Erik has such passion for giving back to others to create more possibilities for youth to grow up Nature-Connected. I highly recommend getting involved with his programs and giving yourself and your children a healthy foundation in a balanced relationship with the Earth.
- Rick Berry, 4 Elements Earth Education
Erik’s dedication to and passion for teaching are so strong. His programs are a benefit to all who attend. The quality of his work and commitment to people and their connection to the earth and skills is such a high priority.
- Karen Sherwood, Earthwalk Northwest
My girls and I started doing weekly classes with Erik two years ago, and it has been a favorite time together that we look forward to each week. Whether it is cold and rainy or sunny and warm, my girls can’t wait to go every week, and we benefit from getting out in nature and fresh air. We have gained a better understanding and respect for nature which couldn’t be more needed in today's world. We are so grateful for Making Tracks!
- Jamie Walsh, Client
Making Tracks Earth Education is just what I was looking for to help me and my children learn deeply how to love and connect with nature through games and hands-on experiences. Erik teaches in such a unique and profound way that my family has gained more connection to each other, to ourselves, and to nature through taking his classes. He really makes students think and own their own learning process. We absolutely love this style of learning and everything about Making Tracks.
- Rachel von Niederhausern, Client
These days, it can feel like we have to trek out to the boonies and fork out a huge sum of money just to reconnect with our roots. But many of us can’t carve out the time, finances, or commitment for that. At Making Tracks, we believe everyone should have easy access to connection with nature. We’re committed to breaking down the barriers and bringing you and nature together. That’s why our affordable outdoor education utilizes the beautiful parks and nature areas located in and around urban locations.
Making Tracks contracts the best Earth Educators available to bring a local and immersive education resource to our students. We are dedicated to enhancing your quality of life through survival skills and nature experiences. Making Tracks teaches people how to survive on any landscape without man-made tools by providing quality, affordable instruction that is interactive, educational, and fun for all ages.
We are a group of experienced mentors who all teach based on shared principals: the sit spot, survival skills, and wandering. We are a league of educators dedicated to mentoring students on how to take care of the land around them. Unlike most outdoor schools we do not host our own programs.
Remember how familiar you became with every little detail of your high school classroom, from the grooves in the desk to the exact tone of the clock’s ticking hands? That’s our aim with a sit spot. When we have a consistent homebase out in nature, we become finely tuned to the behaviors and patterns of the animals and land around us. It gives us the time and awareness to listen to the baseline and notice things we might otherwise miss, transforming us from tourists into an integrated part of the landscape.
This is everything you might expect, and so much more. Yes, making fire by friction, building shelter, creating arrowheads, and identifying plants and animals are key components of outdoor survival. But have you ever considered the importance of wide angle vision, or fox-walking, too? We make sure you’re equipped with every last tool to communicate with your surroundings and enhance your awareness.
We spend a lot of our day-to-day lives trying to get from A to B as efficiently as possible. What happens if we slow down, set off on our journey, and see where we end up? Wandering focuses on moving through a landscape without a sense of time or destination. Sauntering in this way builds focus and encourages a mindset of being in the here and now - something we could all use a lot more of. In a survival situation, the mindset of the wanderer can be the difference between life and death.
At just 7 years old, Erik began training at the Riekes Center Nature Awareness Department. His curiosity was insatiable and he continued to pursue outdoor education, acquiring a Bachelor's degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism, with an emphasis in Adventure and Outdoor Programs. Since middle school, Erik has channeled his love of nature into teaching, first assisting lead instructors until he was of age to facilitate nature exploration classes for 20+ kids.
James is a long time practitioner and trainer within the emergency preparedness and outdoor adventure communities. He currently runs Adaptive Response Solutions, and the Adaptive Preparedness Project, which focus on helping people and communities become prepared for whatever environment they find themselves in, whether outdoor recreation & adventure, or disaster & emergency preparedness events.
Kyle Koch is a former IT software technician turned nature nerd. Since leaving the office in 2011, Kyle has dedicated his life to helping others reconnect with the natural world. He has been facilitating transformative experiences in nature for almost a decade: inspiring youth and adults to connect to their gifts through experiential play and natural curiosity. Kyle has taught nature connection skills to all ages in a multitude of environments all over North America. When not instructing, you can find him exploring ways to deepen his connection with himself, others, and the Earth.
Dave’s passion for learning has now evolved into a desire to teach and share the joys of the knowledge he acquired. Dave enjoys several outdoor sports, including skiing, climbing, archery, bow-making, and fly fishing. His adventures have taken him across the country by bicycle and seen him crossing the Pacific Northwest in a kayak of his own making.
Ember is a natural teacher, and her years of professional experience have demonstrated her talents and abilities in helping people learn and grow. Her teaching style is very inclusive, especially for those shy or uncomfortable in new situations. She is skilled in the art of storytelling and captures the attention of all age groups. Ember feels drawn to share her life experience with others in an open and honest way. She loves looking into the eyes of a student who has just had an 'ah ha' moment.
Nate Summers, author of Awakening Fire (2021), has been a survival skills instructor for over 20 years with a background in anthropology, Asian studies, and natural medicine. His passions include ethnobotany, fire, hunter-gatherer childhoods, foraging, natural movement, herbal medicine, and internal martial arts.
Seth teaches because many earth skills are being forgotten by each generation. These are the skills that build civilizations and inspire self sufficiency. He wants to inspire a new generation of people to incorporate these skills in their daily lives and pass them on to others to enrich their lives, change their world view, and preserve these skills for generations to come.
Tam is a professional life coach and Earth Skills instructor. She works with authentic souls who are longing for a deeper connection with themselves and the natural environment. Using Earth Skills serves as a conduit to creating a relationship with nature that allows you to grow and thrive. Tam is passionate about basketry, pottery, and wild medicinal/edible plants. She believes that we can explore our true needs through shelter, water, fire, and food if approached with curiosity and gratitude.
Grey Cowan grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As a child his mother would encourage him and his brother to be outside a lot. They would wander the desert and foothills of the Sandia mountains for hours, catching things like scorpions, tarantulas, quail, snakes, and other interesting critters. His love for the outdoors began at a young age. He got involved with the Boy Scouts of America, and earned his Eagle Scout in 2003. Grey is passionate about mentoring and teaching people to be a part of the landscape they live on.
Sean Critchfield is a seasoned educator and lecturer with a long background in wilderness skills and self reliance. He has taught wilderness skills to all walks of people from children to adults.
Dakota has been teaching professionally since 2011 and has an insatiable love for nature. His passion for teaching brought him from Missouri to Utah to delve deeper into his career. He is a proud father and enjoys spending his time trekking in the old ways and practicing the skills of the Mountain Men. He believes these skills connect us to our ancestors and their hardships in a way that brings new meaning to our own lives.