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’s preparation to guide quests has included training with The School of Lost Borders, Animas Valley Institute, The Institute for Spiritual Development, Earth Island Expeditions (now MettaEarth Institute), and The Newfield Network. Fran is currently an intern in Clinical Pastoral Education at Havenwood Heritage Heights, in Concord, NH. 


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.  Fran 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 organizational consultant.  Fran is a member of the Wilderness Guides Council.






Fran's work with women in Vermont was featured in the 2012 November-December of Vermont Woman.  www.vermontwoman.com

Nils Whittelsey

Nils has been active in coordinating men's support groups and weekend retreats for the past fifteen years. Connecting with the woods and the land has been a passion and necessity since childhood. He continues to spend many days in the woods in the company of trees, deer, bear, and any other creatures who venture into his camp. Nils brings beauty into the world through his hands— woodworking, weaving, and creating ceremonial space. Nils has guided with Fran since 2008 and is a member of the Wilderness Guides Council.  Nils lives in the forest in Monkton, Vermont, with his wife, Jenne where they create ceremony together.

All guides and apprentices hold certification in Wilderness First Aid and CPR.