Staff and Instructors

P.I.N.E. Project Staff

Andrew McMartin – Executive Director
Andrew Mcmartin Andrew believes that dirt under fingernails and rain in a child’s hair are essential components to growing up healthy, resilient, and connected to the place we call home, the local natural environment. He is passionate about education, having spent the better part of the last 15+ years working with children in the outdoors. He’s a certified teacher in Ontario,  and has taught and traveled all over Canada and the world, but has come back home to Toronto to bring the things he feels are most important to the place that needs them the most. Andrew is the founder of the p.i.n.e. project, bringing 15 years of teaching experience in the outdoors, and 10+ years of nature based mentoring and community building work with affiliate and parent organizations across North America.

Certifications include:

  • B.Ed. from Lakehead University (Outdoor, Ecological and Experiential Education Program – 2006)
  • B.Sc./B.P.H.E. from Queen’s University (2002)
  • Wilderness Medical Associates Wilderness Emergency Medical Responder (2007)
  • Rescue 3 International Swiftwater Rescue Instructor (2007)
  • Ontario Recreational Canoe and Kayaking Association Moving Water Instructor (2002)
  • Ontario F-Class drivers license
  • Bronze Cross


Chris Gilmour – Muskoka Regional Director
Chris is a professional outdoor educator, wilderness guide and emergency management planner. He lives on a modern day permaculture homestead up in Muskoka where he and his wife Laura grow organic food, medicinal herbs and practice forest gardening. He has 10+ years of experience helping people of all ages deepen their knowledge of the natural world through experiential education and wilderness & urban survival training.  Chris is passionate about wildlife tracking, herbal medicine, bow making,  ancient wilderness living skills and is a devout student of the natural world. Chris is also an instructor with Sticks & Stones Wilderness School and helped bring the Art of Mentoring and Headwaters Gathering to Ontario. He is the director of p.i.n.e. Muskoka overseeing Wild Things & Red Wolf Camp and is the lead mentor for our Wild Deer program offered for outdoor educators and adults interested in deepening their knowledge of, and connection to the natural world.


Aaron Rosen – Lead Instructoraaron

Aaron Rosen comes to PINE project with a dynamic background in the fields of nature connection, outdoor education and primitive skills.  He is a graduate of Humber College’s Child and Youth Counselor program, and has worked at several different organizations with at risk youth.  A graduate of Wilderness Awareness School’s Anake program and leadership program, Aaron has had immersion training in the way of “coyote mentoring”. Aaron is also a graduate of several classes from Tom Brown Jr.’s Tracker School which continues to be a tremendous source of inspiration.  When Aaron isn’t working he can be found spending his free time exploring wilderness and working “the skills.”

Nikki Satira – Lead Instructornikki

Nikki Satira has a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Studies with a certificate in community arts practice from York University. During her undergrad she spent most of her summers living in the bush, running interpretive programs on the Alaska highway or exploring the Yukon and Northern BC by canoe, foot, bicycle and car. Over the past 6 years she has also worked for several environmental organizations doing work ranging from facilitating hands-on workshops in natural crafts to writing educational songs about nature. Nikki is also a naturalist in training and a successful singer/songwriter, bringing her natural passions into her music.


Jeff Emberley – Lead Instructorjeffstaff & Program Coordinator

Jeff enjoyed a childhood exploring and playing in the ravines and green spaces of the GTA and the lakes of Muskoka. When he wasn’t getting dirty in woods, he was participating in sports. After completing his studies and varsity football career at Wilfrid Laurier University, he took a step back and immersed himself in what he felt was most important. He went on to complete an 8-month apprenticeship program at Sticks and Stones Wilderness School’s where he practiced wilderness skills, mentoring and naturalist training. When he’s not instructing, Jeff also handles adult program oversight and communications duties at P.I.N.E, connecting with the community and staff, and scheduling adult workshops. In his off time, you can find him playing pick-up sports, tracking birds and wildlife in local wilderness areas, and spending time with friends and family.

