Mirabal, Robert

Mirabal, Robert

Two-time GRAMMY Award winner, Robert Mirabal, lives with his family at the foot of the sacred Taos Mountain in northern New Mexico. Maintaining a traditional life, keeping the centuries-old customs of the Taos Pueblo people, Robert has been described as a Native American “Renaissance man” – musician, composer, painter, master craftsman, poet, actor, screenwriter, horseman and farmer – and he travels extensively playing his music all over the world. If you live a traditional life you see things differently—spiritually and musically. His first flute came when he was 18 with money he borrowed from his grandmother, and shortly afterward he had the opportunity to meet Native American flute player R. Carlos Nakai who greatly influenced him. When we met he looked at my hands and laughed. He said, “I have that same scar. It’s the scar of the flute maker.”

In the years since, Robert has continued the evolution of his flute making and has also become an accomplished novelist, poet, craftsman, composer, dancer, actor, painter, sculptor, concert performer and recording artist. His dozen albums of traditional music, rock and roll, and spoken word present a contemporary view of American Indian life th at is unequaled. My music is informed by the ceremonial music that I’ve heard all my life. What I create comes out of my body and soul in a desire to take care of the spirits of the earth. A leading proponent of world music, Robert has merged his indigenous American sound with those of Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, tapping into a planetary pulse with a style that defies categorization. My travels have provided me with experiences that I could have never imagined, and exposed me to a global sound and a global voice.

Whether as a composer, songwriter, or musician, Robert has won many honors including two-time Native American Artist of the Year, three-time Songwriter of the Year, a 2006 GRAMMY Award for Sacred Ground, and his 2008 GRAMMYAward for Johnny Whitehorse Totemic Flute Chants, blending all of Robert’s influences into a musical landscape that conjures up both the historic and contemporary West. His 2002 breakthrough PBS Special, Music From a Painted Cave is unsurpassed in Native American theatrical expression. He is also the author of A Skeleton of a Bridge – a book of poetry, prose, and short stories, and most recently his book, Running Alone in Photographs – a memoir laced with gritty, introspective prose, that opens a window to a palpable experience of life in the Pueblo through the voice of Robert’s alter-ego Reyes Winds.

As a theatrical performer, Robert is no stranger to transforming himself. He portrayed Tony Lujan (Taos Pueblo), the famed husband of Mable Dodge Lujan, in the movie Georgia O’Keeffe, a retrospective about artist Georgia O’Keeffe starring three-time Academy Award nominee, Joan Allen. In recent years, Robert has appeared on Japanese and Italian TV as well as several guest roles on Walker Texas Ranger. In August of 2012, Robert premiered Po’Pay Speaks, his one-man show in Santa Fe about the leader of the Pueblo Revolt (1680) that is now touring internationally.

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Yinger, Brian

Brian Yinger has been involved in the summits for the past 23 years. His family has grown and now his two young daughters get excited in January for the Summit in July. He has run the Service Project in Missouri, Bar Harbor Maine, and Lake Junaluska, North Caroline. This year is no different. He and the service project volunteers will be helping the staff at Ghost Ranch with some trail building and other projects around the Ranch. When not working on projects for the Summit, Brian works as a musician, sound engineer, and knife sharpener in Columbus Ohio.

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Wheeler, Erica

Erica Wheeler is a ‘sense of place’ artist and educator. She combines her career as an award-winning singer/songwriter with her background as an aspiring wildlife field biologist and her expertise working with educators, parks, museums and conservation organizations.

Erica brings two decades of experience as a performer, and over a decade of experience as a speaker and educator. She also brings her lifelong passion for place, nature, history, culture, and her expertise working with parks, museums, schools and conservation organizations. Erica’s work helps to foster the personal connections between people and place, helping people enjoy places more today, and take care of places for the future.

Her mission is to inspire the stewardship of our natural and cultural resources by helping people enrich and explore their own ‘sense of place.’

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Stroupe, Amanda

Amanda Stroupe: Last year I loved sharing the North Carolina mountains with our young folk, and this year I look forward to experiencing New Mexico with our little (and coolest) guys. As a mother of four, I have found that children are at their best in the great outdoors. It is my pleasure to explore, learn about, and marvel over the wonders of Mother Nature with those who see it best. From August to June I teach 2nd grade in small town Granite Falls, North Carolina. In the classroom I love to take children out of the classroom! We often take walks, have poetry class and nature journaling outdoors, and study birds at our birdfeeder. On the weekends my family likes to take day trips to the mountains for creek play, hiking, salamander spying, picnics, and time to relax. I can’t wait to do similar, and different, things with our Family Summit children!

