Presenter Bios

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Bill Coperthwaite: Yurt Design, Bowl & Spoon Carving

Dr. William Coperthwaite has dedicated his life to learning from the craftspeople of ancient cultures and applying thier indigenous technology to modern materials and design.  He is responsible for the yurts you will see at The Mountain Institute.  He teaches workshops on design and “the handmade life” in which participants learn not only specific skills, but also concepts of democratic design that can be applied to all of life.

I want to live in a society where people are intoxicated with the joy of making things” WC

Charles McRaven:  Drystack Stonemasonry, Blacksmith Toolmaking

Charles “Mac” McRaven has built and restored hundreds of log, stone, and post & beam structures all over the United States, earning him recognition as America’s leading authority on the preservation of the nation’s structural history.  He writes copiously on pioneer skills and their place in today’s world.  McRaven is the author of five books including Building and Restoring the Hewn Log House, Stonework, Building with Stone, and Country Blacksmithing, and is a regular contributor to magazines.  A charming and tenacious role model, we are delighted to welcome Charles McRaven back for his second year at the WHC.

Frank Salzano: Hillbilly Agroforestry

How should we live in Appalachia in the 21st Century?  What skills do we need to live a responsible post-industrial life?  What do the mountains and forests tell us about how to live here?  How do we listen?  What do chestnuts and Taoism have in common?  Let’s explore the next cultural succession and radical shift to living with and belonging to the land.

Frank grew up in southern West Virginia and is a real Sodomite.  He now lives in Sodom, NC where he homesteads and wild-crafts with friends.  He is the Chestnut Hill research site coordinator and education and outreach director of the Appalachian Center for Agroforestry.

Jeff Mattocks:  Pastured Animal Nutrition: Backyards to Small Farms

Jeff has been working with livestock and poultry since 1996.  He has been actively involved with the feeding and management of organic and natural farm animals.  This includes formulating diets for all types of livestock, but mostly for organic producers.  He balances feeds with natural inputs for optimum health beliefs.  He has been gleaning from successful producers over the years and is sharing these methods of natural preventative health care  and management techniques.  He focuses primarily on poultry and large ruminants.  He is finding that these same principles apply to most livestock and believes that a truly healthy animal with a balance of nutrition, environment, and understanding will produce what nature has enabled it to produce.

Doug Crouch, TreeYo Permaculture:  Edible Landscaping using Ecological Design

Trained as both a Permaculture Designer and Fish and Wildlife Manager, Doug’s knowledge in landscape planning is extensive.  He has worked in temperate, dryland and tropical climates extending from the Americas to Asia, Eastern and Western Europe and Oceania.  This work includes land and water management for tourism ventures, facilitation and co-creation of educational programs, tropical aquaculture and wetlands restoration, permaculture design and implementation, and market gardening.  Incorporating his knowledge and experience into educational programs is now Doug’s main focus as he continues to design and develop in various ecosystems.

Lindsey Warf: Felting

Dye plant garden coordinator of the Appalachian Center of Agroforestry, West Virginia-native Lindsey Warf is a dye artist and gardener of vegetable, medicinal and dye plants.  She homesteads in Madison County, NC where she experiments with natural dyes and wearable art in her felting/fiber arts studio.

Learn how to make a durable, all-natural fabric using only wool, soap and water.  We will use the wet felting technique in which friction compresses the fibers into a fabric that can be left as is or sewn into a bag or anything you can imagine!

Ruth Walsh, Ruth Ann Colby Martin and The Midwives Alliance of WV:  Basic Disaster Birth Support

Rural midwife for the past 25 years, Ruth Walsh has been affiliated with multiple midwives alliances and is an advocate of physiologic birth.  Basic Disaster Birth Support is designed to prepare community members to assist women in labor during disasters when transport to the hospital is not an option.  Midwives are the experts in childbirth without technological support.  Learn what to do and what not to do to in emergency birth situations.

Brooks Miller:  The Art of Curing Meat

Brooks Miller owns and operates North Mountain Pastures with his wife Anna Santini.  They raise and sell poultry, pork, beef and lamb through their CSA and to markets in Washington, D.C.  They process pork into nitrate-free cured meats including prosciutto and salami.  They are currently building a federally inspected processing facility on their farm.

Ken Roseboro:  The Genetically Modified Food Threat and What You Can Do About It

Ken Roseboro has been called “the nation’s reporter on all issues surrounding genetically modified crops” by Acres USA magazine.  Ken is editor and publisher of The Organic & Non-GMO Report, a monthly newsletter that focuses on the threats posed by GM foods and the growing non-GMO food trend.  He is also editor and publisher of The Non-GMO Sourcebook, an annual directory of suppliers of non-GMO and organic seed, grains, and ingredients.  Ken is author of Genetically Altered Foods and Your Health and The Organic Food Handbook, both published by Basic Health Publications.  He is a member of the board of directors of the Iowa Organic Association.

Michael and Carrie Kline:  Ballad Singing for Kids (and Adults)!

The Klines met through a love of singing, old time music and oral tradition.  They are preoccupied with West Virginia songs, from the ballads of the Hammons family to love ballads and country songs as well.  They present their music both as entertainment and social history, with engaging ease and hard-hitting passion.  As two people absorbed in the study of oral tradition, they spend time with old time singers and tellers living in the Appalachian region.  Singing to audiences of all ages, they perform in a variety of situations; from classrooms to prisons, coffeehouses to picket lines.

Please see for more details on Michael and Carrie Nobel Kline’s work through their enterprise Talking Across the Lines, LLC.

Ben McKean: Basic Bee-Keeping

Ben McKean will join us again from Dry Fork, WV to teach the basics of bee-keeping and share value-added ideas such as his acclaimed ancient and medicinal honey mead.

Mark Wolfe:  Dairy Goats for the Modern Homestead

Mark Wolfe of Mathias, WV will share his milking does and new kids for adults and children throughout the weekend!  He raises Alpine dairy goats in eastern West Virginia on his small farm  where he practices Permaculture and biodynamic principles.  See alternatives for fencing and containment, a milking stand, types of feed, scythes and brush-cutting equipment and milking demonstrations throughout the day.  Come find out what it takes to raise a dairy animal for the modern homestead.

Eva Ristl: Lunar Rhythms: Gardening (and a lot more) by the Signs

Eva Ristl, M.Sc., herbalist (AHG), together with her husband Emil Ristl, grows ginseng, traditional Western and Ayurvedic herbs on their woodlands farm in Roane County, WV. She teaches an intuitive yet empirical way of truly understanding the natural rhythms in our cosmos, reflected above all in her use of the lunar calendar.  She makes herbal products of the highest integrity, paying attention to the energetics of the herbs and “The Art of Timing.”  Contact her at or 304.577.9034.


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