages of the Earth and the voices of the plants to create space for building lifelong relationships with the plants. She has been working intimately with the plants for 15 years building, learning, teaching and practicing. Her daily intention is to continue to learn to live more harmoniously with all sentient beings.Deb is a mother to a wonderful son.
offering teachings in Animal Tracking and Holistic Land Stewardship
With great fortune, Meghan has been able to combine her passions for animal tracking, writing and people into vocations of habitat conservation and public awareness. As an Educator, Ecological Consultant and Writer of books, essays and articles, Meghan strives to help people connect to their external and internal landscapes.
Camille Shanahan
offering teachings in Felting (sheep’s wool), and possibly other Fiber Arts
offering teachings in Anasazi-style Primitive Pottery
 I believe that life should be centered around family, friends and doing what you love.  I also believe in working hard and putting my best into everything I do. To be successfull at anything you have to be determined and be willing to put in the time and effort. I love the motto “work hard, play hard”.
Kay Salwen
offering teachings in Tire-Sandal construction and Carving Wooden Spoons and Forks.
We can create such amazing things! This world tells us that so much needs to be bought and then bought again.  We are told that broken things aren’t worth the time to fix them.  I seek to teach an understanding of the properties of the world around us so that our creations create less waste rather than more, so that we all feel confident, competent, and excited to enter unknown places with empty hands.  Be excited! The more we know the less we need.  Join me to learn foundations of outdoor exploration and brainstorm how to creatively integrate old technology with new trash and treasures!
offering teachings in Friction Fire, Trapping, and possibly other core survival skills

Jessie is passionate about all things outdoors, and seems to always be teaching and sharing information intentionally or not!  She is former Air Force (please don’t hold that against her), and was trained to be a Global S.E.R.E. Specialist (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape).  So basically she’s a professional Girl scout 😉. She’s also worked as a team building facilitator and as a wilderness therapy field guide for the last 11 years and is now finally dedicating time to teaching folks who actually LIKE the wild places!  She’s excited to have started her own survival school recently out of the Denver area and is always looking for more folks to teach and to learn from.  This particular week she will be offering teachings in hand and bow/drill friction fire, traps and snares, knot tying, navigation, and anything else that the universe feels inclined to pull out of her at the given moment…

Katherine Jolda
offering teachings in Plant-Dying (and possibly Felting)
not sure yet what i’ll offer this year- TBA
this is a photo of me teaching my little sister (all the way from Detroit, Michigan!) to weave a willow basket at last year’s 4CG.

click here to Register now!

2017 “Community Offerings”

Our instructor corps represents a true wealth of both experience and expertise- but they are not the only ones with skills to share!  We are making it a priority to create space for folks other than “instructors” to share skills at this event.  Below are those who have already stepped forward with an offering.


Rachael Gallien
offering teachings in Pine Needle Basketry

Past Instructors that we hope will join us again one day:

Constance Lynn

Constance Lynn, will offer The Path of Practice, where soul meets spirit…where our individual lives intersect with the universal energies. Through practice we directly engage with life, collecting the foods we eat, preparing the medicines we use, connecting with all of nature…Our yoga becomes a devotional practice inspired by beauty and infused with Love…connected to the whole, we move with grace and a deep presence which allows us to listen and respond to our soul calling in relationship with Earth and all Beings.

This week will focus on the following skills and practices: Developing a daily yoga practice with an essential focus on the breath; Sit spot nature awareness practice; Plant meditation and communication; Preparing herbal vinegars, infusions and salves;  Journal practice as a skill of insight and reflection; The art of council; And more!



James Turner
offering teachings in Atl-Atl and Archery
Tobias Corwin
offering teachings in Ornamentation, including precious stones and metals
 Karen Hickerson
heading up Kid’s Camp!
Karen is a Colorado native who grew up playing in the lakes near her home. She spent her childhood outside with very little supervision catching snakes, frogs and fish and wandered through the cattails and finding duck, geese, muskrats and snapping turtle nests. Her passion, for the last 20 years, is teaching kids, especially outside. Karen works to follow what the group is passionate about, animals and tracking or trees and shelters, games and camouflage whatever intrigues them. Learning is everywhere and Karen’s goal is to be a guide, to push kids edges a bit and have them think bigger-have them notice that they are connected to all things.
Sara McCourt

An avid knitter, Sara found that the needles in her hands were actually the gateway tool to a deeper passion: fiber. Wondering about the sourcing and processing of her mail-order wools led her to the Master’s Spinning Certification program at the Olds College in Alberta, Canada, (she’s currently in year 5 of 6), and now she walks among clouds of cotton, linen, silk and animal fibers in a studio that’s armed with spindles, wheels and an ominous-sounding hooked stick.

When she’s not cooking, hiking nor tending her garden – including plants for making common dyes or experimenting with blending fibers and natural colors – you can find her in the world of academia (she’s a homeschool mom) or carrying the Heritage Arts forward to the next generation via the La Plata County 4-H organization, where she serves as both a club leader and the county’s spinning leader and the county fair’s superintendent for spinning, weaving and handspun items.

offering teachings in Fiber Arts, including: selecting raw sheep’s fleece (introducing local Durango producers), washing and carding fleece, plant-dying, and hand-spinning, including how to make a drop-spindle

Kristi teaches advanced birding skills and deep nature connection to people all around the world. She is a Field Ornithologist, Naturalist, Herbalist, Photographer and practitioner of Deep Bird Language.  As a lover of the wild, Kristi has a desire to help others connect intimately with their relationship with the natural world.

offering teachings in Birding and BirdLanguage
 Bobby Psenka
offering teachings in Brain-tanning Buckskin