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Archives: Team


Claire Ninde

Claire came to Open Sky with a wide range of life, work, and educational experiences. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Vermont and a master’s degree in international studies from Claremont Graduate University. Claire was drawn to Open Sky because of her belief in the power of wilderness to bring […]

Talesa Flenniken

Talesa Flenniken (she/her), a dedicated professional with a passion for cultivating strong relationships, brings her expertise to Open Sky Wilderness Therapy. Armed with a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership and 12 years of valuable experience in human resources, Talesa is adept at fostering respectful work environments and navigating the complexities of organizational dynamics. Rooted in […]

Brooke Teufel

Brooke was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, situated in the magical Sonoran Desert. Though often within city limits, much of Brooke’s childhood was spent playing outside, basking in an abundance of sunshine. Her formative years were filled with the sounds of Gambel’s quail and Gila woodpeckers, the scent of creosote after a monsoon storm, […]

Kalen Deremo

Born and raised in Durango and its surrounding areas, Kalen has called Colorado and the American Southwest home for over three decades. Having graduated high school in his hometown, he yearned for a change of pace and enrolled at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism in 2013. […]

Jen Horinek

Jen has been an integral part of the Open Sky HR team since 2022, with a strong commitment to fostering employee success and growth. Her interest in creating a supportive work environment was sparked during her time as an administrative assistant at a wilderness therapy program in Oregon. Witnessing the positive impact of wilderness therapy on […]

Jackson Van Raan

Before joining Open Sky as a field guide, Jackson spent time field guiding for a wilderness therapy program in Utah, teaching yoga, and mentoring youth. Jackson became interested in field guiding because he understood the power of therapeutically assisting others by spending time in nature himself. He was drawn to Open Sky because of the […]

Jasmine Harris

Jasmine’s background includes a bachelor’s degree in psychology and time spent with youth and teens as a Little League and high school softball coach. She has also worked in a trauma recovery center. Jasmine decided to pursue being a field guide with Open Sky because she appreciates a job that feeds her soul and is […]

Monica Fryska

Monica studied biology and Germanic studies at Indiana University and has also received an MS in secondary education. She taught science for 10 years in public schools and worked at a faith-based summer camp. Monica has through hiked the Appalachian Trail! Monica was drawn to Open Sky because of the program’s holistic approach to treatment. […]

Brittney Seeliger

Brittney has experience working with students and adults, promoting health and well being through connection with nature. Her excitement for hiking in the diverse California backcountry is contagious and by preparing and preventing injuries in wilderness, those she hikes with feel safe while exploring the mountains and lakes found in the Pacific Northwest. As a […]

Lexi Ashton

Lexi’s passion for medicine began with her grandmother. An enrolled tribal member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (Ojibwa / Chippewa), Lexi learned the power of fusing western medicine with native herbal treatments from a young age, as her grandmother battled heart disease. She carried these experiences to college, where she earned a degree in […]

B.C. Wells

B.C.’s educational path has been far from traditional. A Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course opened his eyes to the opportunities available in the outdoor industry and led him to pursue an education from Colorado Mountain College where he received an associate’s degree in outdoor education. Since then, he has continued his education with the college […]

Joe Peloquin

Joe has a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering from Syracuse University. His related experience includes around 10 years organizing group wilderness expeditions in France and the Indian Himalayas. He has extensive volunteer experience in humanitarian projects, retreat centers, and farm and ecological projects in France, England, India, Israel, Palestine, and most recently, New England […]

Kelsey Smith

Kelsey’s prior experience includes time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guinea, leading agroforestry projects and providing nutritional education to young mothers. In this work, Kelsey gained valuable leadership skills, grit, and resilience. Kelsey has also provided horseback riding instruction for youth and young adults. Kelsey joined the Open Sky team as a field guide […]

Paige Elliott

Paige was born and raised in Durango, Colorado and graduated from Dartmouth College in 2013 with a degree in English, specializing in creative nonfiction. She has always loved stories and believes in their power to help us better understand and connect with ourselves and each other. Also passionate about the outdoors, mental health, and experiential […]

Lori Armbruster

Lori has dedicated her 30-year career to supporting families in crisis with kindness, compassion, and respect. Having held senior leadership positions in several highly regarded residential and therapeutic wilderness programs, she possesses a deep understanding of the client experience and the essential components needed to facilitate meaningful change. Lori enjoys developing communication strategies that align […]

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 […]