Our Team

Staff Directory

Lesley marshall

Founder

I have been an Education Director and Teacher in the Pacific Northwest for over 15 years. As a Teacher at Catlin Gabel School, I learned about curriculum development, group learning techniques and benchmark assessments. For the past 9 years, I have worked as a Program Director at Trackers Earth.  I have been a part of this growing program and was able to hone my skill set in education management, forest school techniques and operational logistics.

I am passionate about providing students with multiple learning paths and meeting the child where they are in their skills.  As a working mom, last spring was very difficult.  I felt I could not give my son the attention he needed, and he was only getting the most basic education.  That is why I created this program, so our students will stay engaged, inquisitive and caught up for when schools re-open.

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Sara brells

Operations Coordinator

I am an educator, guide, Nature-Connected Coach, and committed life-long learner.  My BA in Politics & Government affirmed the belief that guides my professional endeavors: Education is the greatest agent for social change. My career in education launched over ten years ago in the international education sector. I have since had the privilege to work in early childhood, leadership development, outdoor education, experiential education, and most recently as a public school Kindergarten Teacher. I’ve witnessed the joy of a child who realizes for the first time that they can read; learned from indigenous teachers in a rural community of the Ecuadorian Amazon; and stood in awe of young childrens’ intuitive connection with the woods.

I believe that nature-connection is every human’s birthright and I am passionate about equity of access to nature-connected programming. Children (and adult-children!) learn what it means to show up as their best selves when they are attuned to nature’s cycles and wisdom. I am honored to work with the team at PDX Education Collab on outreach and operational logistics and as a co-launcher of our Outdoor Preschool and Outdoor Adventure instructor.

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Grant Peters

teacher · digital management

As an environmental journalist by trade and educator by passion I have carved myself a niche in the world of outdoor education as a systems thinker that approaches the challenges of achieving sound philosophical pedagogy with an unconventional toolbox. I’ve had an opportunity to learn from and share with multiple educational organizations and individuals over the last 8 years: Trackers Earth, Oregon Outdoor School, and Galileo Learning, and a handful of students with more specific needs.

My schooling culminated in a bachelor’s in journalism with a focus in environmental sciences, and a self- guided certification in environmental stewardship through macro-systemics (read as: overcomplicated ecology). Journalism as a practice has changed drastically over just the intervening years since my graduation and – in a similar way to education and the more-than-human world – those institutions that could not adapt could not progress. It is my goal to help students prepare themselves for an incomprehensibly dynamic future by encouraging curiosity, determination, and empathy.

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Mick Miller

teacher · qUARTERMASTER

Mick has been teaching outdoor skills in the Pacific Northwest since 2018.

A lifelong outdoors enthusiast, Mick learned much of what he knows from his parents: a backcountry guide and museum specialist. He draws on his Gaelic heritage, like stories of faeries and wild rovers, to inspire students with the magic of the outdoors. His history degree also serves to inform his education, drawing on the wilderness skills of peoples around the globe and across time. He is particularly passionate about the intersections between humans and nature, and the bushcraft culture common to all cultures around the globe.Look out for his big hat, his hand made walking sticks, and his general excess of gear. A classic over-packer, Mick likes to be prepared for any and all lessons that might present themselves in the woods and wilds, believing these to be the most valuable ones. He’s eager to get out and share stories, skills, and excitement with new and seasoned adventurers alike! See you soon!
My schooling culminated in a bachelor’s in journalism with a focus in environmental sciences, and a self- guided certification in environmental stewardship through macro-systemics (read as: overcomplicated ecology). Journalism as a practice has changed drastically over just the intervening years since my graduation and – in a similar way to education and the more-than-human world – those institutions that could not adapt could not progress. It is my goal to help students prepare themselves for an incomprehensibly dynamic future by encouraging curiosity, determination, and empathy.

