PROGRAM TEAM BIOS:

CARRIE CRIGIER

Board Member, Summer Camp Director

My soul is drawn to the earth. I find my most comforting moments when my hands are dirty, and I can smell fresh earth. This is what drew me to pursuing a degree in Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Management when I was in college, so many years ago! For over 15 years I have been working with mostly youth to connect them with their natural world. For the last 4 years my path has brought me to Human Nature School as an instructor and now a board member and director of summer camps. During the school year I work at Woodland School, where my boys attend. I love what Human Nature School is doing for the community. My free time is spent with my family, a wonderful husband and two energetic boys, working in my gardens, and volunteering. I am excited to be on the HNS board, I feel like the work that they do to bring individuals in connection with nature is so critical right now in our community and state. 

 

KRIYA MILLER

Co-Founder, Instructor, Co-Executive Director

Kriya’s fondest childhood memories take place within the lakes, rivers, meadows, forests, and dunes of Northern Michigan. After high school, she began her own learning journey: hiking the Appalachian Trail, traveling much of the United States and Central America, attending the University of Oregon and finally finding her way to the Wilderness Awareness School, where she found her passion for nature connection mentoring.  In September of 2010, Kriya returned to Northern Michigan with her husband Matt and baby Wilder to start the Human Nature School.  Every day we spend with the kids and nature is a day well spent, full of wonder, beauty, challenge, kinship, joy, learning and achievement. It’s been an amazing journey!

 

MATT MILLER

Co-Founder, Instructor, Co-Executive Director

Matt Miller grew up in Traverse City, Michigan, has and always had a profound love for the outdoors. He is a graduate of both the Wilderness Awareness School Residential Program & Anake Leadership Program, which are intensive immersion courses focused on naturalist knowledge, wilderness skills, and nature mentoring. Matt has completed the Wildlife Tracking program at the Alderleaf Wilderness College. He has also attended a number of courses at Tom Brown Jr’s Tracker school: studying nature and the skills of wilderness survival. He is also a certified permaculture designer, with considerable self-training, as well as having been an apprentice at the Eco-Learning Center in Leelanau County. Matt is a student of nature, and takes great pleasure in sharing his love for the natural world with others.

 

EDWARD VEENTSRA

Lead Instructor for summer camps and year-round programs

Eddie brings a sweet sense of humor and depth of knowledge to HNS crew! He’s worked and trained in the Outdoor Ed field through the Peace Corps, ECOS and SVSU.  His love of nature and working with youth shows is a great fit for HNS.

 

MEGAN SCHOPF

Lead Instructor for Summer Camps

I have worked with children and families for over 25 years.  I am a certified Montessori Primary guide who shifted to supporting families at home and in nature for the past 2 years.   I have also provided nature and art experiences in various forms over the years.   I am currently volunteering for a local organization that has an urban farm and a small forest … I am interested in opportunities to be in nature and learn from others doing this work for the Summer.

 

 GABBY DICKEY

Assistant Instructor for summer camps and year-round programs

Gabby began attending HNS at age 6.   She always stood out as a keen observer of nature, often noticing the small things that many others passed by.   Over the years she came to take on and master many skills and abilities and is one of six youth to ever take part in the HNS Fire Quest Challenge, which involves making a fire with only a bow drill and tending through a full night, alone, in the dark of night.  Since Age 13 Gabby began volunteering to support programs and help others learn, play and explore safely.   Her patience, keen observation, and strong skills, and nature connection bring a grounded depth into programs.  Gabby has been a Youth Assistant Instructor for the last year and is known for coming up with great ideas in challenging moments. She has a blast working with the kids and is excited to meet you!

 

ZACH DICKEY

Assistant Instructor for summer camps and year-round programs.

Zach has been a dedicated HNS student since age 6.  He was quick to learn shelter and survival skills and help create a fun inclusive environment for both his peers and those who are younger.  He is one of six students to ever complete the Fire Quest Challenge, which includes making and tending a bow drill fire through the night, alone in the dark, with coyotes as a nearby company:)  Humble in his skills and lively in his interactions, Zach has always elevated the vibe! He was quick to make the shift from student to volunteer, dedicating his efforts to benefit others before himself.   As Youth Instructor, Zach is a great addition to any teaching team. In addition to bringing fun, safety, and skills, he’s become a great photographer as well.  Tracking and Fire Making are his favorite things to do at HNS.

 

TAYLOR ZICK

Lead Instructor for Summer camps and year-round programs.

Taylor began working with HNS in 2019. As an instructor and he especially enjoys learning about edible and medicinal plants with the kids and making things together with natural supplies and our whittling knives. He enjoys tea parties and various mindful movement practices.

 

JULIA SILADKE

Lead Instructor for Summer Camps.

Nature is my favorite place to be and it always makes me feel my best. I love sun, water and wildflowers. It is always special to see wildlife and to interpret encounters. I started my journey with Human Nature School when it was first getting started in 2010-12.  I took many of the adult classes and went on to mentor at summer camps during that time.  Since then I have done the Primal Awareness Training with Josh Lane.  Most recently I have Clinical Hospital Experience with patients 2020-2022.

 

KAROLINE HAAPALA

Assistant Instructor for Summer Camps

Karoline has been coming to HNS for 5 years now.  She loves spending her summertime here and being out in nature. This is a great place to be for that. She looks forward to helping younger kids have an adventurous summer!

 

EMERSON HAMERSLEY

Summer Camp Volunteer

Emerson has been a long-time student and volunteer. He loves swamps, insects, and other creepy crawlies!

 

EVELYN FRED

Summer Camp Volunteer

Evelyn has been a student or a volunteer for the last 6 years and at this point she knows her way around well. One of her favorite things about nature is the diversity and scale of it as well as mother nature’s power to adapt and remain. She is really looking forward to summer with hope and excitement!

 

MILO LAFOREST

Summer Camp Volunteer

Milo has gone to this school for 7 years and loves fish, insects, and arachnids and reptiles.

 

WILDER MILLER

Summer Camp Volunteer

Wilder has been helping at Nature school for 3 years and has been a student since he was 4 years old.  He’s been immersed in nature since a very young one and took his first steps as a baby on a wolf tracking expedition.  He loves playing the games and teaching kids about the plants and fun things to do in nature.

 

NETTLE BOWERS

Summer Camp Volunteer

Nettle grew up foraging and wild crafting with his family and got to come to a couple HNS camps when he was younger. He has 2 younger sisters and loves working with and helping out younger kids.

 

ELLIOT CLARKE

Summer Camp Volunteer

Elliot has done nature camps and schools most of his life and loves whittling!