Program Mentors

We believe that every person has a unique and sacred gift to share with the world. We call our teaching staff “mentors” because they help people to discover their gift and power by connecting them to nature and their heart.

Interested in joining our staff team? Let us know.

Scott M. Baker

Since the age of 14, Scott has been immersed in the natural world through the magic and culture of Two Coyotes. He began his journey with the school as a summer camp student, and continues it now with many 8 Shields-based nature programs throughout the northeast. He enjoys the opportunity to teach and pass on a deep appreciation for and knowledge of nature. A lifelong homeschooler, he can be found in his natural habitat exploring the woods, honing his primitive skills, or playing the steel pan (as a former member of the renowned St. Luke’s Steel Band).

Izzy Betts

Izzy has been fascinated by the great outdoors since he read “My Side of the Mountain” and Gary Paulsen’s “Hatchet” series when he was a kid. He is especially interested in how our ancestors made and used tools to exist in and alongside nature, and has been forging and using knives, axes, and other tools for more than ten years. Having a BA in English Literature with a focus on short stories and poetry, he also enjoys telling stories and teaching storycraft to anyone willing to listen, and deeply believes in the power of stories to connect us to ourselves and our world. His natural habitats include riparian forests, mountains, and wherever the forge happens to be. 

Mary Bociek

Mary grew up exploring the woods in Bethany, Connecticut. She earned her B.A. in Conservation Management at New Mexico Highlands University in 2015. She has completed field schools in forestry, field biology, archaeology and primatology. She is a wife, a mother of one baby boy and a dog lover. When not at Two Coyotes she can be found crafting, creating food from scratch in her kitchen, hiking, traveling and spending quality time with her family.

Noel Cherubino

Noel’s love of nature began as a child playing with friends in the woods of small town Connecticut and camping with family. Her interest expanded from play to include primitive skills and nature awareness when she met Scott Eldridge, founding director of Two Coyotes, in a Wilderness First Responder class in 1999 while pursuing a certificate in Adventure Education. She went on to travel to various workshops and primitive skill gatherings up and down the east coast and to Arizona before settling back down in Connecticut and reconnecting with Two Coyotes by enrolling in Pups with her two children. Upon her return, Noel quickly transitioned from participant to Pups Mentor and has continued in this role as her children transitioned to Wild Seeds.

Ben DiNoia

Ben grew up exploring the forests and fields of Connecticut, and was fortunate to build kinship with plants and animals alike from a young age. He believes direct contact with Nature is both enriching and healing, and is dedicated to creating spaces of learning in the outdoors. After attending college in Ithaca, New York and earning his B.A. in Documentary Studies and Production with minors in Spanish, Outdoor Education, and Environmental Studies, he has returned to his home range to experience this landscape anew and facilitate meaningful experiences through presence, curiosity, and challenge by choice.

Gavin Duhamel

Gavin is a strong believer in all things play oriented, whether that be a two hour game of chess, or chasing frogs into a mud puddle face first. He has spent the past few years studying and teaching parkour. He always loves a chance to pick up a cool new skill, like how to shoot a bow, to shogi, or to juggle, and is happy to nerd out about whatever new thing he, or whoever he’s talking to, is learning. He is currently in college to to become a talk therapist, and is fascinated by the inner workings of the human mind.

Leah Harbison-Ricciutti

Leah is an Occupational Therapist who is passionate about allowing others to participate in their meaningful occupations and create an inclusive and accessible space for all individuals. Leah originally grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, but found her way to CT a year ago after finishing school at Ithaca College in NY. She is eager to get to know CT woods better and create a safe space for children to dive deep into their curiosities and wonderment. Outside of Two Coyotes, Leah loves to create, craft, and hike with her dog.

Katie Luekens

Katie is an educator, musician, and passionate advocate for children. With a degree in voice performance from Indiana University and a Masters in Education from The University of Bridgeport, she is dedicated to nurturing and supporting families and children as they explore their wildness through song, storytelling, and play. Katie’s priority is to mentor children in an environment of love, diversity, community, and curiosity. She looks forward to delighting in the joy, laughter, and energy of the children in her programs. 

She lives in Madison with her husband and three children, where they sing through the seasons, grow vegetables, bake bread, tend chickens, and collect and boil sap from their sugar maple trees.

Alycia Matchen

Alycia is a mother of two daughters who loves sharing, learning about and cooking or crafting in the great outdoors. She is a former Girl Scout leader, trained paralegal, trained medic, workout enthusiast and gardener. When she’s not at Two Coyotes, Alycia is most likely working out, tending her chickens and garden, or homeschooling her daughters in creative ways.

Aja McCarty

Aja brings light and love to every project she is involved with. She runs an urban homestead with her husband, 4 kids, and chickens in Simsbury, CT. Aja runs our Pups program in Granby.

