Meet the Instructors
Born and raised in northeast ohio. Always loved the outdoors. Recently attended a 45 day instructor program with one of the top survival companies in the country, Sigma 3 Survival School. Excelled and passed with ease. I am by no means an expert on any single subject but am well versed in several areas of survival skills. Would be willing to teach friction fires (bowdrill and hand drill), primitive water filters, primitive traps, basket making, knife sharpening, or possibly some other primitive skill I can’t think of right now.
Lynn Abbey Zukowski
Blue Lake Botanicals LLC, Eastlake, OH
My background includes a degree in biology, working at a natural history museum, doing infectious disease research at a medical school, being a certified addictions counselor and growing herbs as an organic gardener all my life. All these gave me skills that prepared me to be an herbalist. My teachers have included Aviva Romm, Cathy Skipper, Paul Bergner, Sean Donahue and all the wonderful herbalists who have written books or offered classes that I have been blessed to experience. The plants also teach me every day.
Light Footsteps, Chardon, OH
Christine Cassella, M.S. is owner of Light Footsteps and is also a mother, community herbalist, holistic birth doula, biologist, and permaculturist. She is most passionate about helping women reclaim their inherent connection with the cycles of nature, especially in the childbearing years. She received her certificate in herbalism with Rosemary Gladstar and has also studied with wise women such as Susun Weed and Rosalee de la Foret. Christine has been practicing the arts of herbalism for over a decade, and has been passionate about women’s health throughout her life.
Chagrin Valley School and Kelly’s Working Well Farm, Chagrin Falls, OH
Former teacher of high-school math and science, recently retired from Hawken School. Permaculture practitioner for 6 years at Kelly’s Working Well Farm. Founder and staff member of Chagrin Valley School, a democratically managed school for self-directed learners ages 4 to 19, embedded in the farm.
The Mushroom Hunter, Kent, OH
Don King is an artist, chef, and wild food enthusiast. For nearly 15 years he has been collecting local wild mushrooms and other edibles, as well as running mushroom hunts and camps to show others how to find, identify, sustainably harvest, prepare, and preserve the edibles they find. He appears several times per year on Fox 8’s New Day Cleveland where he talks about foraging in Ohio and cooks mushroom-infused dishes.
In Ian’s ~8 year journey in natural health he has have studied books, articles, podcasts & videos concerning the subject, as well as worked and spent time at organic farms, meditation & health retreats and at natural health centers around the world. After frequently sharing health tips and tricks with friends & family, he created a wellness blog to share online as well as document his own constant learning journey. He is interested in health & wellness, sustainability, regenerative farming, education and empowering others. Ian has a background in graphic design, marketing & education, and is currently working at Chagrin Valley School, a democratic & self-directed learning school located on a permaculture farm in Chagrin Falls.
Red Beet Row, Jefferson, OH
John is a self-taught permaculture expert. He is an excellent teacher and workshop leader for all ages. He also provides private consultations to land owners interested in transforming their property into a permaculture paradise. John was formally trained as a horticulturist at the Ohio State University. He has worked with community gardens and faith-based institutions. He knows from experience how to grow food in anything: tiny inner-city plot, a windowsill, hidden public spaces, on acres and acres of rural land, etc. He is a master seed saver, plant-identifier, creative-thinker, and dreamer. He was born and raised in Jefferson, OH.
Living Well Massage and Bodywork, Middlefield, OH
Practicing reflexology and clinical herbalist including aromatherapy and Homeopathy professionally since 2011. Completed over 10k hours of practice, now designated DR of Reflexology. Currently completing my Dr of Naturopathy. Successful practice in Middlefield.
John L. Clark
Cleveland Heights, OH
John grew up in a very typical civilized fashion, learning about the importance of education, technological progress, and “making” money. He was always a little uncomfortable with this story, though, although for a long time he didn’t have the tools to be able to process and understand this discomfort. Along the way, he discovered teachers who helped him understand the massive problems that this story has caused, and he started to eagerly cast about for solutions. He now believes that a big part of the solution involves reconnecting with what it means to be truly human, and at the same time reconnecting with other people in a richly interdependent community.
