Dr. Nicole Apelian is a scientist, mother, educator, researcher, expedition leader, safari guide, herbalist, anthropologist, successful entrepreneur, and highly sought out speaker.
Having intimately studied the ways of the Kalahari San Bushmen for over a decade, Nicole now speaks on the importance of connection to nature (and to each other) based on the indigenous philosophies and knowledge the Bushmen passed down to her.
A leader in the field of transformative natural health education, Nicole has helped thousands of people discover and implement real strategies for living a healthier, more connected life. In her teachings, Dr. Apelian sheds light on what Nature Deficit Disorder is and how even with our busy, modern lives we can use indigenous knowledge to heal ourselves and our communities to achieve true natural wellness.
Some may recognize Nicole Apelian as a challenger on the second season of History Channel’s TV series “Alone” where she thrived, solo, in the wilderness for 57 days with little more than her knife and her wits! But Nicole’s first exposure to true wilderness living began while working as a field biologist in Botswana, Africa where she tracked and researched lions. Nicole immediately fell in love with the African landscapes and the Naro San Bushmen’s way of life. Years of visiting the Bushmen and developing strong, almost familial relationships, within the tribe allowed Nicole to learn many of the primitive skills and traditional lifeways she practices and teaches today. Today, Nicole works with the Bushmen to help them preserve their ancient traditions, including cataloging indigenous plant uses.
A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 2000 led Nicole to apply her research skills towards her own personal wellness. She developed a healthy living strategy, focusing on health and wholeness. Through simple changes in her lifestyle and eating habits, Nicole restored her vitality and she moved on to become a founder and primary guide for her own tracking and wildlife safari company, Eco Tours International where Nicole merges her love of teaching with her deep love and respect for Africa and the Naro San Bushmen organizing, leading, and guiding groups on adventures in Western Botswana, the Western Kalahari, and the Okavango Delta, one of the most diverse and wildlife-rich places on Earth.
Nicole's eco-travel programs include:
- Hearing, Sensing & Connecting through Bird Language
- Animal Tracking and Communication with the Naro Bushmen
Back at home in the Pacific Northwest, Nicole makes herbal medicines from scratch for her apothecary. A passionate educator for many years, Nicole has worked as an adjunct professor at Prescott College, an adult educator for the Audubon Society of Portland, and as an instructor at various schools, universities, and leading conservation education programs. She currently teaches others how to make their own natural medicines and coaches private clients as well as group classes on natural health and wellness. Dr. Apelian also leads wilderness survival skills courses all over the country.
Dr. Apelian frequently guests on BlogTalk Radio and various podcasts, and has spoken at numerous conferences, workshops, and events including:
- Northwest Naturopathic Convention, Keynote Speaker, Vancouver BC, 2017
- Sustainable Holistic Health and the Art of Deep Nature Connection, BNCA, Keynote Speaker, Vancouver BC. Spring 2017
- PrepperCon, Keynote Speaker and Presenter, Salt Lake City, Utah, Spring 2017
- Lifeways of the Naro Bushmen, Keynote Presenter, Rewild Portland, 2014
- Applied Anthropology, Guest Lecturer, Portland State University, 2011, 2017
- The Art of Mentoring, Presenter, 8-Shields Institute, 2011, 2013
- Music, Nature Connection, and Healing, Workshop, 8-Shields Institute, 2011
- Travel and Words Conference, Panelist, Portland, Oregon, May 2010
- Sustainability Education at the Edge Presenter, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Denver, 2010
- "The significance of a visit to ancestral lands for a community of San Bushmen." Journal of Sustainability Education. 
- "The Kalahari San Bushmen of Botswana – Tales from a Researcher and Guide." Bulletin of Primitive Technology 
- "Aged-based attitudes toward formal schooling in two communities of San Bushmen in the western Kalahari, Botswana." Proceedings of the 2013 Symposium on Experiential Education Research