About Us

Fran Weinbaum

Fran Weinbaum has been guiding wilderness rites of passage and retreats since 1996.  Her growing commitment is to the weaving of soulful community in North Central Vermont through community-created and held ceremony including rites of passage.  


Fran has found that the essence of each teaching has been to listen “with the ears of your heart” to all that is speaking within and around you.  She trusts that the power, the beauty, and the authenticity of going out on the land and listening will bring people what they need to live their lives with deeper passion, meaning, and purpose.  Part of the purpose implicit within each person’s story is what is brought back to their most immediate relationships, to the work they do in the world be it paid or service, to their broader community, and increasingly, as a seed for cultural change that leads to human being and doing that is in balance with the Earth and the Other Than Human world.


A mother and grandmother, she lives in East Montpelier, Vermont, with her husband, Peter, balancing the tending of goats, garden, and hearth with work as a spiritual life coach and wilderness quest guide.  She trained with  The School of Lost Borders, Animas Valley Institute, The Institute for Spiritual Development, Earth Island Expeditions (now MettaEarth Institute), Naropa University Authentic Leadership, and The Newfield Network - Ontological Coaching.  She completed one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education and is currently enrolled in End of Life Doula training through the Unversity of Vermont Continuing Education.  Fran is a member of the Wilderness Guide Council.  

Susan Atwood


Susan Atwood has guided for the Central Vermont Women’s Wilderness Quest since 2013. Her work in various capacities as teacher, mentor and guide has centered on helping people explore their edges with courage and curiosity, to “en-courage” all to connect with their deepest aspirations and interests. Enacting this work within the container of the natural world provides an opportunity to explore self beyond the influences and expectations of human community.


Susan has trained with Fran Weinbaum and with The School of Lost Borders. In 2015 Susan completed the Yearlong Soul-Craft Immersion Program with Animus Valley Institute led by Bill Plotkin and Geneen Haugen. She has a MA in Education with an emphasis on teaching writing and is currently enrolled in the Clinical Mental Health masters degree program at Northern Vermont University. Susan has been a student of Buddhism for twenty years, and she is a member of The Wilderness Guides Council.


Guest Guides for Mirroring of the Four Shields of Human Nature 


Emerald North, Lead Guide

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, transparent, and transparent container that could be so.”   Emerald has been with Lost Borders since 1993 and co-directed the School with Joseph Lazenka from 2001 through 2005.                                                                            School of Lost orders: http://schooloflostborders.org/                                          Art Website: http//www.earthtonesart.com


Ken Crocker has guided rites of passage outings for boys and young men and participates in restorative justice circles with youth offenders.  He is a mediator and parent/teen mediations are his favorites.  While he had an earlier career in high tech, his favorite career was as a stay at home dad for his two daughters who are now amazing young adults.  A majority of Ken’s energy is now focused on climate change, including serving as the board chair for the Geos Institute www.geosinstitute.org, which helps communities respond to the threat of climate change by building resilience.  Ken is a student of the Diamond Approach.  https://www.diamondapproach.org


Russell Comstock is the Co-Director of Metta Earth Institute. He holds an MA in Contemplative and Ecological Leadership and a BA in Human Ecology. A practitioner of yoga for more than twenty years, he is certified in both Interdisciplinary and Jivamukti Yoga. Russell has extensive experience directing programs in wilderness, adventure, and experiential education. He has trained as a quest and wilderness guide with Earth Rise Foundation, School of Lost Borders, and Outdoor Leadership Training Seminars. He has been a nationally certified Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (WEMT) and maintains a Wilderness First Responder certification. He has recently completed a handbook called: Metta Earth Yoga – Contemplative Ecological Practices for a Sustainable Futures.