Meet Mrs. Kat, Earthroots’ new Program Director, Homeschool Field Class lead instructor, and Eco-Literacy instructor at the Journey School.
Mrs. Kat finds joy being a mentor to children, young adults, and other teachers in nature-connection, farm to table cooking, horticulture, confidence and safety in nature, and environmental science.
The last 5 years of teaching with Earthroots and the Journey School as the Earthroots’ eco-literacy teacher has been such a gift and fueled Mrs. Kat to learn. She has taken multiple 8 Shields trainings and received a permaculture design certificate to deepen her knowledge and ability to care for the Earth.
Thank you for all that you do at Earthroots, Mrs. Kat!
Interview with Mrs. Kat:
What is your role at Earthroots (classes taught, other responsibilities)?
I am fortunate enough to teach the Homeschool Field Class as lead instructor. Our students range in age 6-14 the past years and my class this year will be 7-14. The class runs for 32 weeks of the school year, broken up to 2 semesters.
Happily, I also teach Earthroots Eco-Literacy curriculum at the Journey School 2 days a week throughout the school year grades K-5.
My newest role at Earthroots is Program Director. I mentor adults that come to our program to learn how to be nature-connection teachers. Working with them is a highlight for me. Knowing that I can inspire children in nature is wonderful, but helping other people become nature-connection teachers makes me feel like this work is being spread like wildfire to many more kids that I can’t get to. Nature-connection is making our world and children’s lives better, richer, and with a deeper understanding of what is of value and why we should protect it. Life, water, air, and food all need to be clean so that all of the world’s creatures can thrive. Earthroots has a rich pool of teachers each with amazing gifts to share with our students. Seeing their ideas take shape and influence students of all ages to have a deep understanding of the natural world in English and Spanish, in all ecosystems, is truly awe-inspiring. My love of Earthroots and what we bring to our local communities is endless. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to support our teachers and programs and in turn, all of our students in learning, growing and passing on these ideals that we as an Earthroots community hold dear.
What is your favorite memory from working at Earthroots?
I have many! This school year learning what my students know about water, watersheds, the ocean and how these bodies of water hold us, was fascinating. Being able to share what I know with them in the garden was extra special. The students not only ate salad they grew, but they also made tomato sauce, herb salt, self-care items including a hand-sewn Mother’s Day sachet filled with the herbs they grew, and more.
Do you have something to share about yourself that would surprise us?
A few years back, I ice climbed Mt. Whitney; it was a free climb (no ropes). One of my most epic adventures ever! That same year I finished the entire John Muir Trail and hope to hike it again in sections with my daughter Hailey. I am also a moderator for the Mt. Whitney Facebook Page and have guided people up and down the tallest mountain in the lower 48 several times. I have summited the majority of peaks in California many times including Mt. Whitney in every season in day trips and overnight.
Do you have a mentor/role model that inspires you?
I have been fortunate to have many mentors over time. I even feel like children are unknowing mentors. They have so much to teach us and remind us of things we once learned and have forgotten. The older I get the more I realize I have to learn. Slowing down and being receptive to it is one of my daily goals.
Why do you enjoy working at Earthroots?
My career for over a decade was as a chef, so for years, I was happily feeding people. Afterward, I became a mother and that was my job full time. As a mother, I noticed a void of learning about nature that I felt was up to me and my husband to fill. Noticing other parents not feeling confident in nature and their kids missing this key component in their lives caused a seismic shift in my career goals. I decided to leave the chef profession and started volunteering as a nature-connection science educator.
When my kids got older, they did not need me at home full time anymore. I decided with advice from friends and my hubby that I should apply for a job teaching kids outside. I reached out to Jodi (Earthroots Executive Director) and lucky for me, I have been an Earthroots Instructor ever since.
What are your favorite things to do in nature and what location?
Backpacking and hiking are all equal loves of my life. I love to be in unedited nature as much as possible. I get a little wacky if I don’t disconnect often. Now that my children are in high school and soon college, it is so cool that they join me in the backcountry on longer hikes and overnight trips. The Sierras hold a special place in my heart!