OUR STAFF

Lindsay Coulter

Program Coordinator

Lindsay Coulter (she/her) is an educator, naturalist, facilitator, writer, gardener,

equine enthusiast, and parent. Her work has been to coach, mentor and

educate parents, teachers, and childcare staff to foster a deep connection

with the living world. She’s developed practices and resources for children and

youth to connect to the Earth as a source of energy and love that can support

them. She’s a co-founder and former Director at EPIC Learning Centre, a

forest and nature school in Victoria, B.C. Lindsay created EPIC to embrace a

forest and nature school philosophy to address disconnection from the self,

others, and the living world. From here, she believes we can begin to reconcile

some of the root causes of our climate emergency and the high rates of

environmental violence. Uncertain and chaotic times are calling educators into a new way of creating safety. Time in nature in relationship with non-human kin is fundamental to human well being. Lindsay is also inspired by the attachment-based developmental approach which focuses on rest, play and relationship. She recently trained with Dr. Gordon Neufeld and has taken many courses through the Neufeld Institute to understand how to help children feel safe in a wounding world and support a child’s potential. She’s the former David Suzuki’s Queen of Green TM with expertise as a public engagement specialist and loved being Canada’s “green living expert” for over a decade with national TV appearances, as well as syndication on radio and in print.

Lindsay is a creator of culture and ritualist who serves as a community catalyst, compassion cultivator, and soul activist. She teaches contemplative practices and leads eco-grief circles and workshops for all ages. See her insights and inspiration @SaneAction on Facebook and Instagram. In her spare time she is a Pulling Together volunteer Lead Steward for Saanich Parks in Haro Woods and a facilitator of Equine Assisted Learning at Heart Lake Farm.

“I have a deep appreciation for the mystery, wonder and awe of life. I thrive when being a part of

something bigger than myself. I lead with compassion and insight and have trained in disciplines like compassion cultivation, compassionate inquiry, grief and resiliency and warriorship.”

me and kids_edited.jpg

Robin Lenhardt

Manager, ECE

Educator for all full day 3-5 year old programs

We are so fortunate to have Robin (she/her) back for the 8th year as manager

and full-time ECE at the Victoria Nature School. Robin is a certified forest

school practitioner and an enthusiastic outdoor educator who has been

exploring nature with children for over 15 years. She began as a daycare

provider in Northern BC for over ten years before relocating to Saanich with

her husband and two sons. She then continued teaching both preschool and

school-age groups through various rec centre programs. "I strive to inspire

students sense of wonder during their many child-led adventures on the mountain, in the forest, and at the ocean and believe that outdoor learning fosters children's resilience, self-esteem, leadership and social skills as well as improving their physical literacy. I trust that whatever the group is interested in learning is worth investigating in detail and believe that these early outdoor experiences lay the foundation for a lifelong love and stewardship of our natural environment." When not in the forest at VNS Robin can be found at her eldest sons soccer games, teaching kids weekend cooking classes or being the volunteer shipping department for her youngest sons technology enterprises.

Andrew Furman

Educator for all full day 3-5 year old programs

Andrew (he/him) has worked as an Early Childhood Educator Assistant since 2019. Before

joining VNS, he worked with kids of diverse abilities for several years. He also spent five

years bicycling with a multi-age group to parks across Victoria, rain or shine, as a field trip

supervisor for Oak and Orca Bioregional School.

"Reflecting on my time in outdoor education, I'm grateful for the experience of connecting

with students, teachers, and natural spaces while having fun and learning together.

I've seen my own and others' resilience and wonder grow. "

He lives with his partner and their daughter and enjoys yoga, music and meditation.

His favourite colour is azure (sky blue).

image_6487327.jpg

Jenny, ECEA

Educator, ECE, for all full day 3-5 year old programs

Jenny got her ECEA certification at Camosun College and recently

graduated at the University of Victoria with a Child and Youth Care degree.

Her last practicum placement was at VNS where she had the opportunity

to work with different classes (e.g., the morning and full day 3-5
year old and the fox den programs). “It was a new experience for me where

children had the power and freedom to choose how they wanted to spend

their day. I enjoy offering them quality time to explore (make mistakes and

find new solutions), which scaffold their natural curiosity of
the world. This motivated me to be more creative, hands-on and embrace the different forms of play that brings upon many benefits.” She looks forward to continuing to build rapport with all the educators and children as well as learning more about nature. Jenny loves to spend time with her siblings, watch dramas/movies and stroll around the neighbourhood basking in the sunlight.

