Started with Trackers: 2004
Tony Deis is the founder of Trackers. He dropped out of high school school and trained in the arts of awareness, forest-craft skills, primitive skills, and tracking. Since then, he has learned to run a business in order to make a profound impact on the educational world.
Tony believes that kids are far more capable than the modern world allows. He fosters the opportunity for them to be given greater freedom and greater responsibility so that they can create a better and more wild world.
Tony runs Trackers as though it were an extension of his large Italian family. Every member is responsible for creating a better world for the other members to live and bring new members into.
Started with Trackers: 2004
A native Oregonian, Molly received her Bachelors degree in German from Davidson College in North Carolina and spent a year in Germany, also traveling throughout much of Western Europe. She spends her time between Portland and Sandy, where she and her husband (Tony) live with their three children. She keeps busy herding goats, wrangling chickens, planning gardens and wandering the woods with babes in tow. Molly is also an avid cellist and plays in the Willamette Falls Symphony. As one of the "voices of Trackers", you have probably spoken with her regarding any of our myriad programs. Molly and Tony have three children - Robin, Annie and Maxine.
Started with Trackers: 2010
Origin Story Jess grew up in a scattering of places across the west coast, exploring the woods of the Pacific Northwest and the coastlines of Sonoma County. She studied education, literature, and medieval history at Portland State University before jumping over to London to train as a Montessori early childhood educator and finally settling down in the Bay Area. After two years as a Montessori teacher in Oakland, she joined Trackers first as an instructor and then as the Bay Area Regional Director. In her alleged spare time, she tries to be outside as much as possible with her two sons, mad scientist husband, and their urban homestead menagerie of assorted animals and plants. Jess has worked for Trackers since 2010.
Philosophy Children AND adults are capable of more than our culture often asks of them! When you give someone real tools, a deft bit of guidance, and the space to pursue their interests, amazing things happen.
Position: Regional Director
I am David. I work for Trackers.
Travis Southworth Neumeyer
Position: Hand of Trackers and COO for Trackers Earth, Inc.
After living in the woods of Northern California as a young child, sleeping under a mosquito net in the summer and with a shovel for a toilet, Travis moved to Eugene for high school and learned that some people spend time outside for fun. While earning an undergraduate Biology degree from Lewis and Clark College, Travis learned that some people would even pay other people to take them outside. All total, Travis has professionally led and directed outdoor and education programs for nearly 20 years. Travis has worked as a classroom science teacher and an outdoor adventure guide leading backpacking, snowshoeing, rafting and sea kayaking trips, including wilderness therapy trips with feisty and amazing teenagers. He has served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in southern Africa, teaching young people how to talk about hunting and subsistence farming in English so they could pass tests. Prior to joining Trackers, he ran the Mount St. Helens Institute and worked with Trackers as a consultant focusing on programming. Travis was also the Director of Outdoor Science Education and Classes at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry for 6 years. Travis earned a Master’s in Education Leadership with a focus on sustainability education and outdoor program management from Portland State University. Travis works at Trackers because the skills we teach give kids the confidence to feel like they own the world, not like it owns them.
Position: Administrative Director
Started with Trackers: 2012
Chris joined Trackers full time as our Administrative Director in 2012 after 17 years in the credit union world. She has been involved with Trackers off and on from the beginning and is thrilled to be part of the community full time.
When she isn't processing registrations or assisting parents and staff, she enjoys camping, baking, cooking and hanging out with friends and family. She is actively involved in her daughter’s school and a strong supporter of her husband’s ultra marathon running.
Position: Bookkeeper and Propmaster or Tracker of Numbers and Stuff
Elaine grew up in California suburbs riding her bike way further than her parents were probably aware. She spent her formative years both attending Star Trek conventions and living with a radical primitive skills community in the woods. Elaine eventually received her degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Elaine came to Trackers after working for A Curious Summer in San Francisco where she first got to teach kids making and tinkering skills. She is the co-owner of a doll and art business, and spent the last decade at farmers markets learning how to grow, sell and use seasonal produce. At some point Elaine learned the mystical art of quickbooks and now divides her time between office camp, teaching, and raising two wonderful children.
She loves teaching archery and cooking with kids, anything that brings on the moment when kids realize their own competency. Watching returning campers grow in ability and self confidence has been one of the best parts of being with Trackers. She is excited to be part of a program that connects people to the earth through hands-on crafts and experiences.
Elaine has a passion for making things: food, art, tools, bows. She will happily spend a weekend covered in clay, molding pots. She adores carving, giant puppets, sewing costumes, cooking homemade ravioli, exploring the Portland library system with her children, and cheering for the end of civilization.
Position: Overnight Programs Coordinator
June grew up roaming the mosquitoey wetlands and farm fields around her family's Michigan homestead. In the summer, her Mother and Grandfather wrangled the family into the gardens to harvest and preserve veggies for the cold midwestern winters. Her stomach still growls when she thinks of her Dad's fruit orchard and Mom's fat gooseberry bushes.
