Bark Tipis in Winter

Tim Corcoran, Founder

I was born in 1954, in San Francisco, California. My Irish heritage, as taught to me by my uncle and my grandfather, has linked me deeply to Earth peoples' philosophy of life.

I first went to the woods at age six. I knew then that this was my home. At seventeen I spent four months alone in the Canadian Wilderness practicing Earth living skills.

I began a career teaching wildlife conservation, in 1974. During this time I learned how to communicate with the spirits of the animals I worked with.

My most recent and important wilderness experiences have been greatly enriched by the teachings of Tom Brown Jr. the well known tracker and author.

In 1992, with Headwaters Outdoor School, I realized my lifelong vision to share what I have learned from the Earth and to inspire people to discover their own connection with the Earth.

Jean Sage, Teacher

I haven't had a presence at HWOS as I have been busy with my career in the television news business. As I wind down my career however with 2 remaining clients, I have spent the last 5 years thinking about the state of the world, my place in it while observing the anxieties and discontent of teens and twenty-year-olds and wondering what, if anything, I could do about that.

During this period, I had the incredible opportunity to spend some concentrated one-on-one time with Dr. Jean Houston. She has been on the forefront of social change and consciousness movement for decades working with the great mythologist Joseph Campbell, anthropologist Margaret Meade in her early days. She currently writes and teaches on the interconnectedness of spiritual practice, quantum science and meditative practices in creating transformations within oneself for transformations within one's community and the world. She also assisted Hillary Clinton in the 90's in writing 'It Takes a Village,' and she is currently involved with the United Nations in creating programs around the world for empowering women.

In working with Jean I wanted to find the connection within my worldview of how quantum science and spirituality are the ignition points for recreating and reimagining myself as I enter a new life phase. I thought it would be a solitary journey but I find that my daily meditation practice, my self-education on quantum theory as a metaphoric language for understanding my spiritual beliefs within my daily physical reality while deepening my connection with the constant flow of nature energies has created a map for how we can all reimagine the world while recreating the self.

The Trump years provide an incredible opportunity for the younger generation (which is anyone younger than me) to find the hope and purpose and meaning for their lives that might not have shown itself in more peaceful times. We were all born for this time. I consider us all revolutionaries for change. My changes are vastly different in some ways to the changes taking place within a 16-year-old boy or girl or a twenty-year-old or thirty or forty year old but we all have a powerful connection.

Tim and I have been trying to figure out how to bring all these elements together, how to instill hope rather than despair when one looks at the challenges of climate change, how to help kids map out careers that serve humanity and themselves rather than a corporation's bottom line. We will provide the opportunity for you to deepen your connection with nature to tap into the vast realms of non-local consciousness where communally and individually you will take the first steps into reimagining the world.

The absolute key component to this work is immersion in nature. I have been to workshops and studied shamanic practices in classrooms that provided insight but the 'quickening' happens within nature. We will be doing this class July 25 -29, 2017.

Julie Boettler, Cook

Julie has been a part of the Headwaters family for many years. She first came to Headwaters as a student, then as an apprentice. She now works as Headwater's camp cook and caretaker.

She loves to listen to your stories, so come prepared to share, while she serves you up one of her superb and satisfying meals.


Jon Bock, Teacher

Classes: Boys Rite of Passage

John helps Tim teach the Apprentices during the summer, guiding them on backpacking trips and climbing Mt Shasta. He was part of our Apprentice program for a few years and is now an outstanding mentor at the school.

JT Beggs, Lead Instructor

Classes: Edible and Useful Plants

JT's connection to nature was fully realized as soon as he was old enough to cover himself in dirt. Since then he has found nearly every excuse to deeply immerse himself in the ocean, the garden and the wild lands that he calls his home. JT discovered the potential to make this a lifestyle when he met an old bear in the woods named Tim Corcoran. Since then he has continued his study with Tim, the founder of Headwaters, as well as Tod Haddow, Lynx Vilden and countless others.

JT has spent over six weeks of his life living off of excusively wild foods and loves finding ways of getting wild plants into every aspect of his life.