Melissa Shuck (Amit)
Imitating Eden Garden Design, Cleveland Heights, OH
Crochet since I was young. I have taught lots of kids the chain stitch. It’s pretty easy and rewarding for them. Makes nice jewellery and rope.
Interested in permaculture, blacksmithing, repurposing , retired chemist, artist
I started exploring nature in my backyard and in the once extensive woods behind my childhood house in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland. I went off to school and learned about nature–biology, chemistry, ecology–from teachers and books and lectures, and the occasional field trip. I did experiments in constructed wetlands and learned how microorganisms shape the soil, air, water, other living things, and all the biological and chemical processes on earth. When I started working out in the woods everyday at The Holden Arboretum, I really began to understand what ecology means. All we were doing was picking garlic mustard, an invasive plant that threatens native diversity in the forests here. We were trying to hold back time. Whether that works remains to be seen, but in the process I learned about the plants we were trying to protect. I learned about their interactions with other plants, animals, and the landscape, and how they could be used by people.
Since my job at Holden was only seasonal, I thought I should go off and try to have more of a professional career. I guess that’s what I thought I should be doing at my age to be a successful, well-regarded person. So I went to Kentucky and worked as a wetland ecologist for over three years. My job was to survey wetlands, streams, and other habitats that were about to be destroyed by development and to help the developers follow environmental regulations. I’m glad we have environmental regulations, but from what I could see, these regulations don’t encourage sustainable development and regard for the earth. They just make it a little harder and more expensive to keep developing in horribly destructive and unsustainable ways.
So now I’m back at a seasonal job at The Holden Arboretum, monitoring wildflowers and forest health, and still picking garlic mustard once in awhile. I try to learn as much as I can about the nature around me, and eat as many wild things as I can. Someday I hope to merge my love for the forests and the fields with the desire to grow my own food and live off the land with as much respect for this wonderful earth as she deserves.
Layli Lukeman Bookbinding, Newark, OH
I have been making pyrography art for the last five years and bookbinding for about three. I have always loved every aspect of books, from writing and reading to the creation of them.
I bind leather books and create intricate designs on them with a pyrography tool. I have taken one class so far at The American Academy of Bookbinding, and plan to take more.
I want to share by love of learning, art, and all things books with the world, and teaching is the best way to do that.
Blue Heron Nature Skills, Pittsburgh, PA
Raised outside of Pittsburgh, PA, in a home bordering acres of forested land, I learned the importance of nature as a young child (before I even knew just how important it was…) In my late teens, I began exploring nature further out and spent hours at the local state and township parks. I decided to begin caring for and healing myself as naturally as possible, dropping the use of synthetic medications and body care products. By my early 20s, I decided to get serious in my knowledge of the natural world. I began to study plant identification, botany, herbalism, and whichever environmental sciences called to me at a given time. Now both independently and formally trained (having received certification from the Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism in Asheville, NC), I promote natural healing and working in harmony with nature as much as possible. I am always looking for new ways to collaborate with like-minded folks!
Haven Herbs, Columbus, OH
Lily is Columbus’ community herbalist. She sees clients needing holistic and herbal care, teaches classes and workshops, and organizes herbal events. She is also head herbalist at Haven Herbs, a worker owned cooperative company specializing in bioregional formulas.
Matt Ellison holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biosystems Engineering from the University of Tennessee. He has 4 years of experience designing and installing solar PV and holds the NABCEP PV Installation Professional Certification. He is currently developing his off-grid homestead at The Nicely Farm Land Trust in East Tennessee.
