Nicole grew up in Massachusetts and, through the influence and mentorship of her stepfather, connected with nature at an early age. After receiving her Master’s Degree in biology, Nicole became a game warden with the U.S. Peace Corps, and began tracking and researching lions in southern Africa. Later, while working as a field biologist in Botswana, she got her first real exposure to true wilderness living. It was there, in Africa, working with the Bushmen and completing her doctorate, where she was able to learn many of the primitive skills that she practices and teaches today. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000, she now makes her home in the Pacific Northwest and relies on the local plants as part of her healthy living strategy. This diagnosis changed her lifestyle and eating habits, but didn’t deter her from becoming one of the founders and primary guides of her own tracking and wildlife safari company, Eco Tours International, as well as being an adjunct professor at Prescott College. There, she is able to bring her passion for nature connection, indigenous knowledge, and research to her students.
She also continues her work with the Bushmen to help them find strategies to preserve their traditions, and is currently cataloging indigenous plant uses with a community of Naro Bushmen who regard her as family. While on the island, Nicole will miss her home, but will gain strength from thinking about her two sons, boyfriend, wonderful community, and trusty guitar (which she wishes she could bring with her!) back home. She is grateful for all her mentors and supporters and is sure to channel them when facing the many challenges that await her on Vancouver Island.
Here are the ten items Nicole selected to bring on her survival journey to Vancouver Island:
1. Full Tang curved carbon steel knife with maple handle
2. Ferro rod
3. 16-inch stainless steel pan
4. 200 yards of 30 lb test fishing line, 100 yards of 80 lb test fishing lines and hooks
5. Folding saw
6. 23-inch splitting ax
7. -30° rated sleeping bag
8. Gill net
9. Emergency rations
10. Emergency rations