Story McCarty.

Story has been a member of Two Coyotes since she was 5 years old. She works with the Pups alongside her mom, Aja, and brings creativity and passion for nature to the program. Outside of high school and Two Coyotes, she enjoys hiking, skateboarding, creating art, and listening and playing music.

Grant Norton

In the legendary times when the Wildseeds, Blackfoxes and Firekeepers were united as one because we did not yet have enough students to divide them (2009), Grant was a student of TCWS in distant lands (Penwood State Park, CT). They were trained in the ways of nature connection mentoring by a long list of people that do not work here anymore. But Grant still does work here!

In fact, they have worked at Two Coyotes without pause since 2012 (except for all the times they paused, like 2019 to 2022). In that time, they have lit more than 3 fires (a lot more…), hunted a mammoth (it turned out to be made of hay-bails, but was still a good atlatl target), foraged and eaten a wide range of plants and moderate range of animals, and brought all that and more to students everywhere (as long as everywhere is limited to Holcomb Farm in Granby and Sticks and Stones Farm in Newtown).

Archer Patton

Archer has loved nature and animals all his life, so safe to say once he found Two Coyotes he was set. For two years he was a Firekeeper and learned many skills and met amazing people. The Two Coyotes community was supportive and made him feel welcomed. Moving around all his life gave him experience in all types of habitats, with all types of people, and how to get along with both. He strives to make meaningful friendships and promote a healthy community. A strong supporter of emotional intelligence he makes sure everyone has a voice and everyone is heard.

Justin Pegnataro

Justin is dedicated to helping people live vibrant healthy lives filled with connection and purpose. He is an eco-therapist, nature mentor and writer. He also is a former executive director of and mentor at Two Coyotes. Over the course of his career, Justin has mentored thousands of adults and youth in discovering who they are, claiming their personal power and in finding a deep sense of belonging within their own communities and the more-than-human world. If you are interested in Justin’s adult or teen counseling services visit to learn more.

Nur Refai

Nur Refai is an amateur musician and writer out of Naugatuck, Connecticut. He loves teaching, learning, and game playing, especially when in the company of trees or cats.

Karianna Rosenberg

Karianna is a lifelong student of nature, a dance anthropologist, an artist, a bilingual storyteller, an outdoor educator, a cultural creative, and transformational workshop facilitator. Her deep connection and love of nature and passion to help others discover their own connection with the earth, themselves, and others, began with her growing up on a small family farm surrounded by a Connecticut state forest.

Karianna holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology, with a Minor in Spanish, focusing on Dance Anthropology and Dance History. She earned an MA in Teaching Spanish and English as second languages, with a Bilingual Multicultural Endorsement from the School for International Training. She is also certified in Wilderness First Aid.

In her spare time, Karianna enjoys social dancing, especially swing and Argentine tango, writing poetry, playing fiddle/violin, spending time with family and friends and being out in nature.

Storm Songe

Storm graduated from UCONN with a BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and an MS in Conservation Biology and Biodiversity. They joined Two Coyotes as a mentor in 2012 and have been involved ever since! In spring, fall, and winter, you will see them teaching the Coyote Village School Year Program in Newtown, Killingworth, and Granby. Over the summer, you will usually find them working at the Granby site.

When not with Two Coyotes, you can find Storm wandering the wild lands of Connecticut, in search of birds, gathering nuts and berries to make dye, crocheting tiny animals, painting with ink, and collecting crystals & minerals.

Storm has a profound love for wildlife and for teaching. Their driving force in life is to foster love and connection with the environment so the wild lands we so deeply enjoy will be preserved for many generations to come.

Erika Vass

Erika enjoyed catching butterflies, singing all day and sinking her feet into the mud of her backyard stream as a child. Later, she studied art, education and Waldorf education. She co-founded a Waldorf early childhood center and taught mixed-age kindergarten. With her own three children, Erika discovered fulfillment on the homeschooling path. Sometimes that enthusiasm has led her to teach artistic nature-based classes to other homeschooled children. She enjoys gardening, baking, cooking, caring for her many pets and farm animals, celebrating the seasons, making music and just about every other possible type of art and craft! Really, there are too many art forms to list – but laughing might be her favorite of all.

Vince Vojack-Weeks

Vince loves to be outdoors and to have fun. He enjoys all things outside, whether on a trail, bike or hammock, swimming in a lake or stream, or on top of a tree or mountain. Lately, it’s mostly among the wood chips of playgrounds, where he spends lots of time with his two young daughters.

