Stacey Hinden, Executive and Program Director. Stacey has been involved with Vashon Wilderness Program since 2003. She began her journey as parent volunteer with Wilderness Awareness School’s Vashon-based 4-6 year old program, and immediately fell in love with the mentoring model. After participating in a Parent Training Program, she went on to train with WAS in their Art of Mentoring, Nature Skills, and year-long Anake Leadership training programs. In 2008, she co-created the Wind Gatherer Program as an outgrowth of her 25 years teaching children and adults and researching connections between inner and outer ecology through movement and body awareness. As a founding member of VWP, Stacey helped the organization establish its non-profit status and was an active Board member for 4 years. In 2010, she stepped off the Board to help focus on marketing and outreach efforts; one year later, she gratefully accepted the role of Executive Director. Stacey and her husband live on Vashon with their three children and two cats.
Annika Fae, Instructor. Annika was born on a volcanic island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and grew up in the lands by the Salish Sea, camping and hiking, exploring and playing in the temperate rainforests of the Cascadia bioregion. Annika began her teaching career as a Waldorf Early Childhood teacher and is a graduate Sound Circle Center for Anthroposophy in Seattle. She spent six delightful years as a preschool and kindergarten teacher, helping young children come into their imagination and learn to be caring and kind with others. After attending an Art of Mentoring at the Wilderness Awareness School, Annika found a new vocation as a Nature Mentor. She began by instructing at WAS summer camps (a joyful return to the camp experiences that she enjoyed as a child and young adult at Girl Scout camp as both a camper and counselor) and then spent a year at WAS’s Anake Leadership Program, apprenticing in the weekly program for 7-9 year olds. Annika is thrilled to be in her third year at VWP as an instructor in both the weekly and monthly programs. When not sneaking, hiding, and playing in the forests of Vashon with her students, Annika loves to paint, garden, and make things – from clothes to baskets, salves to jams – and is looking forward to following animal trails in other parts of the northwest in the Tracking Apprenticeship at Raven’s Roots.
Rachel Harrison will be returning to VWP after a few years of pursuing her nursing degree. Rachel is known for her warm, gentle and playful approach to mentoring and drawing out each child’s individual gifts. Rachel trained with the Wilderness Awareness School and is a graduate of their Anake Outdoor School, an intensive nine month training program in nature awareness and survival skills. In addition to working with VWP, Rachel has also taught young children at the Heart Stone Center on Vashon. She lives on the Island with her two children and a few furry critters.
Joanne Jewell, Instructor. Joanne joined VWP in 2010. She brings a deep understanding of the physical and emotional development of young children combined with a passion for animal tracking, plants, birding by ear, and singing! She holds an MPA in Environmental Policy from the UW and certificates in Horticulture, Animal Tracking, and the Foundation Year in Waldorf Education. She has also been an enthusiastic parent and volunteer with VWP since 2004. Joanne has also been working in the fields of sustainable agriculture, organic gardening and pesticide reduction for over 20 years. She has been a garden coordinator at Seattle Tilth and is a contributing author of the Maritime Northwest Gardening Guide. She lives and grows food on Plum Forest Farm with her partner and their two children, and feeds many happy families through their farm stand, CSA program and at the Vashon farmer’s market.
Manon McPeters, Instructor. Manon has been involved with 8-Shields, nature based programs since she was a teenager. After attending the Wilderness Awareness School’s weekly teen program for two years, she attended Evergreen State College where she studied botany and environmental education, and interned at the Puyallup-based nature education program, Wolf Camp. She is a graduate of WAS’s Anake Outdoor School and Leadership programs and has worked in their summer camp programs for kids of all ages. She has also worked with youth, teens, and adults at Quiet Heart, and with Rite of Passage Journeys. Manon also enjoys sharing her love of yoga with her students. This will be her first season with VWP.
Ted Packard, Instructor. Ted has been sharing his love of nature with children and teens for several years at Quiet Heart Wilderness School, Field and Forest Outdoor Preschool, Alderleaf Wilderness College (where he graduated from their 9-month Wilderness Certification Program), and the Wilderness Awareness School (where he has also completed the Anake Leadership training). At Quiet Heart, he is still working with the same cohort of students, now teens, that he started with 4 years ago. He is passionate about the sharing of stories, music, art, filmography, games, basket making, primitive-skills for foraging & hunting, and most importantly, feeding the passion in others.
