Guide Bios


  • Meredith Little

    Meredith Little and her husband Steven Foster co-founded Rites of Passage Inc. in 1976 and The School of Lost Borders in 1981, pioneering new methods and dynamics of modern pan-cultural passage rites in the wilderness and creating innovative practices of “field eco-therapy.” She has dedicated her life to returning meaningful and culturally appropriate rites of passage ceremonies to all people in support of the natural cycles of living and dying necessary for healthy lives and a healthy world. She is also dedicated to reconnecting people with the very roots of their own nature reflected in the wisdom of the land around them. She lives a passion for the diversity of life, for the nature of human, for the voice of ceremony, and for the healing qualities of community. 
    Since Steven’s death in 2003 Meredith continues both nationally and internationally to guide and train others. She has also co-founded along with Scott Eberle a new branch of Lost Borders entitled The Practice of Living and Dying, to help break the taboos and silence that pervade the subject of death and to help restore dying to its natural place in the cycles of life.


  • Betsy Perluss, PhD

    Betsy discovered the School of Lost Borders in 1995; a moment she attributes to the mysteries of synchronicity and grace.  Immediately, she fell in love with the school’s earthy ways and the sage scented Owens Valley. She has since gathered over fifteen years experience as a guide and trainer of vision fasts. She has been Director of Education and Outreach and currently serves on the School's Elder’s Advisory Council. Unable to curb a longing for wild places, Betsy left her position as a university professor to live with her husband in the pine and oak forested foothills of the northern Sierra Nevada.  She is a licensed psychotherapist and continues to teach ecopsychology and Jungian Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara and has a private psychotherapy practice in Grass Valley, CA.  Betsy is an ardent observer of psyche and nature and has published various articles on this topic.  Her dissertation: "Landscape Archetypes: Islands, Valleys, Mountains and Deserts" (2004) is about the interweaving of psyche and the land upon which we walk and live. 

  • Emerald North

    Visionary, painter, sculptor, gardener and poet, Emerald North, brings years of vital and vibrant experience to the School of Lost Borders. She teaches from the depth of a full and rich life with humor, vision and love. Emerald values the personal relationships that are forged through ceremony and aspires to create what a recent participant described as “the safest, softest, permeable, and transparent container that could be .”   Emerald has been with Lost Borders since 1993 and co-directed the School with Joseph Lazenka from 2001 through 2005. School of Lost Borders:  Art Website: http// 


  • John Davis, PhD

    John has been leading wilderness rites of passage and other nature-based retreats since 1984. As a professor at Naropa University for many years, he directed the MA programs in ecopsychology and transpersonal psychology and taught wilderness therapy. A teacher of the Diamond Approach since 1983, he is the author of The Diamond Approach: An Introduction to the Teachings of A. H. Almaas (Shambhala).

  • Joseph (Angelo) Lazenka

    A vision fast guide and trainer since 1984, Joseph began working as a guide with the   the School in 1993. Since then, using a variety of titles like: Guide, Teacher,Director, President , and Board Member, has offered himself to the  ever evolving work of the school. Joseph brings a passionate, dramatic voice to the nurturing of individual character and calling, and a mythic empathy for people, their dreams, and the healing power of nature.

  • Larry Hobbs

    From a field biologist studying whales and dolphins, to a psychotherapist working with individual and family systems, to a teacher and naturalist leading wildlife trips worldwide, Larry came to Lost Borders to train and to guide vision fasts. Although still conducting river dolphin research in Southeast Asia, teaching and leading natural history trips around the world, Larry's passions lay in guiding vision fasters and in sharing his knowledge of the way we understand the ecosystems that support us all.

  • Nancy Jane

    Nancy is an ecopsychologist, wilderness guide, and council facilitator. She began her study of wilderness rites of passage in 1981 and has been following this calling ever since. Nancy leads youth and adult vision fasts and has pioneered wilderness rites of passage in school settings. Her intention is to listen deeply in support of others’ connection to nature and spirit; to hold the deepest, widest container of safety and acceptance for others; and to empower them in the full expression of who they are.

  • Pedro McMillan

    Pedro is an elder yet has been an environmentalist since childhood. An early eco-entrepaneur, he founded and ran a green business for 26 years until selling it in 2016 to focus on rites of passage work. A veteran of many fasts since 1996 he trained and assisted on many programs at the School of Lost Borders before stepping into the role of guide in 2010. He brings a wealth of experience and a poetic and passionate heart to this work.

  • Petra Lentz-Snow

    Petra Lentz-Snow has guided vision fasts and wilderness rite of passage programs for over 20 years and is currently serving as the Executive Director at the school.  From 2012 - 2015 she was the executive director of the Wilderness Guides Council, a network of guides supporting wilderness ceremonies around the world.

