Olympic Nature Experience teachers bring many years of experience working in naturalist roles, teaching, raising young children, and mentoring. Staff are specially trained in nature-based teaching and also trained to recognize natural dangers to keep participants safe. All staff members are First Aid/CPR certified and background checked.

Would you like to join the Olympic Nature Experience team? We are always looking for passionate nature educators to join our team! If you are interested in joining our staff, fill out an application and we will get back to you if you are a fit for one of our current positions.

Positions Available:

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Staff

Merissa Koller Williams
Executive Director
Merissa Koller Williams is the second Executive Director for Olympic Nature Experience in its storied tenure on the Peninsula since inception in 2014, taking over for Founder Sarah Salazar-Tipton in May 2021. She has a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Minnesota State University. Merissa has worked in the nonprofit industry since 2010 with various organizations and roles, from entry level employee to Executive Director and Founder. She spent her childhood on a dairy farm in south central Minnesota where her connection with the outdoors was sowed, which flourished when she moved to Alaska after college. Merissa and her family moved to Port Angeles in June 2018 from Kodiak, Alaska, where she first began admiring the outdoor education model. Merissa looks forward to nourishing the healthy organization Sarah and company have created and helping it grow so more children can discover their place in the world via Olympic Nature Experience.
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Sarah Greenwald
Sarah Greenwald
Program Director

Sarah began working at Olympic Nature Experience in 2016 as a teacher and administrator. In 2022, she stepped into the Program Director position. Sarah has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Barbara and a M.Ed in Environmental Education from Western Washington University. Sarah has been teaching outdoor programs for over a decade and has a Forest Kindergarten Teaching Certificate. She is grateful for the Olypmic Nature Experience community and loves stomping in puddles, exploring beaches, and eating trail snacks.

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Jill Zarzeczny
Administrative Assistant & Teacher

Jill, a native to the Midwest, moved to the North Olympic Peninsula in 2009 to work in Olympic National Park where she spent 5 years leading volunteers and growing plants for the Elwha River Revegetation Project. Most recently, Jill has focused on raising her two wild girls and training to be a community herbalist. Jill is passionate about connecting people to one another and our local landscape through time spent together in the natural world. She and her family can be found searching for banana slugs in the forest, snacking on wild berries, or lounging along the bank a nearby river.

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Melissa Forster
Lead Teacher

Melissa moved to the Olympic Peninsula to attend the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in 2016 and decided to call it home after falling in love with the unique ecology and community. Learning the art of traditional boatbuilding led to a burgeoning passion and commitment to teaching young children in her ideal classroom environment, nature. After pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education from Peninsula College she has taught young children through Headstart and a local nature preschool. She is honored to have the opportunity to join the Olympic Nature Experience team while serving the children and families of Owl’s Hollow Early Learning.

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Andrea Low
Lead Teacher
Andrea grew up in SE Connecticut and has fond memories of eating summer forest blueberries as a child. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Bay Path University and holds a Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certificate.  Andrea has taught in South Korea and Guatemala and has worked in environmental education for several years. She is passionate about learning new things,  especially about the natural environment and continuing to connect children with it.
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Amanda Murphy
Lead Teacher
Amanda grew up in Olympia, WA where she enjoyed playing numerous team sports and spending time at her favorite beaches. She attended college at Eastern Washington University where she earned her Elementary Teaching Certificate. Later, she earned her Masters in English Language Learners after teaching English overseas. She has spent the last 10 years teaching children in recreational and academic settings. Amanda has lived in Sequim for seven years. She and her husband have two young kids who are curious outdoor explorers. Amanda and her family love picking berries, watching their apple trees grow, gardening, paddle boarding, and eating home-grown food together.
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Nancy Morris-Vogel
Lead Teacher

Nancy lives and works on a peaceful little farm with her husband, daughter, dog and chickens. After graduating from Sequim High School she spent a few years working as a wild land firefighter, traveling and working for Boulder Outdoor Survival School. Her desire to help people has led her to a 20 year and counting career in massage therapy. Coming back to teaching outdoor skills and working with children is a fulfillment of a long time dream.

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Joshua Sylvester
Teacher

Teacher Sylvester grew up along the saline coastal forests of Maine and the Smokey mountains of Tennessee, where he fell in love with the natural world. After attending Tom Brown Jr’s Tracker School in 2007 he began mentoring the children in his life. Moving to Washington and teaching at Olympic Nature Experience has brought many opportunities to share his passion for nature connection and primitive skills with children and continue his education.

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Mahina Hawley
Teacher

Mahina recently moved to Port Angeles. She was born in Hawaii, and grew up in New Mexico, but she has settled and is putting down roots here in the Pacific Northwest. She is an artist with many years of experience as an art educator, childcare provider and mom. She loves being out in nature and feels passionate about the positive effects of outdoor education and play for young children and is so excited to be joining the team at Olympic Nature Experience.

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Gioia Roldan Shaw
Teacher

After twelve years teaching Montessori preschool in California and South Carolina, Gioia returned to her native Washington in 2021. She is delighted to bring her passions for early childhood education and the great outdoors into her work with Olympic Nature Experience. She looks forward to learning and growing alongside the students and their families. In her free time, she can be found reading to her daughter, cooking delicious meals, and enjoying walks around her home in Port Angeles.

