OUR PROGRAM FACILITATORS

We love nature, children, and play! 

Our program facilitators are here to support your children and your family. Each facilitator brings a unique background in nature-based learning, natural history, and compassionate communication to this work.

VANCOUVER 2-6 PROGRAM STAFF
NORTH VAN NATURE SCHOOL STAFF
VANCOUVER NATURE SCHOOL STAFF
ADULT PROGRAM STAFF

North Vancouver 0-9-year-old Programs

 

Andrea has been working with Fresh Air Learning since early 2015 and volunteered as a parent for 2 years before that. She has a degree in special education and has been working with elementary and preschool families for 20 years. She also owns and operates a parent participation music class and teaches yoga. When she's not volunteering with her two kids' various activities you can find her staying fit and getting inspired outside. She believes that Fresh Air Learning helps give kids resilience, stamina, personal responsibility, and a deep connection to nature, it is her hope that kids fall in love with nature forever and grow to preserve it. See you in our forest office!

Andrea Eilers

I am a mother of two girls, and I believe playing in nature has a great impact on a child's development. I began discovering the power of nature a few years ago when my child was enrolled in a forest school in Iran. I realized then that I had to say goodbye to my career in business administration and economics and attained an instructor certificate from the Kavi Konj Nature School in Iran. Soon after, I enrolled my other child at an outdoor program in Vancouver and received the opportunity to learn alongside my child while outdoors. This opportunity opened a new path in my life, and I discovered that I was happier outside playing and helping children learn through exploration. I am happy to be a part of the Fresh Air Learning team to help open new perspectives for people to experience life to its fullest. Let's get out there and allow children to explore based on their own curiosity!

Mahya Ekhteraei Sanaei
Rebekah Parker

Rebekah is an experiential educator with a love for the Salish Sea. With almost a decade of facilitation experience, she has worked with groups of all ages in science museums, residential programs, schools, and in the outdoors. She strives to facilitate spaces where children can thrive, follow their curiosities, and grow through building relationships with the more-than-human world and each other. She has trained with the WildernessAwareness School, the Outdoor Council of Canada, and Partners for Youth Empowerment, and earned a Master's in Ecojustice and Sustainability Education from UBC. When not working you can find her on her bicycle (ask about her long distance trips!), taking photos, or sitting under cedar trees. She can't wait to share the joy and excitement of the forest with you!

Sally Plummer

Sally has spent the last 12 years working with children of all ages fostering nature connection and discovering wonder in the natural world. Born and raised by the ocean in rural England, she spent her early years immersed in all the outdoors has to offer. As she did her post-graduate work in Habitat Conservation and Ecology, she realized that connecting children and young people with nature was where her passion lies.  After several years of working with teenagers in the UK, she moved to Canada 8 years ago and has worked in forest schools with younger children.  Her favourite place to be is lying under a tree watching the sky through the leaves, other times you might find her at her jewellery bench making silver jewellery or painting stones with her three boys.

Caitlan Read

Caitlan is a passionate outdoor educator who delights in helping children cultivate their natural sense of wonder, curiosity, and questioning. She believes ample opportunity to play in nature helps children become creative, compassionate, and confident people. Working with Fresh Air Learning, she is able to facilitate rich opportunities for children to practise caring deeply for themselves, each other, and nature. Caitlan is a facilitator in our North Vancouver and Vancouver programs.

 

She has a BSc. in Natural Resources Conservation from UBC, and completed her Early Childhood Care and Education program at Vancouver Community College. She has worked in preschools and community centres, where she has lead programs in outdoor education, music, and gardening. When not working outdoors, Caitlan can be found playing her fiddle, crocheting, and working in the garden.

Jasmine Defilla

Jasmine Defilla is a Registered Early Childhood Educator who delights as much in learning as she does in teaching. 

