start where you are
use what you have
do what you can
Zachary Rouda, Director / Instructor
I didn’t grow up in the woods and I do not have a lifetime of experience, but I have chosen my path based on my personal conviction that our shared need to develop a connection to the natural world is paramount to the survival of humanity and, conceivably, the living planet. I value open and honest communication and am comfortable giving and receiving feedback. I am committed to continuous learning, teaching and sharing.
I grew up in Washington, DC, and was enamored by performance arts from a young age. I attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and pursued acting in addition to a semi-successful career as a rapper. Gradually I became disillusioned by life in the city, and was increasingly curious about the history of inequality, exploitation and
environmental degradation. I studied anthropology (and theater) at the University of Vermont, attempted and withdrew from a life in New York City for a second time, and finally came to Maine for an apprenticeship at Koviashuvik Local Living School, during 2013 and 2014.
Time spent learning from Chris and Ashirah at Koviashuvik was profoundly reformative. I discovered in small-scale, place-based living skills a genuine joy that had been absent from me throughout my years onstage and inside academic classrooms. From Ashirah and Chris I learned to live in a more positive place; I began focusing more on what I love and wish to create, rather than what I hated, feared and wished to escape from. I couldn’t go back to New York City, or even back home to Washington. I couldn’t go back to the way I had lived before; I could no longer focus my efforts on the shortsighted egoic world of “show business.” I continued to practice what I learned at Koviashuvik after moving to Portland in 2015.
In 2016, at the behest of my neighbors, and with support and encouragement from my friend, Peter Bauer (founding director of Rewild Portland) I began leading wild-edible-foraging tours and started teaching basket-making classes. I recruited a board of directors to incorporate Rewild Maine as a 501(c)3 educational non-profit in 2017.
I offer this story for you to learn about me, and also to consider: we do not have to stay where we are put. We may give ourselves the freedom to recreate our lives to meet our needs, to replace ourselves where we want to be, to reconnect with our fundamental nature; to rewild. I look forward to meeting you.
Danjo Paluska, Board Member / Instructor
Danjo (Daniel Joseph) Paluska is an artist and educator whose work spans the technological spectrum.
I travel to work on computerized kinetic sculptures with Hypersonic Design and Plebian Design. At home in Union Maine I experiment with small buildings, mud ovens, and various village-scale technologies. I am happy to sing songs and swim in the ocean whenever possible. I have BS, MS, ABD and IBS from MIT and have also studied homesteading and natural building at Stone Soup Institute, Koviashuvik Local Living School, and Fox Maple Natural Building School. I am currently working on a cooperative homestead project with the Farming Artists in Blue Hill.
Every morning when I wake up, I try to remember to say to myself, “I am thankful, I have a life and that is amazing. How can I devote my energy of the day to something positive?” I like to think of myself as a supporting actor, or a member of a life support team. All of my actions, all of my transactions, they support other life.
What kind of life am I supporting? What am I keeping alive? Am I strong enough to be the change I want to see? I’ve been thinking a lot more about plants lately. Fruit trees are something else. I go up to a
fruit tree and I find a tasty piece of food in a convenient biodegradable package. I enjoy this
tasty treat for free and then toss the wrapper and possibly a core on the ground. Or maybe
the seeds pass through me or another animal. There’s a chance some of those seeds might
end up in the ground again. Take some care, find the write spot, have some pay chance,
and… lookie here! Another fruit tree making more treats! Holy moley!!! That is some high
tech wizardy. Clearly I have a lot to learn. I am thankful for that.
Alia Bradley, Board Member / Instructor
Hi! My name is Alia. I’m named after a character from “Dune” by Frank Herbert. My mom is a nerd.
I’m a board member, volunteer, and educator, as well as a biology and secondary education major at St. Joseph’s College of Maine. I’m a passionate naturalist and am curious about all aspects of the natural world, from the macroscopic scope of a large, interconnected environmental community, to the microscopic view of genetics and cell biology. A large part of my studies have been devoted to microbiology, cell theory, and human anatomy/nutrition. I hope to expand my studies into botany, ornithology, and ecology.
There is no magical solution that will solve all the problems we are faced with today. Although
individually we may not have directly contributed to the problems in the world, we are each personally
responsible for cultivating the kind of world we want to live in. Rewilding fosters a relationship with the
natural world, empowering the average person to take responsibility for their local community and
ecology. Working with natural systems can only benefit everyone. Nature is not a scary stranger separate from humanity. Humanity came from and is part of nature, and
in this way, true connection with the natural world unites and equalizes every living being.
Terra Fletcher, Board Member / Instructor
forge a connection with nature that all of us should have. It's empowering to learn and practice these skills, and it fosters a sort of appreciation for even the smallest pieces of wildlife that exist around us. Is that super corny?
I grew up in rural New Hampshire and have been excited about wilderness survival skills since age 10. I’ve been an educator of art and science for over 6 and am currently the Exhibits and Visitor Services Associate at the Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine.
I completed a falconry apprenticeship, including rehabilitation work with raptors, under Master Falconer Martin Connolly. Now, I am a volunteer transporter for the Center for Wildlife. I moved to Portland in 2016.
I'm passionate about rewilding because it, as a process, helps to
Ansel Knight, Volunteer / Instructor
I like the woods, a lot. High school kinda makes it hard to get out there sometimes, but that’s just the system trying to stunt my emotional growth or something, right?
I enjoy all manners of ancestral knowledge skills though my specialties are wood craft and fire making. I also volunteer at White Pine Programs, which is a kids nature immersion school in Cape Neddick. I’m passionate about Rewild Maine because humans need to connect to nature to be healthier, and for me to share that with people is awesome.