I have been a community educator for 19 years with children aged infant to 14 years. As a teen I was a docent at the Peabody Museum of Natural History. I was a nanny for young children, and a preschool teacher. I became a teaching artist after college for an art and social justice after school program. I have been a camp counselor at the Austin Waldorf School and was a teacher in an Early childhood Waldorf Pre-school.
Before I started Under the Canopy I was a programmer for Tulsa Botanic Garden. While working at Tulsa Botanic I led nature walks and made up inspiring programming for young people and families. As a mother I want my own children to develop a love of nature and a desire to understand the wild places. This informs my teaching as I learn from them how to use all my senses in nature and play happily outside all afternoon.
I began my journey into nature education as a child. I loved to play in my back yard lying under the canopy of lilac bushes reading books. I picked raspberries and poked around in woodpiles for salamanders. I loved investigating the animal world going on outside of my human home. My back yard was my intro to learning about the world of nature. My relationship with nature all happened in a small yard, in an urban neighborhood, in a New England city. Nonetheless I was able to cultivate a meaningful relationship with nature.
As a young adult I moved to the Pacific Northwest and was mentored by a friend of mine in the art of nature awareness. She taught me how to remain present and quiet in nature so that the mysteries of the natural world would become unveiled to me. Part of my college education was taking time to study nature awareness. I found a spot to sit in a natural area by my home. I used all my senses to stay present in that space. I kept a field journal and learned about the complex habitat happening just down the street from where I lived. I kept notes of the bird songs I heard, and what the plants were. I sat in that spot in the cold rain, in a light frost of snow, and on deeply gorgeous spring mornings watching the woods awaken. Each time I was captivated.
As I have grown into adulthood I am seeing a great loss of time in our culture for the wild world. Children and adults spend so much time inside they hardly know what to do when they go outside. I see nature awareness, the art of being present in nature and getting to know the wild world around you, as one of the main keys in fostering a sense of place and a feeling of belonging while being outside. When people feel safe and curious outdoors they feel more alive and called to care for the earth we live in. I have seen this happen with my own children. When I take them outside for unstructured play, when we have time to examine plants and the wild life of our yard we become a part of the natural world.
At Under The Canopy I am encouraging a way of life that all humans know but many have forgotten. Through play, nature study, and awakening curiosity, children and adults will learn to love where they live and help move our world toward a more sustainable future. I am passionate about connecting people to the nature and hope you will join me.