The first time Courtney was truly inspired to dive head first into learning was when she was introduced to Taoism, in the ninth grade, by a history teacher who teamed with equally creative art and English teachers in a multidimensional class designed for the school’s high achievers. “It was really a class for those of us who ached to stretch beyond the limited boundaries of what a conventional classroom had to offer; an environment from which we were able to take flight and soar.”
Courtney designed a curriculum that allowed her to graduate a year early in order to focus on strengthening herself emotionally and spiritually. For the next leg of life’s journey, she departed Massachusetts to attend San Diego State University, where she majored in communication and minored in anthropology. “I am intrigued by the ways we have related to our surroundings throughout history, how we have chosen to communicate our perceptions of those relationships, and how those relationships have affected the way we and our world have co-evolved. Examining people as members of a culture provides a fascinating lens through which to view the creation of our own realities.”
Courtney was profoundly affected by her relationship with the wind and water as a member of the San Diego State Sailing Team. While seeking sponsorship for her college racing team, she was hired by an America’s Cup syndicate and began a working relationship that would last many years and lead her to produce television features for Prime Sports and ESPN. She has traveled extensively and lived in several countries where she has worked for other television networks. She has spearheaded two successful environmental organizations, resulting in the unprecedented vote of Massachusetts residents raising their own taxes to save land. In Blaine County, Idaho, Courtney led the effort to implement Integrated Pest Management on public lands. Courtney enjoys the challenge of bringing together individuals who excel in their field, from various sides of the fence, to collaborate in producing excellent, win-win results.
For the past ten years, Courtney has been traveling with her husband and two children, world-schooling. “Though both of my parents were teachers and my grandfather was a principal, I never dreamed I would become an educator,” explains Courtney. “What I didn’t realize is that being an educator is the most amazing opportunity to become educated.”
Julie Tumamait-Stensilie traces her family heritage as far back as the 18th Century. Her Chumash roots can be found in eleven Chumash villages extending from Hichimin, Lu’upsh and Swaxil on Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Islands, to as far north as San Luis Obispo County, and as far south as Humaliwo (Malibu). Her introduction to and education about Chumash culture was through her father, Vincent Tumamait, a leader or paha among the Chumash until his death in 1992.
Julie has worked extensively with the U.S. National Parks Service, and served one year as a research associate for the Park Service and Hunter College in Chumash genealogical research, cataloging materials from area Mission archives. Julie is Chairperson for the Barbareno/Ventureno Band of Mission Indians (Chumash). She is also a Member of the Board of Trustees for the Ojai Valley Historical Society and Museum, the Board of Trustees and California Indian Advisory Committee for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and the University of California at Santa Barbara’s Committee on the “Repatriation” of Native American ceremonial artifacts. Julie proudly carries on the traditions of her family by sharing Chumash songs, culture, history, and storytelling in the context of her family’s native roots and experience in the Ojai Valley.
Amanda McQuade Crawford
Amanda McQuade Crawford is an herbalist encouraged by recent success foraging for signs of life in Los Angeles, California. A member of the Union of Concerned Scientists and United Plant Savers, Amanda experiences science as a spiritual discipline. After many years of balancing organic gardening in Ojai with private practices in Ojai, Beverly Hills and central California, Amanda took a year-long sabbatical in New Zealand to teach and learn more before returning to her native southern California. She is a Consultant Medical Herbalist for the entertainment community and natural product industry. She serves on international committees dedicated to quality of information and herbal products, including the Advisory Board of the American Botanical Council, and the American Herbalists Guild. She is a Member of the College of Phytotherapy Practitioners. She is a member of the International Research Group for the Conservation of Medicinal Plants.
Amanda has studied and taught traditional and modern plant medicine throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Russia, China, & the Amazon River in Brazil and Peru. She co-led tours for pharmacists and doctors looking for medicinal plants in the Amazon. There she met a medicine man who took her as his student, sharing his way of seeing plants over the next three years. Amanda has learned from plants and healers, as well as physicians at home and abroad. She teaches in hospitals, medical schools, and in open meadows. An Adjunct Professor at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, Boston, she lectures for their Master degree program in Applied Natural Products. She is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Tai Sophia Institute in Laurel, Maryland. She earned her degree in Phytotherapy (Herbal Medicine) from Britain’s College of Phytotherapy (Phyto, Greek for “plant”), and a BA in Medieval History from Vassar College.
