Alaina is the Director and Lead Instructor for Thriving Roots Wilderness School, as well as a Full Time Instructor for the Wisdom of the Earth’s WOLF Program (youth 8-14) on Salt Spring Island. She is passionate about creating regenerative, nature-based culture in all her work and enabling students in their fullest and wildest potential.
Alaina has almost 10 years of experience facilitating nature connection programs for youth and adults, ranging from the wild forests of the Pacific Northwest, to inner-city public schools of Vancouver, to therapeutic horticulture programs at the BC Children and Women’s hospital. Her 8-Shields training began in 2013 where she spent two years immersed in the Wilderness Awareness School’s 9-month Anake Outdoor Program and the Anake Leadership Program. Her time at the Wilderness Awareness School was deeply transformative, and provided a clear path for her in the art of nature connection mentoring. She is grateful for her own mentors, human and non-human, who have guided her on her way.
When “in the field,” Alaina can be found sharing her love of music and song, wading through a muddy pond with enthusiastic glee, leading powerful rites of passage for youth and adults, or with a quiet mind near a Cedar tree listening to the birds. She is known for her contagious love of nature and people, deep care and accountability, and dedication to her work.
Alaina also holds a bilingual BA in Public Relations and Community Service as well as a Certificate in International Relations and French Language.
Daniella Roze is an ecological educator and facilitator, with a passion for designing and delivering transformative education. She is a teacher and curriculum design specialist at Fresh Air Learning and the founder of Thriving Roots Wilderness School. She teaches nature-based mentoring, leadership, professional and personal development, rites of passage, and wilderness survival. While supporting people on the courageous journey of authenticity and meaning, her work strengthens community and builds resilient culture.
Daniella brings a depth of expertise, leading from experience. She has taught and studied at schools across North America, has lived in solidarity with indigenous people of West Africa, and spent five years living off the grid- generating her own power, heating, and water systems, in which time she built several cabins by hand. As part of the Living Wild Project, she made her own clothing and tools in preparation for a month-long rites of passage journey where she traveled the mountains surviving on wild foods. Drawing from nature as her greatest teacher, Daniella embodies and brings forth the wisdom and expertise of transformative ecological education.
Arnaud has been facilitating personal growth through deep nature connection for 15 years. Having worked with many well know organizations, including Outward Bound Canada, where he has honed his outdoor skills, advanced facilitation and program development. He’s also a graduate of Jon Young’s acclaimed Kamana native naturalist training. Many years of “dirt time” spent tracking, practicing ancestral skills and building connection to all living things makes his knowledge very real and embodied. He walks in two worlds, integrating ancient skills and wisdom into a modern context. He continues to be mentored in the art of culture repair and village building by Jon Young and the 8Shields Institute.
Arnaud is committed to helping restore a culture that prioritizes connection to nature, self and community for all ages and stages of life. His vision is that in every person is a unique gift that is like a bird song. When someone sings their song, concentric rings of beauty ripple out into the the world starting with their family and community, reaching all the way into the future generations. Aligning our hearts and minds with nature supported by a healthy mentoring culture helps us find that song which is an expression of our true self.
Native to South Vancouver Island, Helena took her first steps among the local sword ferns, eating her fill of salmonberries, thimbleberries and huckleberries. These wanderings laid the foundation for a lifetime of nature connection, eventually leading her to study at Tom Brown Jr’s Tracker School and Jon Young’s Wilderness Awareness School 20 years ago. Since then, she has graduated from the Kamana Naturalist Training program, attended Art of Mentoring and Bird Language workshops, and is currently studying directly with Jon Young and Sal Gencarelle, as part of the 8 Shields Vision Initiation Project.
Since February, Helena’s has been a Mentor and Support Staff for Thriving Roots’ Forest Dwellers Program where she is known for bringing her passions for crafting, tracking, bird language and funny jokes! She has a long and diverse facilitation history, ranging from wilderness skills to martial arts and Reiki. A wizard at “walking in two worlds,” her full time work is in software development at the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre. There her passion lends itself to mentoring, connection modelling and cultural repair in the workplace.
Helena is deeply grateful for the chance to continue this journey with other students of Nature. She is blessed to be a mother to a beautiful daughter, her greatest teacher of all! Her heart moves her to help people rediscover their place in the world so they can use their gifts to light up their families and communities.
Marion has been an Environmental Educator and Nature Connection Mentor for the past 8 years working for non profit organizations, schools and summer camps on projects rooted in intercultural and experiential approaches. In Montreal she ran her own nature school, offering 5 different year-long nature immersion rite of passage programs for youth, teens and adults. She also works as a wilderness guide, for hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking and winter camping expeditions. She is a certified Wilderness First Responder.
