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Planning for Success: Preparing Students to Transition from Wilderness Therapy

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Amy Hartline

Amy Hartline

Wellness Director

Amy brings over two decades of experience in the wilderness therapy and outdoor education fields to her role as Wellness Director at Open Sky. She earned a bachelor’s degree in wilderness therapy from Prescott College, a master’s degree in transformative leadership from the California Institute of Integral Studies, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in counseling from Adams State University.

Amy discovered the field of wilderness therapy in early adulthood and found that it combined both her love of people and the outdoors. Decades later, and now a parent herself, Amy began working on the Family Services team at Open Sky because supporting parents and children to grow individually and in their relationships felt rich and meaningful. Now as Wellness Director, Amy draws on her background in wilderness therapy, mindfulness training, somatic psychology, and facilitation to assist staff in serving the young people and families of Open Sky. She also continues facilitating Wellness Weekend for Open Sky families. As a teacher and facilitator, Amy is particularly adept at bringing clarity and warmth to her work with others. Throughout the last twenty years, Amy has facilitated for organizations such as Outward Bound, NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute, Prescott College, and Deer Hill Expeditions.

A native of Pennsylvania, Amy has lived in the Durango area for more than fifteen years. She spends her time with her son, her partner, and her chocolate lab, exploring the mountains and deserts of the Southwest. She especially enjoys trail running, mountain biking, rafting, yoga, painting and cooking with friends and family.


Emily Fernandes

Emily Fernandes

Executive Director & Co-Founder

On a wilderness trip in Alaska with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in 1995, Emily discovered she could combine two of her passions: working with youth and being outdoors. Since then, she has worked for Aspen Achievement Academy, Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, and Connecticut Wilderness School. She was part of the founding team at Open Sky.

Emily worked as the lead therapist for adolescent girls for her first 5 years at Open Sky. Her areas of clinical expertise include depression, anxiety, grief and loss, trauma, self-harm, disordered eating, and adoption and attachment issues. Her clinical approach is informed by cognitive behavioral, psychodynamic, family systems, and attachment theories. Relationship building through letter writing is a major focus of her work with students and families.

As a founder and owner of Open Sky, as well as the Clinical and Executive Director, Emily brings a breadth of knowledge with her background as a therapist, field guide, trainer, logistics coordinator, emergency responder, and field director, Emily is known for her direct, caring leadership style, her ability to inspire excellence in others, and her team oriented approach. The student treatment plan is her compass for her decision-making regarding Open Sky’s students, families, and employees.

Emily loves reading, writing, yoga, mountain biking, telemark skiing, rock climbing, spending time with friends and family, and cooking with foods from the local farmers’ market.


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