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Archives: Team


Kay Salwen

Kay Salwen received a bachelor’s degree in biopsychology from Tufts university in 2012. Kay started their career in wilderness therapy immediately after graduation in upstate New York before accepting a job as a field guide at Open Sky the following year. Open Sky has been a place where Kay has felt empowered to teach others […]

Austin Pack

Austin received his culinary arts degrees from Johnson & Wales University in 2011 and has a strong background in the restaurant industry. Before receiving his culinary degree, he worked at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico as a guide and cook. This is where backpacking became an important part of his life, as Austin […]

Shane Ward

The path that led to Shane working in wilderness therapy is a long and winding road. In the wise words of one of Shane’s favorite writers, Ed Abbey, “may your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.” Shane was born and raised in the sleepy beach town of Los Angeles, […]

Madison Scarborough

Madison Scarborough attended Baylor University, where she majored in communications. Madison is currently working on her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Wake Forest University. Madison has had various experiences that have led to her passion for the type of work that Open Sky does. From 2018-2020 she volunteered at the Waco Center […]

Niveditha “Neetu” Raju

Neetu created a self-designed major in Environmental Studies at Sterling College in Vermont, where she combined Outdoor Education with Embodiment Studies. She comes to Open Sky with experience facilitating embodied inner work aligned with deep spiritual practice and activism. She worked for a year as a Field Guide at Open Sky, and so has experience […]

Danya Matulis

Before joining the Open Sky team, Danya attended Northern Arizona University where she received an honors degree in fitness wellness. During and after college, she was extremely involved in the outdoor adventures program as a lead trip guide, office manager, and high ropes course facilitator, while also teaching yoga for multiple programs and studios. She […]

Carly Miller

Carly Miller has experienced firsthand the healing powers that nature possesses.  She discovered her passion for the outdoors in the summer of 2018, during her first backpacking trip in the wild Alaskan wilderness. With only the food and supplies on her back, and good friends by her side, Carly started her adventure of self- discovery. […]

Julia Conley

With a degree in mathematics and sociology from Bowdoin College, and years of falling in love with the Maine woods and waters, Julia sought opportunities to make classrooms ‘spaces of adventure.’ After graduating, she taught in a cognitive disabilities classroom in Montana, was an English teacher in rural Nepal, and a physics lab instructor in […]

Henry Hammond

Henry has had a lifelong infatuation with nature. He was drawn to Open Sky for the opportunity to combine his personal passion for the outdoors with his professional passion for helping struggling youth. Open Sky’s family systems approach especially stood out to him.   Henry understands why people often describe field guiding as both challenging […]

Hunter Bischoff

Hunter’s experience in the outdoors includes spending summers working in conservation and wildlife biology. He has also spent time in the Maine woods hiking and climbing in Acadia National Park. The time Hunter spent in wildlife conservation led him to wilderness therapy and his desire to care for others in a natural setting. Open Sky’s […]

Erin Moriarty

Before joining Open Sky as a field guide, Erin graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in sustainable development and a concentration in environmental studies. While in college, she explored the Blue Ridge Mountains, hiking, camping, and finding river spots. In the summers off from college, she worked as a beach lifeguard with emergency […]

Sean Cannon

Sean graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in recreation, parks, and tourism management and much of his life has been spent outdoors. In addition to his personal outdoor experience, he grew up in the Scouts and while in college, he took full advantage of his school’s resources, spending lots of time with the […]

Lucy Weld

Lucy graduated from University of Colorado Boulder, where she majored in psychology and anthropology. Through these studies, she became passionate about serving in the mental health field. After graduating from college, Lucy worked at an outdoor day camp on the Front Range that focused on teaching practical nature skills. Most recently, she worked at a […]

Shannon Weaver

Shannon was born as a natural connector and helper and by the age of eight, she knew she wanted to go into a profession helping people. She never veered from this path, studying psychology and social work at her university and entering the Master of Social Work program shortly after that. She has worked as […]

Shannon Weaver

Shannon was born as a natural connector and helper and by the age of eight, she knew she wanted to go into a profession helping people. She never veered from this path, studying psychology and social work at her university and entering the Master of Social Work program shortly after that. She has worked as […]

Adar Higgs, BA, MA

Adar has a BA in liberal arts from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, a master’s degree in public health from New Mexico State University, and extensive training in therapeutic yoga. Adar has lived in the Four Corners area, minus a few stints back East with family, since 2008. The high mountains and scrubby desert […]

Melanie Russek, BA

Melanie grew up by the ocean on the North Island of New Zealand and didn’t discover the mountains until she moved to the South Island to attend Lincoln University where she attained her Bachelor in Parks and Recreation Management. It’s also where she discovered snowboarding and expanded further her love of outdoor recreation, both professionally […]

