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Stevie Shickel Lee
Born and raised in Harrisonburg, Stevie's roots go deep in the Shenandoah Valley. She loves spending time with children and enjoys the wonder that kids bring to everyday life. She is a NOLS Outdoor Educator, Leave No Trace Master Educator, and Wilderness First Responder with CPR training for children. Stevie has over ten years of professional experience in outdoor education. She has a bachelor's degree in Sport and Recreation Management and a master's degree in Sport and Recreation Leadership. She has worked as a climbing guide in West Virginia, as well as a trail crew leader for Appalachian Conservation Corps. With more than 500 days logged leading participants in wilderness recreation, you can rest assured that your child will be well cared for under her supervision. Stevie's hobbies include mountain biking, rock climbing, XC skiing, kayaking, and spending time with friends and family.
Originally from Cincinnati, David moved to Harrisonburg in 2010, and never looked back. He worked as a bicycle mechanic for several years before becoming the GIS coordinator at Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative. David’s work with local maps combined with his love for riding bikes results in an intimate knowledge of the national forest. David plays a critical role in the planning, vision, and communication of Appalachian Forest School, and has since the very beginning.
Jessica Cooper is a mother of two and has seen AFS through many changing seasons. Before moving to Harrisonburg, Jess spent five years as a preschool teacher at the United Jewish Community Center of the Virginia Peninsula. Jess is an advocate of child-led, emergent curriculum, and nature-based learning. She received her Nature-Based Teacher Certification from the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools and has also worked as a Nature-Based Teacher Consultant for Smart Beginnings teaching webinars for local preschool and daycare providers on introducing nature-based learning to their classrooms in the Hampton Roads area before relocating to the Shenandoah Valley. She is happy to call Harrisonburg home and enjoys hiking and reading!
A Shenandoah Valley native, Andrew has been romping in creeks and wandering through the woods since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. His passion for the great outdoors blossomed through a cumulative 15 years of participating and instructing in countless nature camps. Through these programs Andrew has led many adventure trips, and he has been certified in CPR, AED and Wilderness First Aid. Before joining the AFS team, Andrew spent time hitchhiking around the United States, working as a surgical assistant in a veterinary clinic, and facilitating education on world hunger and poverty through Heifer International. Andrew loves the joy and wonder that kids bring to every day, and enjoys fueling their creative and intrepid natures with rock paint and wild stories. On a lazy day, Andrew loves to go hiking, create via any medium, bike around Harrisonburg and play board games.
Crystal was born and raised between the mountains of West Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. A forest kid from the start, she spent every summer with her cousins romping through the forests with a brown sack lunch and water bottle, being told not to come back until the sun went down. One of her favorite childhood memories is running wild and free through the mountains. About two weeks after graduating from JMU, where she majored in Studio Art and minored in Education, she gave birth to her first of five children. She went on to raise her family, homeschool her kids, teach art and piano to young students, and teach other homeschool students. Working for Appalachian Forest School combines two of her loves: toddlers and the woods. When not at work, she enjoys spending time in her own surrounding woods, taking care of her ducks, guineas, and chickens, making food from scratch, and spending time with her family.
Suzi Shreckhise Slater
Suzi is a wife, mother and grandmother who grew up in Augusta County. She lived 10 years in Alaska and remembers many adventures there, especially hiking the Chilkoot Trail with her three young kids. The rainforest of Southeast Alaska was fun, but she has always considered the Shenandoah Valley to be home. With a teaching degree from JMU, Suzi has 15 years of experience teaching elementary school P.E. and reading, as well as coaching track & field. She and her husband live with two Labradors in the home they built from the ground up 28 years ago. Suzi is most passionate about exploring with and reading to her 4 grandchildren. Nothing brings her life like watching children in discovery.
Rose is an artist who came to the Valley for her undergrad only to find her home wrapped up in these mountains. Rose has worked with children in various capacities over the years. Growing up in a large family of naturalists with a running total of 25 nieces and nephews, she feels at home and herself with littles in the woods.
The best remark Rose ever received came from a mentor mentioning she helped him notice nature more. She is thankful for kiddos who do the same for her and is happy to pass along the favor. She enjoys drinking black tea with honey and friends, reading Gail Carson Levine and Jane Austen to nieces and walking around the city of Harrisonburg. Her superhero name would be, Just Ivy, as many have dubbed her the "good" version of Poison Ivy.
Originally from Fredericksburg, VA, Natalie found her way to the Shenandoah Valley through James Madison University, where she got her masters in Elementary Eduction. In college, Natalie helped with an after school program and became passionate about working with preschool aged children because of their wonder and curiosity. After college, Natalie worked for the National Parks Service in Michigan. She worked to educate park visitors on Leave No Trace principles and helped with other unique learning opportunities that the park provided. Natalie is thrilled to be back in Harrisonburg and loves to hike, camp, paddle board, and run. She loves sharing her love and knowledge of nature with kids who love being outside as much as she does!
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