He also holds a Masters in teaching. Ted was a touring musician for several years, and enjoys building community through his music-making with guitar, banjo, bass, cello , drums, strings, and vocals. This will be his second year mentoring children in the Fire Tender and Forest Tracker programs at VWP.
Jane Valencia, Instructor. Jane loves to adventure in nature with children. Her journey with deep nature connection began in 2001 when she served as a parent volunteer in Vashon’s very first wilderness program for kids. When an instructor revealed to her some of the secrets of the “invisible school”, she became hooked! She has trained extensively in nature and cultural mentoring with Wilderness Awareness School and the Eight Shields Institute, and continues to immerse herself in herbalism with a current focus on plant spirit medicine, and in studies with the Kamana Naturalist Training Program. A founder of VWP, she also currently serves as Board President. Outside of VWP, Jane performs as a bardic harper, offering story and music that celebrates the magic of nature. Her published works include a nature-rooted children’s fantasy novel, a kid’s herbal comic, and several harp CDs. She and her family live on Vashon in a passive solar home on a plain old farm where they tend the land and a flock of feathered friends, wildcraft and grow herbs, and generally aim to live simply and have fun.
Jen Williams, Instructor. Jen was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and grew up sailing with her father and exploring the Puget Sound. She has farmed for the past fifteen years and is currently dedicated to learning the complexities of seed saving. Jen is passionate about raising her two boys in connection to family, nature, and community. Her family has been a part of the Vashon Wilderness Program since 2010 and each year they deepen their learning and connection to the program. Jen completed her Masters Degree in Environment and Community and strives to understand how to create global change on a small community scale. After volunteering with VWP as a Wind Gatherer Apprentice Instructor, Jen will be completing her Anake Leadership training at the Wilderness Awareness School as she joins our Wind Gatherers staff this year.
Tiffany Lutnick Coleman grew up in the urban sprawl of southern California and treasured her time in nature during occasional family camping trips. As an adult, she continued the camping and hiking trips, but it wasn’t until her son became involved with VWP that her longtime love of the outdoors clicked and found a pathway for integration into her everyday life. She loves watching how her son’s confidence and awareness of nature has blossomed during his time in VWP and deeply values the way VWP’s philosophy has stretched it’s tendrils into her whole family’s life. In her spare time, she is an avid reader, and lifelong learner who loves the handmade and can often be found sewing, knitting, cooking, singing, gardening, preserving food, or otherwise creating for those she cares for.
Renee Marceau is a mother, artist, farmer and lifelong learner. When she isn’t tending to the household and family, you may find her investigating a beehive, digging in the earth, cooking in the kitchen, spinning wool or felting, visiting with a neighbor, or looking for opportunities to create beauty in the world. She strives to live a hand-made life that hopefully roots future generations in a place of belonging. Renee is a founding member of Vashon Island Cohousing and lives there with her husband and son.
Caroline Peani (President) grew up in the southeast, playing in the woods and creeks in Georgia and South Carolina, spending summers as a young adult as a camp counselor in the Appalachian Mountains. Before moving to Vashon in 2012, she lived in central Virginia where she and her family first learned about Coyote Mentoring. They saw the tremendous benefit of nature connection to their lives to the community. Upon learning that Vashon had a local wilderness program, they knew this was the right place for them. Today, as a leadership and life coach, nature connection is an integral part of Caroline’s work. She’s inspired by VWP’s mission and has been an active board member since 2014.
Jeff Stevenson (Treasurer and Founding Member) grew up in a big city and began exploring the wilds of nature at a very early age, both here and abroad — from scuba diving with manta rays, to trailing a deer through the night, to surviving in the Scottish Highlands for 9 days with nothing but a knife and the clothes on his back. He is a lover of story, family, myth, singing, cooking for friends and family, playing music and the power of community. Jeff holds a B.S in Biochemistry from McGill University and currently works as an MRI Research Scientist at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences where he is inspired and humbled everyday by the magic and mystery that is our human brain. VWP has been a profound component of his three children’s learning and growth.