Founder, Director of Training, Trainer. Home Town: Galway, Ireland. Sky Maria Buitenhuis has extensive experience supporting people to deepen their connection to nature, including our own inner nature as part of the larger natural landscape. She has worked as a facilitator for a variety of different programs as well as developing her own workshops and trainings. She is the co-founder of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy, as well as working for three years as director of training and certification of ANFT's forest therapy guide training program where she trained and mentored more than 100 people to follow their passions of becoming forest therapy guides. As a nature connection guide, Sky draws on her trainings as a Work-That-Re-Connects (as founded by Joanna Macy) and an 8-Shields (a pan-cultural model for deep nature connection and cultural repair) facilitator, as well as many other influences and her own on-going personal journey of remembering her natural state of being.
Sky's passion is to offer people the experience of 'coming home', that is remembering that as a human we are embedded in this complex and infinitely diverse web of life on our beautiful planet Earth. She is deeply moved and nourished by supporting and witnessing others having this embodied, innately human, experience of returning home to wholeness.
Executive Director, Founder, Trainer Hometown: Virginia, Ontario, Canada. Ben grew up in rural Ontario on a quarter horse farm. Pigeons, sports, and exploring the meandering creek were his childhood passions. Spending most of his career as a wildlife researcher, he earned a Masters degree for his work studying the ecology and conservation of the endangered Blue Racer. Ben lived for 12 years off the grid, leading The Wilds of Pelee Island as Executive Director. Later, Ben co-lead Traditional Medicinal Native Plant inventories and plant meditations with First Nations. After having taken several courses such as Reiki, Access Consciousness, Yoga teacher training, Ben became Canada's first certified Forest Therapy Guide. Ben lead over a hundred walks in his first few years as a guide and trainer. Along the journey Ben met many Forest Therapy Guides and Trainers, and was inspired to co-create an ethical, non-profit organization for training Forest Therapy Guides.
Ben gives special acknowledgement to his courageous and kind co-founder, Sky. Other key co-visionaries of GIFT, include Romola, Rob, Fran, 'Bed', & Karen. Ben has a popular blog, www.lostandfoundinnature.com and will soon be publishing, www.rightactionman.com, a book about men in relationship. Ben lives in the Forest City (London), Ontario with his wife and three children.
Special Curiculum Trainer, Director Born and raised in western Canada, (Saskatchewan) Romola's foundation was borne in ....COMING SOON
Board of Directors
Sky Buitenhaus, BSc., Founder
Ben Porchuk, MSc., Founder
Romola Porchuk, PhD, Director
Paul Dugsin, MBA, Director
Jeff Hathaway, BSc., Director
Gary Kay, MA, Directory