The staff of Eco Tours International includes experienced skills instructors on the leading edge of place-based education. We are community of people whose goal is superlative competence in our field.

Nicole Apelian, Ph.D.

Nicole Apelian: Eco Tours Founder, CEO, & Guide

Nicole Apelian: Eco Tours Founder, CEO, & Guide

Dr. Nicole Apelian is a researcher, expeditionary leader, safari guide, traditional skills instructor, Southern Africa specialist, mother, scientist, and educator. Her doctorate is focused in Cultural Anthropology within the field of Sustainability Education. Nicole's experience abroad, specifically her research and guiding, has been an intensive conversation with the land and the people she visits. Her extensive background in biology and real-world experience with global issues adds an unparalleled legitimacy to her work. Her doctoral research involved indigenous-based tourism and its role in maintaining intergenerational knowledge in Bushmen communities. She is also working on an ethnobotanical study of Bushmen plant uses in the Kalahari Basin and is one of the primary guides for her company Eco Tours International. Nicole is also an instructor and Graduate Advisor in Adventure Education, Indigenous Studies, Research Methodologies, and Environmental Education at Prescott College. She is also a challenger on this season's TV series "Alone" - airing on the History Channel Thursdays at 9:00 EST/PST. Learn about Nicole's experience on the show and discover wilderness living skills and natural wellness advice by visiting Survive and Thrive with Nicole Apelian

Nicole's experience in scientific research is distinguished. She was an associate at the Okavango Lion Research Project, a 10-year study focused on ecology, reproduction, disease and genetics of these large cats. Through key grants she has also done marine research on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Alaska, studied toxic diatoms and phytoplankton populations, and done studies on genetic diversity. She has worked as a game warden for the Department of Wildlife and National Parks and the US Peace Corps in Botswana, as a shellfish observer for the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game, and other diverse career paths in the field of biology, education and ecology. Nicole received a BS in Biology from McGill University in Canada, a MS in Biology from the University of Oregon, and her PhD from Prescott College.

Nicole has been an educator for many years. As an adult educator for the Audubon Society of Portland, an instructor at various schools and universities, a leader of Eco Tours International expeditions, and working at other leading conservation education programs, Nicole is recognized for bringing a vibrant energy and passion into her work. Through her past and on-going experiences Nicole is always working on becoming a more effective leader in the field of transformative nature education. To learn more please see her Consulting Page.

TODD ULMER

Todd Ulmer has been a Game Warden as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Burundi and Botswana. He is one of the first to research Kalahari Lions in remote regions of Botswana.  His interests in conservation and environmental education led him into wildlife photography and filmmaking.  He has travelled across the continent having hitched, driven or flown over most of Africa with his camera.  Todd has been recognized by National Geographic and produced wildlife documentary films about great white sharks off the coast of Cape Town. He is happiest leading photographic adventures or sharing stories about Africa.  One of the things he likes the most is helping those that are interested in our unique travel adventures.  Whether its leading you on a photographic safari or reserving any of our exciting transformational adventures around the world, Todd is here to assist.

BRIAN GIBSON

Brian Gibson, Jon Young, and guest lead Anna Breytenbach examining tracks

Brian Gibson, Jon Young, and guest lead Anna Breytenbach examining tracks

Brian Gibson has been working as a safari guide in Botswana for over 20 years as a professional guide and hunter. He is one of the top guides in Botswana, is a Botswana citizen, and is an expert in wildlife behavior, tracking, and bird language. His charismatic personality, complemented by his knowledge of Africa flora and fauna make him the perfect host - full of passion about the bush. He has your safety and comfort as his number one priority, and is a trained paramedic.

 

jon young

Jon Young: Author, Tracker, & Bird Language Leader

Jon Young: Author, Tracker, & Bird Language Leader

Inspired by his mentoring with Tom Brown, Jr., fueled by his studies in natural history and anthropology, and guided by the elder Ingwe, Jon has pioneered blending Native mentoring and cultural techniques from around the world with a broad array of tools for connecting with nature and developing refined and holistic tracking skills. Out of the Wilderness Awareness School, which helps people reconnect with their native environments, Jon developed a system that is now called "8 Shields Cultural Mentoring". This system tracks processes and mentoring techniques that are built into the design of one-on-one mentoring programs, family mentoring practices, community-based mentoring and more traditional modes of education. The 8 Shields Cultural Mentoring model has now influenced well over 100 nature and eco-community programs in the United States, Canada and Europe, and is also used in his consulting for organizations, government agencies and communities worldwide.

