Anthony is a native of Chicago. He attended Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois where he earned a B.A. in Biology. He earned a Masters’ of Science from Illinois State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri in Ecology and Evolution. He is a nature enthusiast and has done extensive research in various tropical countries including Australia, the Philippine Islands, Venezuela, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Argentina, and the last 20+ years in Southern Brazil.
Currently, Anthony is a visiting professor at Depaul University in Chicago where he teaches various courses in ecology, tropical ecology and evolution, economic botany, genetic modification of crop plants and food policy, and general biology. He has given many guests lectures at various universities in Brazil and has been invited on several occasions to lecture at local Brazilian high schools on ecology and conservation issues in Brazil. Anthony is a full board member of ANGEL CONSERVATION, a non-profit cultural preservation organization. He has worked closely with various indigenous cultures around the world and currently works on several projects with the Kamarokotos in Venezuela.
Anthony is also a competitive endurance athlete in mountain biking and adventure racing. He has competed in adventure races up to 8 days in duration and competed in the 2004 and 2007 24 hour World Solo Mountain Biking Championships. He has competed in the 24 hour National Solo Mountain Biking Championships being 14th in the nation in 2007 and 21st in 2008. He has designed mountain bike race courses and organized races in Nicaragua and Brazil. He is an expert horseman and is an advanced kayaker. He also enjoys hiking, climbing, cooking, and playing guitar.
Vitorli is a native of Bom Jardim da Serra, Santa Catarina, Brazil. He was raised in the highlands of Southern Brazil and is the 4th generation to operate the family ranch, the Morro Grande, (The Big Hill) where we have the pleasure of staying for part of our excursions. He started riding horses when he was 3 years old and by the time he was 6, he was already herding cattle on the Morro Grande. He is an expert horseman and navigator in the countryside and for 40+ years he has lead numerous multi-day horseback excursions throughout the highlands.
Vitorli is an expert with ropes and with his son, Anizio, has competed and won many individual and father/son team rodeo events throughout the years. Vitorli also grows most of the vegetables used on the ranch, in his extensive garden and operates his own orchard that contains several popular varieties, including, Gala and Fuji. He has been on several exchanges to the Amazon region to help initiate and develop sustainable agriculture.
Vitorli has owned and operated the Pousada Morro Grande (a Brazilian Bed and Breakfast) for 16 years. He is craftsman in the traditional preparation of meat, called frescal, for the famous Brazilian-style barbeque, churrasco. He has served as the Secretary of Tourism for the country of Bom Jardim da Serra and has increased the tourism economy of the region during his tenure.
Vera is a native of São Joaquim and the wife of Vitorli. Together they run Pousada Morro Grande. Vera was also raised in the highlands of Southern Brazil. Vera is a Master in the kitchen serving up traditional dishes of the region in staggering quantities. Be sure to bring an appetite! She is a craftsperson who has created almost all of the decorations, quilts, and curtains at the Morro Grande ranch and is an expert gardener. She is no stranger to being on horseback and has participated on many women only multi-day excursions across the highlands. She accompanies trips to personally guarantee that nobody goes hungry. She always has a smile on her face, a laugh for you, and is a joy to be around.
Wendy is a native of the Chicago area. She explored her love of the outdoors and fascination with nature on land and at sea, ultimately earning a B.S. in Earth Sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a M.A. in Education with secondary certification in Environmental Science from DePaul University.
Wendy became interested in yoga in the early 90′s as a dancer seeking more balance, but soon discovered the inward journey to be just as rich as her outward travels. Her belief in self-empowerment through education led to the development of the Blue Sun Yoga Teacher Training Program (RYS 500). She is a compassionate, playful and gifted yoga teacher who is passionate about bringing the benefits of yoga to all populations, under any condition. Her extensive training and retreats have taken her around the world to Thailand, Spain, Greece, and, of course, Brazil, to name a few…..as well as deep inside to the quiet space of the heart where connection and union thrive.