Tyler Von Oy

Tyler is an avid outdoorsman, with many self-taught skills.  He can often be found hiking around Connecticut’s myriad trails, enjoying the forests with a meditation or learning a new skill. He is adept at knots, fire making, and using a sword (boffer or otherwise), and loves nothing more than learning in the outdoors. He is a jack of all and master of some, and appreciates nature for its freedom, peace, and plethora of exciting adventures. In addition to his affinity for the wild, he is an instructor of Capoeira at the rank of Formado, and enjoys participating in the Armored Combat League at a world champion level. He is fluent in American Sign Language, and he holds his Bachelor of Science in Psychology, as well as a First Aid Certification. Wilderness mentoring is truly his passion and where he finds fulfillment in life, teaching and sharing his knowledge with anyone willing to listen.

Summer Staff

Each year, our team grows to include staff returning from school and other far flung adventures, teen alumni who have completed our Mentor-in-Training program, and other new folks who bring their gifts and love for nature to our summer campers.

Jonah Birtwell

Jonah is a former student of the Two Coyotes program, starting it in the fall of 2016 and graduating in the spring of 2022. He has developed many skills over the years including friction fire building, wood carving, plant identification, tracking, knot tying, wood working, and many others. He has an intense love for learning about nature and life. In his free time he loves to swim in rivers, go rock climbing, metalwork jewelry, write music, go mountain biking, or work on his survivalist skills. Growing up in the Two Coyotes program Jonah found a love for the community, himself, learning, and being in nature.

Cameron Case

From the age of 8, Cameron immersed himself in everything Two Coyotes. Cameron spent his summers learning wilderness skills and hiking up Moss Mountain as a Two Coyotes camper, and traveled to the Kingdom of Wildwood as a Wildwood Ranger in the fall, winter and spring. Cameron also had the honor of being invited to the Boy Sacred Fire Initiation, an intensive 3 year nature based rite of passage program for teen boys. In 2019, Cameron graduated from the Two Coyotes Mentor-in-Training program and began as staff the following summer. When not at Two Coyotes, Cameron loves playing baseball and scaling mountains.

Quentin Case

Quentin has been a part of the Two Coyotes community for over a decade. Currently a senior in high school Quentin enjoys all things nature and is truly passionate about passing that enjoyment onto others. Outside of Two Coyotes Quentin is an active volunteer for his community. He undertook the challenge of the Boy’s Sacred Fire initiation and is now an initiated Fire Boy. In his free time, Quentin is an avid archer as well as a soccer fan.

Sean Devine

Sean has a passion for exploring the outdoors, and helping others see their place in it. He is studying wildlife biology at the University of Vermont, and his hometown is Easton, CT. He spends much of his free time hiking, both on our many local trails and also throughout New England. On these hikes he enjoys any opportunity to spot our amazing wildlife here in Connecticut, from songbirds to bears. Always seeking to learn new things, Sean has many hobbies, including raising chickens in his backyard.

Jia-Lin Koh

Jia-Lin is an alumna of Two Coyotes who approaches life with enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. She loves nature and teaches in order to bring people closer to nature and each other. She comes from a diverse background and aims to integrate her experiences into her mentoring and expression of herself. Loki is CPR and First Aid certified and a nursing student at Plymouth State University.

Olivia Laurie

Olivia is a lifetime participant at Two Coyotes Wilderness School. Having been involved with the program since she was 2 years of age, she holds an excellent understanding and appreciation of the magic in nature. While she began as one of the youngest students in the homeschooler program, she is now an experienced mentor who connects with nature through various programs across New England. As an avid collector of crystals, feathers, shells and bones, she has a love for the smaller things in nature and is thrilled by any opportunity to share her enthusiasm with others. Specializing in fire making, carving, camouflage, and tracking, she truly is a “Jack of all trades.” She is also a talented artist who can often be found sitting in a tree while sketching a family of robins or carving a ladybug out of wood.

Will Laurie

William Laurie is young poet and filmmaker who has attended Two Coyotes programs since the age of 3. He studied at Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts for Creative and Media Arts. The wilderness has always been a huge part of Will’s life. It has helped him overcome fears and meet adversity with confidence and joy.

Astrid Niles

Astrid has been a student with Two Coyotes for 10 years, and after participating in the MIT program with Two Coyotes, she joined the staff team in 2021. Astrid enjoys sharing her love of wildlife with everyone, and playing Two Coyotes games. Outside of Two Coyotes, she enjoys going on adventures, kayaking, spending time with animals, hiking, doing art, and climbing trees.

Tigerlily Wisner

Tigerlily Wisner (they/them) has been a part of the Two Coyotes community for 10 years as a student. They have known for a long time that they would want to continue their journey as a mentor, sharing skills with a new generation. In addition to exploring nature, Tigerlily loves dance, writing, acting, art and cosplay. They love creating characters and pouring their heart into each of their stories. Tiger enjoys mentoring others and following along as they create their own unique stories of life.