 

Born in Orillia, Ontario- the traditional territories of the Anishinaabe- she grew up playing in the trees, rocks and lakes this land is bountiful in! At the age of ten she moved to a farm by Lake Erie where her mother continued to homeschool her and her sisters until high school. Her father is from Switzerland, so he taught her how to ski and cook delicious food! Jasmine went on to become a Chef herself and still loves to cook, but craved something more. After traveling the globe from all over Europe to Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, North America and everywhere in between- she found her passion in education.

 

Jasmine graduated in 2019 from Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. She has experience with infant, toddler, preschool and school-aged children. After learning about the theories, principles and benefits of Forest and Nature School, she started her journey into the outdoors and hasn’t looked back. She is grateful to be continuing this journey with the children, families and staff at Fresh Air Learning. It’s going to be a great year!

Lorenzo de Lara

Lorenzo's journey to becoming a nature school mentor began with a simple desire to learn a few survival skills. In 2017 he took a break from a decade-long career in software development to attend a 9 month intensive nature connection program - called "Anake" at the Wilderness Awareness School in Washington state. His senses, long attuned to the logical and digital became reacquainted with the intuitive and analog. He discovered a love for mentoring youth in natural spaces using the coyote mentoring model. He realized that the survival skills he sought out were simply a means through which a greater goal - a deep connection and love for nature could be developed. He strongly believes that cultivating this connection from a young age is one of the most important things we can be doing for the planet. 

Since graduating from Anake, Lorenzo has worked as a nature mentor in Vancouver for Soaring Eagle Nature School and has completed a second 9 month intensive program as an apprentice at the Wilderness Immersion Program at Wisdom of the Earth Nature School on Salt Spring Island. When not spending time with his family in the natural spaces in and around Vancouver, Lorenzo also works as a bodywork/massage therapist

Jenny Cormack

Jenny has spent the past seven years learning about West Coast trees, celebrating the seasons and jumping in puddles with her nature loving son. Everything nature related she knows she learned from self discovery.  After decades of working in an office, Jenny decided it was time to put the computer and office aside and follow her passion alongside other like minded people in the forest.  When she's not at home with her family in East Vancouver you can find her camping, hiking or walking the neighbourhood in the rain.  She is excited to play with Fresh Air Learners and brings a calm, inquisitive space for the children to be. 

Vancouver 2-8-year-old Programs

 
Mei Xi Tan

Jenny Tan Mei Xi (陳美希) is a first-generation immigrant with roots in Singapore and the Hakka (客家), Hokkien (福建), and Teochew (潮州) communities. Her favourite outdoor experiences include shaking snow-covered trees, helping bring firewood to a mountaintop hut, and tasting  moose meat smoked by the Shoal Lake Cree First Nation in northern Saskatchewan. She looks forward to learning with the young ones in Vancouver's beautiful outdoors.

Jocelyn Li 

Jocelyn is passionate about taking care of the earth and its beings. She hopes that when children are introduced to the beauty and wonders of nature that they too will want to take care of all that surrounds them. She enjoys seeing the children's enthusiasm when they splash in puddles, find and closely look at bugs, and when they are bursting with a story to tell. Jocelyn has a Bachelor of Kinesiology from UBC, and an Early Childhood Education Diploma from Langara. When she is not teaching, she enjoys reading, cooking, spending time with her daughter, and exploring the beautiful outdoors.

Jacquie Kwok

Spending time amongst the local rivers and mountains has always been an integral part of Jacquie's life. Her love for the outdoors and the environment lead her to pursue a BSc. in Natural Resources Conservation and a Master's in Land and Water Systems from UBC, through which her appreciation for the role that education plays in building sustainable and resilient communities has only grown. She understands how truly formative it can be for children to start connecting to the land at a young age, and how those experiences can be guiding of foundational values later in life. 

 

Over the years, she has enjoyed facilitating programs for summer camps, The Vancouver Aquarium and the YWCA, amongst others. Jacquie is also passionate about permaculture, skiing, and backcountry adventuring, and can't wait to be part of the discovery process for this year's learners!