"JT is one of my favorite nature skills mentors to share time with. He is wonderfully knowledgeable, humble, sweet and an engaging storyteller. His love for the ancestral magic of music and culinary arts come together to always make times with him memorable and delicious. I recommend his highly experiential classes heartily!" -- Jon Young, Author of Coyotes Guide and What the Robin Knows

Evert Broderick, Teacher

Classes: Exploring Plant Medicine

Mucking through cattail marshes, intimate contact with stinging nettles, testing my current level of immunity to poison oak and marveling at the beauty of monarch butterflies on milkweed blossoms have become part of the fabric of my life. Ever since an inauspicious revelation involving a dandelion some twenty-five years ago, plants have been my guiding passion. My primary interest is in the human uses of wild plants for food and medicine although botany, just studying plants for the joy of knowing more about them, ranks a close second. Many excellent teachers have fostered my appreciation and understanding of the world of plants. Most recently, I graduated from Michael Moore's Southwest School of Botanical Medicine. Not only do plants continue to feed my spiritual and intellectual growth, they are at the core of my livelihood: I work on an organic farm near Redmond, Washington and teach Plant Identification at Bastyr University.

Kim Powers, Teacher

Classes: Exploring Plant Medicine

I have been driven by a desire to be a healer for as long as I can remember. Years ago I discovered that a healer; more importantly, we are all healers. Since then I have focused a great deal of my time and energy developing knowledge, skills and sensitivities in the healing realms while also encouraging other people to tap into their own innate healing abilities. Medicinal plants, essential oils and food as medicine are among my key interests. I completed both the Herbal Medicine and Aromatherapy programs through the Australasian School of Health Sciences, and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Herbal Sciences from Bastyr University. I now spend my time working with herbs, essential oils, and energy medicine to help people find and maintain their balance in a world where this is the ultimate challenge!

Lou Ponig, Teacher

Classes: The Winter Class, Earth Philosophy Level 1,

Lou has been working with Tim at Headwaters from day one back in 1992. Lou helps teach the Winter Class as well as the Earth Philosophy classes. Lou's skills seem to come as second nature to him now. He enjoys getting out in the woods as much as possible walking his talk. He brings a strong background of experienced knowledge, humor and some fun music around the campfire.

John Brennan, Teacher

JB was initially attracted to the power of Nature by attending camp on Lake Winnipesaukee in rural New Hampshire in the 1940's and in 1950 reading Wildwood Wisdom by Ellsworth Jaeger.

John is a veteran Sierra Nevada long distance hiker, an eager Mt. Climber having summited major peaks in the West and Hawaii, and a resolute telemark skier. JB has been an apprentice with Tom Little Bear of the Esselen Tribe since 1991. He pours and sings in the Esselen Sweat Lodge. JB started studying shamanic healing in 2003 with teachers from diverse shamanic backgrounds. He provides services as a shamanic healing practitioner.

In 2003 he received the gift of wholly immersing himself in Nature on a regular basis by moving here to Hammond Ranch and building a strawbale home.

Elliot Drake-Maurer, Teacher

Elliot was introduced to hiking, camping, and frolicking in the natural world at a very young age, and has never stopped. Born perhaps a few thousand years after his time, he has an avid interest in primitive cultures and learning about their relationships with their environment, as well as martial arts, music, and writing and ecology. He found Headwaters as an apprentice in 2009, and has found his second home, now assisting with teaching, cooking, and other tasks to keep the camp running. He is currently studying Outdoor Education at Northland College in Wisconsin. He returns every summer to his home state of California to teach and learn at Headwaters.

Emily Beggs-Kortman, Teacher

Classes: Edible and Useful Plants

Emily is a cook, anthropologist, and teacher who has studied horticulture, culinary arts and healing traditions with chefs, farmers, herbalists and grandmothers in kitchens and gardens from the Sierra Nevada to the Andes. Emily has expertise in cross-cultural perspectives on nutrition and gastronomy, and is particularly interested in healing foods and culinary medicine. She loves weaving this knowledge into a meal and exploring health and culture through food.

Aaron Beverly, Teacher and Guide

Aaron's life with Headwaters began in 2002 as a participant in the Apprenticeship Program. Since then he has transitioned completely from his former life as a software engineer into a life in the outdoors. He works as a mountain guide year round on Mount Shasta leading summit and skiing trips. When not on the mountain, he works as a ski patroller and a white water river guide. He is the program coordinator and co-founder of Shasta Disabled Sports, a non-profit corporation providing outdoor experiences to persons with disabilities. He holds Avalanche Level I and II ceritifications and is an EMT-B. He still remains involved with Headwaters, helping out on various classes including the Winter Class. In the summer, he leads the Headwaters' apprentices to the summit of Mount Shasta.

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Tim Corcoran Photography

Tim Corcoran Photography

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Meet the Staff!

Apprentice at Headwaters

Apprentice at Headwaters