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Health, Wellness and Safety in a Wilderness Therapy Setting

Episode 0



Margaret Kelso

Margaret Kelso

Health Director

Margaret Kelso has been a W-EMT since 2013.  She received her certification in 2013 from Silverton San Juan Ambulance Association and has since worked in wilderness medicine.  Margaret began working in wilderness therapy in 2011 as a field guide for a wilderness therapy company based out of Southeast Alaska.  In 2013 she took a seasonal position as a Medical Case Manager at Open Sky.  After the 2013 season Margaret went back to Alaska to guide and continued to move into an Assistant Program Director position as well as Medical Control at the same organization.  Margaret is passionate about ensuring the wilderness experience is safe and being able to expose students to healthy lifestyle choices. She deeply believes in the transformative experiences that wilderness therapy can provide.

Margaret feels most like herself in the wilderness with her husband, daughter, and their dogs. She enjoys hiking and rafting.  She also enjoys all the projects involved with creating a home for her family and teaching herself how to garden.


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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