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Meet our team, dedicated to providing a high-quality early learning program in our outdoor classroom.

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Molly Harrigan
Executive Director

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Hello! I’m Molly Harrigan, Executive Director of Fidalgo Nature School. What a joy to be part of this preschool hosted on sacred land and in a state park! I’m particularly excited that our program weaves Nature into the daily life of youth and that we provide nourishing resources for local families.

 

I have over 20 years of experience developing recreational and educational programs, emphasizing people with disabilities. I have managed programs with three non-profits and two city programs. I enjoy so many parts of this work ranging from relationship building to data analysis and budgeting. I hope to help reduce barriers so that all voices are included when playing and learning at Bowman Bay!

I enjoy spending time with native plants, woodworking and gliding on earth or water via kayak, bike, ski, hammock or kite.

Kylie Gilbert
Lead Teacher/Program Director

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As a Teacher, Life-Long Learner, Director, Researcher, and Graduate Faculty Member, I have worn many hats in the field of Nature-Based Education. Most recently, I spent 2022 travelling the world, visiting forest schools and observing how the movement is adapting and taking root in all different corners around the globe. Prior to this, I ran my own Forest Preschool Program out of the Santa Monica Mountains and obtained one of the only Graduate degrees in Forest Schooling in the world, an M.Ed. with a certificate in Nature-Based Early Childhood Education from Antioch University. 

 

I have a playful teaching style, a deep passion for spiritual ecology, and encourages my students to investigate how we can work with nature in order to resolve conflicts both within our natural environments and ourselves. I am passionate about reducing barriers and offering high-quality forest schooling to all.

I spent my childhood days outside eating miner's lettuce with my loyal goat Goatie in Northern California, repelling out of trees barefoot, constructing zip lines, building underground forts, and of course, sleeping under the stars. This ingrained connection with the natural world set the stage for my purpose to bloom; turning the outdoors into a space of learning and growth for the leaders of tomorrow!

 

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Luanne Ferrell
Assistant Teacher

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Hello, I am Luanne. I am a mother to four children and a wife to a Navy pilot, but that doesn’t
truly define who I am. My passion is in being outside exploring what the natural world has to
offer. You might find me tending to my garden, exploring a new trail, or hitting the waters with
my family on a canoe. I have had the privilege to live and explore many different regions and
cultures of our great country. I grew up in the forest behind my childhood home in Longview,
Washington. I went off to college to study archaeology and geology at the University of Oregon.
After earning my BA, I went on to Oregon State University to earn my MA in archaeology and
geology. Upon graduation I had my first child, and my husband joined the Navy where I have
been traveling the world ever since.


In 2018 I started teaching outdoor classes for children and their families in our local community. In
2020 I had the privilege of working for Fidalgo Nature School as the assistant teacher. I fell in love
with the concept of nature schools and decided to go back to school to earn my AS in early
childhood education. I have since brought my love of being outdoors together with my passion for
teaching young children. It is my belief that the youth deserve a safe place to learn, grow, and
develop their own passions for themselves, others, and the natural world. It is my desire to provide
that space for the children here at Fidalgo Nature School.

Christina Tristan
Teacher

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Hi! My name is Christina. My husband and I have recently relocated to Whidbey Island in semi-retirement, but honestly it was to be closer to our grandchildren who are growing much too fast! Being native Southern Californians, we thought the move would be much more difficult than it has been. We have found that we absolutely love everything about this beautiful state! Being close to two of our three adult children and creating new memories - priceless!

 

I have an AS in Early Childhood Studies, an AA in Social Sciences, and a BA in Human Development. I have been so fortunate to have followed my dream of teaching for 35 years, the past 20 as a Head Start teacher encouraging and observing the love of learning develop as the children explored their environment. I have also been a Mentor Teacher for the California Mentor Program for the past 16 years. Training, supporting, and modeling developmentally appropriate practices were my responsibilities as a Mentor Teacher. This is also where I learned of different curriculum and programs, and I truly loved the idea of nature school. I look forward to sharing your children’s time as they create, explore, and learn here in Bowman Bay with all of its natural materials.

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Angela Sheppard
Teacher

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I joined the Fidalgo Nature School team in January 2023 and I have had so much fun learning and exploring with all of our bright young students! I have a masters degree in Criminal Justice and spent many years working to help people from a social justice perspective. After having children I decided to focus my time on raising my four
kids while volunteering in their schools, working with numerous community based youth
organizations and working as an interpretive trail guide for elementary school aged children. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share my passion for environmental stewardship and my love of nature with our students.

I am originally from Colorado. I grew up skiing, snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking and enjoying countless hours in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. After high school I moved to California to attend the University of San Diego. I met my husband there who is on active duty in the US Navy. Over the past 20 years we have lived coast to coast and we even spent 3 years living in Japan!

Amanda Myre White
Teacher

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I have a love of being outdoors which is best described as a deep need to be where I feel the most joyful, peaceful and myself. I arrived on Whidbey Island 7 years ago and solidified this place in my heart by getting married at Bowman Bay on a very rainy day! I am honored to have the opportunity to learn and grow alongside your young children in one of my favorite places.

 

I grew up on a farm in southern Idaho where I did very little exploring nature and instead focused on completing chores that happened to be outside. I found a love of nature not connected to productiv and outcomes during the 12 years I lived in San Diego and again when I moved here. 

 

 

Professionally, I’ve earned a Bachelors of Science in Nursing and received my Registered Nursing and Public Health Nursing licenses for the state of CA. After having my son in 2021, I left work to be a stay at home parent and started to pursue my interests in child development specifically through Magda Gerber's RIE approach and Emmi Pikler's pedagogy. I am now enrolled at Portland State University pursuing an infant and toddler mental health graduate certificate

 

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Justin Kirby
Substitute Teacher

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"Hi! My name is Justin and I live in Anacortes with my wife Tasha, daughter Paige, son Nash and dog Trevor. We moved to Anacortes about 7 years ago and it was the best move we have ever made. Fidalgo Island and the surrounding area are second to none!  

 

A little about me, I grew up in Connecticut, went to college in upstate New York and then started working in New York City. After 5 years in NYC, a good friend of mine moved to Seattle and invited me over for a vacation. I immediately fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. Two months later, I quit my job and headed West! I held various marketing jobs but am proud to say that I took two years off when each of my kids were young, so that we could go on big adventures together!  

 

About 5 years ago I changed careers and started working with special needs students at Anacortes Middle School. I was also a substitute teacher for virtually every grade and every subject; including working for the Whitney Early Childhood Learning Center.   

 

When I am not having big adventures, with not very big people, you can find me hiking in the Cascades, kayaking in the San Juan Islands, riding my bike all over Skagit County, or backpacking with my son Nash as a part of the Boy Scouts of America. 

 

I am thrilled to be a part of the Fidalgo Nature School, there is no better learning environment than the great outdoors!"

 

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