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Mentors, Specialists & Guests

Mariah Mann- our founder, fell in love with Nature Mentoring during her first Coyote Mentoring training on Kauai. She went on to deepened her knowledge by attending the full Art of Mentoring training on Salt Spring Island in BC, Canada, and recently completed a one-year professional development program for Nature School Leaders. Mariah is currently enrolled in the Kamana Naturalist Training Program, the Awakening the Senses in Nature course and the Survival, Resilience, and Preparedness class.


She grew up on two ruggedly diverse islands (Vancouver Island, Canada, and the Big Island, Hawaii) and was raised deeply connected to nature, spending most of her time outdoors: camping, hiking, horseback riding, paddling, and wayfinding (sailing). In high school, she had the privilege to be mentored by respected elders & cultural practitioners in her community.


She studied Education and International Studies at LIU Global University; studying and living in eight countries. Since graduating, she has worked worldwide in the educational and non-profit field for over 20 years. She moved back to Hawaii from the mountains of Colorado to raise her family and work at a local Charter School. During her time at the charter school, she wore many hats as the Nature Enrichment Leader, the Ike Wa’a (Canoe Knowledge) and Nature Studies Specialty Teacher, a member of the Ola Lokahi (Hawaiian Cultural) team, and the Hana Mala (Hawaiian Gardening) Assistant.


Mariah’s passion for wayfinding started in high school when she had the honor to be mentored by the Na Kalai Wa’a (on Makali’i voyaging canoe) and other crew members of Hokulea. She deepened her mana'o by participating in the Ku Aina Pa Teacher Training, and the E Lauhoe Wa’a Educator Training Program run by Na Kalai Wa’a.


She knows in her na'au (gut intuition) that it is her mission to provide transformative Deep Nature Connection experiences and adventures to people from all over this intriguing planet.

Nature Mentoring Team

Dominique Saks is a nature enthusiast and educator.  She is passionate about facilitating opportunities for deep connection to the natural world and believes this connection is essential for a healthy relationship with ourselves, each other, and the environment.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Colorado College, where she majored in Fine Arts and minored in exploring the Rocky Mountains.  She has experience as an environmental educator, arts educator, a garden and nutrition teacher, and most recently as an Education Assistant at Kona Pacific Public Charter School.   Dominique grew up here in Kona and is so happy to be back serving her community on the Big Island.  In her free time, Dominique enjoys surfing, hiking, growing food, and spending time with her family. 

Nicholas Poccia’s vocation is connection and belonging. He has been mentoring youth for over two decades in a wide array of capacities and over that time has witnessed the profound need, power, and beauty that comes from connection with oneself, other people, and the natural world. Nicholas spent ten years as a professional mariner, holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100 Ton Captains License, and, as the full-time captain of the 91’ wooden schooner Quinnipiack and 73’ wooden schooner Lavengro, practiced and preserved the ancient art of traditional seamanship.  During this time, Nicholas, shared his cultivated love of the sea and reverence for traditional arts with youth of all ages, teaching them stewardship of our marine environments, leadership, and personal empowerment skills. From 2014 - 2017, Nicholas trained in nature connection, wilderness survival, ancestral living skills, and 8-shields mentoring by attending and teaching at Wilderness Awareness School, where he graduated from both their Anake Outdoor School and Anake Leadership Program. Currently, Nicholas is working with young adults as a wilderness therapy guide on the Big Island of Hawaii using horticulture and the natural world as the therapeutic foundation for holistic healing. Nicholas’s passions include martial arts (he is currently an avid practitioner of Qigong and T’ai chi), peacemaking, and exploring the incredible diversity and wild beauty of the Big Island.


My Journey

I went to my training excited to learn more about Nature Mentoring but what I experienced was so much deeper and more meaningful than I could have ever imagined. I experienced my dream in action! I found my tribe. I remembered a way of being that spoke to my soul. My DNA remembered what it was like to live at one with nature and after only one week I felt completely balanced and rejuvenated.

I dove deep, pushed through my grief and danced with creation. I fell in love with nature again and had the courage to share my visions. I was surrounded by people with similar courageous, mad aspirations that celebrated my gifts and activated my senses and inspired me to do the same for others. I left my training with a deeper knowledge and sense of responsibility to:


  • Share the many layers of the 8 Shield methodology and its ability to heal

  • Use the core routines to ignite deep nature connection

  • Work with families to inspire awe, reverence, and gratitude in their daily life

  • Remind people of their own inner knowing  and to help activate their gifts & visions

  • Encourage village building and cultural repair in our community

  • Reawaken the senses and share connective practices

Now I have the tools to back up my inner knowing! Thank you for believing in our dream.


Mariah Mann

Journeys in the Na'au Founder

The joy my son expresses on a Journey day is worth a hundred 5 star review. Mariah's ease with nature, children, and Hawaiian culture is organic. I am thankful for the lessons and teachings she shares, and the unique opportunity she provides to enhance my child's daily life through nature mentoring. (P.S. always send extra extra pants. For real!) - Anna

"Thanks for such a great camp! My daughter had a lot of fun, felt really safe even when trying new things and learned a lot! We so look forward to having her get to return for a full week once she is a bit older. Invaluable skills!"- Corinne M De Soto, ND, MS Naturopathic Family Medicine

Leah and Franz had a magical experience during fall break camp at Journeys in the Na'au Deep Nature Connection. Franz told me at the end of the first day that “It was great!” Thank you Mariah for giving our children such a beautiful, fun, enriching week in nature. We will absolutely be back! - Alysa

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