After graduating from an Embodied Practice Training in May, I’m eager to share movement offerings with my community. It’s important to create spaces where we can tune in to the finer details of our own bodies; incorporate movement, but mostly practice rest. Choosing stillness has become such an important tool in my parenting practice. In my life practice. I look forward to any opportunity where I can share the practical tools I’ve learned and also hold space for all the feelings that may arise.
Ashley Suzelis is a Licensed Esthetician specializing in Holistic Skin Care, Yoga Instructor, Reiki Practitioner, Bach Flower Therapy Practitioner, Herbal Medicine Maker and member of the Association of Holistic Skin Care Practitioners. Ashley opened Forest of Youth Holistic Spa in Newton Falls, OH in 2014 where she offers a variety of chemical free spa treatments including Facials and Relaxation Massage as well as Reiki, Bach Flower Therapy Consultations, Yoga, Meditation, handmade herbal skin care and herbal remedies. Her goal is to assist in bringing the mind, body and spirit back into balance so her clients can move forward in living a more vibrant life. Her passion for skin care started as a young adult trying to find healthy skin care and beauty rituals that would add to the health of her skin and clear up her acne and scarring. After attending Casal AVEDA Institute for Esthiology Science in 2011, she discovered her chemical sensitivity and began searching out ways to learn about Holistic Skin Care. She found the Association of Holistic Skin Care Practitioners and has been learning and growing with them ever since. She has been practicing yoga for over 10 years and recently returned from Costa Rica where she received her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Certification. She is excited to join Reeds & Roots in bringing yoga and bodywork to the Skill Share.
Thunder Springs Intentional Community, Tryonville, PA
Ian Hamilton is an herbalist, earth living skills instructor, and the creator of Thunder Springs Intentional Community. He’s been immersed in living and sharing ancestral skills for the past 18 years, and offers a unique and passionate vision for healing human disconnect through ancestral skills.
Rust Belt Riders Composting, Cleveland, OH
Nathan Rutz serves as Director of Soil at Rust Belt Riders where he is responsible for compost production, quality, and sales. He sees compost as a high leverage point in multi-solving for drawing down CO2, food justice, re-wilding the Great Lakes, and moving toward a bio-centric paradigm. He learned compost technique largely from Dr. Elaine Ingham and Karl Hammer. He spent the previous seven years in environmental non-profits. He lives on highly leaded soil in the City of Cleveland with his roommate and their billions of fermenting microbes.
Cusi Ballew and Madeline Fitch
Appalachia Resist!, Athens, OH
We are radicals, activists, and parents who live in the woods and use direct action to stop the destruction of the earth and fight racism
Uncle Mud, Burton, OH
Uncle Mud uses natural materials like clay and wood and straw to build beautiful buildings and can-do attitude with young people of all ages.
Red Sky Apiary, West Salem, OH
I’m a forever student of the plants, trees, bees and the rest of the beautiful creatures we share this planet with. I started a more formal study of both Plant medicine and bee keeping as an employee of Summit County Metro Parks 1999-2006. I currently study with Leslie Williams MSED RH AHG and Leslie Alexander PH.D. RH AHG. I’m interested in learning and helping others to learn earth skills that are sustainable, empowering and liberating. I grow and wildcraft a lot of my food and plant medicine. I’m a honeybee caretaker as well.
Mardy Townsend, Tish O’Dell, Gwen Fischer
Gwen Fischer is the Coordinator of Portage Community Rights Group, and a Board member of the Ohio Community Rights Network. Gwen is retired from teaching Developmental Psychology and Cross-Cultural Psychology at Hiram College. Since she’s retired, she’s been researching the entire industrial process of high volume, horizontal hydro-fracture oil and gas production (commonly called “fracking”) since 2010 and has been working at the grassroots level since 2011 for Community Rights in her home county of Portage.
Mardy Townsend raises grass fed beef on certified organic land in Windsor Ohio. ACWW is an all-volunteer group of concerned residents working together to address issues related to water quality, ecosystem health, and the wellbeing of rural and urban communities in Ashtabula County.
