Meet The Team
Conner is the lead teacher on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. They graduated from The Evergreen State College where they studied environmental science, learning from indigenous perspectives, and utilizing art to broaden their understating of the powerful relationship people have with nature. This provides some of the inspiration behind the creative arts and crafts projects that the children get to experience at Fern Gully Forest School.
They have over a decade of experience in child care. This includes program directing at a sleep-away mountain camp, where they guided opportunities for children to safely explore the woods, facilitating stewardship, play, and discovery.
Seeing the positive effect engagement has on youth, Conner exercises the intentional aspects of teaching where children can develop their sense of accountability, belonging, and character. Conner is especially adept at implementing experiential and inquiry-based learning that helps children to discover answers to their questions on their own through observation and exploration. In this way they develop risk assessment, critical thinking skills and confidence that will greatly serve them in life.
Charissa is the founder and director of Fern Gully Forest School and has been in the environmental education and conservation field for over 15 years. Charissa's expertise in program management comes from coordinating programs for local governments, environmental organizations, nonprofits and parks departments. She also has many years experience leading groups of all ages in all-weather conditions.
She especially enjoys teaching about the natural history of the PNW, wildlife habitat, wildcrafting, survival skills, and identifying native plants for their edible and medicinal uses.
Charissa lives with her son on the mini-farm that she was inspired to create from volunteering for over a decade at a nonprofit farm called Animals as Natural Therapy. As a children's mentor and facilitator for their therapy programs she witnessed the awesome power of animals to help heal trauma and teach compassion and other important life lessons.
Her mission is to provide holistic learning opportunities that especially help people to develop social-emotional skills, create a culture of kindness and collaboration, and foster a sense of belonging and a life-long relationship with the natural world. She believes this builds people's well-being and resiliency by cultivating supportive community and connecting with the abundant beauty, wisdom and medicine in nature.
Greg has his Bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. He's a certified Storm Water Steward and Agri-preneur Business Training Graduate. He is a music teacher and a long-time volunteer for Wild Grief, facilitating peer groups for children and adults who are grieving a death by creating the space for sharing, connection, and healing in nature. He has been a teacher’s assistant in preschool, 1st and 2nd grade.
Greg is safety-oriented, loves to play, gets on the level with kids, and has a caring, compassionate attitude with a natural ability to help kids better understand themselves and work through their big emotions with self-regulation skills and compassionate communication to be able to work as a team and build life-long friendships.
Aisha "Rain" is a recent graduate of The Evergreen State College, where she earned a BA in the arts, outdoor education, and community studies. She worked in the on-campus Child Development Center for the past 3 years. She received in-depth training in child development and care as well as CPR and First-aid certification.
She participated in a Waldorf-inspired program with emphasis on art, expeditionary studies and outdoor education, permaculture and biodynamic farming, community living, and sustainable systems. She has provided leadership and outdoor programming for children and led week long kayaking trips in the San Juan islands. She provided self organized and in depth programing, planning activities, and organizing workshops. She is adaptable, empathetic, cheerful, creative, approachable and helpful.