JENNA RUDOLPH is Founder, and Executive Director at Soaring Eagle Nature School. She was the lead instructor for 9 years. Jenna has been sharing the magic of the natural world with children and youth since 2004. She coordinated a gardening program for three years in Victoria, and then sought to teach in wilder places – sharing her knowledge of edible and medicinal plants. Through an Environmental Studies degree from the University of Victoria, Jenna was able to study with renowned botanists and learned how integral plants are to people all around the world. She has apprenticed with various herbalists and botanists from British Columbia, and facilitates plant walks and medicine-making workshops. She has studied Clinical Herbalism with the Wild Seed School of Herbal Studies. Basketry, spinning, and wildcrafting are some of Jenna’s deep passions, and she spends lots of time processing food to store it for the seasons in which wild food is less abundant.
Jenna completed the Anake Leadership Program with the Wilderness Awareness School, a 9-month apprenticeship where she worked with children from the ages of 4-12, as well as teens and adults. She is a graduate of their 9-month Wildlife Tracking Intensive, and is completing Kamana, a multi-year Naturalist Training Program. She is also the co-founder of the Wilderness Living Project, which teaches adult classes on ancient technology and primitive skills. She has been studying rare and forgotten histories, and indigenous approaches to living, with Martin Prechtel, since 2014.
Jenna loves exploring our local forests, and enjoys having picnics and dinner parties with loved ones. She is closely connected to Vancouver Island’s Garry Oak ecosystems, as well as the Coastal Cedar, Hemlock, Douglas Fir Rainforest. Jenna is deeply committed to nature mentoring and the forest, where she feels everyone can feel truly alive.
JULIA THIESSEN is the Operations Manager and Instructor at Soaring Nature Eagle School. Julia grew up in the prairies, where she honed her ability to turn over rocks and be mesmerized by the critters found there. As a child, she constructed a hotel for worms, and as an adult, she pretty much does the same thing. In 2004 she moved to Vancouver to grow vegetables year round and participate in stewarding land on Gambier Island, BC using re-wilding and permaculture techniques.
Julia has a background in environmental work, including over 7 years at the Environmental Youth Alliance facilitating community-based programs with a focus on the healing that nature provides. Her experience “in the feild” has helped to shape her passion for the work.
She is a member of the Canadian Horticulture Therapy Association and has presented at their AGM on the topic of Cultivating Magic in Ordinary Outdoor Spaces. Julia studies meditation and teaches classes. In her free time, she can be found taking photos of moss, making puns and improvising with foraged ingredients in the kitchen.
TONY HEATH is an instructor at Soaring Eagle Nature school. He recently graduated from Wilderness Awareness School’s Anake Outdoor School and Anake leadership program, a two year full time study into nature connection, culture repair and the art of mentoring. He has also completed two permaculture design courses and has instructed at the adult Art of Mentoring for Wilderness awareness school. Tony has spent the previous 5 years living on small homesteads in Spain, Portugal and Canada with his wife and children. He is passionate about looking for the gifts that already lie within each student and is constantly asking how each individual can be best supported in their journey of learning and growth. In his free time he can be found wandering the wilds, trailing animals and exploring the effect nature has on our inner landscape. Tony now lives in North Vancouver with his wife and two children.
SCOTT EAST is an Instructor at Soaring Eagle Nature School. He was brought up exploring the rich range of diverse ecosystems from the plains and wetlands of traditional Blackfoot territory near Calgary and the Rocky Mountains. He was able to do this alongside his father, who was an Outdoor Education Teacher for 30 years in the Calgary Board of Education. This inspiration and desire to wander brought him all the way out west into Coast Salish and Nuu-chah-nulth territories.
All of this has grown in him a desire to learn how to walk respectfully on the earth. For him, learning to relate to the first peoples of these lands, as well as the forests and oceans that they have stewarded for thousands of years, is essential to begin building healthier, more responsible human culture on planet earth. His diverse training in permaculture and group facilitation have been formative in his understanding of how we might learn to re-pattern human culture to include the living wilderness at the centre of our awareness.
Scott is very grateful to have met many mentors, teachers and friends who have helped him in his own process of growing up and waking up to his unique life purpose through rites of passage ceremonies. Because of the experience he has received, he is deeply committed to help to create such honouring experiences for others as well.
CARA GOGGS, is an instructor at Soaring Eagle Nature School. She worked for Fresh Air Learning Outdoor Preschool, located in Lynn Canyon for several years. She also spent 3 years supporting outdoor learning with Windsor House Democratic School. She has worked with children and families of all ages in Canada and the UK. Training includes completing an ECE certificate at Capilano University to accompany her diploma in Montessori. On top of being a lifelong lover of the natural world Cara has completed over 60 hrs of training with Soaring Eagle and Fresh Air Learning. Cara has 3 beautiful children who all attended Windsor House School, one of which is now a Soaring Eagle Alumni, and a wonderful husband brought back with her after 14 years living in the UK.
