fbpx

Get to Know Us

Our People
View Our Core Values
Jenna Rudolph

Jenna Rudolph

Founder and Executive Director

Apprenticeship Program

Jenna has been mentoring children and youth in the natural world since 2004 and founded Soaring Eagle Nature School in 2009. Fascinated by how integral plants are for people all over the world, Jenna studied with renowned botanists while pursuing an Environmental Studies degree from the University of Victoria. She has apprenticed with various herbalists and botanists from British Columbia and has studied Clinical Herbalism with the Wild Seed School of Herbal Studies. 

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 Certified Wildlife Tracker, a Naturalist, and Birder. She is also the co-founder of the Wilderness Living Project, which teaches adult classes on ancient technology and primitive skills. She taught at Eslaha7an Squamish Nation Learning Centre for 2 years. Since 2014, she has been studying at Bolad’s Kitchen with Martín Prechtel, a hands-on spiritual and historical immersion into language, music, cooking, literature, art, clothing, tools, grief, and humour as a way to remember our origins and grow a time of hope beyond our own.

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. When not birding or tracking, Jenna spends her time weaving baskets, spinning wool, carving, wildcrafting, and processing food to store it for the seasons in which wild food is less abundant.

Jenna has taught all programs at Soaring Eagle Nature School and continues as the Director, mentoring her team and instructing workshops and the Apprenticeship Program. Jenna is deeply committed to nature mentoring and the forest, where she feels everyone can feel truly alive. She believes that by spending time in the forest, with caring mentors, children can be their most full selves, learn and adapt to real-life situations, and become resilient, caring individuals.

Julia Thiessen

Julia Thiessen

Operations Manager and Mentor

Young Sprouts Weekly Nature 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 field” 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. 

River Walter

River Walter

Youth Programs Coordinator

River (she/her) is a first-generation settler of Chinese-Thai, German-Polish descent. She grew up surrounded by the beautiful forests, waters, and ocean of the Musqueam traditional, un-surrendered territories. She works to honour the land and its treaties by strengthening her relationship and responsibilities to them.

As a child she remembers spending hours exploring Pacific Spirit Park, helping the “crazy boggers” working to restore Camosun Bog, and attending the Metro Vancouver Night Quest. As a young person, she spent her weekends busing to the local mountains with her friends. Her curiosity and love of the natural world led her to facilitate nature-based programs for youth across the Metro Vancouver region. She has previously mentored (and learned from) young people at the UBC Farm, with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS-BC), the UBC Botanical Gardens, and the Metro Vancouver Sustainability Toolbox. Alongside her outdoor work, she pursued a degree in Geography (the “Environment and Sustainability” stream) with extensive research work in the First Nations and Indigenous Studies field. In her spare time, you’ll find her cycling the seawall, making art, and growing and cooking nourishing food.

Mikaela Gregory

Mikaela Gregory

Communications and Administration Lead

Mikaela’s longest-running passion is teaching- rushing home each day from elementary school to write lesson plans and teach her stuffed animal students was the norm. She even taught her first class in grade 7 to kids her own age (her mom’s students)!

While she continued to teach and tutor as a volunteer, she completed business school at the University of British Columbia and started a corporate job. To remain true to herself, Mikaela spent her days off in the mountains backpacking, recognizing it as the source of clarity and peace in her life. Believing it was possible to combine her two passions, nature and education, she found Soaring Eagle Nature School’s Apprenticeship Program for aspiring instructors.

After the year-long Apprenticeship Program, Mikaela taught summer camps and year-long weekly and monthly programs and currently leads communications and administration for Soaring Eagle Nature School programs.

She is inspired that many lessons and experiences she had as a child at the river by her house collecting caterpillars and pretending to be an explorer surviving outdoors are something she gets to do at Soaring Eagle. She sees Soaring Eagle programs filling the gap of traditional education, allowing for self-exploration and growth with teachings determined by an individuals’ curiosity and passions.

 

Cara Goggs

Cara Goggs

Mentor

Young Sprouts Weekly Nature School

Cara 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 and completion of a week-long Art of Mentoring course at the Wilderness Awareness School where she developed her skills as a mentor in the 8 shields model. 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 lifetime.

