Chris Knapp is a father, homesteader, environmental educator and founder of Maine Local Living School.  He is passionate about sharing pathways into relationship with the human and more-than-human communities through hand craft, simple living  and homesteading arts.  Chris began teaching and guiding at Kroka Expeditions where, for multiple years, he instructed on Kroka's winter semester for high school students.  Chris has taught experiential education with learners from grade school to graduate school.  Chris holds a M.S. in environmental studies from Antioch University New England, is a Wilderness First Responder and a Registered Maine Guide.

Jacquelynn Ward grew up running around the woods, eating herbs straight from the garden, and sleeping outside whenever possible.  Since then, she has been exploring the ways in which language, land, work, and imagination help us to be fully alive on Earth.  She is currently an educator, storyteller, shiatsu practitioner, gardener, and aspiring herbalist.  For the past decade, she has worked for numerous wilderness schools in the Northeast, and pursued academic learning.  She holds a B.A. in Historiography and Alternative Historical Narrative, and an M.A. in Viking and Medieval Norse History.  Jacquelynn is also a Wilderness First Responder.


Michelle Fournier is a student of living in right relationship to the world.  She has shared her enthusiasm for the people-environment relationship in many contexts, both inside and outside the classroom.  Michelle has also been involved in climate justice movements as a community organizer and volunteer for 10 years. She loves Maine and everything about food and being outdoors. She has a M.S. in Natural Resources and Environment / Environmental Justice and a Graduate Teaching Certificate from the University of Michigan, and is a Wilderness First Responder.


Guest Teachers

 Dr. Andrew Barton is a forest and fire ecologist, science writer, environmentalist, and professor of biology at the University of Maine at Farmington. His current research takes him to the Arizona mountains to better understand forest recovery after wildfires in a warmer and drier world, as well as to the Sky Islands of southwest Texas and northern Mexico. Drew’s book, The Changing Nature of the Maine Woods, tells the story of how the forests of Maine have changed over the past 10,000 years and how they are changing today. He is also the co-author of Ecology and Recovery of Old-growth Forests in Eastern North America. Drew is also helping confront climate change through his work with the Governor’s Climate Council of Maine and the Ecological Reserve Program. Drew will be a guest instructor for The Understory Gap Term.


Dr. Gretchen Legler is a writer, Master Gardener, and professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Maine Farmington. Her writing focuses on human relationships with the natural world, how places and other-than-human beings shape us, as we shape them in return. Her writing and teaching have taken her all over the world, including to Antarctica, where she stayed at McMurdo Station as a fellow of the National Science Foundation Artists and Writers Program, and the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan, where she taught and wrote as a Fulbright Scholar. She holds a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and PhD in English and Feminist Studies from the University of Minnesota, and a Masters of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. Her latest book, Woodsqueer: Crafting a Sustainable Rural Life, is about the small farm she and her partner Ruth Hill worked for 20 years in the mountains of Western Maine.


Raymond E. Reitze, Jr. is a Master Maine Guide, author, philosophy teacher and guest elder and mentor for MLLS.  As a young boy in Buxton, Maine, Raymond spent countless hours being mentored by an elder from the Mi'Kmaq people who was living on the back acreage of the Reitzes' farm.  Those early years opened Raymond to a way of seeing and being upon the earth that has guided his life ever since.  He has run several businesses and guided countless people through the wilds of Maine and into “the silence.”  Raymond has dedicated his life to the teachings of love, and guiding people and children to their own hearts.

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 Ashirah Knapp is an experiential educator, homesteader of 20-plus years, goat farmer, Maine Guide, and mother.  She has worked in accounting and addiction medicine offices and enjoyed many years offering in-home senior care.  She runs Maine Local Living School's animal husbandry program, teaches sewing and handcraft and is finishing two novels and several short children's stories.