Jon and Nicole in the Kalahari Desert, Botswana

Jon and Nicole in the Kalahari Desert, Botswana

Jon received his BS in Environmental Science in 1983 from Cook College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, with particular emphasis on natural history and anthropology and focusing on how native cultures helped their children to understand and connect with the natural world consistently, from generation to generation and to a highly refined degree. To learn more about Jon's work go to http://8shields.com/.

Join Nicole and Jon on our Kalahari Expedition →

A few of Our san bushmen guides

Du (meaning Eland) is one of the Bushmen elders

Du (meaning Eland) is one of the Bushmen elders

Xixao is one of our main guides, along with his wife Koba, his brother !Uta, his mother Nxisa, and his children

Xixao is one of our main guides, along with his wife Koba, his brother !Uta, his mother Nxisa, and his children

TSUMXAI AND KOBA

Here Tsumxai and Koba are teaching one of our participants about how they cook on the fire and how they open the maramba beans.

Here Tsumxai and Koba are teaching one of our participants about how they cook on the fire and how they open the maramba beans.

Dr. David abram

Dr. David Abram is a cultural ecologist and geophilosopher who lectures and teaches widely around the world. He is the award-winning author of Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology and The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World. Hailed as "revolutionary" by the Los Angeles Times, as “daring” and “truly original” by Science, David’s writings have catalyzed the emergence of several new disciplines, including the burgeoning field of Ecopsychology. His essays on the cultural causes and consequences of environmental disarray are published in numerous magazines, scholarly journals, and anthologies; his oral teachings and storytelling engage the ecological depths of the imagination, exploring the ways in which sensory perception, poetics, and wonder inform the felt relation between the human animal and the animate earth. David's lifelong fascination with perception was sparked by his earlier craft as a professional sleight-of-hand magician; in his twenties he traveled through southeast Asia and the Americas as an itinerant magician, learning from traditional, indigenous magicians and medicine practitioners. Those travels fed his research regarding the ecological function of the shaman, or magic practitioner, in indigenous societies. Today he is renowned for his ongoing research on the ecology of sensory experience, and on the ecological dimensions of language and word magic. In 2014 David held the international Arne Naess Chair in Global Justice and Ecology at the University of Oslo.  Director of the Alliance for Wild Ethics (AWE), and a powerful storyteller, David has been a recipient of the Lannan Literary Award as well as fellowships from the Rockefeller and the Watson Foundations. He lives with his two children in the foothills of the southern Rockies.

Dr. David Abram is a cultural ecologist and geophilosopher who lectures and teaches widely around the world. He is the award-winning author of Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology and The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World. Hailed as "revolutionary" by the Los Angeles Times, as “daring” and “truly original” by Science, David’s writings have catalyzed the emergence of several new disciplines, including the burgeoning field of Ecopsychology. His essays on the cultural causes and consequences of environmental disarray are published in numerous magazines, scholarly journals, and anthologies; his oral teachings and storytelling engage the ecological depths of the imagination, exploring the ways in which sensory perception, poetics, and wonder inform the felt relation between the human animal and the animate earth.

David's lifelong fascination with perception was sparked by his earlier craft as a professional sleight-of-hand magician; in his twenties he traveled through southeast Asia and the Americas as an itinerant magician, learning from traditional, indigenous magicians and medicine practitioners. Those travels fed his research regarding the ecological function of the shaman, or magic practitioner, in indigenous societies. Today he is renowned for his ongoing research on the ecology of sensory experience, and on the ecological dimensions of language and word magic. In 2014 David held the international Arne Naess Chair in Global Justice and Ecology at the University of Oslo.  Director of the Alliance for Wild Ethics (AWE), and a powerful storyteller, David has been a recipient of the Lannan Literary Award as well as fellowships from the Rockefeller and the Watson Foundations. He lives with his two children in the foothills of the southern Rockies.