Madi Salvati, BS

Madi fell in love with the outdoors when she learned about the art of ultra-light backpacking in high school. After many summers spent wandering around the Sierras, she moved to the North Cascades in Washington state to pick up mountaineering and be closer to the jagged, granite faces. While pursuing her love for being above […]

Spurgeon Root, MA

Spurgeon is from Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Ambrose University and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Counseling from Briercrest Seminary. Since his childhood, Spurgeon has been enamored with the vast Canadian wilderness and began using it in therapeutic outreach 20 years ago. When he […]

Nancy Stanley

Nancy Stanley graduated from Bard College Berlin, studying humanities, ethics, and politics while there. During college she was also a mental health peer counselor. Before joining the Open Sky team, Nancy worked at Trekking Union of Kyrgyzstan. What attracted her to wilderness therapy, and specifically to Open Sky, was the opportunity for her to blend […]

Kyle Moran

Kyle Moran is a former Open Sky student who believes that being in nature reminds people of their true selves and helps them align with their values. He has three years of experience working as a full-time yoga teacher and is a naturalist and environmental justice enthusiast. Kyle was drawn to wilderness therapy because he […]

Ray Clardy

Ray Clardy is a former Open Sky student and has spent significant time backpacking and camping as a child. He was drawn to wilderness therapy because he appreciates unconventional approaches to mental health. He also finds Open Sky to be an honest and competent environment. What Ray values most about his role as a field […]

Sam Cohen

Before becoming a field guide at Open Sky, Sam attended the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, where he majored in cognitive systems, brain and cognition stream. After graduating, he worked as an employee wellness navigator at Whistler Blackcomb, where he helped employees of Whistler access mental health resources, mediated conflicts within staff housing, […]

Hans Tepel

Before joining Open Sky as a guide, Hans was involved in a several different outdoor education programs. He worked as an aquatics director for a Boy Scouts camp in Oregon and as an instructor for Wilderness Awareness School in Washington. He also took a year-long certification program at Alderleaf Wilderness College, where he learned a […]

Jolleen Nase

Jolleen was born and raised in the rural suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she learned to appreciate nature and outdoor adventure. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Temple University in organizational communications and has committed over a decade to supporting mental health services.    Post college graduation, Jolleen backpacked abroad in Southeast Asia to support various NGOs. […]

Frank Tenorio

Frank’s passion for vitality, growth, and service has inspired a multidisciplinary immersion in the fields of environmental studies, youth mentorship, community organizing, ecopsychology, massage therapy, expressive arts, and wilderness therapy.   As an undergraduate student at the University of Central Florida, Frank started the Student Sustainability Association—a student led effort to bring more ecologically conscious decisions […]

Dana Dwyer

Dana graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Initially, she wanted to be a therapist. When she committed to Fort Lewis, she researched therapy programs in the area and discovered Open Sky. Her goal soon became to help students as a therapist. Going into college, she decided to […]

Loren Copp

Loren has extensive experience in wilderness therapy starting with his education, having received his bachelor’s degree in outdoor education, including course work in wilderness therapy. In his time at the University of New Hampshire, Loren assisted with Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH) accreditation reviews. He has worked as a guide in another wilderness therapy program with […]

Addy Ho

Addy has a Master of Arts in community counseling and is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in Colorado, Oregon, and Utah. She has been in the counseling field since 2006 and provided services in outpatient, in-home crisis intervention, residential, private practice, wilderness therapy, and community mental health settings. Addy has worked with adults, young adults, […]

Travis Moran

Travis attended Northern Arizona University, where he earned a degree in environmental studies with a focus on earth sciences and sustainability.  Living and recreating in Northern Arizona provided Travis with a unique insight into the natural world. He has led backpacking trips into the Grand Canyon, rafted the Colorado River, and embraced the vision of […]

Adam Smith

Adam Smith holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration with a focus on finance and accounting from the University of Arizona. While at Arizona, Adam was awarded both the Finance Student of the Year and overall Business Student of the Year for his leadership and academic achievements. Adam achieved his CPA in 2010 […]

Baileigh Roberts

Baileigh was born and raised in Oklahoma and attended the College of the Muscogee Nation located in Okmulgee, OK in 2016. She transferred to Fort Lewis College in 2017, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Marketing in 2020. Baileigh was drawn to Open Sky because of her love for helping other people. She […]

Eli Rogers

Eli was attracted to wilderness therapy because nature has always proven a powerful therapy for him personally and he wanted the opportunity to share this experience. The combination of mindfulness and therapy alongside the Four Corners location is what drew him to Open Sky specifically. Eli joined Open Sky with rich experience in wilderness expeditions […]

John Lyons

Before coming to Open Sky, John worked for Kids Obstacle Challenge, which is an obstacle course event created for adolescents to build confidence that they can then carry into their everyday lives. He has also been involved with self-development workshops for the past five years.   John was drawn to wilderness therapy because he has been […]

