The Living Earth Year Round Staff


Kate with the biggest tree in the world – a sequioa giant

Kate Knott

Co-Founder/Co-Director of Living Earth School

Find Yourself Live Life Fully Be the Change

Kate is a visionary and change maker, on a mission to connect people back to living a life connected to nature, to their own inner journey and to their family and community around them. She sees life as a precious gift and knowing that we have a choice to live it fully or hide in our comforts or distractions.  She actively chooses to live from her heart and to step into life fully.

She has built one of the leading nature schools in the country, from the ground up, and continues to be on the cutting edge of the national nature connection movement. She has been engaged on the nature connection journey herself for over 24 years and has touched the lives of thousands. Her path has led her to having a great passion for Rites-of-Passages and she aims to bridge the gap our culture neglects, by bringing meaningful initiations back to our people.

Kate loves to explore the wild with her family and to connect both of her daughters to the wonders of beautiful wild places. You will find her in her garden or foraging for tasty wild edible plants. She loves to stay fit, eat food that nourishes her body and soul and sing and dance in her kitchen, and yes you may find her floating and snorkeling in turquoise waters.


Hub Knott

Co-Founder/Co-Director of Living Earth School

Hub has been on a deep nature connection journey for over 25 years. He didn’t grow up in a world that felt connected to nature.  He knew something was missing. In his late teens he started exploring the woods near his childhood home in Baltimore, and then expanded to some of the most beautiful wild places in North America.  He yearned for the taste of the wild, the real, the mountain peaks and the rich valleys.

He has traveled to other continents and studied with many leaders and mentors to answer the question: what consistently connects people to nature, and their purpose? It is these findings that put him on the leading edge of the nature connection movement.  Hub knows from experience how this nature connection journey can transform ones life, leading to more heart-centered relationships and purpose.  He has mentored and taught thousands of people to connect in a deeper, more meaningful way with not only the natural world, but with themselves in balance with community.

Hub is great at bringing humor, curiosity and a light-hearted approach to loving this earth and empowering people to embrace their opportunity.   Hub lives along the Blue Ridge Mountains with his wonderful wife Kate and daughters Violet and Phoebe. He loves pursuing his outdoor passions of gardening, tending the wild, wandering the mountains behind his home, trail running, paddling rivers, and saying “yes” to adventure.

Caroline Heins

Administrative Director

Caroline is native to Virginia but has lived all over North America from Mexico and the deep south to the Pacific Northwest.  She’s hung her hat here in Charlottesville for more than 15 years now.  After graduating from the University of Virginia, Caroline has dedicated her time and passions to creating community and to being a community activist in the Central Virginia region.  Everything Caroline does has a focus and Kids and how children can be involved in the greater community as a whole.  She has a family with two kids, two cats, a dog, and a husband and lives in the middle of downtown Charlottesville.


Erin Campbell

Program Coordinator/Instructor

Erin Maureen Campbell, aka Soupy, became wildly curious about the natural world during three years in the Pacific Northwest where she studied at and worked for the Wilderness Awareness School. There she sat against many a Western Red Cedar tree, curled up on rainy nights in shelters piled high with sword ferns, and followed wolves in the snow and elk on sandy river bottomlands. Soupy is so excited to see her native Virginia homeland (UVA grad from Springfield) with new eyes, and to play in the woods with her four nieces and nephews and all the kids at LES programs. When she’s not scouring mud puddles for tracks or harvesting nettles to make pesto, Soupy can be found building decks, singing in harmony and writing snail mail letters.

Kelly Lecko

Day Camp Coordinator/Instructor

Kelly is an Appalachian Transplant from California. From the moment she learned about headlamps and natural hot springs at age 18, Kelly has not had a job inside a building ever since. Kelly graduated from the University of Redlands and has been an outdoor environmental educator in six states from Maine to the Smoky Mountains. Kelly found a home in Appalachia and enjoys traveling, learning, hiking, biking, swimming, singing and connecting with many natural spaces these mountains provide.  She expresses herself creatively through art, poetry, dance and food.

Brienna Lynn Gerard

Day Camp Coordinator

Brienna is a life-long nature lover.  She spent her childhood playing in the deciduous forests of MA.  Brienna studied studio art and graduated from JMU in 2010.  Through a cathartic experience in Thailand she learned to “live off the land.”   She joined LES in 2016 and is also an art teacher at Greer Elementary School. Brienna takes on organic gardening, cooking, wild foraging, and natural building in pursuit of a healthy, earth honoring life.


