Ancestral Knowledge hires its instructors from a strong community of Native Life Skills specialists who live locally, here in Maryland. As you will read below, our core group draws from a wide variety of backgrounds – from skateboarder to scientist and engineer to environmentalist! In addition, Ancestral Knowledge brings in guest instructors from far and wide to teach their own area of specialized knowledge.
Bill Kaczor – Co-Founder/ CEO 2007-Present
Bill is the CEO and founder of Ancestral Knowledge. Bill has worked and studied intensively with the masters in the fields of; youth mentoring, naturalist studies, primitive technology and tracking. He has been teaching children and adults in these subjects since 1998 — For five years Bill worked as head instructor Children of the Earth Foundations- Coyote Tracks summer camps, and two years as the assistant director. He has instructed students at the University of Maryland, Georgetown University, Rivercane Rendezvous, Mid-Atlantic Primitive Skills Gathering (MAPS Meet), Bill has instructed for 5 years at Tom Brown Jr.’s Tracker School teaching primitive traps, bow making, flint knapping, pottery and hide tanning. In 1999, Bill chose to leave his skateboard/snowboard business and dedicate his life to teaching these skills. Shortly afterward, Bill designed and was granted an after school and summer program for the 21st Century Learning Community in Public School District 150 in Peoria, Illinois. This program was successful in that it led the children to a respect for nature, respect for themselves and others, self-discipline and adventure. Bill is a specialist in bow making, stone tool technologies, hide tanning, fire by friction and hunting.
Sara Henry – Lead Field Instructor
Sara learned how to make baskets in 2011 from Nancy Basket, and she’s been hooked ever since. Each time she saw Nancy at a gathering afterward, she would show her the new baskets she had made and Nancy would critique them, giving her tough love advice on how she could improve. It was a big day for Sara when, while she was assisting Nancy in teaching at the Firefly Gathering intensives, she showed Nancy a basket and the feedback she received was a firm “good.” She has been teaching several styles of basketry for over two years at gatherings across the southeast. She is passionate about empowering students to go out into the forest and experiment with what they find in their own bioregions. So much beautiful and functional art can be created if we open up and play with the natural materials all around us!
Tim Murphy – Lead Field Instructor
My name is Tim Murphy and I am a newer instructor with AK. I am originally from the Washington DC area and have spent the majority of my adult life exploring the American west. I have a BA in Wilderness Leadership (Prescott College ’99) and have guided in both adventure education programs and wilderness therapy. The majority of my carer has been working in various capacities in wilderness therapy. I have guided in Montana, Utah, Colorado, and Vermont. I have over 1300 field days working with groups in the woods. Working with AK I am learning to work with a younger population than I have worked with in the past. I recently returned to the DC are to be closer to family and to attend the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Social Work in the fall.
Lindsey – Lead Field Instructor
To me, understanding the connections that we have between ourselves, each other, and the environment are crucial to our survival mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Z has been inspired by nature since she was a little girl in the GREAT STATE of New Jersey. Her fondest memories of her childhood were out in the forest and hiking through streams. She followed her feet to Richard Stockton College of NJ where she earned her Bachelors of Science in Biology and Environmental Science. Here, she was an active role in the environmental community, organizing clean ups and teaching children water education throughout Atlantic County. Encouraged to pursue education, Z went to Islandwood in Washington State to learn how to be an outdoor educator. Here, she met instructors from the Wilderness Awareness School (WAS) and was introduced to Coyote Teachings and Primitive Skills. She took her excitement for the environment down to California, where she spent six years seasonally working at Whiskeytown Environmental School (WES) in Shasta County. At WES she began fusing her background in Science and teaching with the practical skills of homesteading and ancestral teaching.
She is a new addition to the Ancestral Knowledge tribe, and has shown much enthusiasm towards making cordage and the many uses of bamboo. she has been excited to share the concepts of transmogrification with the students which is having the ability to find more than one use for an object.
In her spare time, Z enjoys knitting, sewing by hand, sewing with machine, animal processing, re-purposing materials for use and art, picking up trash, photography, dancing, singing, roller skating, and just creating things in general.
Josh Ulrich – Lead Field Instructor
My name is Josh Ulrich and I grew up in Arizona climbing, exploring, hiking, throwing dirt clods, rooting up bugs, and filling my parents’ pockets with cool rocks. I was the type of kid who would stop cold in the middle of a game of one-on-one basketball with my brother to watch an osprey bring fish back to its nest, or lose track of time trying to sneak up on him in the woods. My love of nature inspired me to get my B.S. in Wildlife Conservation from the University of Delaware. As I started getting involved with the Earth Skills community I realized I’d rather examine an animal’s tracks than fit it with a radio collar, or use exotic invasive plants for food and cordage instead of spraying them with herbicide. I love sharing what I’ve learned with all who share my passion.
Josh Roberts discovered his passion for wilderness survival skills in Vermont in 1998. Through Tom Brown Jr’s books he was inspired to practice survival skills which lead him to pursue these skills as a vocation. For over 15 years he has gained experience in this field with various summer camps, organizations and schools in over ten states. These include The Vermont Wilderness School, The Wild Earth Programs, The Roots School, The Institute of Natural Learning, The Fairview Lake YMCA, The Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, and The Student Conservation Corp among others. Josh’s goal in life is to share his passion for the benefits of wilderness survival skills. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Adventure Education and Environmental Studies from Prescott College in Arizona.
Josh has been working with Ancestral Knowledge in the DC area since the spring of 2012. Before moving to the DC area he taught similar survival programs in the Swanguak Mountains of New York. He is currently involved in instructing and developing Ancestral Knowledge’s home school programs, it’s summer camps and his own survival skills workshops. Josh has been actively involved with Mid Atlantic Primitive Skills youth programs and plans on continuing that involvement. He enjoys flintknapping as well as pursuing his interests in permaculture, primitive archery, wild edible foraging, guitar playing and snowboarding.He is best known for his warm personality, fire making skills, his mentoring and teen rites of passage programs, as well as his dedication to teaching wilderness survival skills.
Ancestral Knowledge instructors are First Aid / CPR certified, have completed CJIS Criminal Background Checks, and have been checked against the National Sex Offenders Registry