Andrew McMartin – Executive Director
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.
- 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
Jennifer Peer – Director of Operations
Jennifer loves gantt charts, budgets, strategic planning, and number crunching almost as much as she loves the great outdoors. Jennifer grew up exploring the ravines of Toronto, the English countryside, and the wilds of Algonquin. Her love of adventure and spending time in nature took her to the mountains of British Columbia, the remote Solomon Islands and the bustle of Nairobi before settling in the UK for 11 years.
Jennifer returned home to Toronto and joined the p.i.n.e. project in September 2016, where she is eagerly applying her project management, fundraising, financial management, and communications skills. She holds a Masters Degree in International Development from the London School of Economics and has 10+ years of experience working in program management for conservation and development organizations, including the United Nations Environment Program and the World Wildlife Fund.
She loves spending time outside with her young daughters and is inspired by their innate connection with nature. She also loves practicing yoga.
Chris Gilmour – Muskoka Regional Director
Chris Gilmour runs our adult Wild Deer Training Program and founded and directed our Northern camps, Wild Things and Red Wolf. He is a professional outdoor educator, wilderness guide and skills instructor and emergency management planner. He lives on a modern day permaculture homestead up in Muskoka where he and his wife Laura run Wild Muskoka Botanicals, grow organic food, medicinal herbs and practice forest gardening. He has 12+ years of experience helping people of all ages deepen their knowledge of the natural world through experiential education, wilderness guiding 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 has guided back country canoe trips, led dog sledding expeditions, directed summer camps and worked with several outdoor organizations and programs such as: Sticks & Stones Wilderness School, Earth Tracks Outdoors School, Outward Bound, Art of Mentoring and Headwaters Gathering.
Chris is always growing and pursuing his own education and has studied:
- Herbal Medicine under Sam Coffman (Human Path)
- Wildlife Tracking under Dan Gardoqui (White Pine Wilderness School)
- Survival, Naturalist Studies and Mentoring under instructors such as: Tom Brown Jr (Tracker School), Jon Young (8 Shields), Eddie Starnater (Practical Primitive) and Kevin Reeve (On Point Tactical)
- Emergency and Disaster Management through George Brown College
Nikki Satira – Lead Instructor / Social Media Coordinator
Nikki spent the better part of her early 20’s exploring and living in the remote wilds of Yukon, British Colombia and Alaska. She lived off-the-grid, guided plant walks, hiked goat trails, wild-foraged her meals, made plant medicines, did a sit-spot in the world’s smallest desert, laid down in the tundra, sang in the arctic circle, tracked bears, rescued a moose, spoke to birds and survived a forest fire, a whitewater rafting accident and a confrontation with a bison.
Nikki has 10+ years of experience in education and is passionate about working with children and facilitating experiences for them that cultivate a love and respect for nature. She uses the inspiration from her time in the north and combines it with her skills in friction fire, herbalism, storytelling, theatre, tracking, bird language and bushcraft to deliver programming that serves p.i.n.e.’s mission and vision.
- Herbalist Certification from Rosemary Gladstar’s Science & Art of Herbalism
- Honours B.Es. Spec. Environment & Culture from York University
- Certificate in Community Arts Practice
- Wild Deer Wilderness Skills Program Level I
Elissa Penfound – Lead Instructor
Elissa grew up in the City of Toronto and spent the summers at her cottage near Halliburton. She spent time exploring the forest, climbing trees, building forts and swimming. As a child she spent almost every day in a canoe with her parents exploring the lakes around her cottage. When she was a teenager she began doing extended white water canoe trips and has paddled many lakes and rivers throughout Ontario.
After completing her degree in Geographic Analysis Elissa began working for the p.i.n.e. project and has been doing so since 2013. She is passionate about getting kids outside and has fallen in love with urban parks and primitive skills. She loves bird language, plant identification, tracking, games, nature crafting, and exploring outside with kids.
- BA in Geographic Analysis from Ryerson University
- Wild Deer Wilderness Skills Program Level I
Lee Earl – Lead instructor
Lee is an avid naturalist and frequenter of the wilds. Some of her favourite activities include looking at beautiful birds, tracking mink and deer throughout the city and geeking out with field guides. When she’s not hanging out in the ravines running programs with kids, she can be found foraging, preserving, fermenting and making all manner of goods from plants. Ever since growing up in the Taylor Creek watershed and traveling the northeast to learn from many mentors, she is grateful to have opportunities to share her enthusiasm and passion about the beautiful planet we inhabit.
Lee has studied plant medicine and wildlife tracking with Earth Tracks Outdoor School and White Pine Programs in Maine and continues to be an ongoing student with both organizations. Lee is also co-founder of Wild Foragers Society, facilitating hands-on exploration of wild plants with a large group of plant-lovers in Toronto.
- Honours B.Sc. Biology from McGill University
- Level III Track and Sign from CyberTracker
- Wilderness Advanced First Aid
Cole McLaughlin – Lead Instructor
Cole grew up just north of Toronto near the town of Newmarket. He lived in the country and had an acre of land around his house where he would explore. There was a pond where he would catch frogs and tadpoles and a junk pile where he constructed elaborate forts. Then in the spring of his his 12th year of life Cole moved to town with his family, learned the ways of city life and adapted. He curiously wandered into the spaces most people looked past. He found vacant lots and the hidden ravines, and the creeks that existed for a short distance between one culvert’s exit to another culvert’s entrance. Cole discovered wonders in places beyond the thicket, beyond the dumpster and beyond the McDonald’s on the corner – there wasn’t a place that he hadn’t explored.
