We have an enthusiastic and talented team of nature facilitators who carefully plan and deliver each session. Every one of our facilitators has experience working with people in nature and have the required police checks for working with young people. At least one facilitator in each of our programs has first aid training and carries with them a first aid kit appropriate to the terrain and activities. Meet the team!
Judy Lipp (she/her or they/them), Program Coordinator
Judy is excited to be a part of Flying Squirrel Adventures as it marries her interest in community organizing with her passion for connecting with nature. Judy has always loved spending time in the great outdoors. Quiet wanders or challenging hikes through the woods, beach combing and foraging wild edibles are some of her favorite activities. Despite growing up running through the woods and climbing trees, she found her naturalist tendencies peaked in the middle of Canada’s largest urban centre where she first started tracking coyotes, foraging medicinal plants and starting fires with friction. She discovered that nature can be as magical in an abandoned lot as in the middle of a wilderness area, the key is being ready to see it. Helping people rekindle their love of and comfort in nature through fun, engaging activities is her mission.
Emily LeGrand (she/her or they/them), Nature Educator
Nature was a central part of Emily’s childhood with experiences like raising tadpoles into frogs, getting to know the deer herd in the forest by her home, and daily nature walks with her family. Flying Squirrel Adventures brings together many of Emily’s passions, including child-led, self-directed learning, natural history, nature connection, and having a good time goofing around in the stream! Emily loves to watch kids grow in confidence, playfulness, focused attention and physical mobility as they are supported to play and learn in woods. She has been working to promote outdoor play in the Annapolis Valley for the last few years with municipalities and schools, and is very excited to continue on a similar path with Flying Squirrel Adventures!
Katie Witten (she/her), Communications and Programming Assistant
Katie is excited to join the Flying Squirrel Adventures team – an organization that so closely aligns with her values and passion for helping others connect to the natural world and making nature connection accessible for everyone. As a recent graduate of the Masters in Counselling program at Acadia, she is eager to continue building relationships with individuals in therapeutic settings (in this case, the forest!), as well as contributing to the work of facilitating meaningful ways to connect with the natural world. Spending time in the outdoors has always been an essential part of Katie’s life – as a kid, she spent her free time climbing trees, playing with insects, catching frogs, and making forts in the forests nearby. Hours spent exploring the natural world as a kid led to her working as a park ranger and supervisor for provincial parks, all of which contributed to further instilling a deep connection to the natural world, a profound love for spending time in the wild, as well as a deep sense of environmental stewardship and conservation. Katie is excited to share her love of nature and spending time in the forest with children. She wholeheartedly believes that direct exposure to nature is essential for optimal physical and emotional health and well-being for everyone, and is excited to be doing work that promotes this.
Rachel Cherry-Brannen (she/her), Facilitator
Hi, my name is Rachel. I currently live in Kentville, but I have previously lived in rural and urban HRM and on the south shore of Nova Scotia. I love the province I live in with its diverse environments and people. I have also enjoyed exploring outside of the province and the country, getting to know more about the environments and people there also. As much as I have enjoyed these experiences throughout my university years, I always feel settled in returning home to Nova Scotia. My husband and I have enjoyed getting to know the Annapolis Valley more and more in the years we have lived here, even during the tough years of a pandemic. The strong sense of perseverance and commitment to true community inspires us in this place at this time. The extensive access to forest trails and roads, protected parks, ravines, waterfalls, and more in this area keeps us exploring and active. We are always finding wonder in the new things we discover and learn in the nature. My desire is to find as many ways to discover more and share these discoveries with those around me. I have worked with youth, seniors, children, and adults in the outdoors, most memorably providing guided trail hikes accessible by public transit and exploring risky play in parks, forests, and waterways with after-school programming, summer camps and day camps. I am looking forward to more opportunities together to make new discoveries wherever we explore next.
Vanessa Enslow (she/her), Facilitator
Vanessa has life experience with the help of her 3 children ranging from teen to preschool and loves to explore the great outdoors with them by hiking, camping, and much more. She has gained her diploma in Early Childhood Education from NSCC. She has always had a great desire to foster creativity and positive experiences through art and culture. She is driven to reach out to community and be a resource for all ages. She is excited to build relationships and experiences and foster ones curiosity and help build self esteem. Vanessa enjoys building relationships, child led play, art, gardening, yoga, mindfulness, kayaking, swimming, hiking and exploring nature.
Sophia Bush Anderson (they/them), Facilitator
With a smile that lights up the room, and a personality that people gravitate towards, Sophia is a valuable member of many communities. Their lifelong interest in supporting the healthy development of children as they learn and grow has shone through Sophia’s work with youth over the years. Sophia has a passion for dance and movement, and is also interested in videography, conflict resolution, herbalism, foraging, gymnastics, acro yoga, and birth work. Sophia’s kind and nurturing energy creates a welcoming atmosphere in which growth and learning are supported with inclusivity and ease.
Jesse Potter (he/him), Facilitator
Brimming with passion for music and a keen sense of wonder for the natural world, Jesse’s background of live performance has taken him across Canada, and helped him establish a deep connection with his community at home in Wolfville, NS. A history of public, alternative (Sudbury Valley Model), and home schooling has given Jesse a unique perspective on education that carries forward into his current practice of teaching guitar and voice to people of all ages. Encouragement of self-directed learning, and dissolving barriers to equality (such as age and gender) are key factors in his approach to working with people. His other interests include: Capoeira (a Brazilian dance/martial art), non-violent communication and conflict resolution, blowing giant bubbles, gardening, music festivals, and camping trips. Jesse is excited to learn and grow with the people around him, and happily imparts his knowledge on all those who might willingly receive it.
Bria Stark (she/her), Facilitator
Bria is currently studying Social Services at NSCC while working with FSA. She is passionate about engaging and connecting with others within her community as an outreach worker.
Bria is also a birth and postpartum doula, multimedia artist and can often be found foraging the many edible plants of Nova Scotia. She is a big advocate of engaging with the elements in all conditions and strives to facilitate spaces where this can feel approachable for all. Bria believes spending time outside does profound things for one’s mental health and wellness and is excited to be working with FSA to help in connecting others to the outdoors as well.