Tish O’Dell is currently working as the Ohio Organizer for CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) assisting Ohio communities to organize rights based initiatives in their communities, over 35 attempts have been made since 2012. Since 1997, CELDF has assisted hundreds of communities across the country to develop “first in the nation” laws banning fracking, factory farming, aerial pesticide spraying, sludging, water privatization, industrial scale energy development, and others addressing worker’s rights and nature’s rights.
Tish is also on the Ohio Community Rights Network (OHCRN) Board of Directors working to organize and assist county chapters for the OHCRN to build a movement of community rights organizing throughout the state culminating in constitutional change that will guarantee people’s rights to local self-governance and the rights of people and nature over corporations. Two state amendments have been approved for circulation and Ohio Community Rights Action has formed to lead the effort.
Tish co-founded the grass-roots organization MADION, Inc. (Mothers Against Drilling In Our Neighborhoods) in Broadview Heights, OH that successfully campaigned to adopt a Home Rule Charter amendment creating a Community Bill of Rights banning new gas drilling, fracking and injection wells in the city in 2012.
Crooked River Kids, Avon Lake, OH
I am a Mother, Entrepreneur, Teacher, and Advocate for play and nature connection. My work focuses on fostering the next generation of kids through mindfulness, child-led learning, play and a connection to nature.
Greg & Evelyn Boulos
Blackberry Meadows Farm, Fawn, PA
Organic farmers with 80% customers within 10miles and engaged in all forms of farm and homesteading activities. Prior to this, Greg and his wife Jen ran Urban Homesteaders LLC which helped clients achieve and energy efficient home, peemacultural landscape and home based craft businesses.
I grew up around crafting and art and was raised by artists. Some of my earliest crafting memories are carding wool for my mom, while she demonstrated spinning wool into yarn. Around age ten I was mentored by two basket weavers and learned and practiced several basket weaving techniques. I first exploring natural, wild crafted materials, and later delving deep into recycled and reclaimed materials, primarily scavenged from dumpsters. I studied all kinds of art media in collage receiving a BFA in sculpture from Ohio University in 2004. Over the years I have explored many weaving media from copper electrical wire, honeysuckle vines, to animal and synthetic fibers.
Bug Hub, Cleveland, OH
Working with the youth of all ages to reconnect and live in more harmony with nature.
Thorn Valley Farm, Newbury, OH
A Geauga County native, I returned to Ohio in 2006 after a decade in Colorado with my young family, drawn by the water security of the climate and Lake Erie, the unmatched beauty of the region, the skills security of proximity to Amish communities, and the idyll of sharing my childhood land with my parents. My permaculture epiphany occurred when I saw kale and broccoli planted decoratively by a downtown building in Cleveland, and then heard Rosalind Creasy discuss edible landscaping on NPR. Robert Hart’s Forest Gardening was my introduction to permaculture and the first of dozens of permaculture books I devoured in those early years.
From 2007-present, deep engagement in the vibrant permaculture community of northeast Ohio and beyond has included learning, guiding, teaching, lecturing, coordinating, connecting, consulting and constructing, At Thorn Valley Farm in Newbury, Ohio I am settled just over the river and through the woods from my parents’ house, with my husband and two daughters. Observation takes time, but we are slowly building our own permaculture oasis. Features include fruit from bush, cane and orchard, fledgling nut groves, herbs and greens, rudimentary earthworks for water control, free-ranging poultry flock and high diversity of native food sources for pollinators.
Poultry is an important part of Thorn Valley Farm, providing garden services, eggs and perpetual entertainment. We have kept diverse breeds of chickens and ducks for the past five years, showing fancy (non-meat) birds at the County Fair and through 4H.