Mink Taylor

Mink Taylor

Mentor

Wild Within Program and Weekly Nature School

Mink’s journey with primitive skills and nature connection was sparked by a desire to be able to walk into the wilderness with nothing and feel at home there. This goal has become a lifelong journey! Mink has dedicated the last 9 years of her life to wilderness living skills and nature mentoring. After 2 years of immersive training at Wilderness Awareness School, she went on to teach at 4 different nature connection schools throughout the US and Canada. A few of her other endeavours have included co-founding a dodgeball style archery business, and helping to launch and co-direct a girls outdoor leadership camp in Pickering, ON.

Mink is passionate about the “hard skills” of wilderness survival, and some of her favourite skills to practice include bow and arrow making, flint-knapping, hide tanning, trapping, camouflage and sneaking, and primitive fire-making. She loves to see the resilience and connection that practicing these skills foster in her students and brings them with a creative playfulness that is contagious.

Mink has a passion for art which comes through in many forms, including songwriting, painting, dancing, and just about any bushcraft project she can get her hands on. Mink brings wisdom that comes from her broad experience in multiple fields and dedication to her own personal journey, as well as a special passion for guiding youth through transformative wilderness experiences.

Sally Plummer

Sally Plummer

Mentor

Young Sprouts Weekly Nature School and Monthly Nature School

Born and raised by the ocean in rural England, Sally spent her early years immersed in all the outdoors has to offer. Since her post-graduate diploma in conservation and ecology, she has spent the last 12 years working with children of all ages fostering a nature connection and discovering wonder in the natural world.

As a passionate outdoor instructor and mentor, she firmly believes that we cannot expect the next generation to fight for the natural world and all its wonder if they have not spent time experiencing it. She has set up and run natural art projects with school children and discovered magic and mud while teaching forest school with younger children here in BC. She also mentored young people undertaking environmental projects in Chile and taught teenagers traditional forest crafts in England.

Sally loves weaving stories and paving the way to discovery. She also loves to make things and pass those skills on to others. When not in the forest, you might find her at her jewelry bench making silver jewelry, or painting stones and whittling wands with her 3 boys.

 Chantal Dunning

Chantal Dunning

Mentor

Forest Learners Program, Weekly and Monthly Nature School

Chantal grew up exploring the vast prairies of Alberta until the age of fourteen when her family decided to move across the world to the United Arab Emirates. There, she was immersed in a culture, landscape, and way of life vastly different than she had known before and was encouraged to step outside her comfort zone. This sparked a curiosity about the land, nature, and world around her that she hasn’t stopped exploring ever since.

Her love of adventure and lush mountain landscapes brought her to Vancouver where she pursued a degree in Environmental Geography, with a minor in Sustainability and Development from Simon Fraser University. Chantal has since followed her passion for outdoor experiential education by working with several outdoor-based programs in a handful of countries, including Outward Bound UAE in the Middle East and the North Carolina Outward Bound School in the United States.

When Chantal isn’t roaming through the forest with her students, you’ll find her trail running to the top of the North Shore mountains or gathering her camping supplies for an upcoming adventure. She is extremely grateful to have been introduced to the wonders of nature at a young age and hopes to spark the same sense of curiosity and passion within the next generation of explorers.

Cassidy Pridham

Cassidy Pridham

Mentor

Forest Learners Program and Monthly Nature School

Cass was raised in the rolling hills of Ontario surrounded by an abundance of freshwater lakes, wetlands, and vast forests. She developed a deep connection and appreciation for nature at a young age that has continued to grow throughout the years.

As she got older, she often daydreamed about being a teacher but never saw herself in a traditional classroom. Following this path led to her studying Outdoor Recreation at Brock University, with a focus on Indigenous Studies, Environmental Sustainability, and Education. Blending these disciplines has shown her that there can be a cyclical and holistic way to teach and share the wonder of nature with others. Using this knowledge base, Cass is deeply committed to investing in youth by holding a safe and inspiring space for them to not only bloom but flourish too.

Some of her time has been spent leading week-long canoe trips in the Algonquin backcountry, facilitating outdoor education programs in the Niagara Peninsula, driving boats and tour guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and practicing yoga to connect with her mind and body.