Her favourite past times include bird watching, working with natural materials to create art and especially loves to play games. As a parent Cara knows firsthand the value of free play outside, allowing children to explore their environments, and to understand themselves in relation to the natural world without becoming overwhelmed with societal pressures. Based on her own upbringing, playing freely in the forests of North Vancouver, Cara hopes to be a part of creating opportunities for this generation of children to connect with nature in a way that will last a life time.
PETER LAMBERT is an Instructor at Soaring Eagle Nature School. He believes that by connecting deeply with ourselves, our communities and our living world we are able to lead rich, full lives, and rise above personal and societal challenges.
He is inspired by the richness of everyday natural beauty, by fresh moist air and the joy of movement, and by the way problems and barriers melt away when faced with fierce fun and fast friendship. He’s spent time mapping climate change impacts on the plants of the North Cascades, paddling solo for days in Desolation Sound, and teaching a homeschooler in the junkyards and art studios of East Van. In his work with children he works hard to offer the gifts of safe attachment and self-direction. He honors the mentors in his life, and is proud to pass their teachings on to young hearts.
MAYA GRAVES-BACCHUS is an instructor at Soaring Eagle Nature School. As a child she was fortunate to spend hours building homes for insects and befriending small creatures and wild things in the garden. Enjoying this playfulness and curiosity as a child has carried her forward with a deep sense of gratitude and wonder for the earth. Naturally, she feels drawn to nature based education and Soaring Eagle’s core values and vision for a nature connected culture.
Her interests have lead her to work with young newcomers to Canada, where she designed programs for a wide range of ages and backgrounds. Maya is a graduate from the Rivershed Society’s Sustainable Living Leadership Program, she has lead programs with the Salish Sea Spiritual Ecology Alliance, and she has studied human perceptions of wilderness at the University of British Columbia.
In her spare time she loves to sing, play music, and continues with the architecture of small homes for insects.
KAYLIE HIGGS is an instructor with Soaring Eagle Nature School. She has always had a love for and connection to the natural world. Growing up as a home learner, with the “world as her classroom,” she spent countless hours exploring the many forests, shorelines, farms, and mountains along the west coast of BC.
These experiences developed not only a deep love and curiosity for the ecology and communities of these places, but also inspired an ongoing journey of learning and caring that has included: taking field courses on the west coast of Vancouver Island, working as a children’s program leader at the UBC Farm, coordinating the environmental justice collective at Capilano University, receiving a degree in Global Stewardship, volunteering as a marine educator, interning with SENS in 2015, and exploring topics that include environmental biology, bird identification, and the relationships between plants and people. She loves to share these interests and passions with others, especially children, who inspire her with their enthusiasm, curiosity, observations, and new perspectives.
Currently, Kaylie is also attending UBC and working toward a BSc in Global Resource Systems, with a Minor in Biology, where she is focusing on how caring and connection between humans and ecological communities can be fostered and what impacts this can have. Through her work, she hopes to facilitate and foster these connections, while creating a space to share and explore the curiosities and understandings about these communities that everyone brings.
When not studying or playing outdoors, Kaylie can often be found knitting, working with clay, singing, looking for fairies and dragons, or playing music and spending time with family and friends.
ROBIN BANCROFT-WILSON is an instructor at Soaring Eagle Nature School. She grew up living in downtown Toronto while exploring, camping and canoeing in Northern Ontario. As a teen and young adult, her personal gifts unfolded while caring for children in the city and at summer camps. As a professional in Vancouver, after many years of struggling to find balance, ease and fulfillment she made her way to Duvall Washington and trained in The Art of Mentoring at the Wilderness Awareness School. Everything suddenly made sense. She now understands how her love of song, dance, storytelling, foraging, wandering and swimming in wild places can weave into and uplift her hyper-connected modern life. Now, Robin lives passionately and fully in two worlds: that of the high stress event/film world in Vancouver and that of Nature Connection education for kids, teens and adults.
TALYA FLORIAN is an instructor at Soaring Eagle Nature School. For Talya, nature has always been one of the most valuable teachers. She was raised in a rural community on the southern coast of Ireland where cliff- laced ocean shores met sycamore forests and patchwork fields. Here she began to uncover the innate beauty of forests, the curiosities within tidepools, the excitement of wild animal interactions, and the magic in story. Those sparks of wonder she experienced as a child continue to inspire her throughout her life and career as an artist and educator and fuel her passion to share them with others.
After receiving her degree in Fine Art, Talya decided to merge into education. Her intention was to integrate environmental awareness and art education into a language learning curriculum. Recently Talya graduated from UBC’s B.Ed. Program where she specialized in Art Education and English Language Learning (K-12). She believes that environmental awareness and acknowledgement it is a crucial part of our development as stewards and citizens of this earth.
When Talya is not teaching she can be found ‘nerding’ out to mushrooms (she is an active member of the Vancouver Mycological Society), foraging in the forest, making medicinal plant and fungi tinctures, hiking, hammocking, camping, and making many different forms of art.