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Our Journey

      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. 

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Our Team

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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. 

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Jennifer Willett

Guest Educator

Whether it is joyful exploration in gardening, nature art, wildcrafting, paddling the river, backpacking, yoga, or woodland wanders to explore vernal pools or the spring ephemeral bloom, Jen loves to share her outdoor knowledge and experience through guiding camps, retreats and wilderness trips.  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 and develop new skills 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 those attending Wind Dance programs and events. 

 

Jen graduated from Shepherd University as a McMurran Scholar with a degree in Environmental Studies. She is experienced in river guiding and backpacking and has led dozens of groups on trips at Wind Dance and the surrounding rivers, mountains and valleys throughout West Virginia.  She is also a certified yoga instructor and facilitator of our Women's Retreat.

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John Devine

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.

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Elisha Marie Ramer

Farm & Nature PreSchool Guide

Elisha Marie Ramer is a Reggio-Inspired, and Nature-Based early childhood educator, education consultant, homeschooling mother and business  owner. She lives in the beautifully mountainous Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia where the best days of her childhood were spent running  barefoot on the mountainsides and exploring the rivers and streams. She loves to take adventures with her family hiking, camping, kayaking,  snowboarding, traveling and stargazing. 

Elisha is a 2009 graduate of Indiana University with a degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Over the course of her teaching  career, she studied the progressive and student-centered Reggio Emilia Approach to education. During this experience she also became a Reggio  and nature-based mentor and education consultant for public and private schools collaborating with colleagues, parents and community on  child-led and inquiry-based learning, fine arts education, nature-based learning, indoor and outdoor classroom design, as well as observation  and documentation of the process of learning. 

It has been Elisha’s passion to bring children and families, not only closer to nature, but closer as a community which values the image of the  child, educating through child-led interests, being good stewards of the earth and building a love of play and learning that will last a lifetime. She admires the similar vision that she shares with Wind Dance Farm and is overjoyed to join such an incredible mission while guiding the  youngest nature explorers!