Cole now works with the p.i.n.e. project and continues exploring with city kids in the way that he learned to as a teen. He is passionate about finding ways to bring nature connection into everyday life and through his work with kids and adults he shares this passion and gift. Cole dreams of working with design and building with a goal of integrating nature into everything we create.
Adrian Iacovino – Lead Instructor
Adrian grew up cycling through the willow-banked ravines of Agincourt in Scarborough, Ontario. He spent summers at his Grandparents’ home in the Eastern Townships of Quebec learning to garden, picking berries, mushroom hunting, and swimming in lakes and ponds. Other summers were spent catching frogs and running through the pine forest at Unicamp. Having just completed 3 years as Camp Director at Unicamp of Ontario, Adrian will be bringing with him the community’s strengths of inclusivity and the spirit of empowering others to be themselves. Adrian will be continuing to grow his path as a facilitator in nature connection at both the p.i.n.e. project and the Guelph Outdoor School.
Adrian is passionate about friction fire, wood carving, tree identification, and has a growing interest in tracking and tanning. Adrian is also a wordsmith fascinated and inspired by language, cycles, and how to create meaning for ourselves and others using habit and puzzling the world with words.
- B.A. Philosophy from Concordia University
- Wilderness Advanced First Aid
- Wild Deer Wilderness Skills Program Level I
Sophie Kerenidis – Administrative Assistant
Sophie is a born and raised Torontonian, with an avid passion for the city’s urban forest. Growing up in the west end, Sophie spent her childhood exploring High Park’s Black Oak Savannah. Her interest in trees lead her to the University of Toronto, where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Forest Conservation, becoming skilled in tree biology and identification, conservation strategies, as well as the socio-economic factors affecting global forestry practices. Her research was focused on the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia, the largest intact temperate rainforest on the planet.
When she is not hugging trees, Sophie is providing administrative support at the pine project office. She loves to bake, read and run.
Eileen Tran – Camps Coordinator
Eileen eagerly became involved with the p.i.n.e. project in 2012. Eileen grew up exploring ravines, making mud soup, and pretending to live in her family garden. Since then, she’s been passionate about wilderness survival, primitive living skills, and continually working towards skills and knowledge to live more self-sufficiently.
Eileen has been teaching and mentoring children and adults inside and outside of the classroom since 2010, is a nature connection consultant for several schools, and also loves taking on major organizational projects.
- Ontario Certified Teacher
- B.Ed from OISE/University of Toronto with Additional Qualifications in Outdoor Experiential Education
- Outdoor Adventure Naturalist Diploma from Algonquin College
- Honours B.A. Sociology, Anthropology, and Economics from the University of Toronto
- Wilderness First Responder
- Wild Deer Wilderness Skills Program Levels I and II
Laura Gilmour – Wild Muskoka Botanicals
Laura Gilmour 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
Alexis Burnett is a Naturalist, Tracker, Herbalist, Wilderness Skills Practitioner and Canoe Guide from Orangeville, Ontario. He currently resides in the Owen Sound area, spending his days tracking, wild-crafting and running his Outdoor School and Wilderness Canoe Tripping company, Earth Tracks. Alexis is lead guide for the wilderness canoe trips and head instructor for all the programs and classes. Along with his wife Bobbi and two children, they also run a small scale herb farm Rebel Roots Herb Farm which specializes in organically grown and ethically wild-crafted herbs.
Alexis is committed to mentoring and teaching others the skills that help us to re-connect with the natural world in an ancient and powerful way. He has been practicing wilderness skills, engaging in herbal studies, pursuing naturalist/tracking studies, and guiding canoe trips for over 20 years, learning from people and organizations such as Tom Brown Jr., Jon Young, renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, Wild Rose College and many others. Alexis teaches classes for people of all ages both for Earth Tracks and for various other organizations. Some of these workshops have focused on such topics as wilderness survival, bushcraft, wildlife tracking, wildcrafting and foraging, herbal studies, naturalist skills and nature connection programming for children and adults.
Eddie Starnater – Practical Primitive
Eddie 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 specializes in connecting people with the natural world, themselves and others. His dedicated personal history includes training and teaching with Tom Brown Jr at the Trackers School in a unique apprenticeship project, followed by a solo Wilderness Living Immersion (8 months) in the woods of Southern Ontario, and founding Sticks and Stones Wilderness School (2008). Skeet is one of the co-founders of the annual Headwaters Earth Skills Gathering, hosted by SSWS. His immense passion and continued training with Jon Young among other mentors gives Skeet a comprehensive and inspired background in Deep Nature Connection and Cultural Regeneration. He currently works with the 8 Shields Institute as a mentor for various programs such as Village Talk, Living a Deeply Connected Life, the Art of Mentoring Leadership Training program, Village Builders, the Art of Mentoring and Bird Language Leaders (having played an integral role in bringing the latter to Ontario).
Currently residing in Muskoka with his wife Kate and their two children, Skeet coordinates and works with a diverse team of mentors amidst the abundant wildlife and diverse ecosystems of the Algonquin region. The Sutherland’s enjoy tending the wild places and the permaculture farm at the centre of camp, and in sharing the atmosphere and stories from this work with others. In so doing, they grow connection and empower ecological and cultural stewardship as a way of life.
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 where he practiced wilderness skills, mentoring and naturalist training. 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.