Gelsomina Malferrari-co-founder, head instructor
Gelsomina comes from a family of artisans, and her ability to craft beautiful objects comes from a lifetime of creating. Raised in a bilingual family, the strong family ties of her Italian heritage continue to be important. Gelsomina is passionate about fiber, making baskets, spinning, weaving, felting. Gardening, foraging and preserving fill her time in the green months.
Neal Ritter- co-founder, head instructor
“The skills of the ancients are my Muse”. Neal has been hooked on primitive living skills since childhood. He spent his wandering years traveling through many foreign countries, and has thrown himself into primitive skills at wilderness schools around the country and primitive skills gatherings. He is seeking the hybrid primitive-modern living model, where ancestral skills are integrated into everyday life. His particular passions are tracking, hunting and the various aspects of woodcraft, and his enthusiasm in games is legendary.
Kim spends each spring and summer leading month long wilderness expeditions for teens. She loves guiding and teaching while backpacking into the high country, or running remote rivers. As part of her summer work with Deer Hill Expeditions, Kim works closely with Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni families to engage in cultural exchange and community service. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education from Brevard College in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina. Kim approaches primitive skills and nature-based education with a thorough and supportive teaching style, enthusiasm, and deep appreciation for the natural world.
Sam Ritter- Instructor, Blacksmith
Sam is currently on an extended trip in Europe, honing his skills and seeing the world from the inside. After many formative years of Waldorf education, he shifted his focus to a more artisanal path in life. Sam enjoys being outside no matter the conditions, and can be spotted playing competitive volleyball, tracking animals or practicing martial arts in his time away from work. However, his true passion is blacksmithing—follow the ringing of the anvil to the smithy, and there you will find him hard at work