Our Mother Tree Circle
We are grateful for the "roots" and "branches" of our Mother Tree --the core people who have grown the vision from a small seed and are day-to-day watering and enriching the soil beneath Her vibrant presence. With their love and nurturing, Her roots grow deep, Her trunk strengthens, and Her branches reach far and wide to touch the hearts and souls of many.
Wennifer Lin Haver, PhD
Founding Mother and Vision Keeper
First and foremost, Wennifer cherishes being a mother, daughter, sister, soul-sister, auntie, niece, and wife. It is in these meaningful, kindred relationships that she finds inspiration, purpose, and context in her multifarious life.
Having received her masters and doctoral degrees from the World Arts and Cultures/Dance Department at UCLA, she specializes in women's birthing/healing traditions as expressed through indigenous and emergent ritual art and earth-based ontology. Her doctoral dissertation, entitled "Birth Art and the Art of Birthing: Creation and Procreation on the 'Aina of Tutu Pele" (2008), is an interdisciplinary, diachronic, and multivocal study that draws from folklore, medical anthropology, cultural studies, eco-feminism, archaeomythology, spiritual midwifery, and female shamanism.
Wennifer has published on folk and alternative medicine and conducted fieldwork in Hawai'i and Los Angeles. In 1999-2002, she was part of a National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine study on Latino health systems with her mentor, renowned medical folklorist, Dr. Michael Owen Jones. Within the past decade, she has actively shared her research in a number of conferences, including presentations at the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology and the Matriarchal Studies Conference (2010, 2014). She has also lectured at the East-West Center in Honolulu on "Community Building through Food and Folklore: The Importance of Reclaiming our Indigenous Matriarchal Origins" (2012).
As the great granddaughter of a traditional homebirth midwife who helped "catch" thousands of babies throughout the island of Taiwan, it is her long-term dream to continue the legacy and help her people and the people of the world reclaim their midwifery traditions. She is passionate about restoring indigenous, earth-based spirituality and cosmologies that honor the sacredness of all life. Currently mothering three children (ages 27, 23 and 14) and a local green business, The Water Brewery, with her husband and lifemate, Einar Haver, Wennifer sees herself as a "mother tree" to many. She hopes that Mother Tree Sanctuary will one day grow into a global forest of conscious, matristic eco-communities that serve to honor and protect our present and future generations of all children and their families. Bright Blessings!
Crystal Hickerson, PhD
Crystal is mother to two girls and holds a combined 4th/5th grade class at the Waldorf-inspired public school, Sycamore Creek Community Charter School, in Huntington Beach. In 2019, she received her PhD in Comparative Literature at UC Irvine, writing her dissertation on methods indigenous novelists use to decolonize their readers’ visions of the good life subconsciously, using chanting prose, mood-scapes, and humor. She has had opportunities to teach language arts and do research on poetic prose and critical theory internationally, holding visiting positions at Paris X: Nanterre, Universidad de Chile, Universidad de Alberto Hurtado, and at a secondary school in Okalongo, Namibia, through the Peace Corps.
As a graduate student at UCI, she designed and taught her own classes on psychoanalytic theory, utopianism, rhetoric, French, Spanish, "Native American” literature, drama, and feminist literature (with a reading assignment from Ina May Gaskin!). She obtained a grant from the UCI Sustainability Initiative to launch a grow-your-own-food campaign in graduate housing. She resumed practicing astanga yoga and began working to build a daily meditation practice. At the same time, she was teaching Romance languages, music, and handwork in the nature school co-op, Camino de Santiago, led by Dawn Robinette in Orange, and later, at the Waldorf homeschool program, Linden Tree, led by Sarah Bach in Costa Mesa. She coordinated volunteers to hand-weed Santiago Oaks Regional Park to prevent the use of glyphosate, and joined formal meetings with Moms Across America and OC County Parks to address alternatives to herbicide use.
Today, Crystal is pursuing the dream of an ecologically-centered community of individuals and families living and working together to help each other give their gifts, supporting themselves and each other by creating a culture that affirms secure food and water systems, non-toxic and hand-crafted housing, and social support activities (shared meals/tools/childcare, healing workshops, time banks, representation at local government meetings). She is working to bring together communities of homeschoolers, Waldorf families, permaculture and ethnobotany enthusiasts, and those who gather at The Water Brewery watering hole.
Christina Ballew has a mission to make positive changes in oneself, in the environment, and in communities. She has a wide array of experience in development projects, the environment, indigenous affairs, the tourism sector, and in the health-wellness industry. She possesses professional skills in project management, event coordination, outreach initiatives, program evaluation, data collection and analysis, public speaking, research, and education. She received a Master's Degree in Development & Policy Studies focusing on community development, public health, climate change, and sustainability at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia.
Currently, she resides in India actively researching topics in bioregionalism, connection to land and place, regenerative economies, localization, climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives, carbon markets, biomimicry, and innovative entrepreneurship. She is part of several global and local projects including program assistance to the not-for-profit, Society for the Promotions of Himalayan Indigenous Association (SOPHIA), remotely assisting on social media campaigns for Local Futures - Economics of Happiness based in UK and USA, collaborating with local artists and craftspeople at Nature’s Hive, and commencing a family business in health foods.
Please visit her website, https://ballewconsulting.weebly.com for more information on her background and experiences.