Jeff Wagner

United States, India, Himalaya, Latin America, & Southeast Asia Instructor

B.A. Environmental Studies and Western American Studies; University of Colorado

Jeff grew up in Colorado, and worked for many years in North America as an outdoor educator and mountain guide for NOLS and Deer Hill Expeditions. In the winters, he lived in a tipi at the Mission: Wolf wildlife sanctuary, directing their sustainability and environmental education programs.

Jeff first came to Dragons to lead courses in India and Nepal, where he had studied in his early 20’s. Jeff loved the big Himalayan expeditions, teaching Buddhist and yogic philosophies, and perfecting curry recipes, but his core reason for teaching with Dragons has always been something deeper. Jeff has continued to lead Dragons courses in 8 countries not to romanticize foreign places, but to continue investigating how our world got to be the way it is, and how we might pursue the admirable goal of becoming ancestors that our descendants will be proud to tell stories about. Jeff is on a quest to remain a perpetual student, learning from the people and places that still sit even a little outside of the industrialized and individualized worldviews that have spread across our planet.

Jeff finds inspiration in the communities working to maintain and strengthen our relationship with the natural world and with our sources of food, water, clothing, shelter, and meaning. It’s important to Jeff to continue questioning the mindset that comes from settler-colonialism, and he strives to structure elements into his life that lay outside that worldview. He likes walking slowly, weaving fabric and baskets, and growing beautiful varieties of delicious heirloom seeds. For the past few years, when the Dragons community comes together for our annual gathering, Jeff has coordinated our summer solstice seed exchange with the Bishop Paiute Food Sovereignty Program.

When he’s not working for Dragons, Jeff propagates and breeds heirloom vegetable seeds from around the world and runs a non-profit called Groundwork that teaches about the connections between culture and climate change. Jeff is especially fond of winter squash, stringed instruments, oolong tea, woven things, and being silly. He is a Wilderness First Responder.