Instructors & Staff


Lela Norem grew up playing in the suburban creeks of Texas and running and catching fireflies in the open country fields of Illinois. She spent much of her life focused on fine art photography, and studied psychology and language. She went on to pursue a career in photojournalism, which she gradually relinquished when she realized it was taking a toll on her eyesight, arm mobility, and direct enjoyment of life’s treasures. Having always connected easily with children, she was gifted with on-the-job training as a Montessori assistant, which she used for four consecutive years before finding the path of nature connection. She attended several of WAS’s adult programs: Anake, ALP (with three youth programs), Tracking Intensive, and now Wild Plant Intensive. She has also been instructing and directing summer camps with WAS for 3 years, and has spent time integrating some of the nature connection and Montessori philosophies. She is excited to be free-flowing and inspiration-led with Tracks and Tales.
Duncan Ende grew up on Vashon Island, Washington where he enjoyed playing sports year round, exploring and adventuring in the forest, fostering lifelong friendships, reading good books and passing on his knowledge and skills as a lacrosse coach and supportive friend to the developmentally disabled. Since leaving Vashon at 19 he has ridden his bike all over the west coast, spent a year living in community and working alongside developmentally disabled adults, apprenticed as a rite of passage guide for teenage boys and completed the Anake program with the class of 2017-18. Now an apprentice for The Wilderness Awareness School’s Roots and Wings, Foxes and Wild Within programs as well an employee with Tracks & Tales, he is excited to share his gifts of playfulness, musicality, connection, curiosity, vitality and reverence for the mysteries of nature.
Laura Hersh has been a Nature Mentor and Outdoor Educator professionally since the year 2000 with Nassau BOCES Outdoor Education, Wild Earth Inc., Ferry Beach Ecology School, Touch of Nature SIUC, The Trails of Awareness Project, the Student Conservation Association, The Wilderness Awareness School, Flying Deer Nature Center, The Art of Mentoring Vermont, Nature Vision, AmeriCorps Wetlands Interpreter with the Cache River Joint Partnership, Wild Earth, Flying Deer Nature Center, and most recently as Education Director, Lead Instructor, and Consultant with Seasons of Learning Homeschool Cooperative.
She enjoys photography, sharing nature with children, playing guitar, practicing friction fire, playing team leadership games, riding bikes, and being in professional service by working in partnership with dedicated organizations that promote environmental stewardship between human beings from all walks of life and generations and the natural world.Laura has earned a B.A. from Evergreen State College in Washington focusing on Community and Education as well as an A.A.S. in Graphic Design and Marketing and an A.A. S in Ornamental Horticulture.



Lucas Rebrovic grew up in rural Southwest Ohio, playing in the woods everyday. From a young age Lucas developed a passion for skills that enabled him to be outside with as little man-made “stuff” as possible. As a teenager this passion led him to begin experimenting with bow building, which quickly snowballed into a full-fledged desire to learn every primitive skill he could imagine. Lucas graduated the Wilderness Awareness School Residential Program and then earned his degree in Environmental Biology. He now resides in Carnation, Washington, where he continues to enjoy and learn from bow making, flint knapping, hide tanning, wild food harvesting, blacksmithing, and a multitude of other exciting outdoor living skills. We have been grateful to have had Lucas as our lead instructor for five amazing years, and are so happy when he comes back for occasional classes.


Kaan Oral has been studying primitive survival skills since 2002. A student of Tom Brown’s Tracker School, Kaan learned that survival depends not on fighting nature, but on surrendering to it, bringing awareness to what is around and inside you. He spent a year living in the woods in a shelter he built, eating almost entirely food he gathered and harvested, using supplies found and made from the land. He is adept at shelters, bow drill fires, weaving baskets, spinning fibers, tanning hides, and weaving on a backstrap loom. He is also a nationally registered EMT-Basic and Wilderness First Responder. He believes experience is the best teacher. Kaan joins us during the summer to instruct.


Jakob Ledbetter recently received his Master of Arts in Transpersonal Ecopsychology from Naropa University. The field of Ecopsychology seeks to develop and understand ways of expanding the psycho-spiritual-emotional connection between humans and the natural world, thereby assisting individuals with developing nature-connected lifestyles. During his final year of the program, Jakob volunteered with two nature-connection programs assisting the coyote mentors. This experience working with young people fostering their connection with the natural world has put Jakob on the path to attending the 2017-2018 Anake Outdoor Program. His ultimate vision is to create a rites of passage organization working with young adults coming of age, assisting them in their transitions to adulthood as empowered individuals who are provided the opportunity to realize their full human potential. We are pleased to have Jakob joining us this year to spearhead our Rites of Passage program.


Maya Wallach, parent, volunteer, and registrar, helped found Tracks & Tales Nature School in 2008 after seeing how students of all ages blossom in the amazing outdoor programs at the Wilderness Awareness School. Maya spent much of her childhood on the Pacific’s rocky beaches, and splashing in the clear blue lakes of the high Sierras. After several careers in New York (social work, arts administrator), Paris (dance writer & photographer) and Bangalore (computer programmer), living on a creek in the forest feels like coming home at last. Maya is currently enrolled in a 4 year healing program based on Native American practices. She is passionate about fostering community.