Cass is inspired by the babbling of a brook, the smell of the Earth before it rains, glowing embers deep within a fire, stepping barefoot into a mud puddle, and the sense of awe and fascination in a child’s eyes when they are surrounded by the natural world.

Luisa Schwarz

Luisa Schwarz

Mentor

Weekly and Monthly Nature School

Luisa (she/her) grew up on Canada’s east coast on the unceded and unsurrendered traditional territory of the Wolastoqiyik. She feels fortunate to have fostered a connection with the natural world at a young age. Growing up, she spent summers hiking and camping in the Appalachian mountains and Fundy National Park and winters exploring on cross country skis.

In 2015, Luisa moved across the country to study Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. She immediately fell in love with the rainforest, coastal and alpine landscapes, and she spends most of her free time running, skiing, and exploring the natural areas surrounding her.

Her passion for the environment and education and her curiosity for the world led her to various opportunities across Canada, Germany, and Thailand. She’s worked in ecological restoration and conservation throughout BC, and before the pandemic, she spent six months living, learning, and teaching at the Karenni Social Development Centre on the Thailand-Myanmar border. She has also taught at various outdoor adventure and recreation camps to children aged 6 to 12. Luisa is very excited to continue her learning and mentoring journey with Soaring Eagle Nature School.

Erich Isocki

Erich Isocki

Mentor

Weekly and Monthly Nature School

Since growing up on the west coast of British Columbia, Erich has been fascinated with the natural world, whether that be exploring the forests and ponds around him or the Salish sea with his grandfather.

Erich’s curiosity ranges from celestial navigation, edible plants, and making tools by hand to philosophy, history, and science. As a lifelong learner who has always been unschooled, Erich’s favourite part of working with kids is getting to see their passions and what draws them into a place of exploration and wonder.

 

Jacob Fischer-Schmidt

Jacob Fischer-Schmidt

Mentor

Weekly and Monthly Nature School

Jacob (they/he) wishes to heal themselves, their lineages, and the unceded lands they sit with through deepened and widened relationships, and tender stamina for a practice of radical care. From these teachings and experiences, they hope to cultivate a being together that might foster a collective regrowth and medicinal sharing of stories. Jacob believes these seeds can be sown by being together in affirmative creativity, and be nurtured through dance, song, slowness, and curiosity.

From their birth in Treaty 13 territory in Tkaronto, they have lived and learned in Sutiaba territories, Nicaragua, studied in their ancestral lands of west coast France, and have most recently been a guest in these Coast Salish territories at WSANEC, S’Klallam, Musqueam, Tlseil-Waututh and Squamish. Though they have learned much from their formal education at United World Colleges and UBC, learning from elders, plant medicines, and communities of land defense has been most transformative for them. Jacob hopes to honour this by introducing young people to the wonders of the forest, and the land’s embraces that might move us to the transformations that are needed within us, and through us the world.

Bailey Roe

Bailey Roe

Mentor

Weekly and Monthly Nature School

Bailey grew up exploring the rivers and lakes of Ontario, where she revered the outdoors. She felt most at home canoeing Lake Vernon during her summers at Camp Tawingo as a camper and staff member. Her experiences immersed in nature catalyzed a new awareness and appreciation of the spaces around her. Learning how to make fire and creating plant identification books for other campers propelled her to support and deepen youth’s connection with nature creatively.

Bailey comes to Soaring Eagle Nature School with over five summers of experience as a Camp Counsellor, Nature Director, Circle Director, and co-leader of multiple two-week canoe trips in Quebec. Bailey believes that the best way to build confidence, curiosity, and compassion in youth is by connecting them with their natural surroundings. Creating space for individuals to choose their adventure beyond four walls allows them to express themselves, feel heard, and connect deeply with one another and themselves.

Bailey loves spending her free time exploring the mountains, ocean, and rivers of British Columbia and expanding her knowledge of what lies deeper. She is currently completing a mushroom course from Herbal Academy, an Indigenous Land Protocol in Medicinal Harvesting course, and a Home Herbalist course from Pacific Rim College. She is excited to discover new pathways to support youth’s curiosity in these spaces and connect them with local plants, birds, and each other.