    Petra is passionate about training next generation guides as well as integrating and seeding initiatory experiences in modern culture. Her personal journey with breast cancer have shown her how important the container of the natural world and the rite of passage ceremony are when one is confronted with unforseen life initiations, such as illness, loss of a loved one or other pertinent trauma.  In her free time she writes articles for her blog ‘Journeys into Healing’ and gives talks at various venues to raise awareness about Cancer as a Rite of Passage and highlights illness and aging as initiatory growth opportunities.

  • Ruth Wharton

    Deeply rooted in earth, body, ceremony and a long lineage of guides from the School of Lost Borders, Ruth offers an abundance of love and fierce insight to those Ruth guides and mentors. Beginning to guide wilderness rites of passage at the age of 21, Ruth’s experience spans over 2 decades, supporting over 1000 people of all ages through initiation practices.

  • Scot Deily

     Scot has been personally involved in rites of passage work for the past two decades learning from and later co-guiding in various forms, most recently training at SOLB. Scot draws from his past incarnations including his time on a wildlife sanctuary and retreat center, traveling and performing in a nomadic horse caravan, a wilderness field instructor and part-time farmer. He is a Licensed Master Social Worker serving previously as a therapist utilizing equine, sand tray, art and play therapy in rural New Mexico.

  • Scott Eberle

    Scott Eberle has worked as a wilderness guide at the School of Lost Borders since 2003.  While he guides an array of programs for the School, he has two special interests.  The first is exploring how the symbolic death-and-rebirth dimension of the School’s ceremony is informed by his considerable experience sitting with people who are physically dying.  To this end, he and Meredith Little co-created the School’s “Practice of Living and Dying” programs.  His second interest is exploring the wonderful synergy of having your heart and mind cracked open while sitting alone in the wide expanse of the desert, or while sitting quietly on a meditation cushion.  His first book, The Final Crossing: Learning to Die in Order to Live, explored the first interest.  He is presently writing a second book, The Red Thread of Story, which weaves together both of these interests, while he seeks to understand why it is we humans tell stories.  
  • Silvia Talavera

    Silvia has been a guide with The School of Lost Borders since 1993. She is a woman of versatility, passion, and humor, inspiring people towards self- empowerment.  She brings to her work a nurturing insight, a deep compassion, a love of nature and teaches from the experience of a full life. Silvia is committed to supporting people in transitions using nature based teachings in a wilderness setting as well as midwifing those who are in there final stage of life through Hospice.

  • Virginia 'Gigi' Coyle

    Virginia "Gigi" Coyle  has served as a community activist wherever she is, a council trainer wherever called, and a rites-of-passage guide and trainer with many individuals and organizations. She is learning to be a mentor and an elder, and serving on such councils, for the School of Lost Borders, the Ojai Foundation, Youth Passageways, European Council Network, and Weaving Earth...

  • Will Scott

    Will is a teacher, naturalist, wilderness guide, facilitator and a life-long student of the human-nature relationship. Will began by leading backpacking trips and has since been a guide both domestically and internationally with college-level field courses, wilderness expeditions, and nature-connection mentoring programs. Will has been guiding youth and adult programs at Lost Borders since 2007, and has recently begun working as trainer as well. Will received his masters in holistic and experiential education from Prescott College, where he focused his studies on the essential components of an “education for our times.” He went on to co-found the Weaving Earth Center for Relational Education in Sonoma County, CA.

  • Win Phelps

    Win Phelps has been a truck driver, a private eye, a Chinese Mandarin translator, a single parent of two, an Emmy-nominated TV director and a quest guide and trainer of guides for the School of Lost Borders. He is a carrier of council, a pilgrim Beyond Boundaries, married to the Earth--and to Gigi Coyle--and a long-time devotee of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.


Guest Guides

  • Ann DeBaldo, PhD

    Ann has spent years exploring the spiritual and healing traditions of cultures around the world. As a professor with a doctorate in medical science who now specializes in international public health and education, she has extensive experience leading and guiding educational journeys to Asia, South Asia, Central America, and South America. As a wilderness guide, she has years of training in the ways of the wilderness. Ann has been a student of the Diamond Approach since 2000 and a student in the Diamond Approach’s seminary teacher training program since 2006.

  • Anna Coffman

    Anna Coffman, retired hospice nurse, leads a variety of programs in the areas of nature based rites of passage, listening skills, grief work, council and ancestral / collective trauma.

  • Collin Brown

     Collin Brown is a seeker, healer, teacher, guide who has delved deeply into the mysteries of eros, love, death, and embodiment. His path has taught him to value and trust the wisdom and insight that come from experiential learning whether it’s in a classroom or out in the boundless beauty of nature. As the director of the Body Electric school for fifteen years he developed curriculum and continues to teach courses that awaken others to the mysteries and grace of being fully alive in their erotic bodies.

