Callie Maron ‘10 Blends Love of Outdoors with Healing Therapy

by Tim O'Keefe

Hometown: Basalt, Colorado
Currently Residing In: Boulder, Colorado
Education: B.A. in Geology and Masters in Wilderness Therapy

Occupation:

Callie is currently building a nature-based therapy practice and counseling center to support families and individuals as they process aging life and health transitions. These include grief ceremonies and rituals out in nature to encourage connections through sensory based experiences with the earth and back to themselves. For example, she takes clients outdoors on trips or hikes and asks them to find a natural being they are called towards. She then encourages them to touch it, feel it, and smell it. “Connect with it,” she says, and then asks “Why are you connected to it? What does it remind you of? What do you feel in your body?”

What’s the most rewarding part of your work?

Being able to share the Earth’s connection with the land and the people. To lead others into themselves again and to learn to love themselves through loving nature and their surroundings. Connecting with plants, bugs, and their medicinal properties and sharing this in an emotional way with others.

How did CRMS play a role in your professional, personal, or community life?

I had attended Aspen Community School and I knew I wanted to be in a similar environment so I chose CRMS for high school. My grandparents liked the CRMS model and made it financially possible for me to attend. 

During my geology class with Kayo, I became fascinated with geology. His passion for the subject and the way he actively engaged us in the class made a huge difference in my interest in the environment. Especially learning about the RFV and the land around Colorado. Geology and bouldering trips at CRMS were amazing. Driving around the whole South West through Arizona, Utah, and Colorado looking at cool rocks and climbing them. I loved the meteor crater tour and the experience of Unicycling with Kayo.

My Senior project was in Greece at a sea turtle rescue. It was my first time traveling to another country alone. I flew into Athens, stayed in a hostel, and went to a tiny island the next day. This experience was hugely impactful on my outlook, confidence and ability to navigate the world. It increased my independence significantly. Overall it was an exceptional experience and a great adventure. 

How has your experience at CRMS influenced what you are doing now? 

When trying to decide what college I wanted to go to I got geology stuck in my head and looked for schools based on their geology programs. I chose Franklin & Marshall as they do a lot of interesting research and are well-connected. My studies involved evolutionary biology and geology. I did a lot of independent research and studies including geophysics & paleontology. The school had a great outing club so I also got to do some backpacking trips. In 2013 I went to Iceland on a geology field summer camp for some hands-on mapping which was an incredible experience. Coincidentally, I ran into Kayo in the Denver airport as I was leaving for Iceland and he was heading out on a biking trip with another CRMS student.

During my time at Franklin & Marshall, I was so absorbed in the coolness of studying rocks that I didn’t think about my role in the working world and what I would do after college. I spent hours looking at geology jobs online but wasn’t excited about any of them.  I ended up traveling a lot and working on a few farms learning about permaculture in Turkey. 

After returning home I worked at the world renown Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute in Basalt as a volunteer. The founder Jerome Osentowski was writing a book about high-altitude design and companion planting. I had just written a million papers and academia and since he didn’t know how to use a computer I volunteered to help him write the book. I lived in a cabin on the hill, ran classes, and expanded the volunteer program. I brought people in who would work for the program and appreciate the world, earth, plants, bugs, and ecosystem.

Through this process I became acutely aware from the ground up how the world isn’t just rocks; it’s humans living in harmony with the earth. Its community and diversity, and the ecosystem’s importance. I dove into connections from nature to humans from the hot sunny places to the dark shadowy places and the creativity each person can bring in to share with others. I spent 4 years there and then returned to traveling and volunteering on farms. I learned to raise organic spices and teas before returning to the States to care for my grandmother for 4 months before she passed.

I found the Wilderness Therapy program in Europa which focuses on therapeutic approaches to psychology through self exploration and the interpersonal landscape. This 3-year program is like the next natural step after CRMS. Both programs are rooted in the same values with experiential education and experiences that allow creativity.  This master’s program started with a 7-day backpacking trip and a 3-day solo. I learned how to teach people to live on this planet in a healthy way that supports the Earth too. How when they fall in love with themselves, process their trauma, and experience a loving relationship with the ecosystem where they live, deep healing occurs.

I worked in elder care while studying at Europa and together with a fellow student, we are now starting our own therapy practice. I also started climbing whilst at CRMS and I still climb regularly now.

What advice would you give current CRMS students? 

Follow your passion without worrying about if that’s going to make enough money and just don’t worry about it. Whatever you do, have passion behind it, and try everything with an open mind. 

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Alumni, Community

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