Caitlan Read

Caitlan is a passionate outdoor educator who delights in helping children cultivate their natural sense of wonder, curiosity, and questioning. She believes ample opportunity to play in nature helps children become creative, compassionate, and confident people. Working with Fresh Air Learning, she is able to facilitate rich opportunities for children to practise caring deeply for themselves, each other, and nature. Caitlan is a facilitator in our North Vancouver and Vancouver programs.

 

She has a BSc. in Natural Resources Conservation from UBC, and completed her Early Childhood Care and Education program at Vancouver Community College. She has worked in preschools and community centres, where she has lead programs in outdoor education, music, and gardening. When not working outdoors, Caitlan can be found playing her fiddle, crocheting, and working in the garden.

Stephanie Chong

Stephanie has been an experiential / environmental educator for over 10 years. She was inspired by an internship at 17 and never looked back! Her previous experience had her working in museum and science centre settings including two aquariums and one sea turtle hospital. She holds a B.Sc. (honours) in Environmental Science & Geography as well as a M.E.d in Museum Education. 

 

Stephanie believes strongly in encouraging curiosity and community within her students. Her goal is to connect us to our land so that we can be better ambassadors for where we live. 

 

In her spare time, you’ll find Stephanie at the sewing machine, putzing around in her community garden, or gallivanting down by the beach.

North Vancouver Nature School Staff

 
Daniella Roze

Daniella Roze specializes in the design and delivery of nature-based transformative education.  As a teacher and curriculum design specialist at Fresh Air Learning Elementary and the founder of Thriving Roots Wilderness School, she is committed to guiding others in recognizing their innate wholeness, fostering self-understanding, and aligning their lives with their deepest values.  Daniella will be graduating in 2019 from a Masters of Education program with a focus on ecopsychology and nature and place-based learning, and holds a diploma in Applied Psychology and Counseling.  She draws from extensive training through School of Lost Borders, Animas Valley Institute, The Haven, Wilderness Awareness School, and The Living Wild Project.  With a passion for supporting people on the courageous journey of whole-hearted living, Daniella works toward strengthening community and building resilient culture. 

Hana Hermanek

Hana is a Teacher, Biologist, Musician and Yoga Instructor and has been working for Fresh Air Learning for three years. She grew up on Haida Gwaii and later Vancouver Island where she studied Biology and Spanish at UVIC. She has been fortunate to spend time in the Great Bear Rainforest studying salmon, supporting conservation efforts in Ecuador, sustainable forestry initiatives in Nova Scotia and travelling around BC and the Maritimes for 2 years teaching environmental education to elementary schools. She loves how enthusiastic children are when in the outdoors and she is looking forward to a beautiful year of outdoor learning at Fresh Air Learning this year.

Elisa Lee

 Elisa shared her childhood with the mighty salmon of northern British Columbia and like them, she migrated far from home. After completing university degrees in Education, Biology and English Literature in Ontario, she had many adventures living and traveling abroad before feeling the instinctual pull to journey home. In 2012, Elisa enacted a nature-based rite of passage and was formally initiated as a woman at the age of 31. This life-changing experience inspired her to complete a Master’s degree in Environmental Education focusing on women’s coming-of-age rites of passage. She has also done vision quest guide training with The School of Lost Borders, and helped lead youth rites of passage with Rites of Passage Journeys. Elisa is a lifelong student of conscious communication and personal development, and currently teaches at Fresh Air Learning forest school and facilitates the Self-Care Project.

Rebekah Parker

Rebekah is an experiential educator with a love for the Salish Sea. With almost a decade of facilitation experience, she has worked with groups of all ages in science museums, residential programs, schools, and in the outdoors. She strives to facilitate spaces where children can thrive, follow their curiosities, and grow through building relationships with the more-than-human world and each other. She has trained with the Wilderness
Awareness School, the Outdoor Council of Canada, and Partners for Youth Empowerment, and earned a Master's in Ecojustice and Sustainability Education from UBC. When not working you can find her on her bicycle (ask about her long distance trips!), taking photos, or sitting under cedar trees. She can't wait to share the joy and excitement of the forest with you!