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Proudstar

Magician · Training Coordinator

Jamey Proud Star was born and raised in St. Johns North Portland as a third generation Oregonian. While attending George Middle School he participated in and won his first state wide science fair through NAYA at the age of 12. At 14 Jamey earned an internship with the Casey Eye Institute at OHSU working in the research lab. Continuing to follow his dream of becoming a doctor at 16 Jamey traveled to disenfranchised cultures in Central and South America administering life saving vaccines in areas where there were no doctors. Gaing Bachelor's Degrees in interdisciplinary studies focusing on ecological surveys and management and environmental anthropology Mr. Proud Star shifted his focus from medicine to preservation of indiginous culture, land and food sovereignty, and First Nation to colonial diplomacy. Jamey has worked for the US Forest Service as an educator, wilderness interpreter and long distance Ranger. Mr. Proud Star has more than two decades experience as a wilderness educator and NOLS trained First Responder. He is currently American Red Cross and DPSST certified.
Outside of his education and work experience, Jamey is an artist and performer at heart. Mr. Proud Star has passions for Cosplay, Dungeons & Dragons, has been a performing magician for 26 year, woodworks, metalworks, beads, paints, sews, writes children's stories and isn't too shabby at cutting hair.
Jamey Proud Star’s current passion project is to help to preserve his ancestral language and dialect of Jicarilla Apache Athabaskan through teaching his own children and getting others excited about the rich history of the language.
I am passionate about providing students with multiple learning paths and meeting the child where they are in their skills.  As a working mom, last spring was very difficult.  I felt I could not give my son the attention he needed, and he was only getting the most basic education.  That is why I created this program, so our students will stay engaged, inquisitive and caught up for when schools re-open.

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brenton spratlen

safety Coordinator

Coming Soon...

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Dan clark

Logistical Coordinator

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Jake Bussey

Teacher · Transportation

“Gratefulness leads to a widely opened heart. You cannot receive anything great in life with a closed heart. Be grateful and reap the benefits!”
– Assegid Habtewold

There is a great deal of guesswork in this world of ours.  It’s nice to know that, every now and then, there comes along something so intrinsically right that it feels perfectly suited to you.  That’s how I feel about adventures, education and the outdoors.  Really there weren’t a whole lot of choices when it came down to it: I need the thrill of adventure every now and then, I couldn’t teach inside walls all the time, and I had to work in the outdoors as much as possible. It’s been almost a decade since I finished my university years, fifteen since I began them, and delved into the wild current known as a career.  There were a lot of setbacks, things that brought me to a screeching halt.  There were also a lot of things that propelled me forward, and all of them had two things in common: they were fun to do, even though they were work, and they all educated folks in the ways and the symmetry of the outdoors. I have worn a lot of hats over the years: National Park Ranger, Camp Counselor, YMCA Program Director, Forest Service Ranger, delivery driver, and many more.  I love the hats (as a matter of fact, I have a wide collection of hats that I adore and wear all the time), and they have added breadth and scope to my life to the point that, in fifteen short years, I have done so much and seen even more that I can hardly believe I packed all that adventure into them!  As always, I look for the next adventure. Hey, a question: will you go on my next one with me? “Life is good.”
-Jake Bussey
I believe that nature-connection is every human’s birthright and I am passionate about equity of access to nature-connected programming. Children (and adult-children!) learn what it means to show up as their best selves when they are attuned to nature’s cycles and wisdom. I am honored to work with the team at PDX Education Collab on outreach and operational logistics and as a co-launcher of our Outdoor Preschool and Outdoor Adventure instructor.

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Soli Gustafson

Teacher · Social Media

I grew up on a farm with all kinds of animals and my family was very outdoorsy. I've got four siblings, three of them triplets, all younger so lots of experience with kids. My passion is definitely farming and my real goal in life is to have my own farm with animals and run a camp for kids to learn about farming. Until then I'll be teaching kids all about the outdoors and travelling with my two cats!

