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Open Sky Wilderness Therapy Launches SKYlights Podcast

The Open Sky Team

Featured Team Members: Lori Dykstra, BA | Emily D. Fernandes, MSW,

New podcast explores the unique value the outdoors provides on the journey toward wellness, self-discovery, and growth.


Open Sky, a wilderness therapy program nestled in the mountains of Southwest Colorado and the canyonlands of Southeast Utah, is excited to announce the launch of its SKYlights podcast. In each episode of SKYlights, Open Sky Co-founder and Executive Director, Emily Fernandes, LCSW, will speak with experts in the field of wilderness therapy and explore the unique value that nature and adventure therapy programs provide on the journey toward wellness, self-discovery, and growth.

Open Sky SKYlights PodcastIn each episode of the SKYlights podcast, Emily thoughtfully guides conversations with clinical therapists, family counselors, directors, field guides, and other experts about key topics related to wilderness therapy and Open Sky’s family systems approach. The model at Open Sky integrates the latest in evidence-based clinical studies with innovative, research-driven mindfulness and holistic healing practices. SKYlights showcases meaningful conversations with experts from the field.

Emily, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, is perfectly suited to connect with guests on these topics based on her passion, commitment, and depth of experience in wilderness therapy. Emily began her journey towards wilderness therapy in 1995 on a NOLS course. She then gained experience as a Field Guide and Director for Aspen Achievement Academy and worked for Hurricane Island Outward Bound School and Connecticut Wilderness School. She helped found Open Sky in 2006.

During her first five years at Open Sky, Emily worked as a lead therapist with adolescent girls. Her areas of clinical expertise include depression, anxiety, grief and loss, trauma, self-harm, disordered eating, and adoption and attachment issues. At Open Sky, Emily is known for her direct, caring leadership style, her ability to inspire excellence in others, and her team-oriented approach.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to talk with such dynamic and passionate people about topics related to wilderness therapy,” said Emily. “I’m grateful for this platform to share our conversations with a larger audience. It’s exciting that SKYlights podcast offers a unique perspective on the meaningful work happening at Open Sky.”

Select episodes of the bi-weekly SKYlights podcast presented by Open Sky Wilderness Therapy will be available anywhere you get your podcasts. A sampling of episode topics include Preparing Your Child for the Road (Not the Road for Your Child): How Challenge Cultivates Resilience in Young People, with Jonathan Mitchell (Clinical Therapist for adolescent boys), How Will Wilderness Benefit Me, an interview with Mariah Loftin (Clinical Therapist for young adults), and Transition Age Young Adults: How Are They Unique, an interview with Chris Blankenship (Clinical Therapist for transition age young adults, 18-20).

To learn more about the SKYlights podcast and to subscribe, please visit Open Sky’s podcast page, where you’ll find episode previews, guest profiles, and more information on the topics to be covered in each episode.


About Open Sky Wilderness

Nestled in the mountains of Southwest Colorado and the canyonlands of Southeast Utah, Open Sky transcends traditional wilderness therapy with an approach that emphasizes treatment for the whole family. When a family partners with Open Sky, they embark on a rewarding adventure of self-discovery and learn a range of strategies that promote lasting success. The Open Sky clinical approach utilizes the latest in evidence-based clinical modalities integrated with innovative, well-researched mindfulness and holistic healing practices. Therapists develop treatment plans, provide individual and group psychotherapy, and update families each week via teleconference. Students participate in daily process groups and a wide range of experiential activities designed to increase awareness and facilitate healing.

June 13th, 2019

The Open Sky Team