Skylar Freeborn

Skylar Freeborn has been an active member of the Island Discovery Learning Community for the past twelve years. She works with Fresh Air Learning's primary and internmediate students, with the senior class program on Bowen Island and also teaches grades 4 through 6 at Island Discovery's Lakeview program. In addition, she provides support for many full-time home-learning families. Skylar has a passion for nature-based experiential learning and First Nations studies. She also enjoys teaching early literacy skills. She feels very blessed to be part of this powerful collaboration of parents, students and teachers.

 

Vancouver Nature Learners

Brittany Westgarth

Brittany is passionate about connecting children to place through nature,

play, and self-expression. She values holistic teaching, and views
community and the more-than-human, as imperative sites for teaching to the heart, mind, body and spirit.

Brittany taught at the Vancouver School Board from 2013 to 2015 until she discovered Democratic Education and has never turned back. She co-ran the Forest and Beach program at Windsor House Democratic School from 2015 to 2019. It was here that she witnessed the value of intrinsic motivation and non-coercive education, and developed a belief in the freedom of educational choice for children.

In July 2020, Brittany will be graduating from a Masters of Education in
Indigenous Resurgence and Reconciliation from SFU. During this program, she has focused on Indigenous pedagogies surrounding land, healing, and music; and strives to respectfully incorporate these ways of understanding into her practice.

When Brittany is not teaching, she works as a touring musician and enjoys connecting with people, wandering, Yoga and dancing!

Nicola VanHeyst

Nicola was born and raised at the base of the beautiful North Shore mountains. She was fortunate to have been born into a family that made exploring nature a top priority, and she spent her childhood hiking, biking and skiing in remote areas. Often in the summer, her family would be custodians of huts in the Rockies. As an only child, mother nature became her best friend.

 

As an adult, she has explored many mountain ranges with her family, cycling and hiking around Alaska, bike touring in Europe, hiking the John Muir trail in the High Sierras, kayaking the wild islands near Bella Bella, and of course exploring of all the wonderful things B.C has to offer.

 

Nicola spent many years as an Early Childhood Educator in a Parent
Participation Preschool. and she brings a focus on emergent, play-based learning and a strong emphasis on outdoor education to her work.

 

Adult Program Staff

Daniella Roze

Daniella Roze M.Ed. specializes in transformative ecological education through nature and place-based learning, leadership training, and ecopsychology.  She is the founder of Thriving Roots Wilderness School and is a teacher and curriculum designer at Fresh Air Learning.  She holds a Master of Contemplative Education from Simon Fraser University and a diploma in Applied Psychology and Counseling.  Drawing from extensive training through Wilderness Awareness School’s Anake program, the School of Lost Borders’ ecotherapy training program, Animas Valley Institute, and The Haven Centre for Transformative Learning, Daniella has studied and taught across North America.  The breadth of her training and experience has helped her to understand our interdependence with nature, and the importance of reciprocal human-nature relationships. Daniella is committed to building a life-sustaining world, fostering resilient culture, and supporting others on the courageous journey of whole-hearted living. 

Tricia Edgar

Tricia loves to connect people with their places.  For over 20 years, she has worked as a nature educator, developing programs that explore the streams and forests of the temperate rainforest. She enjoys the time and space that children have when they play outside at forest school, and she loves watching children fill with enthusiasm and wonder in nature. Her favourite thing about the outdoors is playing in creeks, and she has lived in the same watershed for her entire life.

Tricia is a permaculture teacher with a Masters degree focused on ecological restoration and community development. She's also a Forest School Canada facilitator who loves to teach teachers how to find their inner mud-stomping child. When she is not teaching, learning and writing about the outdoors, you can find her hanging out with her daughter, running in the forest, gardening, or caring for her many pets.