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Rob Miller

“My mission in life is bringing people to nature in a sacred way,” says Rob Miller, founder, program designer and lead guide for Cascadia Quest, a Eugene nonprofit that offers nine-day small-group wilderness rites of passage for adults and for 14-18 year-old boys. Outings for teenage girls will be added next year. “Music was where I found my voice,” says Miller, a Florida native who started playing clarinet in high school, majored in music performance at the University of Miami, and improvised on saxophone and flute in world beat bands in New York City and on tour. His own band, Rob Miller and Prime Meridian, toured Pakistan, India and Bangladesh in 1999. “Then I stopped playing music professionally,” he says. “I shifted my focus from me to we, thinking about community and family.” He married an Oregon native, Anna Miller, and moved to Eugene in 2002, where daughter Surya was born a year later. The couple divorced in 2010, but are now “good friends and co-parents.” He took up wildcrafting — gathering mushrooms for restaurants and herbs for an herbal medicine company. “I still do that,” he says. “But when I took a rite of passage nine years ago, I was so profoundly affected that I wanted to share it with others.” He began leading vision quests for adult groups, then added rites of passage for teenage boys becoming young men. Cascadia Quest will host a welcome-home ceremony, free and open to the public, for participants in its August mixed-gender adult vision quest, who will share their experiences noon to 5 pm Satuday, Sept. 23, at the Wayne Morse Family Farm, 595 Crest Drive in Eugene. Learn more at cascadiaquest.org.