The Mentors

THE MENTORS

Scroll down to see them all.

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Joe Kreuzman

Joe is the Founder and Director of Coyote Trails School of Nature. He has dedicated his career to teaching, training and mentoring thousands of students in the arts of tracking, awareness and backcountry wilderness ethics. Joe has also led tracking expeditions internationally in both Belize and South Africa and is an adjunct professor with the University of Vermont. Born in Ohio, Joe was fortunate to attend Southern Oregon University in the beautiful Rogue Valley which led him to extensive wilderness adventures, both through and outside of academia. Joe draws upon his vast and diverse experiential knowledge and training to bring the very best to each life he touches.

Amanda Smith
Amanda Smith

Raised just outside Nederland, Colorado, Amanda has been part of Coyote Trails School of Nature since 2005, first as a student, then as an intern. Recently Amanda has become the Lead Instructor at Coyote Trails. She is a graduate of the 2011–2012 Caretaker Program. As Lead Instructor for Coyote Trails, her passion lies in supporting others in the life journey of self-discovery through tracking and wilderness-based primitive living skills. Her hope is that all people will have the opportunity to build a deeper connection with themselves, each other and the earth. Amanda’s favorite pastime is tracking and learning the “stories” behind the tracks she finds. She is also a classically trained violinist and a longtime student of Kung Fu.

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Eirik Moergen

Eirik is the Senior Instructor at Coyote Trails School of Nature and has been with Coyote Trails since its inception over 112 years ago. Eirik has taught the arts of tracking, survival and nature awareness through various classes, workshops and seminars to thousands of students across the country. Born in California and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Eirik has always held a deep connection to the natural world. He started training early in the martial and yogic arts, and these techniques and experiences have deeply influenced his life from a young age. Eirik recently graduated with a Master’s Diploma in Classical Chinese Medicine from the Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine in North Carolina. He works to incorporate his skills in deep nature connection with the healing practices of Chinese Medicine.

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Katie Buttermore

A member of Coyote Trails School of Nature since 2009, Katie has been instructing since 2011 and is currently its Educational Programs and Outreach Coordinator. Katie grew up playing in the outdoors of Columbus, Ohio. Spending a great deal of time in the Hocking Hills learning outdoor living skills, she began instructing at age 15 at Camp Wyandot of Camp Fire USA Central OH. Since then, she has maintained a passionate relationship with nature, graduating from Denison University (Ohio) with a B.S. in Biology, and has immersed herself in Coyote Trails, including the 4-season Caretaker Program 2011–2012. She is also an accomplished musician, singer and songwriter with her own SoundCloud music channel.

Support Staff

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Steve Cossin

Born in Central Ohio, Steve grew up in the countryside just outside of Columbus, and spent a lot of time in the Appalachian foothills of West Virginia. It was fire that first drew him to the outdoors. He says, “There was just something about the hypnotic dance of the flames that as a kid I just couldn’t get enough of”. Steve worked at Camp Wyandot in the Hocking Hills of Ohio which was his first chance to really share with kids his passion for the outdoors, needless to say, he was hooked. It was there he was introduced to Coyote Trails School of Nature in 2010 when they guest instructed at Camp Wyandot. The following year he was accepted into the Caretaker Program and in 2012 Steve became a Coyote Trails instructor. Steve has an Associate of Arts degree from Columbus State Community College. Steve currently is studying and training in the art of acrobatics as well as being a certified personal trainer. Steve says, “It is my goal to bring back the days of “I want to play outside!”

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Sean Poynter

Sean started his outdoor career as a toddler playing in the mud and climbing his parent’s apple trees. He has always loved living close to the earth. As a kid growing up in Arizona, he was lucky enough to have this love nurtured through horseback riding, skiing, gardening, and catching crawdads in the local creeks (when they had water!). In 2005 at age 14, Sean found Coyote Trails School of Nature and came out for his first weeklong course. And he just kept coming back, first as a student, then instructor-in-training, and then as a full-fledged instructor, all the while attending Prescott College studying Natural History. In 2013-2014 Sean became a graduate of the yearlong Coyote Trails Caretaker Program. He is currently an Instructor with Coyote Trails as well as support staff for this year’s Caretaker Program.

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Kristi Freese

Kristi grew up in a small town on the coast of Washington State. She was drawn to the natural world at an early age, and could be found staring at animal tracks on the beach, wondering over an unknown plant, or reading field guides just for fun. In 2005, she attended Coyote Trails School of Nature, where she began training in primitive skills and wildlife tracking in earnest. In 2008, she participated in the Coyote Trails Residential Apprenticeship program, and began working for Coyote Trails as an instructor. Kristi attended Northern Arizona University, and graduated in 2011 with a degree in wildlife biology. Her primary academic focus is field research, studying animals in their natural habitat. Her studies include work with foxes, bats, skunks, sea lions, rattlesnakes, and migratory birds. One of her long-term goals is to integrate traditional tracking methods into modern field research, and to promote wildlife tracking as a vital knowledge base for all field biologists.