In the spring of 2001, Leslie Devine-Milbourne, John Devine, and their 8 year-old daughter, Chenaya, moved to a beautiful, secluded 20-acre farm in Morgan County, West Virginia. They called their new home Wind Dance Farm. During that summer they held their first youth, overnight camp for one week. That was the beginning of their summer camp offerings, which, over the years, expanded to five camps, each one week long. In the fall of 2002 Leslie and John began to offer a range of supplemental classes to local homeschool students. Each Thursday a group of 12 students played, danced to John’s fiddle music, participated in environmental education activities, kept journals, and listened to wonderful literature. From this successful start, Leslie and John’s in-depth and rich homeschool programs have expanded to four days a week during the school year.
The educational programs rapidly outgrew the small log cabin where they were held. To support the programs and to plan for future expansion, Leslie and John dedicated much of their time to developing a new, larger education center. In 2007 a non-profit 501(c)3 status was established for Wind Dance, a board of directors was formed, and work began to raise funds to support the existing programs and to grow the organization. Over the next several years a new education center was gradually built, and in fall of 2018, Leslie and John moved programs from their small log cabin to an amazing, spacious timber frame center. The new Wind Dance center was built with many hands; old friends and new volunteered their time, labor, tools, and shared their love of working together as a community to build a center for learning how the earth works and how we can best live with the earth. This past school year, 2018-19, Leslie and John launched their first environmental education programs for public school students.
Leslie Milbourne Devine
Founder and Lead Educator
Leslie grew up with great appreciation and admiration for the earth. She is fascinated by how simply the beautiful earth’s systems work. She is deeply aware of the need for humans to better adapt to the sustainable way the earth works. Many young students have developed a deep connection with the earth through Leslie’s inspiration and in-depth teaching. She received her master’s degree in environmental education from Acadia University in Pennsylvania, and has been working in education since 1984. Before settling in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, Leslie was the science teacher and environmental educator at Center School in Pennsylvania, where she developed many award-winning gardens with her students.
Whether it is skills in regenerative agriculture, nature art, foraging, kayaking, yoga, or interpretive hikes, Jen loves to teach. Teaching is sharing. Seeing someone’s eyes light up when you tune them into the details of the natural world and witness them making their own connections is her true wealth in life. Curiosity, wonder and confidence that our actions have the potential to ripple out in a positive way are qualities she hopes to share with youth attending Wind Dance. Her sons, Kyle and Eyrie, are Wind Dance Alumna. Jen often would say when she dropped them off for Home School programs, “I would love to go to Wind Dance….” We never know when those dream seeds will pop! Jen graduated from Shepherd University as a McMurran Scholar with a degree in Environmental Studies in the Spring of 2020.
Founder and Musician
John is a traditional musician whose strong, gentle voice and extraordinary rhythmic talents on the guitar have been loved by followers of traditional music and dance for over forty years. At Wind Dance John plays fiddle for lively and fun dancing and shares his love of singing with all groups. His repertoire includes original songs and tunes, as well as songs from old-time and folk traditions. John has performed from east coast to west, into Alaska, and across the Atlantic.
Farm & Nature PreSchool Guide
Carly Sherbert has been teaching in the early childhood field since 2014. In 2019 she earned her first nature-based teacher certification from the Eastern Region Association for Forest and Nature Schools. She likes to teach in a way that follows what the children are interested in, what they are drawn to learn and investigate. Carly loves adventures in nature, working in the garden, making messy art, dancing and fun science experiments. She lives on a farm in Berkeley Springs with her husband Greg (and their many animals!) where they run a small nursery. Carly sums up her new adventure with, “This is my first opportunity working at Wind Dance and I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of this wonderful place!”