Director, Wild Communion
Christy grew up in Midwest farm country. The oldest daughter in a big, beautiful family, she learned well what was expected of her and followed suit. Hard work, music training, homemaking and care for others, young and old, were the focuses of her young life. In the spaces between, her time was in the gardens, reading, soaking up any available sunshine, walking the creek, or taking long bike rides on country roads.
She spent her early adulthood studying opera and German, as an au pair in Austria, teaching English in Prague and teaching music and performing while enjoying small-town life in the Midwest between adventures while becoming a mother.
She chose to home school her 4 children, living on hobby farm-with goats, chickens and ducks, a multitude of barn cats and Molly, a German Shepherd mix. These years provided a lot of time for chasing “squirrels”, exploring every avenue of curiosity that arose with her children. Then, going back to school at 42, she found that with her interests in religion, the spirit, and the natural world came a constant flow of energy.
She has now founded and directs a music school at her local YMCA and has finished a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Religious Studies.
She is enrolled and working on an MDiv, focusing on Eco-theology and how human's relationship with the earth can be healed by an evolving theology.
As a certified forest therapy guide and owner of Wild Communion, she has traveled to and worked in many forests throughout the world, each offering their own kind of support and love. This work has helped her to find her voice, her commitment to herself and others, and solidify her desire to be of service to all of the beings of the earth.
Victoria is an organizer, a spiritual director and pastor who has led spiritual formation retreats, interactive labyrinths, contemplative workshops, rituals and courses for more than twenty-five years. After ten years co-leading a youth climate advocacy organization with her son, she began wilderness soul work through Animas Valley Institute. This awakened her audacious call to “rewild” the church. Launching the first Church of the Wild, in Ojai, CA in 2015, she began to introduce her community to spiritual practices that re-connect them to the sacred in and between all things. She co-founded and leads the Wild Church Network, a support network for leaders in the Wild Church/Forest Church movement in North America. Victoria also co-created and directs the Seminary of the Wild, which offers weeklong programs at Ghost Ranch exploring Wild Christ, Wild Earth, Wild Self and a yearlong Eco-Ministry Certificate that guides spiritual leaders into their own ‘wild calling’ to serve the world (the WHOLE world, including the non-human beings.) Her book, Church of the Wild: Seeking an Untamed God and Spiritual Life, is scheduled to be released Spring 2021.
Dana Kindness is a Certified Sound Healing Practitioner with the Sound Embrace Institute and a Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy. With these two powerful healing modalities backed by scientific research, she brings you the opportunity to relax and let go of the worries of everyday life and the space to connect with yourself, others, the natural world around you, and discover new possibilities for your life.
She steps into this work with her love of nature and years spent outdoors working as an environmental and outdoor educator where she helped learners of all ages connect with nature and each other.
Her love of music, present since childhood, inspired her to learn various instruments and sing, and often provided catharsis. She hopes to help others find stillness so that they can heal in whatever ways are necessary to grow and thrive as individuals who are part of a greater whole.
Aware that we must continue to do our own work as we work to help others, Dana has been studying spirituality and more specifically the Divine Feminine over the past few years. Sparked by her desire to help a sick friend, this lead to her certification in these healing modalities, and to pursue her current training as a Priestess of the Rose lineage. She believes wholeheartedly in bringing beauty and magic and love into the world.
Joshua Heath is a native Mainer who spent his childhood summers in a tent enjoying the Maine woods camping, fishing, and chasing fireflies. Josh’s affinity to the great outdoors led him to his bachelor’s degree in Park Management with a focus in Natural and Cultural Interpretation. After college, Josh worked for both state and local parks educating travelers about the natural surroundings. He also spent 12 years making maple syrup commercially in Maine, producing over 400 gallons of pure maple syrup each year.
Josh ran an adventure based aspirations program for middle school students prior to joining the Outdoor Adventure team at The Lodge at Woodloch in 2010. A few years after joining the team, Josh was promoted to the manager of the Outdoor Adventure program. His passion and previous experience helped grow the ice fishing program. He honed his skills in fly fishing and now leads Tenkara, a Japanese style of fly fishing at The Lodge. Josh has been certified as a Nature Therapy Guide for forest bathing and furthered his skills and knowledge with a one-week intensive course in Colorado. Josh’s passion for the philosophy of Forest Bathing allows him to lead the program at The Lodge at Woodloch (and as a leader among destination spa’s around the world) since 2015. Josh has also merged his personal passions of geocaching and gardening to develop robust programs at The Lodge at Woodloch. Josh considers himself lucky to have crafted a (dirt) path of spending time in the outdoors, just like his childhood in the woods, into a career at one of the top destination spas in the world.