Who We Are

Core Staff

Amy Hyatt – Program Director

Amy Hyatt

Amy moved to Vermont in August 2001 to participate in Vermont Wilderness School’s Instructor Apprenticeship Program, get trained and move back to her birth home bioregion of Southwestern Ohio to start a wilderness school there. She quickly fell in love with Vermont, the work of VWS, and the children and families. She has been with us ever since. Amy completed the four-year VWS Apprenticeship Program in 2005, and she has been a lead instructor since 2003. Her specialty is working with children ages 7-11 and adults of all ages in areas of nature awareness, basic survival skills, cultural facilitation, and community building. She completed a Master of Arts in eco-literacy and place-based education from Union Institute and University and a Bachelor’s of Philosophy in Cross-Cultural Communication through the Arts from Miami University. 


Certification: Wilderness First Aid & Adult/child CPR, 1st aid, and AED

Bob Etzweiler – Program Director

Bob_EtzweilerBob has always loved being outdoors. Before moving to Vermont in 2006, he was program director and naturalist at a summer camp / outdoor retreat center in Pennsylvania. Upon coming to Vermont, he started doing wilderness programs similar to Otter Day Camp and found that was a good fit. He has worked for Oyase Community School since 2007 as well as offering his own Fox Walk Programs—both offered through Vermont Wilderness School.  He loves huntin, tanning hides, crafting, tracking and wandering. He also loves primitive cooking and wants to have a related show on the food network. Let him know if you have any connections.


Certification: Wilderness First Aid & Adult/child CPR, 1st aid, and AED

Elissa Pine – Bookkeeper

Bio & picture coming soon!


Sam Stegeman – Executive Director

SamSam’s family attended VWS’s weeklong Art of Mentoring program in 2013, and life hasn’t been the same since.  He is thrilled and grateful to have found a community that reinforces his family’s dedication to living a life based in nature awareness, community development, and personal growth.  He believes that every child and every adult, no matter their situation, should have the kind of opportunity his family has had.

Sam became the Executive Director of VWS at the beginning of 2015. For the previous five years, Sam worked at CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) where he coordinated PVGrows, a network of people and organizations collaborating around a healthy and sustainable regional food economy. From 2000-2010 he worked in the foundation/philanthropy sector and gained experience in organizational development, facilitation, program/event management, and finance. He graduated with a BA in Environmental Studies from Brown University. Sam and his wife Leslie live in Conway. MA with their two children, who are teaching their parents about trees and making fire.

Ash Young – Operations & Programs Coordinator

Photo of Ash YoungEvan “Ash” Young is a rewilder, systems thinker, and player of infinite games. Ash has a masters degree in Whole Systems Design from Antioch University and is a graduate of the Wilderness Awareness School’s Anake Program. Ash has experience as a wilderness educator, Makerspace coordinator, in tech/start-ups, and in nonprofit operations. His primary roles at the Vermont Wilderness School revolve around operations, outreach, organizational development, and project management. He is passionately interested in animal tracking/trailing, playing games, and becoming a bowyer.

Certification: Wilderness First Aid & Adult/child CPR, 1st aid, and AED

Field Staff

Jasmyn Atsalis-Gogel – Lead Instructor

Raven Atsalis-Gogel

Kathy Dean – Program Director for When Women Were Trees

Zak Grace – Lead Instructor

Owen Diamondstone-Kohout

Abby Mnookin – Lead Instructor

Ani Schaeffer – Program Co-Director & Instructor Great Blue Heron Community School, Schools Liaison 

Connor Stedman – Program Director for Land Stewardship Camp


  • Ingrid Burrows
  • Rafe Halsey
  • Shannon Herrick
  • John Lee
  • Kalia Lydgate
  • Jason Morris
  • Gia Neswald
  • Alan Roberts
  • Mishka Viscardi
  • RJ Wplk