Meet Your Teachers
Elizabeth Van Deventer is the mother of three boys who have learned to skillfully navigate the mountains surrounding Davis Creek Farm, do all measure of farm tasks, and most importantly make their own breakfast.
After growing up on a dairy farm herself, she spent most of her life seeking to understand all aspects of farming, food, and nature in some capacity or another.
She worked in an east coast vegetarian restaurant and a west coast raw foods vegan restaurant and also worked on a berry farm, and a market production vegetable farm in North Carolina. She was an agriculture extension agent in the Peace Corps in Mali, West Africa working with soy bean and chicken projects and she lived and worked on cattle and goat farms in Burgundy, France .
She has a P.h.D. in Human Ecology from UNC-Chapel Hill where she focused on cross-cultural sustainable agriculture. She is a big fan of Rudolf Steiner's research on agriculture and she loves nothing more than sharing her love of nature, animals, and farming with eager children and adults.
David Welker is a true man of the woods. He has taught nature education to both children and adults for years. He is the founder of the Blue Heron Outdoor School in Amherst, VA where he leads groups in discovering the science and spirit of the great outdoors.
David teaches tree and plant identification skills in a holistic way, by including medicinal virtues, food uses, utilitarian uses and natural history. He also specializes in animal tracking, fire-making, cordage and basketry. He will share with you his huge assortment of practical and historical skills which are all part of what he has to offer.
David seeks to help his students understand the local landscape through geology, ecological systems, animal and plant inhabitants, and to see that this is all part of a spiritual connection we can have with the world we inhabit.
Suzanne Ryan combines her knowledge in biology with her many years as a teacher. For the last eight years, she was a faculty member at the Charlottesville Waldorf school. Prior to that, she taught at the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City; the Goderich Waldorf School in Freetown, Sierra Leone; in the public schools in New York City; and at Shanxi Agricultural University in China. She also apprenciced at the Hawthorne Valley Biodynamic Farm and Waldorf School in Ghent, New York.
She earned a bachelor degree in biology from Oberlin College and a master degree in elementary education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently a student in the Forest Management Program at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College in Clifton Forge.
She has spent years nurturing her skills in the fiber arts by serving an apprenticeship on a sheep and goat farm, spinning, knitting, crocheting and most recently teaching herself how to use a sewing machine.