She moved to the Northwest in 1997, after receiving her Bachelors in Education from Michigan State. Her deep appreciation for Oregon's wild lands, and for the people who care for them, began during her long tenure with MESD Outdoor School. She led kids along the banks and forests of the Sandy River for seven seasons before going back to school. During graduate school in 2005, she met Trackers, including her husband David, and started instructing overnight camps.
In 2010, June stepped into a full time coordinating position for Trackers and is now in charge of overnight programs. This opportunity has allowed her to help facilitate experiences where youth and adults use their whole bodies, minds and more to better understand the land and themselves. All this while sometimes evading Orcs or bringing back dragon magic!
At Trackers, June is able to see her ideals in education and lifestyle come alive. Her Mac computer may be close by most days, but her wild foods, home grown fibers and fresh bobcat tracks through the Marmot Valley duff are even closer. She is grateful to be connected to a village of people who want to create beauty and health in the world around them every day.
Daniel “Otis” Brophy
Position: Realms of Cascadia Coordinator
With a mind for story and an imagination that won’t quit, Otis found a home in our story camps. Utilizing his background in driving he manages our fleet, drivers and safety training. Due to Otis’ mind forged of chaos and randomness he has become adept at rolling with any flow Trackers goes and maintaining his cool when he does.
Otis’ mission is to provide everyone with tools for choice. Life is full of choices and he wants them to be made from a base of knowledge. When we stop pursuing knowledge is when we have given up.
I wear costumes and
Quest through worlds with children and
MacGyver drives bus
Position: Rise of Cascadia Coordinator
Jamey has a formal background in environmental anthropology and degrees in Biology, Spanish and Environmental Studies. He has worked with youth as a mentor and instructor for 20 years and has worked with organizations that range in mission objectives from street youth outreach to medical relief in the third world and literature and poetry classes for high school seniors. Jamey is a family man who brings a parental perspective to all his curriculum.
Jamey believes in family and apprenticing the next generation of children into adulthood. Reintegration of humanity into the immediate environment and dispelling the idea that people are observers of nature but not part of it are his priorities second only to the safety of children and staff. He is a firm believer in the fact that everyone can be useful and he looks for the talents that can be fostered in youth.
Jamey is a persistent candidate for the title of Lord of all Nerds. He is as comfortable with a survival knife as a framing hammer and more often than not, can fix anything broken. Obsessed with text based tattoos and indigenous body piercing, he breaks the visual mold of a highly educated educator.
Position: Archery Coordinator
Josh started with Trackers Earth when he was 17 years old as a Leader in Training in 2008. Over the years he grew into one of our best instructors and a coordinator of the archery program. He also has been a personal trainer, fitness instructor and is a Level 2 USA certified archery instructor.
Through his Modoc family traditions, Josh has a direct lineage in the power of community and mentoring. He appreciates helping students and staff grow through adventure and challenges.
Josh teaches wilderness survival skills and archery to a wide spectrum of age groups. This allows him to collaborate new ideas and practices with students to keep activities fresh and meaningful.
“If the skills and activities I teach have no practical application to living in the forest or create healthy relationships, then I refuse to let ‘em waste everybody’s time.”
Position: Program Coordinator
Started with Trackers: 2012
Lesley grew up in Portland, exploring the local wild spaces with her brothers. Her love of the the outdoors and interest in pursuing work in education led her to earn a degree in Early Childhood Education from Portland State University. She joined the Trackers Earth team in 2012 and taught preschool at Catlin Gabel for 7 years. She found her calling in the Rovers and Wilders Guild, and is especially fond of fiber arts, permaculture, and food preservation like canning and pickling. Sharing these skills with generations to come and wilderness conservation are both aspects which fuel her continuing work with youth. When not mentoring kids, you can find Lesley camping along the Oregon Coast or gardening with her 4 year old son, Jack.
Position: Rovers (PreK - K) Coordinator
Kelsey is from Bakersfield, California, but don’t hold that against her. After graduating from U of O, she lived abroad for four years, including leading outdoor camps in Thailand before settling in Oregon and finding Trackers.
She received her Masters degree and teaching credential in Outdoor and Environmental Education in Australia. Deciding she fit better with an informal model of education, she sought to find a place just like Trackers. Once here, she made sure to be good and pushy and make herself useful so they’d have no choice but to keep her around.
Through Trackers, Kelsey wants kids and adults to find a comfort with the natural world that has been lost in recent generations. Trackers provides this opportunity to folks who may not otherwise have it, while creating a strong community that pushes everyone to always do it better. These are just a few of the myriad reasons Kelsey spends many of her waking hours with her Trackers family.