Bellwether Farm, Cleveland, OH
Jessica Miller is a botanist and conservation ecologist from the Chagrin and Cuyahoga River watersheds. She studied ecology and English at Calvin College. She worked with the Creation Care Study Program in New Zealand and has been an environmental and agricultural educator in multiple non-profits, schools and organizations in the Northeast Ohio area including work as a field botanist for the Cleveland Metroparks and in natural areas conservation at the Holden Arboretum. In her current role as Land Stewardship and Program Manager at Bellwether Farm, she is responsible for development and planning of ongoing adult and youth programming, overseeing the care of the land, and enacting a land management plan to maintain the highest possible ecological fidelity. Jessica lives in community with family and friends along with three chickens, vegetable gardens and an accumulation of medicinal and native plants.
Uprising Bakery, Youngstown, OH
I’m an herbalist, growing up in the woods of Virginia, and later in life I fell in with a few teachers including Frank Cook. One of my greatest honors was being called a ‘Rooter’ by Carol Judy, the famed anti-mountaintop removal activist and backwoods healer. I love teaching plants and fungi families of plants so that people gain the skills to learn new things on their own. I became a certified permaculture designer in 2008 with a focus on creating edible forest ecosystems, and planted some of the first gardens from this model in Cleveland and Youngstown. I learned the most about planting and propagation when I only ate from my own garden for a year (I did dumpster dive as well). I teach classes in how to design neighborhood-scale forest designs and help organize people to bring forest culture back into urban settings. I will try to plant 1 million trees before I die. In my early adult life I learned many ways that the woods provide all I need while living in Ojibwe community. I love building and have worked on cob construction, built wigwams, sukkahs, longhouses, and a lot in between for temporary, seasonal, or indefinite use. I think anything made with fire tastes better. I have a degree in environmental studies, politics, and bake bread for a living in Youngstown, OH where I currently live.
Ambrosia Regenerative Landcare, Brodview Heights, OH
Life long gardener, permaculture practitioner, engineer, writer, fruit and nut grower, commercial produce grower and graduate of several Permaculture and Wilderness Survival courses.
Ex-computer programmer who caught the anti-capitalism bug while in the Peace Corps and then learned about nature.
reverseglobalwarming.org, Oberlin, OH
Permaculture trained, focused on making change using regenerative ecosystem practices, affecting planetary health and climate stability. I work with numerous farms and diverse organizations dealing with improving ecosystem diversity and health, nutrition, planetary cooling, and livestock management. My chickens are awesome.
Abundant Joy Jewelry, Lexington, KY
I have been making paper beads for 5 years, and I am so excited to be able to shate my craft with others.
Cuddle with C, Cleveland, OH
Cecilia Li is an artist, cuddle professional and consent warrior. Her life mission is to foster a positive sense of community (sometimes through platonic cuddles). She is currently illustrating The Book of Cuddles, which will be available in late September.
trilliumcenter.org, Conneaut, OH
Leah Wolfe, MPH, founder of the Trillium Center, is a community herbalist and health educator with experience ranging from street medic clinics, disaster relief in Haiti, health research in coal country, and served on the Medic Healer Council at Standing Rock. She brings an herbal community (“Grounded”) with her for the First Aid and Wellness Center at Reeds & Roots!
Lee is a biologist and teacher of permaculture and qigong. His interests center around the human potential for abundance, health, freedom, and self-actualization. His current focus is on researching and developing ways to transform biomass, build soil, and cultivate fruit and fungi with a minimum of cost, time and labor. He teaches classes on a variety of topics at gatherings, festivals, retreats, studios, intentional communities, parks, and forests.
BarnRust, Olean, NY
Rocks shaped me.
Mountain Lauren, Pittsburgh, PA
I may spend my days working as a conservation ecologist, but it was my lifelong love of night skies that first gave me a relationship with nature. As a child, I spent countless nights watching the stars, hoping to be the first to spot a supernova or a comet. Since then, I have immersed myself in the arts and sciences of geology, astronomy, ecology, pyrography, and fire dancing. In seven years of moonlighting as a natural science educator, I have found that the best classrooms are bounded not by four walls but by trees, streams, and starry skies. I believe our sense of awe is one of the most powerful forces for fostering connection to the natural world, and the easiest way to inspire awe is to simply look up.
