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.
STEPHANIE MACKAY is the Director of Soaring Eagle Nature School. She was the Lead Program Instructor for 3 years. She grew up right here in the Pacific Northwest exploring the deep mysteries of the coastal forests and discovering the abundance of life in the intertidal zones of our local beaches. Her passion for wild Nature, art and culture has taken her across the globe and into a wide array of ecosystems.
Stephanie holds the truth of our belonging in the Natural world as a given and loves witnessing the moments when this connection happens. She has studied indigenous ways and culture since 2011 with Martin Prechtel in New Mexico and has completed several trainings in nature based Rites of Passage with the Animas Valley Institute. She has also completed a nine-month apprenticeship with Annie Bloom and Jade Sherer to be a guide for the pan-cultural Vision Fast. Before Soaring Eagle she worked with Calgary’s Ghost River Rediscovery where she ran wilderness camps for youth in the Rockies.
Stephanie loves spending time with her family, doing yoga, crafting with rawhide and can most often be found, or not found, somewhere out on the land.
JULIA THIESSEN is the Operations Manager 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.
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.
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.
KLARA SCHOENFELD is an instructor at Soaring Eagle Nature School and an early childhood educator at UBC. She grew up in the Kootenays and she spent most of her childhood exploring the forest and streams on her family’s property. While working with children in urban environments in Southeast Asia she grew to appreciate her own childhood experiences and believes that all children have a right to experience the joy of connecting with nature.
Klara has many years of experience working with children in a broad range of setting, including childcare centres, continuation schools, youth correctional facilities and homes for street youth. She is a lifelong learner, who has studied cultural anthropology, early childhood education, yoga, nutrition and compassionate communication.
Klara loves spending time with her husband and daughter – going for beach walks, forest hikes and bike rides. She also enjoys spending quiet time cooking, reading and knitting