Dr. Nicole Apelian is a scientist, mother, educator, researcher, expeditionary leader, safari guide, herbalist and traditional skills instructor. A leader in the field of transformative nature education, Nicole is excited to share her knowledge and expertise of nature connection, indigenous knowledge, natural wellness and survival skills with the world.
Growing up in Massachusetts, Nicole connected with nature at an early age. Her stepfather was an enormous influence, offering constant support, teaching her to play guitar, and mentoring her through outdoor activities.
Into the Wild
Nicole’s first exposure to true wilderness living began while working as a field biologist in Botswana. Following a job as a game warden with the US Peace Corps, she began tracking and researching lions in southern Africa. Nicole immediately fell in love with the African landscapes and the San Bushmen’s way of life, and later, while working with the San Bushmen, Nicole completed her doctorate, focused in Cultural Anthropology within the field of Sustainability Education. Years of visiting the San Bushmen and developing strong relationships within the tribe allowed Nicole to learn many of the primitive skills and ways she practices and teaches today.
A passionate educator for many years, Nicole has worked as an adjunct professor at Prescott College, an adult educator for the Audubon Society of Portland, and as an instructor at various schools, universities and leading conservation education programs.
Nicole was also a challenger on the second season of History Channel’s TV series “Alone”. She thrived in the wilderness totally solo for 57 days with little more than her knife and her wits! Learn about Nicole’s experience on the show here.
A Shift to Wellness
A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 2000 led Nicole to apply her research skills towards her own personal wellness. She developed a healthy living strategy, focusing on health and wholeness. Through simple changes in her lifestyle and eating habits, Nicole restored her vitality and she moved on to become a founder and primary guide for her own tracking and wildlife safari company, Eco Tours International.
Nicole continues her work with the San 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. At her home in the Pacific Northwest, Nicole makes her own herbal medicines from local plants and enjoys time in nature with her two sons and wonderful community.