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Banana Slugs String Band

Steve Van Zandt is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara in Environmental Studies /Geography. He received a multiple subject teaching credential from San Francisco State and an Administrative Credential from San Jose State. Steve worked as a Naturalist at SMOE and at Exploring New Horizons. He also worked as a Naturalist at Youth Science Institute and as a Co-Director/Intern Coordinator at Hidden Villa. Steve was also a Co-Manager for the Pigeon Point Youth Hostel. He has been a classroom teacher for kindergarten, 3rd and 4th grade. Steve has also been a Life Lab and ESL teacher K-7. He is one of the founding and active members of the Banana Slug String Band. Steve has been the site director/principle with San Mateo Outdoor Education for 17 years. He has three children: Nathan 22, Colin 19, and Skyler 19. Steve enjoys music, writing, poetry, ping-pong, vegetarian/vegan cooking, surfing and swimming under waterfalls. Steve’s nature name is “Solar Steve.”

“ Marine” Mark Nolan is a graduate of UC Davis with a BS in Zoology and a Secondary Science Teaching Credential and Administrative Credential from San Jose State. Mark taught as a Naturalist for twelve years, founded and directed the Pigeon Point Environmental Education Program, and served as the Executive Director for Exploring New Horizons Outdoor Schools. Since 1996, he has served as Director of San Mateo Outdoor Education, which provides hands-on environmental education for fifth and sixth graders. The father of two children, Mark also likes gardening, cooking and reading books on natural history.

“Airy” Larry Graff, member, partner, manager of the Slugs for 26 years, graduated from Univ Of Michigan in 1981, with a focus on Environmental Advocacy. Journeyed west to California, where he worked in Environmental Education for 6 years in San Mateo County. In 1985 formed the Banana Slugs with Solar Steve, Marine Mark, and Doug Dirt…..11 CDs, a DVD, a Book..thousands of shows….audiences in the millions……the rest is history….

Doug “Dirt” Greenfield, born in Cincinnati, Ohio , graduated from Ohio University (summa cum laude) with an individualized, self-designed curriculum with a emphasis in environmental education, creative problem solving technologies and communications studies. After a very enriching and short lived three weeks at the University of San Francisco School of Law, Dirt reconsidered and then reorganized his life path to obtain a Multi-Subject Teaching Credential through Hayward State University. Doug served as program director for (in succession) Venture West School of Outdoor Living and Exploring New Horizons, and later created individualized week-long science camps, taking students from several northern California schools on visits to many of the state’s pristine habitats. As fate would have it, these days Doug enjoy life with his wife and two teenaged daughters and continues the 29-year adventure as co-founding artist and co-manager of the Banana Slug String Band.

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Henries, Hawk

Hawk is a member of the Chaubunagungamaug band of Nipmuck, a people indigenous to what is now Southern New England. He has been composing original music and making Eastern Woodlands flutes using hand tools for more than 23 years.

He enjoys sharing his experiences and perspectives about Life in hopes of acknowledging and honoring the Sacredness in each person and all cultures. He creates a calming yet engaging and contemplative space while maintaining a note of humor. His music is a reflection of thinking that we each have the capacity to make a change in the world. Hawk is fascinated with musical instruments and traditions from around the world, so you may also hear the didgeridoo and the Mbira!

Hawk has had the honor of presenting at venues such as The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Harvard Medical School Graduation, and in the U.K. with the London Mozart Players. He also enjoys educational settings from kindergarten to university and small venues where he can engage the audience in dialogue.

Hawk’s reputation as a flute maker has grown and he now has flutes all over the world and in several museums. He has three original CD’s, First Flight, Keeping the Fire and Voices. He is also featured on the compilation CD Tribal Winds. His music has been used in a variety of films and documentaries some of which won or were nominated for Emmy awards.

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Cisar, Ron

Ron Cisar – Earth Music – Ron is one of our faculty this year as well as performing his popular “Earth Music” for us. All of his hobbies revolve around nature from song writing, photography, reading, writing prose, poems and essays, hiking, kayaking, gardening etc. Ron has released two CDs of his original musical compositions, Earth Music and The Spell of Yellowstone. He has a very sincere enthusiasm about what he does and enjoys working with people of all ages. Be prepared to be entertained and delighted!Ron Cisar is no stranger to Conservation Summits. He has worked over 20 National Wildlife Conservation Summits from 1984 to 2004. Ron has served as Director of the Teen Adventure Program as well as an Earth Music instructor sharing his love of the natural world through his original songs. Ron has performed in 18 states and Canada. His programs have been scheduled and viewed by colleges, public schools, nature centers, and numerous regional, national and international conferences across the country including Project Wild, Bluebirds Across America, Missouri Department of Conservation, Girl Scouts of America, and the National Academic Decathlon Finals to name a few.

Ron has been an environmental educator his entire life. He presently teaches Environmental Science and Biology at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, IA. He has received numerous honors and awards in the area of education such as the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, Nebraska Conservation Educator of the Year and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Ron’s whole life involves the study of natural history. All of his hobbies revolve around nature from song writing, photography, reading, writing prose, poems and essays, hiking, kayaking, gardening etc. Ron has released two CDs of his original musical compositions, Earth Music and The Spell of Yellowstone. He has a very sincere enthusiasm about what he does and enjoys working with people of all ages. Ron’s personal goal is to enrich his student’s and/or participant’s life with the values of a true land ethic and to instill in everyone a passion for positive stewardship of the planet. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska with his wife Muriel. They have three sons.

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