Father, Organic Gardener, Nursery Manager, Horticulturist, and Life-long Naturalist
Joseph has worked in the plant industry for over ten years: working at a farm, landscaping, managing a garden center and most recently a retail nursery. He also has over ten years of retail management experience. The most rewarding thing for him, however, is helping people to connect with Nature, and he draws on a lifetime of experience for that.
From the age of five he has been caring for plants and gardening, has been an avid hiker for 26 years with an affinity for winter mountaineering, and is currently studying Permaculture and Indigenous agriculture with the intent of finding natural solutions for our ecological challenges. His love for the Forest was cultivated from many years of learning ethical hunting and fishing from his father.
Joseph has served a term as Secretary for Columcille Megalith Park's board of directors and is currently the project leader for their Forest, Flora, and Fauna Committee as well as an advisory board member. He also leads Antinanco's effort to help the functionally-extinct American Chestnut tree as Project Coordinator, as well as guides hikes and plant workshops. The most rewarding thing of all for Joe is spending time with his daughter, Serenity. His dream is to help bring humankind and Nature back to a peaceful, loving, and mutually beneficial relationship.
Certifications: Adult/Child/Infant CPR, First Aid, & AED, Wilderness First Aid
Lauren Anne Krumm
Green Initiatives Outreach Coordinator
Lauren's love and appreciation for the natural world began when she was a small child. Her parents instilled a deep appreciation for nature and respect for all living things and encouraged her to follow intuition and seek independence. This early foundation paved the way to her passion for preserving ecology, working with plants and herbal medicine, honoring indigenous culture, and communing with the natural world through sensing and observation.
In her early working career, Lauren held various customer service positions working with the public. She has since left the business world with her last position being Field Director for a market research firm, acting as the liaison between executives and service providers. She oversaw all purchasing within the organization, hiring of vendors, all printed media, the mail room, supply stock, organized events and work trips, and single handedly planned and executed the move of over 100 employees to a new location.
Lauren has been growing herbs and working with herbal medicine for the past 8 years, and is always a student of the plant world. She helped build an herbal business for 6 years, playing a part in all aspects of the business, and offering her homegrown teas and topical remedies to the public.
Her deepest passion is singing and making music with others. She also enjoys spending time with family, especially her daughter, making art, working with her hands, making home cooked meals from scratch, observing nature with a special focus on bird language and the micro world, and helping to make positive connections within her community.
Native American Programming Coordinator
Maria Ragonese’s early career was in business as a corporate administrative assistant in the Financial District of New York City. After September 11, 2001, as someone who personally lost loved ones in the attacks, she became involved with the grass-roots organizations advocating for the 9-11 Families; this reshaped her life. She wrote as means of healing herself, and her essays are published in many compilations and books about September 11th.
Since then she has dedicated her life helping people heal and find their ways through life’s sometimes difficult journeys. Maria’s passion has always been Native American History and Culture. She is now turning her advocacy skills toward revival of Native American Culture for the purpose of healing the Earth and all people.
Among Maria's Appointments and Certifications:
Volunteer for Monroe County VNA Hospice for over 10 years where she helped to create and run a successful children’s bereavement program and camp.
Certified Stephen Minister trained by the United Methodist Organization.
Certified Crisis Text Counselor.
Pursuing certification in Life Coaching
Elected leader of the Committee for Native American Ministries for East Stroudsburg United Methodist Church.
Urszula received her BA degree in elementary education and pedagogy at Teachers Training College in Radom and University of Jan Kochanowski in Kielce, and also studied elementary education at Cedar Crest College.
Pedagogist, art navigator, she is the owner of Amber Connection in Emmaus, PA, a shamanic healer and explorer, and a dedicated mother and friend. Changing community through art is her aim.
Dina is a Multicultural Artist, Dance of Liberation Facilitator, Shamanic Healer, Freelance Photographer, and a Conscious New Mom.
Anoush is an adventurous naturalist whose interest in woodworking, wood/bone carving, wood-burning, wool-spinning/feling, fermentation, science, drumming, belly dancing, herbalism, writing and paleoethnobiology has lead her to carve the uncarvable, spin the unspinnable, dye the undyable and keep mastering her wide spectrum of skills as part of her everyday life. From wood and raw wool to finished garments and utensils, silkworm growing and harvesting, bone collection and processing, healthy living and urban homesteading, her restless curiosity has taken her on many adventures.
Director of Youth Programs
Olga Chechina, BA in Developmental Psychology, over 10 years of experience teaching students of various ages. Olga is inspired by the Emilio Reggio teaching philosophy along with Lori Pickert’s Project-Based Learning approach. Her goal is to help children develop their imagination and creativity in the environment that supports self-directed project -based learning.
