Your generosity today can help support our school for tomorrow! Every donation for the remainder of this year will go directly to our beloved hourly teachers, allowing them to get through these challenging winter months when temporary forest school closure is more likely due to inclement weather or mandated quarantine under the COVID crisis.
Our team of professionally-trained and highly-skilled educators is here to help your child grow and reach their potential. We believe in supporting and engaging the whole child, inside and out, in this critical stage of their development. Please learn more about our broader educational philosophies and values here, as well as our unprecedented teacher benefits.
Kathryn Long | Program Director & Lead Teacher
Kathryn is a co-founder of the Growing Wild Forest School and its parent organization, The Forest School Foundation. She is also a proud member of the American Forest Kindgergarten Association. She is an empathetic and creative being who loves working with children and guiding them in the natural world. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and has over a decade of experience in early childhood education and care, including teaching in early learning centers, providing small-group childcare, and nannying. She is certified EEC Level 8. Her continuing education has included the Academy of Forest Kindergarten Teachers, as well as Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia systems and the latest research on child psychology. Kathryn's purpose is to support all children's evolving sense of self and intrinsic belonging in the human community and natural world.
Mica Whitmire | Lead Teacher
Mica has worked with children and young adults for over ten years as a counselor, caregiver, facilitator, and teacher. He particularly likes helping young children be aware of their feelings, speak their needs in clear and kind ways, and using silliness, play, and roleplaying to work with deeper issues in a fun and productive way. He is a trained permaculturalist and gardener, musician, storyteller, poet, and performer, and is initiated with the Mankind Project of Asheville. He advocates for social, ecological, and economic justice in the world, and is dedicated to practicing a life where all beings are treated with respect, affection, and care.
Katie Costanzo | Assistant Teacher
Katie aspires to live each day of her life embracing and nourishing the wild creature that she is. She has come a long way from the suburbs of long island NY, where she grew up playing in the ocean ~ seeking refuge in the beautiful south shore. She has adventured and lived in many different bioregions and ecosystems, delighting in all of the diverse plants and creatures she finds herself surrounded by from Big Island Hawaii, to Skagway Alaska to now Southern Appalachia. Katie got her BA in psychology and sociology going on to follow her passions in outdoor rec and education, electoral politics, community organizing, horticulture therapy, farming and birth work. She has studied to be a birth doula and has apprenticed at Wild Abundance earning her PDC and learning about regenerative gardening, natural building, herbalism, earth skills and more! She loves cultivating rich, reciprocal relationships with the natural world whether that's actively recreating and rock climbing or slowing down and narrowing her focus on little jelly fungus growing on decaying logs. She sees herself as a protector of the land and is always trying to weave in the work of dismantling oppressive and exploitative systems and culture. She finds the most meaning dwelling in the playful parts of existence, building deep connection with herself and her community, and working towards collective liberation for all beings.
Kelly Gaskill | Lead Teacher
Kelly is a lover of nature and comes alive when sharing in the fascination of the natural world with children. Much of her adult life has been spent interacting with and exploring the outdoors. Well versed in the natural world of the Appalachian Mountains, Kelly has a vast knowledge of local plants, crafting with natural material, wild foraging, wilderness awareness, and honoring the rhythms of nature. She has been the director of Mudpuppies Nature Program in Barnardsville, NC; which mentors young children in developing deep connection with the natural world, with the support of a loving compassionate learning community. She regularly works and plays with the kids’ program at regional Earth Skills Gatherings. She also teaches natural plant dyes, weaving and basket making to adults.
Giselle Cuevas | Assistant Teacher
Giselle specializes in Yoga, Mindfulness, and Farm-Based Education. Traveling and living in intentional communities granted her the opportunity to earn certifications in adult and children's Yoga, Permaculture and other sustainable agricultural practices, and earn her Bachelors of Fine Arts. She also founded a program named “Eclectic Kids” which connects yoga and mindfulness through expressive art and nature and farm-based activities. Giselle loves to motivate and inspire children to reach their highest potential through creativity and mindful growth.
Georgia Golden | Lead Teacher
Georgia was raised in the hills of West Virginia and finds joy in living a life that beckons curiosity, play, and enchantment. She identifies with her passions as a nature-connection mentor, gardener/wildcrafter, ecstatic dance facilitator, photographer and writer. In college at Appalachian State, Georgia integrated her interest in personal and planetary healing by designing a B.A in Ecotherapy. Georgia has worked as a field guide for horticulture therapy in Hawaii, as a garden teacher for preschoolers, as a nature connection mentor for EarthPath Education, has offered a few nature based programs in Boone NC, and has helped with children's programs at Earthskills gatherings.
Grace Upshaw | Assistant Teacher
Grace is a passionate educator and mentor who has found deep joy and fulfillment in her nine years of working with children. Teaching in settings from traditional and Montessori classrooms to earthskills gatherings and nature-based programs of all kinds, she has taken every opportunity to hone her skills at supporting children to learn, grow, and thrive. A trained ecologist and musician, Grace holds a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Lees-McRae and is always ready to weave environmental education and music and movement into the school day. She believes in the power of nature connection to help humans of all ages to become more fully themselves as they learn to feel at home on the earth.
Eliza Rose Laubach | Assistant Teacher
Eliza apprentices herself to the beauty in nature, Earthly cycles and tending plants. She delights in sharing these passions with youth and is endlessly inspired by the way children connect in the forest. She believes that youth mentorship in nature is a vital part of reweaving a healthy and connected culture for tomorrow. In 2017-2018, she participated in Wild Leaders Immersion, a 9-month long nature connection, leadership and cultural transformation program with local leaders in nature and community-based
programming, including the directors of Forest Floor. She has a background in writing and herbalism, and she loves to sing, craft and tell old stories.
You can also get to know our teachers better on our YouTube channel!
Additional administrative and financial support is provided by The Forest School Foundation.
Meet the rest of our team here!
Want to join us as a Forest School Educator, or are you a parent who is curious about our employee benefits? Our new CAREERS page is coming soon! Until then, please Subscribe to our mailing list to stay in the know.