Oyase Community School Staff

Amy Hyatt, Program Director & Lead Instructor

Amy Hyatt Amy moved to Vermont in August 2001 to participate in Vermont Wilderness School’s Instructor Apprenticeship Program, get trained and move back to her birth home bioregion of Southwestern Ohio to start a Wilderness School there. She quickly fell in love with Vermont, the work of Vermont Wilderness School, the children and families of Oyase and has been with us ever since. Amy completed the four-year Apprenticeship Program with VWS in 2005, coordinated and co-facilitated a year of the Apprenticeship Program, and an Oyase staff lead instructor since the 2003-2010 program year. She has also been a lead instructor for Deep Wilds intro to wilderness survival overnight programs, for Otter Day Camp and Earthfriend Discovery Day Camps. She has also been staff for 9+ east coast Art of Mentoring workshops and is currently a major organizer and facilitator of the Vermont Art of Mentoring. Her specialty is working with children ages 7-11 and adults of all ages in areas of nature awareness, basic survival skills, cultural facilitation and community building. She completed a Master of Arts in eco-literacy and place-based education in 2004 from Union Institute and University and a Bachelor’s of Philosophy in Cross-Cultural Communication through the Arts from Miami University in 1995. Additionally, Amy has extensive experience in non-profit leadership, organizational development, and community organizing (that’s what she did before moving to Vermont)!

Programs:
Program Director Oyase Community School

Program Director Shambhala Warrior & Nature Camp
Program Director & Primary Facilitator/Presenter: Essentials for Resilient Community
Facilitator/Presenter Art of MentoringFirst Aid Certification: Repeated Wilderness First Aid & AHA CPR

Bob Etzweiler, Field Director & Lead Instructor

Bob_EtzweilerBob has always loved being outdoors. Before moving to Vermont in 2006, he was program director and naturalist at a summer camp / outdoor retreat center in Pennsylvania. He loved the work, but it wasn’t exactly the focus he wanted. Upon coming to Vermont, he started doing wilderness programs similar to Oyase Community School and Otter Day Camp and found that was a good fit. He has worked for Oyase Community School since 2007, Otter Day Camp since 2008 as well as offering his own Fox Walk Programs—all offered through Vermont Wilderness School He loves hunting, tanning hides, crafting, tracking and wandering. He also loves primitive cooking and wants to have a related show on the food network. Let him know if you have any connections.

Programs:

Field Director & Lead Instructor Oyase Community School
Director & Instructor for Fox Walk Forest School
Field Director Otter Day Camp
Lead Instructor Earthfriend Discovery Day Camp

First Aid Certification: Wilderness First Aid & CPR

Ashley Bies, Lead Instructor

Ashley grew up unschooled and free of electricity and running water in the forest of western Maine, inspiring a life-long love for exploring and adventuring amidst wild places.  His passion for nature focussed Ashley on biodiversity conservation work at age 16, using field ecology research to support the protection of wild life and lands.  Ashley has been a tracker since he began college in 2001, and relied on tracking for most of his graduate work on jaguar prey conservation in Belize in 2008.  Afterward, and before returning to the northeast, Ashley trained intensively in the full range of traditional skills in Wilderness Awareness School’s 9-month Anake Program.  Ashley has trained in a variety of martial arts, and since his return home to Vermont has combined that experience with awareness and scout skills in assisting Amy with the Shambhala Nature Camp.  As an undergraduate outdoor program trip leader, Ashley certified as a Wilderness First Responder (though his certification has since expired, after re-certifying while helping run field ecology research crews before grad school).

Programs:

Lead Instructor Oyase Community School
Assistant Instructor Shambhala Warrior & Nature Camp

First Aid Certification: repeated certification in Wilderness First Responder

Abby Mnookin, Weekly Lead Instructor Instructor

Abby volunteered with Oyase Community School in 2010-2011 and the came on as a lead instructor in 2014.  More to come.

Programs:

Lead Instructor Oyase Community School

First Aid Certification:

Alexandros Atsalis-Gogel, Assistant Instructor

Alexandros “Lexi” started attending Oyase when he was 8 years old and attended for many years.  He then was a Teen Helper before doing some wandering.  He has been a camp instructor at EarthWalk Vermont and Flying Deer Nature Center – two sister schools of Vermont Wilderness School.  This year he returns full time to Oyase Community School as an assistant instructor.

Programs:

Asst. Instructor Oyase Community School

First Aid Certification:

Jasmyn Atsalis-Gogel, Assistant Instructor

Jasmyn started attending Oyase when she was 6 years old and attended for many years – proudly declaring on her 13th birthday that she has been coming to Oyase for more than half her life.  She left the program for a couple years to attend high school in Manchester, Vermont and has recently returned to southeastern Vermont focusing on Circus Arts and mentoring youth in nature connection.  This year she returns full time to Oyase Community School as an assistant instructor.

Programs:

Asst. Instructor Oyase Community School

First Aid Certification:

Wade Mergen, Assistant Instructor

Wade was mentored by his uncle at a young age in a variety of wilderness living and awareness school.  He found Vermont Wilderness School back in 2006 and attended a few programs learning about the Art of Mentoring.  He has volunteered several summer’s with Coyote Camp, a teen overnight camp run by Mark Morey, co-founder of Vermont Wilderness School.  He has been working with sister school Earthworks in the Amherst, MA area since moving to the Pioneer Valley a year and half ago.  This is Wade’s first year with Oyase Community School.

Programs:

Asst. Instructor Oyase Community School

First Aid Certification:

Karen Rent, Assistant Instructor

Karen grew up in Pittsburgh, PA in a family that dabbled in the outdoors by camping in a pop-up camper up and down the east coast. It wasn’t until college that Karen camped in a tent, hiked for the first time, and saw her first shooting star.  She was hooked, switched majors, and never turned back.  She received her B.S. in Recreation and Parks Management from Penn State and her M.A. in Environmental Education from the University of New Hampshire.  During her career in environmental education, she worked for the Appalachian Mountain Club and Maine Audubon before moving Georgia to be with her one true love, Justin.  She spent a few years in Atlanta, working for the Department of Natural Resources and Stone Mountain, had a couple of kids, and (happily) dragged them all back to New England.  Karen now serves on the New Hampshire Environmental Educators board and dedicates her time to raising an outdoor daughter and son. She looks forward to learning and growing with everyone at Oyase!.

Programs:

Assistant Instructor Oyase Community School

First Aid Certification: Several years training and certification Wilderness First Aid

Allie Comet, Intern

Allie has spent the last five years farming and exploring the outdoors of New England. She graduated from Pomona College with a BA in Environmental Studies and has since worked on a diversity of farms as a field worker, manager, and farm educator. She loves hiking, backpacking, foraging, primitive cooking and crafts. This summer she participated in VWS’s Art of Mentoring program and was inspired to join the Oyase team as an intern..

Programs:

Intern Oyase Community School

First Aid Certification: trained in Wilderness First Aid