Our Certified Way of Nature Guides

US-CO-Cres-SP-Ph-JPM-0504-Michele-Blackburn-headshotMichele Blackburn

Michele Blackburn has been involved with the Way of Nature Fellowship since 2003. As an Advanced Awareness Training student, she has participated in training programs in Baja, Mexico; Crestone, Colorado; Moab, Utah; Chiricahua National Forest, Arizona; Bali, Indonesia; and Sikkim, India.

Her inner and outer guidance is shaped by numerous wilderness solo experiences, including Native American vision quests, a Tibetan-style Dark Retreat, and a lifetime of nurturing others.  The vast benefits of teachings and practices received from John P. Milton over many years are reflected in the radiance she brings to the Fellowship.


Brad Kahland

Brad-KahlandBrad Kahland began his study with John P. Milton in 2002, joining a Sacred Passage in Baja California.  Since that first Passage, Brad has completed the 28-Day Solo Awareness Training in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains above Crestone, Colorado.  Brad has also been engaged in John's Advanced Awareness Training.  Brad guides Sacred Passage programs, as well as provides teaching and logistical support for other Way of Nature programs.  Brad designs, organizes, and guides multi-day Wilderness River Rafting programs and Whale Encounter Expeditions for Way of Nature.  He enacts his own wilderness meditation solos each year.  Brad has enjoyed a close relationship with Nature since growing up in the Ozark Mountains of rural Arkansas, and he feels that the trainings with John have brought an incalculable depth and breadth to his path of relationship with inner and outer Nature and the communion of the two.  He is happiest when able to share this joyful path of mystery with others.  
In addition to studying with John, Brad has been blessed with receiving teachings from several Native American teachers from Lakota, Ojibwe, and Hopi lineages.
Along with his work guiding Sacred Passage programs, Brad has worked as a Grand Canyon National Park Ranger, a Sea Kayak Guide in Monterey Bay and Tomales Bay, California, an Adventure Guide in Vietnam, Alaska, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S., and a naturalist in Boulder, Colorado.  Brad's professional work also includes work with wilderness therapy programs in Colorado for adolescents and their families, serving variously as a Field Instructor, Logistics Coordinator, Education Director, and Family Counselor.  Through this extensive outdoor guiding experience, he has also obtained a Wilderness First Responder medical certification.  Brad was also a support team member of the Extreme Ice Survey, a global project documenting the rapid retreat of the world's glaciers. 

Jenny-Menke-leaves-lrJennifer Menke

Biography coming soon!


Sandy Skibinski

Biography coming soon!



CClaire Vanderplank bio photolaire Vanderplank

Claire did her first Sacred Passage in 2011. She discovered not only a profound spiritual path that she didn't know she was looking for, but also a life path. Since that embodied experience of ecological consciousness, Claire's mission in life has refined towards assisting the shift from the dominant worldview of separation to the emerging worldview of interconnectedness. She believes the deep experiences offered by Way of Nature contain transformative potential capable of shifting our most fundamental perceptions of ourselves and our relationship to all of life.

Claire is a Nature Quest guide based in Western Australia and is very grateful to practice this work in a country that has been cultivated with for 40000+ years. She is undertaking a PhD in sustainability and social change, 'The Slow Movement and the Rediscovery of the Ecological Self.' She is also a facilitator and Thaivedic bodyworker.





Roger Wharton

roger-wharton-bio-photoRoger Wharton- Roger has been introducing people to the out-of-doors since his teens. He has staffed and directed several children's summer camps, and as an undergraduate biology major planned and developed a small outdoor education park for the community of Westerville, Ohio. He taught in a residential outdoor education school, has developed land laboratories, and has done graduate work in outdoor/environmental education.

The world of nature has always been a place of great spiritual inspiration and opening for Roger, who also holds two advanced degrees in spirituality, and has been assisting people on their spiritual paths for over twenty-five years. Roger has known and studied with John P. Milton for over thirteen years, completing his Guide Training, as well as several 10-day Passages, and a 28-day Passage. He has guided individuals and groups in such diverse areas as Wisconsin, Michigan, the Adirondack Mountains, British Columbia, Alaska, and California.

Although Christianity has been a primary metaphor for Roger's spiritual exploration, he is familiar with many other spiritual traditions, and holds a special interest in Native American spirituality. He is currently working on establishing a Christian understanding of the twelve principles. Roger is open to all spiritual paths and enjoys listening, learning, and sharing stories of spiritual exploration. He holds a doctorate in Sacred Ecology and the Christian Nature Wisdom Tradition, and is currently a campus chaplain at San Jose State University.


Amy "Uma" Thompson

ID-Bali-Ph-JPM-Uma-DSCN0935-smallAmy "Uma" Thompson- From an early age, Amy found the deepest levels of peace, well being, and communion within nature. Nature has always been the truest and deepest place of worship, the inner and outer cathedral, merging in oneness. Amy completed her first passage the late summer of 1999 in Crestone Colorado. During this initial passage, which served as a rite of passage into womanhood, Amy received a profound and life altering vision which is still being unwoven in her life to this day. Additionally, Amy was deeply called to an intimate relationship with the stones as well as the "stone people", which continues to spiral in ever wondrous lessons from the heart of Gaia.

In the spring of 2001, Amy traveled to Bali and Nepal, participating in some of the year-long Advanced Awareness Training intensive with John Milton. This training was a deep immersion in T'ai Chi, as well as advanced teachings and practices from Taoist cultivation, Zen Meditation, Tibetan Buddhism, Indian Tantra, and Dzogchen practice. This training also included a solo at 18,000 ft in the Annapurna Range Mountains in Nepal. This Training and solo was by far the most alchemical and deeply transformational experience of her life thus far. The Advanced Awareness Training concluded with a 21-day solo back in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Crestone, Colorado. In the summer of 2002, Amy assisted John's midsummer Sacred Passage in Crestone Colorado.

Amy holds a B.A. in Women's Mysteries, Holistic Health, and Ecology from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. Amy's thesis for her degree was a deep immersion into the mysteries of the moon cycle and the menstrual cycle, and how this relates to the cycles of the Earth. Amy has a deep passion for understanding the connections between the mysteries of the earth and the mysteries of our bodies and the cycles of life and death.

Amy is also a practicing licensed Massage Therapist, Ayurvedic Postpartum Doula, Reiki Master, and Yoga teacher. She has been studying yoga intensively since 1992. Recently, Amy studied Aqua Alma (soul water), a practice of underwater body therapy, which helps to connect Beings to their soul and source.



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