Marion’s education background is diverse. She graduated from the Wilderness Awareness School’s 2-year Anake Outdoor and Anake Leadership Program in Washington, 2011. She also trained with the School of Lost Borders to deepen her skills as a rite of passage guide. Marion also holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Science.
While she enjoys all kinds of wilderness-living skills, botany, wild edibles, tracking, trapping, hunting, fishing, wood carving, hide tanning, moccasin making and leather work hold a special place in her heart.
Frog is a Youth Programs Instructor for Thriving Roots Wilderness School. He has over 6 years of experience working as a Nature Connection Mentor at both Alderleaf Wilderness College and the Wilderness Awareness School in Washington State. His passion for nature connection mentoring has also taken him to work in Wilderness Therapy at Pacific Quest Institute in Hawaii.
A graduate of Alderleaf Wilderness College’s 9-month Adult Immersion Program and the Wilderness Awareness School’s Anake Leadership Program, he is grateful to have trained with very skilled mentors and learned for himself the deep impact of living with the land.
Frog is well known for his child-like spirit, impressive agility, deep gratitude and emotional expression. He is adored by kids young and old and his love of camouflage keeps everyone on their toes!
Serena has been a mentor and support staff at Thriving Roots Wilderness School since 2016, where she shares a deep connection with children and the land. She completed the Art of Mentoring program at the Wilderness Awareness School in Washington in July 2017 and is excited to bring her diverse training and experience to Thriving Roots more full time. Her diverse background brings a range of skills and gifts, including: Arts Therapy for children in the Arctic as a substitute kindergarten teacher, working as a flight attendant for 7 years and teaching kids yoga and mindfullness. Since leaving the flight attendant world behind in 2009, Serena has been engaged in full time shamanic studies with the Alchemist Path training as well as plant medicine studies that brought her to the Amazonian jungle. She later ventured to Ireland to study ancient ways of healing in her culture, the Way of the Seabhean, as well as receiving great inspiration as a story teller! She is currently taking a course in “Materia magica” with master herbalist Sean Donahue and completed the Alchemy of Plant Medicine on Saltspring Island in 2014. She is currently completing her Certificate in Early Childhood Education (ECE).
Serena is known for her cheerful demeanor and deep care taking, and has a love for keeping the spirit of the faerie folk alive! She also seems to have just the right plant medicine, stone, or magic spell to bring to your day. Her dreams are to share and inspire children to travel within our own backyards, forests and green spaces, expanding our imaginations so we may create the world we wish to see .
A native of Vancouver BC, Justin attributes a youth spent exploring the wilds of the Pacific North West to his continued passion in nature based education. An avid traveler and performing artist, Justin seeks to help connect youth to their creative talents and gifts and sees no better venue than the great outdoors. Justin also works for Oak and Orca School, where he recently helped initiate a forest school program based at Pkols (Mt. Doug Park) in Victoria.
He sends gratitude to many mentors he has had along the way who have allowed him the skills to do so. Justin is a graduate of the Education Assistant Program at Capilano University and has become known for having an intuitive approach with youth of all backgrounds and abilities. Recently arrived to Vancouver Island, he is thrilled to expand his network of people interested in cultivating the qualities that will help us live in harmony with the earth and it’s many inhabitants.
Mentoring is a passion and way of life for Roland. He was formally introduced to nature mentoring in 2011 when he began to work for the Primitive Integrated Naturalist Education (PINE) Project in Toronto. Participating in a mentoring community changed his outlook on life and vastly deepened his relationship with nature. He saw how mentoring and a community of active mentors could accelerate learning, deepen one’s connection with themselves, with those around them and with nature itself.
Roland went on to complete PINE’s Wild Deer Apprenticeship in 2013. From there, he made a brief stop in Montreal, mentoring with YMCA Quebec’s Coyote Club before moving to Vancouver in 2014 and joining Soaring Eagle Nature School as a lead instructor. Over the next two years he worked with youth aged 4-18 across the Lower Mainland. In that time, he also participated in the Art of Mentoring at Wilderness Awareness School and twice attended the primitive skills gathering Saskatoon Circle. He also instructed with the Wilderness Living Project, an adult-oriented survival and primitive skills outfit, taught bushcraft workshops at Squamish Nation’s Eslha7an Learning Centre and offered nature-based programs on a volunteer basis at the UBC Learning Exchange.
He now lives in Victoria where he works at Oak and Orca Bioregional School, both in the forest and out, makes music and listens to what the birds are saying.