Our farm was in Boise but then my parents decided it was getting big and we moved to the beautiful southern Oregon coast. I was upset about losing the farm but soon fell in love with the beach and the forests there. After that I got my Bachelor's degree in Anthropology from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. I did my study abroad in Senegal while learning French. Moved around a little, worked on a big livestock farm in Junction City, and finally settled in Portland for a few years. Since then I've been mostly teaching kids about the outdoors, with a few side jobs working with dogs and in a French immersion school. I'll be here all the way til the end of summer and then hopefully I'll be heading somewhere warmer for the winter! I like to move around a lot.

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Houston Oldand

Teacher

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”
– Shunryu Suzuki

Over the past decade I have started on the path to teach and give back to the community I live in. Sounds lofty, I know, but I’m a storyteller at heart. I grew up on the East Coast with my energies focused on the Arts and ventured South to New Orleans to have a grand old time. In 2005 Mother Nature decided it was time for me to move on with a huge storm that blew me out to the Pacific North West. I landed here in Portland. I connected to this new world and found a path in Eastern Medicine. This drew me closer to the outdoors.

I didn’t set out to be a teacher. As a kid I wanted to be a “Pirate!” One fine day, here in Portland, a friend asked me if I wanted to dress up as a pirate and join their “Crew.” Of course I said “NO! That’s just silly” but the kid in me thought better so I joined the crew. Over the years I have learned to listen to that kid and develop the storyteller in myself.

I approach education with that “kid” in mind. I open my ears and eyes, along with the hope that I can shut out the everyday routine and impart these experiences to the students.

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Seamus COllins (Moose)

Teacher

Birds, plants and movement.

I've been enjoying dancing, rolling and breathing in the world of martial arts for some time now but only in the last ten years have I approached it on a professional level. My background is mainly in Brazilian jiu jitsu and Muay Thai, however, what I teach is a blend of aspects from karate, kung fu, Muay Thai, tai chi, boxing and even yoga. I believe it is important to understand various approaches to the martial path while considering context like the culture and history of each one and how they can be applied to enrich our lives.

My passions also include talking about the birds and plant life that surround us. Whether we are in "civilization" or "nature", we always have this amazing display of survival and beauty that is always trying to communicate with us. Learning about these creatures we find that our worlds are more shared than we often expect.

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Peter Gerlek

Teacher

I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska and spent my time as a free range kid exploring forests, lakes, and mountains. Hiking, backpacking, and canoeing were a regular part of family life.

In 2010 I moved to Portland. I was enchanted by this sylvan city and its ability to provide exploration of wild spaces within an urban area. I found work as an outdoor instructor with Trackers Earth, where I practiced LARP as an educational medium. I have also worked in childcare for the YMCA of Columbia-Willamette.

I believed as a kid as I believe now— that nature is a space of imagination. Richard Louv writes in his book Last Child in the Woods that “in nature, a child finds freedom and fantasy.” I hope to help provide that.

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Sam Bisnette

Teacher

Born and raised in the Flint Hills of Northeast Kansas, Sam has had a lifelong passion for all things outdoors. As a young man, Sam headed West and began a career in outdoor recreation and education. Over the years he has amassed a variety of experience in many different positions, such as ranch cook, horseback guide, horse training, and hunting outfitter just to name a few. When not at work, you can probably find him in the kitchen tinkering with recipes for fermented hot sauce or foraging for wild edibles.

He doesn't rent pigs.

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mitra abidi

Teacher

Mitra has always had a love and strong passion for the outdoors. She grew up hiking in Yosemite National Park and all over California with her family. As she grew older, the wild North Coast of California was calling, and she went to Humboldt State University in the beautiful Humboldt County. She decided to take her love for hiking to the next level and started backpacking and camping as much as possible all over Humboldt and Trinity counties.

After a career in environmental non-profits, habitat restoration, a touch of politics here and there, Mitra decided to pivot her career path towards spending more time outdoors and teaching others outdoor skills. A few summers ago she was a Wrangler in Glacier National Park, taking folks on guided horseback rides through the park.

In her free time, you can catch Mitra hanging out with her big dog Rufus, hiking, traveling, cooking, and making lattes at a small local cafe.
He doesn't rent pigs.

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