whole-life skills for a radically different future
Wild Leaders Immersion Instructor Team
Honoring Our Lineage
In the spirit of mentoring and lineage, we feel called to acknowledge a few of the powerful mentors and teachers we have learned from on our collective journey. You have shaped us. We are forever indebted to you: Frank Cook, Jon Young, Joanna Macy, Sobonfu Somé, Tamarack Song, Mark Morey, Evan Witt Mcgown, Seven Song, Juliette Blankenspoor, Steve Torma, Sangoma Oludoye, Steven Snowbear Taylor, Nancy Basket, and many more.
More than a botanist, Luke Cannon is a long-time pursuer and teacher of the magic and medicine of plants. His passions to study and understand the beautiful ecological intricacies of the natural world have led him throughout the Americas and across the globe. An avid naturalist, Luke draws from a diverse pool of knowledge, combining his botanical studies with his life experience and training in survival skills, organic farming, permaculture, Appalachian ecology, rural homesteading, and experiential learning. His training includes the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine, Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, Ecology Studies at the University of North Carolina Asheville, Karuna Falls School of Permaculture (NZ), John Young's Art of Mentoring course, and the Kamana Naturalist Training Program.
Luke currently lives in the mountains of North Carolina, where he studies Appalachian ecology, photographs wildlife, and makes his living as an ethnobotany teacher and instructor for Forest Floor Wilderness Programs. He offers monthly public Woods Walks to share his knowledge of local plants, birds, and mushrooms, as well as his enthusiasm for building closer relationships with the wilds around us.
Sara Callaway is a deeply practical human being who seeks to understand the journey of life so as to live it more fully and help others to do the same. Her twin passions are culture and nature. An avid reader of personal growth books, she also has a degree in anthropology and a passion for developing conscious community. She has trained in nonviolent communication (NVC), peacemaking, alternative conflict resolution, sacred sensuality, and rites of passage.
A former organic farm manager, Sara has a deeply rooted love of plants, trees, rocks, and other beings, a desire to share that love with others, and a continual longing to live in sync with the seasons. She’s a Kamana-trained naturalist (Wilderness Awareness School), an instructor in primitive skills (especially friction fire), and has been active in the earthskills community for over 15 years.
Originally from the coastal plain of south Georgia, Sara has spent the last decade growing community, farming, and teaching adults nature connection skills in Athens, GA. She recently moved to the high mountains of North Carolina to live the homesteading life and work more closely with fellow cultural creatives.
No matter what she’s teaching, NikiAnne Feinberg is always on the same mission: to raise peoples’ awareness of their whole selves—gifts, interests, blind spots, shadows—and help those whole selves find and fill niches in their communities. This is how the web of life is woven and the fabric of culture repaired. She is especially eager to support those in transition between vocations, stages of life, and stories of world and self.
NikiAnne has spent the past four years at Earthaven Ecovillage, where she co-founded School of Integrated Living in 2013, as a dedicated and participatory community member. Before moving to WNC, NikiAnne led service-learning and cultural immersions in Peru and Costa Rica, co-founded the School Gardens Program in Santa Barbara, CA, and served as a Lead Instructor with Wilderness Youth Project, also in Santa Barbara.
Michael Ismerio has been a passionate teacher for over 10 years. Michael also engages life as a young business owner, community organizer, professional musician, large event organizer, culture builder, banjo maker, square dance caller, music teacher, and shoemaker. In 2008, he became obsessed with the growing deep nature connection movement and shifted his focus to guiding others on their journeys to awareness, authenticity, and connection.
Michael grew up in the foothills of California's Sierra Nevada Mountains, spent many years in the lush rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, lived for a brief stint in the hardwood forests of southern Indiana, and now calls Asheville and the mountains of Western North Carolina his home.
Clint's journey into the vast world of indigenous living began in the boreal forest of Northern Wisconsin at the Teaching Drum Outdoor School, where he completed the year-long Wilderness Immersion Program. Foraging for dinner, tracking wolves in the snow, and exploring his inner landscape, Clint lived outdoors with no modern amenities for a full turn of the seasons. He then went on to found Forest Floor Wilderness Programs after being inspired by the powerful work of several nature-connection programs here in the Southeast.
Salvatore Gencarelle, a friend and colleague of SOIL, recently launched an educational organization called Helpers Mentoring Society. His courses focus on cultural ceremony and draw from nearly two decades of immersion in the wisdom of indigenous cultures across the globe.