Aly Ostrowski – Lead Instructoraly

Aly is a lover of life.  She is curious, compassionate and creative.  She marvels at the delicate swirls on a snail’s shell, as well as the unfolding of new buds in the spring season.  As one of the lead instructors, she guides children and young adults on timeless wanders, mapping adventures, tracking missions, bird sits and plant meditations.  With degrees in psychology, peace and conflict studies, and elementary education, Aly seeks to find ways through empowering education to inspire harmonious relationships with nature, amongst each other and within ourselves.  She has also attended Wilderness Awareness School which has provided her with a rich toolkit to facilitate nature connection in Toronto.

Michael McCarthy – Lead Instructormikemcc

Michael has been with the P.I.N.E. project since the autumn of 2010. Completing his masters in education at OISE, University of Toronto, Michael studied rights of passage, peacemaking, and embodied learning. Michael brings his experiences and skills as a counselor for youth in addictions treatment to the P.I.N.E. project. He is passionate about making families and children more resilient, mentoring the next generation in connecting to nature and having their gifts and talents celebrated. Michael is so grateful to be working in a community of people that are passionate about living simply, education, and reveling in the majesty of the outdoors.

Visiting Instructors:

Laura Alward
Laura AlwardLaura Alward has been studying ecology, healing and art for 8 years. Laura spent 3 years learning sustainable agriculture and herbalism in Western Canada and US, and earned a Permaculture Designers Certification in California. Laura currently works as a Terrestrial Ecologist for an environmental consulting firm in Muskoka. Laura loves to cultivate, harvest and honor wild plants which she uses for food, healing and crafts. She volunteers helping her local community with stewardship activities such as environmental education, shoreline restoration and nature scaping at schools, and is honored to be helping create a new culture of nature connection in Ontario through the Headwaters Gathering and Art of Mentoring.  When she’s not playing with plants Laura loves to go tracking and assist with wildlife research in the Algonquin Park area.


Alexis Burnett  – Earth Tracks Adventures
Alexis BurnettAlexis Burnett is a Naturalist, Tracker, Wilderness Skills Practitioner and Canoe Guide from Orangeville, ON. He currently resides on the west side of Algonquin Park, spending his days tracking and running his Canoeing Adventure and Nature Education company, Earth Tracks. Alexis has spent significant time learning from wilderness survival and tracking experts such as Tom Brown Jr., Jon Young, and renowned Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar. He has been practicing indigenous skills and naturalist studies for over ten years, and has run the Orangeville Tracking and Nature club for the past seven.


Eddie Starnater – Practical Primitive
Eddie StarnaterEddie Starnater began spot-and-stalk hunting with his father at age ten and discovered bow-hunting in his late teens, when he began building his own bows, fashioning his own arrows, and competing in Traditional Archery tournaments. Soon after, Eddie discovered Flintknapping and it wasn’t long before he was producing top-quality arrowheads, spear points, jewelry and other eccentric pieces. Over 25 years later Flintknapping is still Eddie’s greatest passion among the primitive arts.  An avid practitioner of all aspects of primitive living, Eddie has spent many years building baskets, making salves, soaps and tinctures, experimenting with many different styles of shelters, and learning how to find, identify, harvest and cook wild edibles in every season. He has published multiple articles sharing his skills and experiences in magazines including Primitive Archer and Wilderness Way.  A former Hunter Safety Education Instructor for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Eddie spent over 10 years conducting workshops in Texas prior to becoming an instructor for, then Director of, Tom Brown Jr.’s Tracker School. There he taught primitive skills, tracking, and nature awareness to many thousands of students.
 Wanting to return to his roots and get back to teaching in the manner in which he was taught, Eddie founded Practical Primitive in January 2007 with Julie Martin, and they now run it together.

Skeet Sutherland – Sticks and Stones Wilderness School
Skeet Sutherland is founder, program director and lead instructor of Sticks and Stones Wilderness School and has spent the last several years devoted to wilderness education and the development of indigenous skill sets. He spent time as an Instructor at Tom Brown’s Tracking, Nature and Survival School in New Jersey and now spends his days teaching these skills, based in the Orangeville area. Skeet also works as a certified Plan Approver for the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program (MFTIP) in Ontario. Skeet assists landowners in preparing stewardship and sustainable forest management plans for their lands.  In efforts to raise local ecological awareness, Skeet coordinates local community stewardship initiatives and volunteers his time at the Headwaters Tracking Club.