Holden Forests & Gardens, Cleveland, OH
Diana Sette is an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist, as well as a Certified Permaculture Designer & Teacher. She currently manages Tree Corps, a pilot community forestry workforce development program with Holden Forests & Gardens (Holden Arboretum & Cleveland Botanical Garden). Previously, she was the manager of Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Green Corps program, an urban agriculture program for teens in Cleveland. Prior to living in Cleveland, Diana spent close to a decade homesteading in rural Vermont, and living as a full-time resident company member with Bread & Puppet Theater. When not teaching trees, she teaches permaculture design courses with the international Permaculture Women’s Guild. She is a co-founder of Possibilitarian Garden and Possibilitarian Regenerative Community Homestead (PORCH) in Cleveland, and is currently obtaining a certificate in Ecopyschology from Lake Erie Institute. In her free time, Diana serves on the board of the Cleveland Seed Bank, writes for Permaculture Design magazine, makes music, and fosters homeless four-legged friends. She especially enjoys spending time with friends, partner, and six-year old daughter.
birthed and raised in the suburbs of cleveland, ohio. woke up in my mid-twenties to the realization that I finally knew what I wanted to learn to do (grow and live in right relationship with plants), and now trying to figure out how to do that within the constraints of modern society, cultural amnesia, and an economy based on money and individualism. have worked on small to mid-sized organic farms, managed a garden center, grown plants for sale, and have a couple acres of yard becoming diversified garden/orchard. most current obsession on this journey is seed stewardship.
Wild Origins, Westerville, OH
Wild Origins came out of the overlap of my passion for self-empowerment, self-care, and the natural world. The emotional and physical transformation that I underwent in rewilding my life and working with plants as an apprenticing herbalist was profound. Through Wild Origins I teach workshops and offer products to help others in their own journey. I apprenticed under Dawn Combs of Mockingbird Meadows Farm for two years and have been studying, growing, and working with medicinal plants for the better part of the last decade.
My name is Bradley Williams and I am an amateur mycology enthusiast. The world of fungi fascinates and delights me, thinking about how they are the architects of our ecosystem, can repair damage to distressed lands, and intertwine with every living thing on this planet. Walking through the woods at a mushroom pace is one of my great joys in life, noticing old friends and edibles, while also meeting and identifying new species in parts where I’m but a visitor.
Im an artist committed to living gently in the earth.
Cleveland, OH, http://emily-poor.squarespace.com/
I am an artist, bookmaker, and environmental activist.
I make books, videos, and sculptures about compost, soil building, and food waste. While studying at Cranbrook Academy of Art, I set up a compost system for art students, the dining hall, and the community garden on campus.
I am a key leader at Gather ’round Garden, a permaculture garden in Cleveland. I design books and flyers for environmental organizations (Sierra Club, Cleveland Divestment Project, Keep Wayne Wild). Books & flyers are a way we can communicate ideas and information!
Villa Hills, KY
I’ve completed 90 hours of Children’s Yoga & Mindfulness classes.
Fresno, Heartland Midwifery
Early in my life, a keen interest in indigenous lifeways, whole food nutrition, Natural Hygiene, herbal medicine, and traditional crafts and subsistence skills became powerful, long-lasting inducement for decades of study and occupations. The mother of four children (intentionally born, raised and educated at home) -although they are adults and the time is behind me- the tremendous blessing and responsibility of motherhood and hearth-making continues to shape my thoughts and heart. Having studied natural health and herbology since age 11, I’ve been led to engage exclusively as an organic gardener 40+ years, be an ongoing advocate of the ways and means of natural health care, enjoy the benefits pharmaceutical-free/all natural husbandry, and for 35 years serve families with practical traditional midwifery care.