Olga had founded Kidbilt in 2014 – a woodworking program for kids of all ages. Since then she has worked within pubic and charter schools teaching kids how to use the woodworking tools safely to build meaningful projects out of wood. She is fortunate to meet many students in her classes. She has worked with students who have developmental disabilities and work better with their hands rather than sitting still in a classroom.
Many of Olga's students come from low socio-economic backgrounds and don’t have access to many programs such as these. In the course of the years of running the woodworking program in Jersey City’s public schools, Olga noticed that many more girls begin to sign up for this hands on program and want to learn how to use tools to build. The woodworking program is designed to build confidence, develop engineering thinking and learn through doing. Kids work collaboratively to build real life projects such as tool boxes, chairs, step stools and bird feeders.
Traditions and Mentorships
Nganga Akinyele Onisegun Karade is a traditional West African healer. He was initiated to the Yoruba culture as a Babalawo and Nganga/Palo Healer by Baba Ifa Karade at Ile Tawo Lona, Newark, NJ. In his teens, he embarked on a wellness and healing journey when it was less traveled. First as a Martial Artist, he then transitioned to healing side of the Martial Arts, getting an introduction in acupuncture at the Detox Center of Lincoln Hospital, Bronx New York.
Holds Personal Trainer, Colon Therapist and Woods Colon Hygiene Certifications from The International School of Shiatsu and the American Oriental Bodywork Therapy Association
Apprenticeship and studies with Dr. George Zofchak of Tatra Herb Company
Native Indigenous Studies with Two Feathers and at Cherokee Nation, North Carolina
-Studied several years of the Ancient Khemitic Mystery Healing System at Ancestal Meditation At Newark School of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey.
Nature and Survival Guide, International Programs
Jacob is an explorer who loves to travel the world and experience different cultures through connecting with the land and the people. He loves hiking, rock climbing, mountain climbing, snowboarding, and other Adventure sports.
Jacob loves to share the wonders of the natural world with other people. He has been teaching survival skills classes to young teens and is also involved as a guide for domestic and international programs with Antinanco Earth Arts School. He believes it is extremely important to teach kids about the importance of the earth, so that they can learn to be caretakers of our planet.
Adult/Child/Infant CPR, First Aid, & AED
Wilderness First Aid
Content Development Specialist
Alan Ritter has been a professional teacher since entering graduate school in 1983. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994 with a PhD in Chemistry. This was followed by a 9 year career as a defense contractor which ended in 2005. A voracious reader since his youth, Alan has always been interested in riddles. A seminal and hilarious moment happened when he figured out Che-mistry is rooted in Qi mystery, the word and subject material have qualities of an illusion. But doesn't everything?
In 2010, Alan found wholesale produce through a friend and created a neighborhood group, The Produce Club, to fight food waste and provide affordable organic produce. The Produce Club is a weekly operation in Oaklyn NJ and is a private club that is easy to join. Alan also helps folks across the USA and Canada find wholesale produce sources in their area.
Board of Directors
Founder, Board Chair
Olga Sher is a 2003 magna cum laude graduate of New York Law School, where she was a member of the New York School Law Review. Olga serves as Associate General Counsel for a New Jersey-based company specializing in financial products.
Olga lives in Holmdel with her husband and their two children. She is actively involved in charitable educational incentives and experiential community classes for children and adults, as well as in preservation of indigenous knowledge and traditions.
Licenses and Certifications: JD, admitted to practice in NJ and NY, HIPAA Privacy and Security Expert, Certified Archery Instructor, CPR, First Aid.
Barnaby Ruhe is an American artist, academic and six-time world champion boomeranger. As an artist, Ruhe, a professor at New York University, Gallatin school of individualized study, is best known for his painting marathons, otherwise known as endurance feats.
Barnaby holds doctorate degree in shamanism and art practice, an interdisciplinary effort combining psychology, anthropology, art history, phenomenology, and art studio action. He was senior editor of Art/World newspaper in the 1980s and 90s and wrote the first New York City reviews for Francesco Clemente and the Starn Twins, as well as essays on Francisco de Goya, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol, and Joseph Beuys.
Ruhe currently serves on the board of Artists Talk on Art. A romantic artist at Abstract Expressionism and Portrait and Figure and TextArt, he incorporates sentiment, gesture, and psychic journeying in his paintings, and he runs shaman healing workshops at Shamandome Camp at the Burning Man festival each summer.
Mariana Bernstein has always been passionate about education and innovative methods of bringing knowledge to people of different ages.
