Laura Lalita Creps
My love for nature connection began when, at the age of 16, I spent 3 months backpacking in the Arizona deserts as part of a nature immersion program founded on the teachings of the Anasazi Native Americans. The richness of my experiences there ignited my passion to work with teens in nature connection and with rites of passage. I bring a love for contemplative nature practices, along with a love for music, ritual, and hard skills development. I give thanks for all the mentors who have supported my development over the years and for my greatest teacher, Nature herself.
It began with a few seeds, then chickens and a Jersey cow, an herbal medicine chest...what next? Honey bees! Farming and homesteading skills give me endless opportunities to follow a process all the way from birth to death, matrix to nexus. I am fascinated with ecology, the relationship between all things. And, I enjoy sharing my love of edible and medicinal plants, as well as the ever accessible and strange world of insects. My deep gratitude for my Nana who took me on many wanders through the woods as a child. We were never in a hurry.
I grew up spending a lot of time in the outdoors. Backpacking, fishing, surfing, and exploring were the things that captivated me and kept me out of the house. All my most vivid memories, deepest lessons, and greatest adventures came from these experiences in the natural world, which led me to understand the value of nature connection and motivated me to help facilitate these experiences for others. I have so much gratitude for the people around me who help me grow on my own journey–the people who give me a reason to look at a track more deeply and know the language of the birds.
May your eyes be the Owls' and your ears be the Deer's!
I was skeptical of nature connection when I was introduced to it. Yet, when I saw it was an important piece of the puzzle–I’m talking about the puzzle of how we are going to pass down the possibility of a good future–I embraced it wholeheartedly. The patterns of nature have come to captivate my deepest curiosities, the patterns which can be known directly through tracking and bird language. These are fundamental life patterns and can be found just as readily within one’s own mind as on the landscape. When I think about how blessed I am to have this awareness, I am reminded of how the legacy of nature connection has been passed down from generation to generation and how fortunate I am to have been mentored by an invaluable link in this chain, a man named Mac Stewart. Mac Stewart was a coyote mentor who was so artful in his approach he could sneak around all my walls and reawaken my innate curiosities.
Years ago, I was blessed to meet a bright, wild pack of coyote mentors (nature mentors) with curious eyes, alive storytelling, and astute questioning skill. I noticed how these people walked like the fox, saw through the eyes of the deer, listened like the scrub jay. They inspired me to begin my journey toward deep nature connection. Today I am grateful to walk in their footsteps as part of the lineage of Outside Now mentors. My heart is fed by sharing this journey in community. Each day I am inspired by the life that surrounds me: birds and food plants deeply engage my curiosity. It’s a gift to walk this path.
Marisa Taborga Byrne
When I was twenty-three, I trekked high into the Andes Mountains and formed a relationship with the “Pachamama” that changed my life forever. While there, I lived in a community of South Americans. We shared day-to-day life like family: we grew and harvested our food, cooked meals over open fires, and bartered for other goods. The cycle of the days and seasons determined our focus and actions. My love of participating with others in the wild outdoors was born from these experiences of reaching our individual fullness while appreciating the natural beauty and surrounding wisdom. Rites of Passage celebrations and ceremonies with community in nature especially spark my fire. I am grateful to the people who continue to live together in harmony with nature and who share their teachings with others; to the Andes Mountains and the innate, ancestral knowledge available there; and to our youth who are the visionaries.