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Jenna Rudolph

Jenna Rudolph

Founder and Executive Director

Apprenticeship Program

Jenna Rudolph has mentored children in the natural world since 2004 and founded Soaring Eagle Nature School in 2009. She was born in and spent her formative years in South Africa, where her love and connection to birds and animals began alongside her grandmother.

 She has been inspired by and has learned from Nancy Turner and the University of Victoria, the Wild Seed School of Herbal Studies, the Wilderness Awareness School, the Animas Valley Institute, the Kamana Naturalist Training Program, Wilderness Trails in South Africa, and Martín Prechtel at Bolad’s Kitchen.

She is a Certified Wildlife Tracker, a Naturalist, Botanist, and Birder. Outside of the forest, 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 is deeply committed to nature mentoring and the forest, where she feels everyone can feel truly alive. She believes that by spending time in nature 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. 

Sarah Oehm

Sarah Oehm

Youth Programs Coordinator

Sarah (she/her) grew up outside a small town in Ontario where she could be found playing in the creek near her home, turning over logs to discover salamanders, and running in the woods with her dogs or the barn with her mom and the horses.

Now, Sarah connects to the outdoor world through multi-day camping trips on her bicycle, snowboarding deep in the backcountry, and trail running through our provincial parks, where she feels most at home.

Her passion for inspiring and enabling others to feel this connection brought her out of the corporate world to Soaring Eagle Nature School. From working on cross country tours with the Canadian Pacific Railway to recruiting over 2,000 students for the #BCTech Summit, managing operations at a local startup, and working on MEC’s Community & Digital Marketing teams, Sarah brings a wide range of skills to create a unique and immersive community at Soaring Eagle Nature School.

Mikaela Gregory

Mikaela Gregory

Communications 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 for Soaring Eagle Nature School programs.

She is inspired how the 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.

Isabella Yong

Isabella Yong

Administration Lead and Registrar

Moving to Canada from Singapore in 2018, Isabella experienced growth and self-discovery by living close to nature and embracing the four seasons, especially from winter to spring! It taught her the meaning of growth and becoming anew.

Being multi-ethnic of Singaporean and Panamanian heritage, she hopes to empower others who have struggled with self-identification and empower young people to embrace the blessings and beauty of who they are.

Isabella has worked with children, youth, and adults since 2009 as a gymnastics program coordinator, instructor, and club manager. She recognizes that being engaged and present with her students contributes to their understanding and holistic development. Additionally, with a degree in Business Management from RMIT Australia, she continues to contribute her skills to meaningful organizations and promote a healthy and active lifestyle, both physically and mentally, for all ages.

Isabella enjoys yoga, rock climbing, snowboarding, water sport, hiking, and exploring where she lives, as well as the countries and islands she visits.

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 three 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, spending 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, taught at various outdoor adventure and recreation camps to children aged 6 to 12, and before the pandemic, she spent six months living, learning, and teaching at the Karenni Social Development Centre on the Thailand-Myanmar border. 

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.

 

Michael Diaconu

Michael Diaconu

Camp Director

Michael grew up with a connection to nature that fuels his inspiration and acceptance of life’s flow to this day. He enjoys putting his experience in writing and even published a nature poem in Highlights Magazine for Children when he was 9. He learned the art of rock balancing from his father at an early age, which he still uses to create mental stillness and visual art using the Earth’s fabric.

After graduating from Capilano University’s Communications Program, Michael travelled to his parent’s home country, Romania, to teach English using nature as the chalkboard. In between teaching at these incredible programs, he ventured to a village in Colombia to volunteer with children under 5 to help their English language development through live music.

Michael’s travels have gifted him great adventures in nature, from the high mountains of Europe, the wild jungles of South America, and of course, British Columbia, which he is grateful to experience every day. If you hear a flute echoing through the forest or the strum of a charango by a stream, it might just be Michael living a little dream.

Alicia Drover

Alicia Drover

Mentor

As a child, Alicia enjoyed walks with her mom in the forest, searching for bugs with her friends, and writing stories full of animals and magic. A memorable elementary school field trip taught her how all living things are connected through games and play and inspired her to become an environmental educator.

To protect the wild animals she loved, Alicia went on to earn a BSc in Environmental Science at Simon Fraser University. Through her studies and leading fun, educational activities for kids with Let’s Talk Science, she honed her nature knowledge and shared it with others by volunteering with the Vancouver Aquarium and the City of Surrey as a nature guide. She then helped plan and lead outdoor nature camps at VanDusen Botanical Garden. Alicia believes that every child should have the chance to develop a bond with nature and that we all have a role in protecting it.

In her free time, you can find Alicia exploring local parks, creating stories, and helping cats and hamsters find their forever homes.