Seth Rose

Seth has a vast array of experience working with young people and in outdoor settings. Before Open Sky, he worked at Cottonwood Institute, guiding youth in the Denver metro area in nature-based learning projects and overnights; staffed rites of passage experiences with 14-year-old boys and their fathers at The Men’s Leadership Alliance; and led a […]

Effie Manahan

Effie’s past experience includes leading a trail crew, where she learned how to work in the backcountry and take care of others in an outdoor setting. Effie decided to go into the field of wilderness therapy because she has found personal healing in her own outdoor experiences and has always been attracted to helping others […]

Jane Ferrara

Jane grew up hiking and trail running on the east coast in Virginia and New Hampshire. She was a student at a wilderness program in 2011, which ignited her passion for bush-crafting and survival skills. Wilderness therapy awakened her inner wisdom, grit, and compassion to help herself and others heal amongst the trees. She then […]

Katie Wagner

Katie’s experience includes working in a variety of capacities with at-risk youth who have behavioral and emotional challenges. Katie spent three years working through Americorps as an in-service student mentor at The Teen Action and Support Center. In this role, Katie used a service-learning approach to mentor youth in the criminal justice system and guide […]

Jess Bisner

Jess studied outdoor experiential education in college. After graduating, she worked seasonally as a rock climbing and backpacking guide with adolescents and teens. What attracted her to wilderness therapy is the understanding that going into nature without distractions enables humans to take off their masks and uncover their authentic selves. She was drawn to Open […]

Barbara Ferri

Barbara is a licensed clinical social worker who believes that all people deserve to feel happy and have the capacity to improve their lives. In 2012, Barbara graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles with a master’s degree in social welfare. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in human development, which helped her […]

Vic Kerr

Vic Kerr (she/her), a seasoned outdoor industry professional, is passionate about wilderness therapy as a means for families to connect and flourish. She knows firsthand the power of outdoor adventures to reveal strength and resilience in individuals – a renewed self-awareness that enriches the rest of our lives. With a desire to be part of […]

Emily Davidson

Emily Davidson attended Texas A&M University, where she studied accounting. While at A&M, she was involved in the professional development organization American Business Women’s Association and active in many community service projects. Emily participated in a study abroad program where she spent six weeks living in Strasbourg, France studying international finance. Emily received both her BA and MS […]

Ben Allen

In his youth, Ben took the hard road, stumbling along as many youth do today. It was during this period that he realized his journey could hopefully help others. He knew he wanted to be a part of teaching, helping adolescents grow, and hopefully guiding them toward making smarter decisions. Ben studied early childhood education and business management at Truett McConnel College and Savannah State […]

Elizabeth Bercel

Before working for Open Sky, Elizabeth spent a year working as a field guide for a wilderness therapy program in Alaska based around sea canoeing and backpacking expeditions. Aside from working with at-risk youth specifically, she has also spent multiple seasons guiding educational river and land-based programs for youth and adult groups on the Colorado […]

Josh Buckner

Throughout his college career, Josh led experiential education trips throughout West Virginia mostly for incoming freshmen. They discussed topics such as diversity and inclusion, healthy decision making, and resources provided by the university to support students. He also gained experience as a skiing instructor at Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia. The idea of a therapy […]

Shawna Ryan

Shawna is an individual who seeks the outdoors as a way of healing and recentering herself. As a genuine person with a gentle soul, she is a kindhearted and open-minded addition to the Open Sky staff. She is originally from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where she loved to adventure in the Yampa Valley. She attained backcountry […]

Brittain Lovett

Brittain grew up in both Texas and Massachusetts.  During these formative years, Brittain also spent significant time in the mountains of Colorado and on lakes in Wisconsin with her family. She attended Colorado College as an undergraduate and majored in English. Following graduation, Brittan worked for a year working at a social service agency in the Bay Area. This experience […]

Haley Chatwin

Haley grew up in a loud, messy, and often chaotic house with a loud, messy, often chaotic, and very loving family. As a child of military service member, she moved around often, and these experiences fostered her affinity for travel, exploration, and building relationships. Haley took these passions with her when she moved to Colorado […]

Emma Selzler

Springs. She grew up in a city and had never experienced being outdoors for more than a day; she soon found she loved the outdoors. Emma has travelled through most of Colorado and was drawn to wilderness therapy when she discovered how much being outside helped her feel connected to herself and her surroundings during hard […]

Wayne Linsenmeyer

Wayne is the kind of person who cares for other people. As a transport specialist for Open Sky, he appreciates being the first person who meets a student arriving at Open Sky and setting the tone for the rest of their stay. He responds to students with empathy and sensitivity and helps them feel secure. […]