Julie Kunz (a.k.a.Red Fox) is a nature connection and wilderness mentor, earth keeper, fire conjurer, storyteller and a mother.
Julie is dedicated to opening up the pathways that help us become more authentically connected to ourselves in relationship to our connection with nature and our communities.
She is an advocate for getting children outdoors, teaching them nature awareness and wilderness skills as well as getting as muddy as possible. She believes nature can be our greatest teacher if we learn to speak her language, and the freedom to explore and play in the woods can be deeply transformative.
For the past 10 years, Julie has taught adults, teens and young children in a variety of settings and currently directs a forest kindergarten with The Flying Deer Nature Center in Chatham, NY.
Julie has been unveiling her own wild nature through meditation, hiking, poetry, chanting and pranayama breath work.
She most enjoys having staring contests with chipmunks, drumming during fire ceremonies and talking to the mountains.
Julie holds a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education and has been initiated as Pampa Mesayoq, (Q'ero Earth Keeper).
The memories I carry that are most delightful to me are the ones where I was immersed in nature as child. I spent my childhood summers in Switzerland catching grasshoppers in wide open alpine fields, mushroom hunting in the forests with my grandfather and watching flies burrow holes in cow dung. I was fascinated with the idea of being able to read peoples minds and I loved conjuring magic shows and art creations for family and friends. As a young adult, I immersed myself in academic studies in Spain and NYC, nurturing my busy, intellectual mind with learning new languages and theoretical frameworks of childhood development. Then, I travelled to Peru for the first time and discovered shamanic practices focused on connecting to the spirits of the earth. This started a journey of self-exploration and attunement to the grief of having lost the vitality and wildness of being in nature, feeling free in my body and a deep connection to the spiritual world I always knew I had access to when I was little. Shortly after, I had a panic attack in Grand Central Station that changed my life. I knew I had to move out of the city and try something new. At the time, I was also working in small, mainstream preschools but the restrictions of the four walls and conforming to the rush to prepare children for primary school in developmentally inappropriate ways lead me to question how I could continue my journey as an educator and have a deeper connection to what children actually needed. I came across nature education in my late 20’s, after giving birth to my son and struggling with post partum depression, the grief of two abortions and eventually a divorce. I immediately fell in love with the culture of nature connection as one of the most just and vital ways children and adults can learn about the world and themselves. Through this expansive awakening to myself, the aliveness of nature, the earth and other people, I was able to find refuge and healing at a very tumultuous time in my life. I knew that I had to look within myself to see what needed to change and heal and that my gifts with young children could flourish in the outdoors. At the same time, I discovered a sense of community and belonging in a women’s monthly moon circle. I also learned somatic practices such as breath work and meditation that have allowed me to go deeper into my wounds and traumas. These practices in combination with my work mentoring children have helped me re-learn how to love and live in this beautiful world.