Aaron Hackett

Aaron was born and raised in Charlottesville! Throughout his childhood and teenage years, he could be found on one of the many secret beaches and islands of the Rivanna River with his friends or running along the trails of Key West’s “Bottom Lands.” In college he began to grow a deep appreciation for nature through his studies in leadership and philosophy, eventually writing his senior thesis on the important role of Nature in religion. These studies led him to Tom Brown Jr.’s Tracker School where he found a passion for survival skills and “The Way of the Scout.” It was during one of these classes that he first heard of the Living Earth School. When he finally showed up to intern in the Summer of 2014, he knew right away that this would be the place where he could grow his connection to nature while helping others grow their own.

Peter Yencken

Peter is a master bowmaker and craftsman, who has been a guest instructor at wilderness schools across the United States and Australia. Peter brings humor and wisdom to his classes, making them both instructional as well as fun!

Margaret Lambert

Margaret has been drawn to the outdoors ever since she toted around a camera to take pictures of the gray squirrels and cottontail rabbits in her neighborhood. In her early twenties, Margaret continued to kindle her connection with the natural world by studying biology and ecology at both Warren Wilson College and The Evergreen State College. She immersed herself in a year-long naturalist residential program with the Wilderness Awareness School in Duvall, WA. She has continued to share her love of all things wild and her sense of stewardship by working as an environmental educator at a National Wildlife Refuge and currently is a middle school science teacher at a local private school, North Branch, located in Afton, VA. Margaret continues to instruct with the Living Earth School and has assisted with day-long programs, backpacking trips, and summer camp. When Margaret isn’t wandering in the woods, or creating lesson plans, she enjoys choreographing new aerial silks routines which she performs in Charlottesville with the group Moonlight Circus.


Luke von Hemert

Luke von Hemert started going to the living earth school when he was around 10 and quickly fell in love with what was taught at the school. He then went on to attend every camp that they offered, and when he heard he could become a CIT (consular in training) he jumped at the idea. After graduating high school, and seeing a bit of the world he has signed on to be a natural mentor for kids, and plans to do so in the future.

Luke really enjoys rock climbing, and ascending huge walls out in Utah has been a big highlight in his life. What he really likes about working for LES is sparking kids connecting to the earth, and seeing them really start to care for it.

Snow Bear, Steven Tyler

Snow Bear has been with LES for many years and is now our designated camp Elder.  He shares his loving and caring ways so eloquently with the campers and they seem to be greatly drawn to the deep earth skills and gentle ways in which he shares his knowledge.

Joey Murray

Joey has been with LES for 13 summers and it just wouldn’t be the same without him! Joey has a love of the wilderness that was fostered since he was a child. He has had the opportunity to travel all over the world learning from Indigenous elders and nature connection leaders and has constantly asked the questions: What brings people closer to nature connection? What brings people closer to themselves? It is the drive to answer these questions and especially the community of friends that he works with that has put him at the cutting edge of the nature connection movement.

Joe realized that deep nature connection mentoring and community are the most important ways for our children and adults to grow in a very deep way to connect with the earth and our hearts. He loves to care for the land and when he is not teaching he is learning. Over the span of his career he has trained many instructors and helped start a number of wilderness schools. More close to his heart has been the thousands of children he has helped mentor into becoming fully alive amazing beings.  He is a co-founder of Ancestral Knowledge 501(c3) and has been mentoring deep nature connection since 1997. In his free time he loves to spend time in nature alone or with his family, students, community of other nature connection mentors.


Amalia Harte

Amalia is a deep lover of nature. To her the forests hold a wisdom that our ancestors knew, one of medicines, food, means of survival, and many other mysteries. She received her BA at the University of Virginia where she studied sustainability. Here she learned about the power of living in community and of native peoples and their vision quests. Amalia sees journeying into nature and connecting with its lessons and love as one of the most powerful ways back into truly being alive. She is grateful to be in the LES family, sharing this woodland magic with children!

Living Earth Staff Summer 2016

Living Earth Staff 2015

Living Earth Staff 2015


Living Earth Crew 2014

Living Earth Staff 2012

Living Earth Staff 2012

Living Earth Staff 2013

Living Earth Staff 2009