April grew up in Chicago, Illinois. With a father as the Director of the neighborhood Boy's Club and a mother who both raised foster children and provided childcare for others in the neighborhood, she grew up with a love for children. Family camping trips and her time in the Girl Scouts and Explorers (now called Venture Scouts as part of the Boy Scouts) all made up her love for the outdoors; camping, hiking, canoeing, and horseback riding.
Her love for plants grew in the family vegetable garden. She went to Southern Illinois University, majoring in Plant and Soil Science. After she moved to Texas, she went on to study Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, then ran her own landscape business, "Landmark Landscapes," for five years. To this day, she plants and maintains an organic vegetable garden and has a deep interest in edible wild plants.
When her children were born, she took child rearing very seriously and homeschooled her three sons. After reading Tom Brown's books, especially his Field Guide to Nature and Survival for Children, she decided to start a group for homeschoolers, called "Trackers." Every Thursday for almost ten years, she guided children to love and respect nature using fun activities, crafts, and camping trips. April also taught Homeschooler Enrichment Classes for four years. Her classes were always popular, with the themes of Wilderness Survival and Wilderness Living. She believes the two main ingredients of her being a successful youth teacher are her love for children and her love for nature.
She went to the Tom Brown Wilderness & Survival School in New Jersey for two week-long classes. She became a member of the "Texas Trackers," meeting with other Tom Brown students across Texas to network and camp together. April was also a Wilderness Awareness correspondence student, enrolled in their Naturalist Training Program. Over the years she has attended many native skills gatherings, such as the Moccasin Meet in New York, Winter Count in Arizona, and the Earth Knack Gathering in Colorado.
"Sharing my knowledge and teaching the people around me to love and respect our Earth is my joy and purpose in life. I welcome you all to Camp Tonkawa. Be prepared to see life in a new way after your time at our camp." - April Holtzman
Austin earned the rank of Eagle Boy Scout, with many camping experiences including long treks at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico and survival adventures in Ecuador, New Zealand, Colorado, South Dakota, Minnesota and Alaska. He has a degree in Kinesiology with a minor in Health and History from North Texas University, and is currently diving into the study of Permaculture. He has a strong desire to grow his own food, whether it be organic heirloom vegetables or raising rabbits and chickens. His passion has been to be self-reliant—to live off the grid if the situation arises. He is a great new dad with a gift for working with children. His DJ events are always a hit because of his creative thinking, which allows everyone to have fun because of his enthusiastic demeanor. His love for music brings a calming mood to our evening campfires.
Elliot is the actual seed that cultivated Camp Tonkawa into existence, and reason the Tracker Scouts were started. He reached his Eagle Boy Scout Rank and was also very active in the 4H and FFA programs, where he gained knowledge about animals both domestic and wild. His team won 1st at the Texas state level competition for Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program and then went on to win 13th in the Nationals. He attended Tom Brown’s “Coyote Camp” and Jon Young’s '“The Art of Mentoring,” both in direct training and understanding on how to run a successful Nature-based organization. Currently, he and his wife Caitie are the owners of DLP Versatile Horsemanship, LLC, training horses and people to know how to communicate with horses. Elliot has always had a gentleness and connection with animals.
Madisun reached the Life Scout rank in Boy Scouts but was so busy teaching at Camp Tonkawa that he did not stay active in a Troop. During his youth he was also in the 4H, winning prizes for Entomology projects and competitions. He also worked with a team in Odyssey of the Mind, winning a future city model competition. Being the younger brother of the Tracker Scouts, he learned the Earth Connection to his very soul starting at 3 years of age. Madisun learned about Native American history as a young adult by studying Native American Medicine for 3 years with the Rudra Center for Enlightened Awareness. Later he attended Sundance Ceremonies specializing in rites of passage. He enjoys teaching primitive survival classes and Native American Indian camps, both benefiting from his early historical training. He is a communicator and social worker who can see how the natural world’s connection is a vital link to human health. Currently Madisun is working as an Aquatic Technician and has ambitions of owning a Boutique Bed & Breakfast Spa that blurs the lines between Nature and Luxury.