Amanda regularly writes chapters in texts on natural medicine, most recently The H.E.R.B.A.L. Guide: Evidence-Based Dietary Supplement Resources for the Clinician, Robert Bonakdar MD, Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health, Aviva Romm, MD, The New Menopause Book. Mary Tagliaferri, Isaac Cohen, and Debu Tripathy, and Traditional Medicines for Modern Times: Antidiabetic Plants, edited by Amala Soumyanath. She is the author of three popular books on women’s health, The Natural Menopause Handbook, Herbal Remedies for Women, and The Herbal Menopause Book, based on her years in clinical practice. Amanda was a reviewer on herbal medicines for Natural Medicines in Clinical Management, Pt I. Stockton, CA: Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. She has been interviewed for numerous magazine articles and media events on herbs.
Her most recent adventure is hosting “What a Relief,” a television series dedicated to holistic health for Veria.com, available on DISH and Verizon FIOS. She is recognized internationally as one of the premier practicing herbalists who speak publicly on integrated health and herbal medicine.
John Cole grew up building race-cars, surfing and lifeguarding the waters of Southern California and exploring the shore and desert of Baja California. “Playing in the elements, working with my hands and now having a family has created a way of life where everything is in the process of becoming,” says Cole who has lived and worked around the country and world building and remodeling structures ranging from yurts and brick rounds, to the first LEED Platinum home in Montecito. Cole, who majored in art in college, and who is a LEED AP (Certified Green Builder), believes in pairing aesthetics and function in whatever project he undertakes, regardless of budget or intent.
“Every fence we raise, fort we build, landscape we create or house we construct requires choices that affect the people and environment around us.” Cole feels it is vital for this next generation to feel empowered to create responsible projects, and to understand that not all of humanity’s imprints on this planet are necessarily destructive. “The more deeply we consider every element, creature and person that may be affected by something we create, the more power we have to create something useful, beautiful and profound.”
As the daughter of a pilot, Kaitlin grew up traveling. A large portion of her education took place outside the classroom, backpacking through Europe, exploring museums, battlegrounds, castles, and the differences between cultures. This unconventional education paired with her love of working with children has inspired Kaitlin to encourage others to learn outside the box. Kaitlin, who spent many years as a nanny in her hometown of Monterey and as a camp counselor in Colorado, has enjoyed teaching high school sports for the past five years.
Kaitlin came to yoga with hopes of learning to sit still. Combining several of her passions, she began to teach kids yoga over two years ago in Sacramento. After visiting Ojai for a yoga workshop at Lulu Bandha’s, Kaitlin said goodbye to her work up North, packed up her apartment and moved to Ojai last fall. She is thrilled to be a part of the Grounded By Nature family and finds excuses to stop by when she’s not working there. When teaching and playing yoga with the kids, Kaitlin focuses on awareness of the body and relaxation through breath, visualizations, and chanting. She weaves in the rich oral adventures of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses that Casey Murphy regularly shares with the kids at GBN.
Anoo grew up in Mumbai, India in a rich and complex culture that led her to her most deeply-held conviction: that education is meant to stir each person’s innermost being so that she can participate in the lifelong process of growing into her most authentic self.
After a thriving career in software design and development, Anoo mindfully transitioned to the arena of holistic education in 2004. For three years, she taught at the progressive Puget Sound Community School. Anoo characterizes her experiences at PSCS, “I worked for my students and for myself, learning together with my students. I grew by leaps and bounds. My time designing software had taught me what I desired; my work at PSCS taught me who I was. On the surface, I taught subjects like cooking, Hindi, Math, Science, Cultural Literature, Yoga; what I was really teaching were the values closest to my heart, my vision for what it can be to learn in community, my conviction that education can call us into our truest selves. I was teaching my students and myself to inquire, think critically, take risks, be courageous, act with integrity, be disciplined, and to relate honestly and with love.”
After teaching at PSCS, while conducting graduate research in holistic education, Anoo visited numerous schools in the Greater Seattle area, in other parts of the United States and in India. She studied schools in great detail, their values and philosophies, teaching practices, teachers, student-teacher interactions and community impact. She developed a keen understanding of how schools put their stated values in practice and how that impacts learners. A nuanced understanding of schools and education led her to develop The Art of Education, a practice that flows from the inside-out, anchored in who the child and family is.
Cheyn Cole is eleven years old and loves younger children. She was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts and has been raised around the country and world since. Currently, Cheyn lives in a yurt on a beautiful piece of land and enjoys reading novels and writing plays. She is a professional actor who loves history and math, is athletic and smart and follows direction well. She is in Grounded By Nature’s Shoots Program and hopes to contribute some of what she learns to the younger Roots. Cheyn is certified in first aid and CPR. She is very pleased to be the Roots assistant.