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 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.
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.
Elisha Marie Garcia
Farm & Nature PreSchool Guide
Elisha Marie Garcia 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!
Aurora Sanchez joins our team as an AmeriCorps Vista member, with a background in education, consultant work, and manager of her farm in Hancock, Maryland. At Wind Dance, Aurora oversees many administrative tasks, as well as, training our teen students in developing skills that they in turn will use to guide younger youth. If you register yourself or a child for a program or have program questions, Aurora will receive your correspondence. As part of our team, Aurora is helping to guide the sails of Wind Dance onward with devoted heartiness and wit that keeps us chuckling.
Sharing thoughts from Aurora ~ “I began my time at Wind Dance as a parent of a child who attends the children’s program. As I observed children learning, I began to wonder if there was a place where I could be of service. I jumped at the opportunity to work with AmeriCorps in a Vista position. It brought two of my worlds together - a strong passion for children in nature and as a teacher trainer advocating for outdoor education and developmentally appropriate play. In our personal lives, my child and I have a small homestead style farm in Maryland and we love working with our animals, gardening, and creating more space for native plants and animals. We look forward to continuing to learn and explore with all the families that attend Wind Dance”.