Throughout her career, she has worked with kids and adults from different socioeconomic backgrounds and created curricula for school programs and corporate training initiatives. In conjunction with faculty, she designed and developed one of the first online master's degree programs for health care delivery leadership and led a few summer camp initiatives for kids. Mariana strives to understand the psychology and physiology of the process of learning new concepts and acquiring new skills. She earned two master's degrees in education and instructional design and this field never ceases to provide her with new challenges and surprises.
Mariana believes in using alternative approaches to bring knowledge to different learner communities and likes to think out of the box to create learning environments that are both effective and fun.
Galina is a 1993 cum laude graduate of Baruch College CUNY with major in accounting. She received her CPA license in 1997. Galina is a member of AICPA. She currently works as a Controller for ATA Enterprises - NYC Real Estate Company.
Prior to Baruch College, Mrs. Shekoff obtained her bachelor's degree in engineering in the former Soviet Union. She used to work as an estimator in construction industry.
Having 2 grown children and 5 beautiful grandchildren, Galina takes education very seriously. Galina has a small home-based tax practice and offers private bookkeeping classes.
Mrs. Shekoff loves children, gardening, traveling and photography.
Jeff Inti Keim
Jeff is a gardener, builder, landscaper, stone carver, and a water protector who has been closely involved with the Indigenous Coalition at Standing Rock. He has been studying plants, plant medicines and wild edibles since his early teens, and is an apprentice to a Shipibo shaman.
In addition, Jeff loves camping, hiking, backpacking, skiing, snowboarding, rock and ice climbing, disk golf, bicycling and motorcycling, and has toured across New Zealand, covering 1500 miles on a bike. Jeff is also a river guide and has kayaked all over North America, from Canada to Costa Rica. He enjoys exploring the world and studying philosophy, psychology and religions.
Certifications: 6 levels of certification in kayak instruction.
Arzu Mountain Spirit
Arzu Mountain Spirit is a plant medicine woman, traditional health care practitioner, life coach, and wisdom-keeper on the healing practices of the Garifuna.
Descended from a lineage of matriarchal Garifuna healers, she offers teachings and travels the world sharing knowledge on the spiritual and healing properties of sacred medicinal plants.
She is CEO of the Mountain Spirit Wellness Community and Founder of the Wagiya Foundation. To learn more about Arzu's work: www.arzumountainspirit.com
Bill Pfeiffer aka «Sky Otter» is the author of Wild Earth, Wild Soul: A Manual for an Ecstatic Culture. Bill is the founder of Sacred Earth Network which implemented leading edge visions for almost 20 years. In that time, Bill made Russia a "second home" having traveled there 42 times - -giving him a rare cross-cultural perspective. He has 25 years of experience in Re-evaluation Counseling and Vipassana meditation, and has undergone extensive training with Siberian shamans as well as with Joanna Macy and John Perkins.
Bill has also spent much time in the US Southwest learning about Native medicine ways and the crucial importance of the petroglyphs and pictographs.
At age 6, Dave sold coffee and popcorn at the ballpark across the street. At 12, he went door-to-door with cukes from his first garden. Next was a 6-year long recycled bicycle business and onto being a radio host and then community organizer.
From EarthMovers Drum Collective Circles to Body Harmonics vibrational healing modalities, he facilitates many wonderful community programs across NJ and beyond. The culmination of his work is the annual Touch Mother Earth, a sustainable solutions-based event that takes place in Washington, NJ. You can contact Dave at
Delwin Fiddler, Jr.
Delwin Fiddler, Jr. is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Sans Arc band, and a world renowned Native American performing Artist. Delwin has performed for two American President’s and the Royal Family in England. His traditional Grass Dance is displayed in a continual loop at the Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
Delwin’s Lakota name is Hehakapa Mahto (Elk Bear). He is third generation grandson of the Elk Head Red Hair (Hehakapa Pahinsa) who was the historical Keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe.
Aside from performing, Delwin's work involves a commitment to protecting and defending Mother Earth. He created PAZA to promote cultural awareness with cultural exchange as well as to preserve his heritage and keep the traditions of his native people strong for future generations.
Dina Ostrovsky weaves modern psychology, creative expression, and ancient spiritual Earth practices into her transformational programs. She is a Shamanic Healer initiated in the Eastern European Tuva Lineage and is studying for a Master's Degree in Process Oriented Psychology.
For the last 15 years she has also been practicing Dzogchen Buddhism and Qigong with master teachers. Having recently returned to the States after working in Costa Rica as the Director of a holistic addiction rehab center, she is now serving on the East Coast as a transformational coach, therapist and family constellation facilitator. She is also the founder and director of Ursa Major Travel Club, leading spiritual travel adventures around the world. "The Art and Science of Transformation has become my career and my passion. I am honored to assist others on this path with my knowledge, vision, and experience.” More info at TERRApia.org