Our team consists of experienced wilderness instructors with expertise in a variety of fields. We are passionate about the skills we teach, and equally passionate about passing on our knowledge to others. Our teaching styles are very hands-on. Classes are spent in the field where students can develop first-hand experience. We limit our class size to a 10:1 student-to-teacher ratio in order to create an effective learning environment. See you in class!
Gabe Garms, Instructor and Co-Founder
Gabe is the core instructor for the Ethnobotany Immersion Course as well as a co-instructor for the Wilderness Survival, Natural Medicine Making, Permaculture and Bird Language/Behavior short courses. His two greatest loves in the natural world are plants and birds and he believes permaculture is one of the only ways that we can heal the damage that we've done to this planet. He's originally from the Midwest and honed his nature skills in northern Michigan, the Northwoods of Wisconsin and along the Mississippi River in northeastern Iowa. He has certifications in permaculture design, wildlife tracking and wilderness ecology and has co-taught 4 permaculture design courses. As a core instructor at a wilderness ecology and survival school in Monroe, he taught short term survival skills, ethnobotany and bird language in addition to permaculture. He is passionate about natural medicine and teaching people how to grow their own medicinals within a permaculture system. He regularly goes on short term survival trips with peers to hone in on his skills for the short courses and in his spare time, he frequently birds, goes on plant walks, gardens and plays guitar/sings.
Fil Tkaczyk, Instructor
Fil is the core instructor for the Tracking Immersion Course. He also leads the naturalist walks and teaches many of our short courses including Bird Language/Behavior and Mushroom identification and foraging. He is an experienced naturalist who has extensively studied the ecosystems of Washington state for a decade. He is certified as a Track & Sign Specialist, holds a Permaculture Design Certificate, and earned a B.S. in Wildlife Science from the University of Washington. Included in his experiences as a naturalist, he has led bird walks with Seattle Audubon and taught tracking/outdoors skills to adults and youth for various organizations such as the Wildlife Society. Filip has also worked with the Olympic National Park conducting bat research, and for the University of Washington, leading an in-depth study on nutria in the Seattle area. He is also a professional nature photographer who has captured wildlife images around the world. He is also the author of "Tracks and Sign of Reptiles and Amphibians" through Stackpole Books.
Georgieann Denny Lilgreen (aka Jumping Mouse), Instructor
Born into the Saanya Kwaan lingit Tribe of Saxman Alaska and raised in the Haida village of Kasaan Alaska where living off the land was the way of life. Restoring the connection between the land and the people is her main goal as she teaches classes in the following subjects: long term survival, short term survival, is a co-instructor for the Ethnobotany Immersion Course, basketry and more. Georgieann also holds a Cybertracker Level II Tracking Certification and a Permaculture Design Certificate.
Nigel Thomas, Instructor
Nigel has been a core member of the Raven’s Roots community since June 2017. Growing up
and beginning his naturalist journey in nearby Snohomish left him with a deep rooted love for
the Pacific Northwest and a sense of obligation to care for this special region. After being
introduced to naturalist studies by Gabe Garms in 2014, Nigel has acquired certifications in permaculture design, wildlife tracking, wilderness first response, survival, and ecology. He continues to devote much of his time further developing his connection and relationship with the natural world. Nigel is driven by a passion to share the importance of good stewardship and intimate personal connection to the web of life with anyone willing to listen. To him the outdoors are a playground and an inexhaustible source of wonder where he enjoys summiting peaks, fishing, foraging, snowboarding, and interacting with flora and fauna. Nigel plays a key role in designing and managing our systems on the farm and teaches our fermentation and mushroom workshops. You will find him assisting with some of our other courses as well.
Chelsea Ernst, Instructor
Chelsea is a co-instructor for the Family Naturalist Immersion, Wilderness Survival Course, Summer Kids Camps, and kids survival classes. She grew up in the southeastern US where she cultivated a love for wild places. There, her studies in zoology, ecology, and herpetology led her to an excitement for educating others about the natural world. Her top passions in nature are birds, plants, herpetology, and wildlife tracking. She is certified in Northwest Natural History, has a Master of Education, and has been teaching kids of all ages, as well as adults, bushcraft, natural history, farmcraft, ecology, tracking, wildlife monitoring, backpacking, climbing, and mountaineering at various wilderness organizations and schools in the Northwest since 2014. She is a strong believer in group learning experiences outdoors that are fun and sometimes challenging, and their ability to impact people positively. In her free time, she loves to climb mountains, practice printmaking, ski, work outside in the garden, and go on nature wanders to look for plants, birds, amphibians, and wildlife track and sign.
Travis Skinner, Instructor
Travis Skinner is a Raven's Roots community member and instructor of wood carving and natural building. He was raised in Sykesville, Maryland and gained a supreme appreciation for trees and craft from his father William Skinner. He has a Masters Degree from the Evergreen State College in Environmental Studies and has been building ever since. He is a blacksmith and wood sculptor. He studies traditional craft, philosophy, history and education. Come join Travis to gain insight on greenwood carving and learning the basic skills to take available softwood and hardwood branches and logs and turn them into beautiful and functional sculptural art. You will usually find Travis building something while simultaneously playing fetch with his lovable pooch, Py!
Phelan Davis, Instructor
Inspired by the resilience of the natural world, he has dedicated his life to understanding the past and what it must have taken to survive during primitive times. His passions from these teachings are primitive skills, hunting, ancestral knowledge, and survival. The art of bush crafting is what he lives for. Currently he is traveling and displaying art at galleries and festivals through Primitive Technique (www.primitive technique.com) . He enjoys sharing these unique skills and is looking forward to sharing them at Ravens Roots.
Jamie Weaver, Instructor and Co-Founder
Jamie is the core instructor for the Hunter-Gatherer Immersion Course as well as many of our short courses such as survival, bow making, and wild-foraging. She has a passion for subsistence and self-reliance, which has led her into the studies of wilderness survival, wild-foraging, primitive skills, and permaculture. She has a degree in Integrated Ecological Design through Fairhaven College, as well as a certification in Permaculture Design and a Level III Track & Sign Certification through CyberTracker Conservation International. Prior to teaching primitive skills and wilderness survival, Jamie spent ten years as a raft guide by summer and snowboard instructor by winter. She has a deep love for nature and the recreation it provides.