IMG_0953_edited.jpg

Caroline Simister

Educator, Tuesday & Thursday morning 3-5 year old program

Carolyn (she/her) is excited to return for her second year with VNS.  She began

my career with children starting with Summer Camps and Nannying over 30

years ago and has been in Childcare Education/Management in Victoria

since 2007.S Carolyn  was first introduced to VNS in 2017 when she registered

her oldest son at the time for his first year in preschool. Carolyn is an outdoor

enthusiast, who loves to play sports, travel, hike, camp and retreat to the forest

for grounding whenever she can.  She was excited to have the opportunity for

her children to enter the forest for back-to-the-basics play, as well as growing

their social-emotional skills with the embrace of Mother Nature. Carolyn is

appreciative that both her children had two years at VNS for Preschool, and

that now she gets to come multiple times a week to help encourage, nurture

and support our students as they grow with the seasons.

"I can not think of a better way to introduce young children to socially connecting, learning and facing challenges among the trees and on top of our solid soil foundation that will also provide cushion for falls and feelings that arise as we grow each day. I look forward to each day at VNS, every day is a beautiful new day.

Screenshot_20220911_210548.jpg

Kip

Educator, Tuesday & Thursday morning 3-5 year old program

Kip (they/them) is a queer, non-binary, white settler of Ukrainian, British and Scottish

ancestry. They were born and raised on the Treaty Lands and Territories of the

Mississaugas of the Credit, Anishinabek, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and

Ojibway/Chippewa peoples in currently called Ontario. They grew up immersed in

summer camp from the early age of 5 years old, and stayed in that magical place of

being and belonging for 17 years, working as Assistant Counsellor, Head of Theatre and

Operations Manager. Their experience at camp solidified a joy of sharing song in

group, being their goofiest most outrageous self, and hearing myths told around a

central fire. It was in this place that their loving relationship with the natural elements

was born. Kip holds an undergraduate bachelor’s degree in Gender Studies with a
certificate in Sexual and Gender Diversity. Since moving to Lekwungen territory, they have been both

apprenticing and working with Thriving Roots Wilderness School, Assisting at EPIC Learning Centre and are beyond excited to be joining the team at VNS.  Through this work, they have discovered the potency of wellness when healing in community, and are deeply committed to helping children feel held in their wholeness as they grow into connected, thoughtful and insightful humans. 

"Working in the realms of forest school hasbecome an enriching and practical place to play through all of my learnings and passions, with sweet kiddos nonetheless! I can’t wait for you to find them curled up on a patch of moss underneath a sprawling Arbutus tree, learning how to sing to their ancestors and catching songs in the wind."

IMG-20220811-WA0013.jpg

Bela Spick 

Educator, Monday & Wednesday Fox Den Programs

Bela is starting starting her forth year with VNS. She is a certified forest school

practitioner and received her Hon. BSc specializing in Ecology from the University of

Toronto. After working in the field of environmental assessment, she began providing

supportive educational learning to children. She spent over 10 years, running a

gymnastics centre and coaching kids of all ages. Children are her passion, as is the

great outdoors.  

"I am living my dream of helping kids to connect with all the wonders that our natural world has to offer. I feel blessed to watch their little minds and little hearts grow as they explore and play in beautiful Mount Doug". Bela loves adventure and her family. She is happiest when she is taking her boys camping into the backcountry, climbing or wandering in the wilderness.

Bela.jpg

Kirsten Dallimore

Educator, B.Ed, Monday & Wednesday Fox Den Programs

This is Kiresten's (she/her) 2nd year with VNS. Kirsten is a BC certified teacher,

facilitator of nature education and park naturalist passionate about spending

time outside and supporting her friends and community to play and explore in

this world through a nature lens. Kirsten is in her happy place when she is

outside swimming in a lake or in the ocean, wandering through the beauty of

theGarry Oaks meadows or hiking through the local forests.  Learning and

teaching about how to connect deeper with nature and gain a sense of place

on this earth is what has grounded Kirsten to pursue her passion for environmental and outdoor place-based learning over the past 20 years. Kirsten became inspired in these places to want to learn more about the natural world and gain a sense of belonging among the trees in the forest and water in the rivers, lakes, and ocean.  Kirsten grew up in Southern Ontario on the traditional land of  Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe people and moved to Vancouver Island in 2014. Because she loves to travel and has been to so many beautiful nature places around the world, she feels a great sense of connection to the Orca whale who travels long distances as well over the course of their lifetime. "Come play, explore and expand your imagination this year with me at Fox Den. We will sing together, create and share stories and go on many incredible adventures through the forest and spend time together by the ocean." 

pasted image 0.png