Teage O'Connor (He/Him)
MA Field Naturalist (UVM '10) BA Env Studies (University of Chicago '06)
WFA, Life Guard
Teage was born in Alaska where he was mentored to care for the living world around him by his mom and dad. His dad was a veterinarian and their house often a miniature zoo. He studied at the University of Chicago where he met Beth Wilkin, a high school Environmental Science teacher. She gave him her copy of Peterson’s Field Guide to Birds and a copy of Tom Brown’s The Tracker, which got him hooked on studying the natural world.
He continued working with inner-city kids at Manice in Western Mass, before attending UVM’s Field Naturalist master’s program. At UVM he found inspiration for asking deeper questions in Jeff Hughes, Matt Kolan, Alicia Daniel, and Walter Poleman among others. Under their guidance his work shifted from more traditional environmental education to engaging communities through direct experience and long-term mentoring relationships. This followed a personal shift from being interested in the theoretical to the practical. As a result, he has spent the last 12 years learning a variety of traditional skills, including fire-by-friction, bow-making, tracking, and spoon carving (he is currently carving spoons out of as many types of trees/shrubs he can find in Vermont).
He writes the weekly Wild Burlington Newsletter, co-hosts of The Single Acorn podcast, and is author of numerous natural history articles and a self-published novel Tiger Talk. After a long respite from film (he was in Kindergarten Cop), he has more recently collaborated with his sister, Meryl, on a short film and a documentary about fracking along the Susquehanna River and is working on developing his skills as a director. You’re more likely to find him running barefoot than at home (he’s the world record holder for fastest 100km barefoot run).