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      Our Educators

All of our professional educators are passionate about their topics and are recognized as leaders in their fields!

Sean Dembrosky

Sean Dembrosky is a certified Permaculture Designer and the owner/operator of Edible Acres, a permaculture nursery and forest farm research space focused on low and no tech solutions. As nursery operator and forest gardener, he grows a wide range of foods and medicines, both annual and perennial, in gardens that take care of themselves. Sean also provides consultation, design and land management services. Sean has been immersed in practicing and teaching permaculture principles for over 10 years. Using human scale earth working and garden bed development and deep mulch practices, the farm requires no irrigation or machines to operate. He and his wife also garden a tiny .6 acre plot, raise chickens and grow most of their food. He loves to share these systems with whoever is ready to grow more food with less stress and costs!

Marnie Lersch

Marnie Lersch is a visual artist, educator, curator and arts administrator. She received her B.F.A. from SUNY Purchase and her M.S. in arts administration from Drexel University. Recently, Marnie worked with professional artists in the Mid-Atlantic region at The Center for Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA). At CFEVA, Marnie facillitated numerous programs including the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours, the largest visual arts festival in the region and LandLab, an environmental artist-in-residency program at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education (SCEE) educating the public about local environmental issues through the creation of site specific quality artwork.

Kay Megorden-Staten

Kay Megorden-Staten is certified in Permaculture Design and is a Teacher, Herbalist, Artisan, Consultant and Designer. She is the Founder/Owner of Eco1x1 and of Pure Nourish Food & Apothecary Forest on Bristol Mountain, NY where she also homesteads and lives in practice of lessons from nature. A few of Kay's services include: Pure Nourish foods, herbs, medicine, skin care and home care products; Whole System Wellness Consultations; Guided Food Foraging Walks and Lunches; Landscape and Garden Design. Kay has gained a lifetime of education, experiences and skills from her work across the US in public and private education, nonprofit associations, and corporate and small business. She lives as a conscious participant in the eco system and guides others to learn how they can, too.

Workshop Instructors
Deborah Denome

Deborah Denome, has been reveling in her relationship with the natural world since she was a very young child…the field and forest provide both livelihood and sanctuary.  Deb is an herbal educator, Horticultural Therapist, Forest Therapy Guide Candidate, and Director of Shimmering Light Farm & Renewal Center, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to exploring and inspiring more conscious and regenerative ways of life.  She is also co-owner of Finger Lakes Forest Therapy and formerly served as Vice President of Training and Curriculum Development for two international publishing companies.  Deb is passionate about the expansion of human consciousness, especially as it informs our Oneness with All Things.

Melissa Kelly-McCabe

Melissa Kelly-McCabe lives life with wonder and possibility and uses a strengths-based, appreciative stance in her work. She has studied extensively at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland and believes that we each get to design the life we want – and we each can live authentically with fun and purpose.  Melissa is a foodie who lives close to the land – growing, harvesting and creating delectable, healthy food.  She has lived in New York, Northern Virginia, Washington DC, and for years, traveled non-stop domestically and internationally for work and play. Now, she and her husband have put down roots and live quietly near Canandaigua Lake.

Laura Villanti

Laura Villanti has spent the past decade teaching and sharing with others the importance of nutrition for our health.  Her focus is on the use of nutrient dense whole foods and optimizing digestive health to aid clients in achieving vibrant health.  She has trained with Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride on the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) protocol and has taught this protocol to hundreds over the past 9 years.  Most recently, Laura became certified as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. She is co-leader of the Rochester Chapter of the Weston A Price Foundation, an international, non-profit nutritional foundation, and the owner of At Home With Wellness,

Chelsea Borowski

Chelsea Borowski has dedicated the last several years to complimentary modalities of healing. Her most recent focus has been studying herbal medicine and nature based practices. Over the last 3 years Chelsea has taken two herbal apprenticeships honing in on her skills in plant medicine making and has landed at Shimming Light where she works along side Deb in the herb gardens. Her passion lies deeply within her connection to the natural world and she has dug into a new layer of the soil with her exploration in primitive skills.  Chelsea is also a a local massage therapist in Canandaigua, integrating neuromuscular therapy with energy work to help restore balance to the physical and emotional bodies.   

Suzie Garnsey

Suzie Garnsey has received her training in facilitating the Inipi (sweat lodge) ceremony over 25 years with her Lakota, Seneca and Mohawk elders.   She is also a C’anunpa (Sacred Pipe) carrier and has danced for the past 4 years in South Dakota at the Potato Creek Sundance, where she served as the women’s Sundance leader this year.   Suzie is also a Reiki Master and student medium. The Inipi fire will be kept by her husband, River Garnsey, who has been the head fire keeper at the Potato Creek Sundance for the last 3 years. 

Joan Ruffels

Joan Ruffels, Integrative Wellness Professional and Yoga Alliance RYT-200 certified yoga instructor with Sol Shine Wellness. Joan loves blending modalities and traditions to offer unique options for maximizing health and vitality. To find out more about Joan visit

Teresa Keyes

Teresa Benoit Keyes is a professional educator and a life-long activist involved in various preservation and conservation efforts aimed to protect resources and ensure a robust coexistence with the natural world.  As a Yoga Alliance RYT-200 certified yoga instructor, Teresa found the healing potential of present-moment awareness was magnified when she brought her practice outdoors.   As a Certified Forest Therapy Guide, she finds forest bathing amplifies that energy exponentially, creating a profound experience connecting -- or more accurately, reconnecting -- one’s body, mind and soul with those more-than-human residents of the woods.

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