Mia Andler is committed to facilitating meaningful connection to nature. She is the founder and director of Vilda, a Marin County based non-profit for nature education and has been mentoring children and adults for almost twenty years. She is the co-author of “The Bay Area Forager”, a guide to wild edibles of the Bay Area and has been leading wild food walks in the Bay Area since 2007.
Mia holds a teaching credential in California and Nevada, a BA from Bowdoin College and completed a two year training program focusing on native education with naturalist Jon Young. Mia brings a rich background of life-skills to her classes and has taught a variety of topics including animal tracking, nature awareness, survival skills, bird language, art, music, english as a second language, special education and conflict resolution to name just a few.
Mia’s deep knowledge of the local environment stems from hands-on experience outdoors. She has spent countless hours studying the flora, fauna and ecology of Marin. Not just through books and lectures but more importantly through field work, animal tracking, bird language, ecological gardening and primitive camping. She is a graduate of the two year Nature Awareness and Regenerative Design immersion program at Regenerative Design Institute. She has completed two levels of the Kamana Naturalist Training Program. She is permaculture certified and has designed and managed several edible gardens, including the one at Marin Primary and Middle School.
Mia is a resource for local wild edibles and has been leading wild foods walks in the Bay Area for over three years. She has been a forager her whole life. She started learning about plants as a young child with her grandmother in her home-country of Finland, where foraging mushrooms and berries is a common practice. Mia has been a featured wild foods expert in several articles and films including the Travel Channel’s “Wild Within”. She is the co-author of “The Bay Area Forager”, a field guide, with Kevin Feinstein.
Mia creates a nice balance of structure and freedom in her programs and has a knack for facilitating groups of any age and size in a light-hearted way. She has managed several programs and spearheaded community projects with a staff of up to 25 people. She directed and co-founded the Bay Area branch of Trackers Earth. She has served on the board of several non-profits including Sustainable Fairfax, Fairfax Open Space Committee and Circlecenter. She is particularly gifted in helping visions become realities and has been a pioneer for the programs of many organizations including Trackers Earth, Trails to Success and the Lake Tahoe School.
Creating a physically and emotionally safe environment in her programs is a priority for Mia. She has studied non-violent communication, conflict resolution and peacemaking and is a Wilderness First Responder. She has designed nature programs for a variety of situations including those for children with learning differences and developmental challenges at Trails to Success.
Mia believes in being the change you want to see, and is committed to constant personal growth and enhancement of her skills, which she believes is necessary to be a successful educator. She is passionate about meeting our basic needs of food, water, shelter and connection in a balanced way with our environment. In addition to nature, Mia loves singing, music and being a mom.