  • Cynthia Morrow

    Cynthia Eisho Morrow is a life-long apprentice navigating wild landscapes, inner and outer.  She discovered the School of Lost Borders in 2003. Having grown up with grandparents who lived in the Owen’s Valley, the School and earth-based ceremony were a natural fit. Cynthia has been shaped by a lifetime of exploring the vast territory stretching between the Eastern Sierras and the ancient deserts in and around Death Valley. Her inspirations as a guide are rooted in eastern and indigenous wisdom traditions, and the courageous resiliency of the human spirit.

  • Darcy Ottey

     Since her wilderness-based coming of age experience through Rite of Passage Journeys at age 13, Darcy Ottey has been dedicated to creating intentional rite of passage experiences to help young people mature into healthy, capable adults.

  • Mark Oravsky

    The First Mile, a fasting program for veterans, was founded in April of 2014. Mark Oravsky, a 14-year Army Infantry veteran, experienced profound healing and change during a vision quest in the Kingston mountains of California. Prior to this experience, Mark struggled to find meaning and purpose after military service. He suffered from a litany of symptoms related to PTSD, including suicidal thoughts. His powerful experience in the wilderness paved the way for deep healing, a reconnection to self, renewed purpose, and a solid sense of identity.

  • Marlena deCarion

    Marlena is a Professional Certified Coach, Faculty at the Co-Active Training Institute and a teacher of Mindfulness.  Marlena’s passion for wilderness began as a child while backpacking with her father in the Sierras.&

  • Pam Noble

    Pam is a retired psychotherapist, a grandmother, and a writer of poetry and nature essays. She co-founded Numina, a nonprofit mentoring program for women, and WomanQuest, an introductory vision fast, and has served on the Board of the School of Lost Borders. Currently, she is leading Empowering Women Through Art and Nature workshops with her partner. As an elder, she continues to embrace the natural world as mentor, teacher, and source of healing for herself and those with whom she works.

  • Ramon Gabrieloff-Parish, MA

     Ramon Gabrieloff-Parish, MA is a family man deep in the mysteries and magic of marriage and fatherhood. An instructor in Interdisciplinary Studies at Naropa University he teaches core courses in diversity and social identity, contemplative practice, community engagement and environmental justice. Ramon is a graduate of the first cohort of SomaSource, a movement based rites of passage experience developed by Melissa Michaels. He recently stepped back from five years of service on the Stewardship Council of Youth Passageways.

  • Ray Hillis

    Ray has led and assisted fasts with the School of Lost Borders for the past few years. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology from UCLA in 1968, recently retired from a lifelong career of teaching human development and counseling, and has had a psychotherapy practice (presently in Santa Fe, New Mexico) with a special interest in Jungian analytic dreamwork since the 1970s.

  • Sam Burris DeBoskey

    Sam is a farmer, a council carrier, a carpenter-in-training, and a rite-of-passage guide.  He first came to the Owens Valley in 2006 as a participant in the SOLB's youth program.  Since then, he has made a part time home outside of Big Pine and has assisted and participated in a number of school programs.  His love of nature, both human and wild, has lead him to this work and fuels his curiosity to keep learning about how we relate to ourselves, each other, and the environment.  Some of his other interests are wr

  • Sara Harris

    Sara Harris is a retired psychotherapist who now serves as a passionate guide and mentor. In 2003, she co-founded EarthWays LLC, a collective of guides in Sebastopol CA. Sara was deeply honored to serve the School of Lost Borders by being on the founding Board from 2007 to 2014. As a result of her own heart surgery journey, she loves offering consultations for other cardiac patients and offering support for how these health issues can offer a true opening of the heart through deep listening to the heart’s intelligence.

  • Siri Gunnarson

    Siri Gunnarson is a global pilgrim, council trainer and student of community. Interested in both new and ancient forms of learning, she has supported, created and lead journeys and rites of passage for youth. She has coordinated and participated in diverse projects around the world, including natural building ‘peace huts’ in Kenya and Tamera’s Global Campus, a cross-cultural educational initiative to study and create models for peaceful and regenerative living.

  • Walker Malone

    Growing up in the South, Walker (he, they) found refuge in the pinewoods and swamps as a child, and is drawn to the beauty and solitude of the desert as an adult. They first experienced the combined powers of community, solitude, and fasting with the School of Lost Borders in 2009. They have come to the vision fast ceremony many times as participant, assistant, and now guide, where they continue to deepen their understanding of queerness in the natural world as a gift given to the individual, and offered to community and the earth.