About the tutors
Tom Covell - Hooked On Nature; Blue Mountains Glow Worm Tours
Tom Covell has been fascinated by the natural world for as long as he can remember. To pursue his childhood passions, he created Hooked On Nature with the goal to connect people with nature using hands-on interactive nature tours, and online virtual content. A range of programs, like the Blue Mountains Glow Worm Tours and Nature Safaris, give participants the opportunity to unearth the natural world and find hidden gems, with meaningful and lasting experiences.
Hooked On Nature participants are taken on a path of enviro-awareness and discovery, learning that we are all dependent on the natural world to survive. There is an emphasis on bringing attention to the immediate world around us, by uncovering habitats and ecosystems that are teaming with life and hidden beauty.
Kerry Pyle - Build-A-Mind
With a background in technical hardware and software development in Africa and Europe, and an interest in childhood learning and development, Kerry combined her two passions in 2015 with the creation of Build-A-Mind.
Since then, Kerry has been developing innovative STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) programs at Build-A-Mind to inspire children in and around the Blue Mountains. She has worked with over a thousand children and started many of them on their journey with coding and robotics.
Kerry has a particular focus on children on the Autism Spectrum and those with attention deficits, and uses Lego creatively and therapeutically for children with special needs. Build-A-Mind programs are provided in both private and group sessions and packages include parties, after-school groups, in-school sessions and corporate events.
Emmanuela (Manu) Prigioni - Farm it Forward; Lyttleton Stores
Manu is a Permaculture Designer and Regenerative Grower with a background in soil health and soil ecology. She coordinates Farm It Forward, a Blue Mountains based peri-urban farming initiative, and teaches food growing and permaculture workshops at Lyttleton Stores Co-op.
Manu’s personal journey in growing food and building community has recently been re-broadcast in a "Best Of" episode of the ABC's Gardening Australia. She is passionate about the therapeutic and healing aspects of growing productive gardens, hence her work with Farm It Forward, which was also featured on ABC’s Landline program. She has been interviewed in a variety of podcasts, including the What's Growing On Podcast, Big Shift for Small Farms, and the Inner West Council Footprints Eco Festival podcast.
Daniel (Pan) Purvey - Farm it Forward; Lyttleton Stores
Pan is a visual artist and young farmer living in the Blue Mountains. Living in such a beautiful place his whole life, minus some extended travel in Asia, has inspired him to link the beauty in nature and the wonder of the universe to both his art practice and interest in environmental sustainability. His connection to permaculture started in Nepal through building earthquake-proof structures with an NGO called ‘For a Purpose’. Since then, Pan has completed his Permaculture Design Certificate and now works with the social enterprise initiative, Farm It Forward. Although permaculture and urban farming is relatively new to Pan, he is excited to see where this path leads.
Joel Tropiano - Monte’s Pizza
Growing up in Thredbo Village with a southern Italian father and an Austrian mother, Joel watched his father create Thredbo's first Italian pizza restaurant and take away in the late 1970s. In 1988, after a long and successful Thredbo run, and a brief stint in the Hills district, Monte’s Pizza moved to the lower Blue Mountains. Monte’s has remained in Blaxland ever since.
Now the owner of this award-winning, local favourite restaurant, Joel continues to honour his family tradition of excellence in pizza. Joel brings formal hospitality training in fine and casual dining to Monte’s, together with an understanding and respect of the local community. Monte’s now offers a vibrant, contemporary dining experience. Joel is passionate about sharing his background and culture, and is proud to have brought quality, authentic Italian pizza to the Blue Mountains culinary scene.
Love Local Lessons - Series 1
- Leah Blayney – Head Coach Young Matildas and Future Matildas - Soccer Skills - Beginner - CLICK HERE TO VIEW
- Leah Blayney – Head Coach Young Matildas and Future Matildas - Soccer Skills - Intermediate - CLICK HERE TO VIEW
- Leah Blayney – Head Coach Young Matildas and Future Matildas - Soccer Skills - Advanced - CLICK HERE TO VIEW
- Suzy Spindoll’s School of Hooping - Circus Skills - Hula Hooping - CLICK HERE TO VIEW
- Suzy Spindoll’s School of Hooping - Circus Skills - Juggling - CLICK HERE TO VIEW
- Suzy Spindoll’s School of Hooping - Circus Skills - Poi - CLICK HERE TO VIEW
- Brock Waugh - Pinot and Picasso – Painting The Three Sisters - CLICK HERE TO VIEW
- Misha Laurent – 8 Things – Cooking Beef Burgundy - CLICK HERE TO VIEW
About the tutors
Leah Blayney - Head Coach of the Young Matildas and Future Matildas
Leah Blayney grew up in Wentworth Falls where she played for the Wentworth Falls Warriors soccer club as a kid. At the age of 11, Leah was selected for her first representative side. By 16, Leah was playing for Australia where she went on to compete in two Youth World Cups. Leah then attended university in the United States where she gained an Education degrees. She also played in the both the US and Swedish professional leagues for the Boston Breakers and Eskilstuna United.
Injury at a young age forced Leah to retire from football. She was, however, inspired to coach and she is the current head coach of the U/20 National team, the Young Matildas, as well as Head Coach of the Future Matildas program. Leah has also been involved with the Matildas as a rotating assistant, where she has traveled to both the 2017, and 2018 Algarve Cup Tournaments in Portugal.
She also attended both the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil and the 2019 Women's World Cup held in France as an opponent analyst for the Matildas.
Leah still resides in the Blue Mountains where she runs training sessions for young players in the community.
Suzy Spindoll - Circus Performer
Suzy is a multi disciplinary artist who dedicates her talents to teaching youth and adults a variety of circus skills and facilitating the importance of play in every person's life. By working with organisations such as local councils, community organisations and schools, Suzy is able to share youth and social circus with numerous communities. Suzy has a background in social theatre and community arts and teaches in the Central West of NSW, Blue Mountains and Greater Sydney areas as well as internationally online. She is a qualified personal trainer, special needs provider and hula hoop yoga teacher. She is currently qualifying as an Adults and Kids Yoga teacher and is developing DIY circus programs.
Misha Laurent - Head Chef, 8 Things
With a passion for food and travel, and a family background in hospitality, french-born chef Misha Laurent has worked in the food industry for over 20 years.
Whilst growing up in Paris he was exposed to North African/ Mediterranean culture and cuisine, which later became his passion and is reflected in his style of cooking today. His formal hospitality training began at the Sheraton Hotel in Munich, where he graduated in Hotel Management. With a desire to cook & travel, he was able to work in Europe, South East Asia, and North America, during which time he developed a taste for quality street food.
After working as head chef for two prominent Blue Mountains restaurants Misha decided to make the area home and has since focused on offering a variety of quality foods that had not previously been available locally.
“We should not have to travel to Sydney or abroad to get these dishes” says Misha. Along with his love of food Misha has a true love of urban music, particularly funk and hip hop. He felt Katoomba had an urban vibe about it and was the perfect location for a street food venue where he could serve the food he loves while playing the tunes that move him.
Brock Waugh - Painter, Pinot and Picasso
Brock is the co-owner of Pinot and Picasso Blue Mountains, an immersive, fun paint and sip studio in Katoomba. Of the four painting instructors, Brock is the fourth most competent. Despite a background in drawing, he did not pick up a brush until 30 minutes before the first class, proving that anyone can paint with simple instructions, supportive friends and a decent wine.
Pinot runs classes Friday to Sunday. The classes are suitable for everyone and whilst technique is applied, the focus is on having fun with friends, listening to great music and surprising yourself with a new artwork for the pool-room.