Lorene Wapotich is the founder, director, and lead instructor for Her Feet on the Earth. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Daughters of the Earth: Creating Nature-based Rites of Passage for Girls, which shares the model she developed for using long-term, nature-based mentoring and community-supported wilderness rites of passage to enhance positive identity formation, connection to authentic self, and the development of resilience in pre-adolescent and adolescent girls. This is the model employed in and taught through Her Feet on the Earth programs.
Lorene holds a Bachelors Degree in Wilderness Leadership and Natural History Education and a Masters in Education. She has 20 years experience as a wilderness guide, naturalist, educator/mentor, and herbalist in the Wise Woman Tradition. She has extensive experience designing and leading a wide range of nature-based programs, including rites of passage. Lorene is a dynamic teacher who is passionate about connecting girls and women with nature and their inner power and wisdom.
Joan Henry “My folks have told me I have been singing my whole life. From the time I was very small, no matter what I was doing or feeling, I sang it out. That’s what they tell me. I can remember jumping up in a first grade classroom and singing out because I saw my mother out in the hallway, looking in. So no matter if I was happy or sad, whatever I was doing I sang it out. I remember hearing songs in the leaves of the trees, and singing along or singing back to them as I hid with my bow waiting to pounce on unsuspecting people below.
My grandmother recognized me right away, and she said I would be a singer. As a teen I remember elders coming and looking for me, as if they were expecting me. They would say: “that one, the little one with the voice”. It seemed like I never really had friends my own age because I was always hanging out with the adults. They would sing songs to me, and then ask me to sing them back to them, and that’s how I learned. To me, I was just hanging out with these elders, and it was awhile before I realized they were teaching me all these songs. We just sang together. When I think about it, that’s the heart of oral tradition, because you can’t communicate pitch, tone, sound, feeling, intention on flat paper.
Through song they were teaching me moments, experiences, an environment that is spherical, vibrational— not static. They were waking up my original memory, the knowledge in my cells of experiencing Mother Earth all around us, of experiencing my relationship with everything that is alive. And make no mistake: everything is alive…
Where I’ve come to is the place of carrying these songs in a good way so that they can be sung wherever they are needed. That’s what ‘Kanogisgi or “Song Carrier” means, and it makes you responsible to wherever a song is from and means you have to be available when that song needs to be sung. A lot of elders have put a lot of time and energy into me; I have to honor that. I’ve come to that place of focusing on moving the songs out into the world because the Songs thread the people together, to one another and to the Earth. Songs make a living web…”
Laina S. Gallen, Rev., MTh. is an Interfaith Minister trained through Universal University and founder of Women Of Motherearth’s Bounty. Interfaith means all paths are honored. Selena’s training also includes studying with OhShinnah Fast Wolf, Spiritual Warrior Woman, Native Elder, Healer, Teacher and Visionary since they met in 1992 through Lorraine Simone, founder of Moonfire Meeting House. Ms Gallen has completed a three year training program at The Womenʼs Ways Mystery School in LI, NY and is a licensed Massage Therapist and Second Degree Reiki practitioner. She has facilitated women’s circles in various settings for over 10 years. In addition to partnering with other women in the community to guide young girls through rites of passage, Selena assists in the annual Art of Mentoring gathering founded by Jon Young. She also acts as an advisor to The Vermont Wilderness School Oyase program after having been a parent in the program for 5 years and a school board member for over 3 years. She is also a member of her local Conservation Commission in Westmoreland, NH.
Other accomplishments include Licensed Massage Therapist for 14 years, level 2 advanced Rieki practitioner, Certified Yoga instructor, Stage Manager for various theater groups including Lincoln Center and off, off Broadway shows.
Mark Morey is a creative artist, visionary educator, cultural engineer, and consultant who designs regenerative holistic communities with timeless native principles. He founded or co-founded three transformational organizations in the last 15 years: Deep Wilds, Vermont Wilderness School, and the Institute for Natural Learning, sparking a nature and community awareness movement in the Northeast impacting 5,000 adults and children today. He has facilitated wilderness survival and spiritual passages for teens and adults since 1997, including over 40 week-long Art of Mentoring programs for adults, and 7 years of Sacred Fire rites of passage for teen boys. Mark feels inspired by the hero’s journey model and the oral history of his ancestors and native people around the world. Mark’s passion for environmental healing and consciousness has gained him wide recognition as a leader in earth centered learning.