Position: Wilders Coordinator and Homeschool Instructor
Tired of indirect learning, Sarah left her studies of anthropology and sustenance culture to get tangible life experience. She left home with little more than a backpack and its contents to her name, and spent a year traveling, working on farms, and visiting homesteads before deciding to come back to the Pacific Northwest to learn and live in the woods with Trackers’ Summer Immersion Program in 2011. In this program, she mostly realized how much there was to learn and decided to move to Portland to continue exploring the outdoors with Trackers. A year later, she was working and living on seven acres while teaching in Trackers Homeschool Program. Sarah loves working with her hands, gardening, harvesting wild plants for food and medicine, hide tanning, sewing and all woolen fiber arts. She recognizes that learning earth skills is a life long journey, and that with the turn of every season there is an opportunity to deepen her relationship with the natural world. Sarah has chosen the path of outdoor education to cultivate community with co-workers, students and the forest.
Position: Zombie Survival Coordinator
Bea grew up along New England’s great, twisting Connecticut River and its tributaries. In among the birch, sugar maple, sassafras and black raspberry, she found that the woods were full of old wells, crumbling stone walls, tumbledown barns, cellar holes, defunct dams, and at least one decommissioned mental hospital. In these ruins, being slowly overtaken by forest, she spun elaborate fantasies of the great cataclysms which had seen these places abandoned. And she imagined children who would someday clamber through the ruins of schools, supermarkets, and restaurants, and the stories those children would tell. Bea has taught and practiced community first aid for more than a decade, farmed four seasons on two coasts, biked from New England to New Orleans with her dog, and instructed youth in skills ranging from patching inner tubes to processing woodchuck. She has worked with Trackers since 2013. The way we envision things falling apart says a lot about what we think is holding them together. And by building wilderness skillsets that are hands-on, creative, and collaborative, we can learn to weave stories of catastrophe and survival that are also the stories of dynamic, caring communities.
Position: Mariners Coordinator
Topher hails originally from northern Idaho but has deep roots in the moist climate of Cascadia. His background experience includes digging trails in the wilderness, sailing tall ships in many waters, and exploring rivers of melted snow. He is a firm believer in the power of water to unite all things and also that water may have invented people to transport itself from place to place. He also enjoys juggling geese.
Chris Harbert - Erceg
Position: Ninja Program Coordinator
A Portland native, Chris has been working with youth almost his entire career. From Montessori classrooms to aid work in Sierra Leone, he has brought a passion for experience, mentorship and learning to everything he’s done. He believes that education should be accessible to everyone, and that the opportunity to learn is all around us.
Chris has a background in Wilderness Leadership, Experiential and Montessori education, as well as program development and coordination. After realizing that he should leave Sierra Leone to avoid Ebola, he finally joined Trackers after 10 years of watching it grow and develop from the outside, while pursuing a his passion for helping people around the globe. When he’s not teaching, Chris enjoys mountaineering, backpacking, travel and volunteering with Search And Rescue.
Position: Artisans Coordinator
Dan is a native Oregonian whose childhood years were spent traveling the Cascade wilderness and the high mountain deserts of Eastern Oregon. He was raised an outdoorsman and learned to hunt, fish, shoot, and survive in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest at an early age. Dan honed his abilities in the Boy Scouts of America, eventually earning the rank of Eagle Scout and receiving the Vigil Honor in the Order of the Arrow. He credits his time in the BSA for creating a solid foundation of leadership, teamwork, and teaching that he applies to any situation that requires these important life skills. But here's where it gets interesting. Dan is a pirate. Not a "real" pirate, like the ones you see on the news or in large corporations, but rather a "living history" pirate. In 2008, Dan co-founded PDXYAR, a Portland-based performance and historical reenactment group. PDXYAR teaches the history of the Age of Sail (17th century) through performances, interactive demonstrations, and general bravado. Dan served as Captain of PDXYAR until 2014 and currently serves as Master Gunner, making him responsible for the maintenance, safety training, organization, and execution of the crew's black powder performances. Yes, this includes cannons.
Position: Forest Kindergarten Teacher
Started with Trackers: 2016
Sam Linder grew up in Chicago, Illinois. His first night spent outside of a building didn’t come until the summer after seventh grade. He remembers, looking up, realizing how much lost time he needed to amend. Since that moment, he has striven to connect urban youth with their inner wildness through a wide variety of educational opportunities. Sam has led trips and administered programming for Camp Manito-wish YMCA. Upon attaining his Bachelor of Science in Geography, he left the States to teach English language and literature at Bishop Kihangire Senior Secondary School in Kampala, Uganda. He has also led thirty and forty-five day wilderness trips in northern Saskatchewan and the Brooks Range of Alaska before going back to teaching in schools, along with serving as a resident teacher in the early elementary department of the University Child Development School in Seattle. He works to challenge and nurture youth towards their most resilient, talented, and compassionate selves. When he's not leading kids outside, he can probably be found wandering (by hand, foot, bike, or canoe) in the forest or writing.