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Erica Calhoon
Teacher

Erica recently moved to Port Angeles, following time in Olympia, Montreal and Seattle. Her recent years have been spent teaching at a nature-based preschool and creative reuse center, while making art in her free time. With a BA in Environmental Studies from McGill University and a love of local ecology, Erica is excited to join Olympic Nature Experience .

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Kerri Maynard
Kerri Maynard
Teacher

Kerri has had a strong desire to be a teacher since she was six year old.  Growing up on military bases, mostly in Germany, gave her a rich perspective and love for history and culture.  Kerri attained a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Kansas, while attending she designed an art program for a private elementary school.  Wishing to get beyond walls, Kerri became the Director of Education for a wilderness based therapy program for teens and adults.  Here she learned basic survival skills, and the love of creating beautiful items with her hands.  Kerri also has an intense love of Waldorf education, intergrating head, heart, and hands.  Kerri is the mother to the cutest boys in the world!!!!

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Darcy Mueller
Teacher

Darcy comes to ONE with about a decade of experience teaching middle school in Alaska, and is now splitting her time subbing and being an aviation engineer. Darcy subs at ONE because she loves to see the kids in nature and their imaginations at work! They learn invaluable social skills and self-empowerment every day.

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Tammy Owens
Tammy Owens
Teacher
Tammy has been and educator for 21 years and holds a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas A&M Commerce. Being in Nature has always been a love of hers. She has 2 grown children, and 5 grandchildren, who live in Texas. Some of her other hobbies are art, photography, and gardening–to mention a few. Tammy is elated to be a part of ONE and she looks forward to working with you and your families!
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Amanda Erickson
Teacher
Amanda moved to Port Angeles in 2021 after a decade in Alaska and is thrilled to be exploring the Olympic Peninsula with her active and curious toddler.  She was raised in Charleston, SC, where she began kayaking, surfing and a life-long love of the ocean. On most days you can find her outside with her family gardening, paddle boarding, camping, practicing amateur photography, and cooking with foraged and local ingredients.

Amanda has a degree in Child and Family Studies with a focus in Outdoor Education from Portland State University. She has a lengthy history with kid’s camps, and playing and teaching outdoors has been a consistent theme in her life. Amanda’s favorite part of working with young people out of doors is seeing them overcome natural challenges to become a stronger and well-rounded person. She loves the natural curiosity young people have and abides by her favorite motto: always learning, always observing.
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Mallory Watson
Teacher
Mallory grew up in CO loving the outdoors and traveling all over. Recently, she and her husband spent 10 year  in Florida adventuring in the swamps and springs. Before having their two kids, Mallory worked as an environmental scientist surveying grasses, fish, and soil, and driving the most fun airboats around marshes. Her family made a spontaneous move to Washington at the beginning of the pandemic. Now settled in Port Angeles,  you can find them camping and surfing most weekends. They discovered the Olympic Nature Experience community in ‘21, and absolutely love the idea of kids being in nature to learn about the world.
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Board of Directors

Noah Glaude
Noah Glaude
Secretary

An appreciation for the easy access to wild beaches, forests and mountains brought Noah and his wife to the Olympic Peninsula in 2011. He is happy to now be raising two children on the Peninsula and connecting to and supporting the community however he can. Noah is the Assistant Director at the North Olympic Library System where he oversees and implements a wide range of services and programs throughout Clallam County.

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Jason Taylor
Board Chair
Jason is an experienced environmental educator, non-profit manager and fundraiser.  He established the education office of the Ecological Society of America, served as Executive Director of the Utah Society for Environmental Education and received the 2009 presidents award from the North American Association for Environmental Education.
Jason is now a practicing acupuncturist and is excited to be part of the ONE board as he strongly believes in the power of outdoor education and establishing connections with nature.  He lives in Carlsborg with his wife, 2 boys, 3 cats, 1 dog and 9 chickens.
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Glen Wade
Board Member
 Glen lives in Port Angeles with his wife and two boys, ages 2 and 5. His oldest son is an Olympic Nature Experience student and the youngest will be joining the program next summer. Glen was born in Washington, but has also lived in Wyoming and California, moving to Port Angeles in 2014. Glen works as an Engineering Geologist, and has his own Geotechnical consulting business. Their family has chosen to live here for the unique coast and mountain environment, and love for the community. He has 3 donkeys, 2 mini horses, and 5 chickens. Glen was inspired to join the board in 2021 after seeing the incredible experience his son has had at Olympic Nature Experience.
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Lindsey Shepherd
Board Member

Lindsey and her family recently moved to the Olympic Peninsula  and are excited to join the community. Her children are enrolled in Olympic Nature Experience and have already received so many positive benefits from being a part of this unique and enriching program. She has 10 years experience working in the food industry as a chef and as a Director of Operations for food innovation companies. Lindsey also enjoys being involved in the arts and serves on the Board of Trustees at the Bellevue Arts Museum in Seattle. Exploring the Olympic Peninsula and connecting with local farmers has been the family’s favorite pastime since moving out here.

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Bryan Harp
Board Member

Bryan spent the first few decades of his life on the east coast before deciding to move to the Olympic Peninsula in 2018 with his wife. He has two children; the eldest of which is an enthusiastic Olympic Nature Experience student. Bryan works professionally as an employee benefits consultant. He has a life-long love of board sports, enjoys gardening with his family and taking advantage of all the amazing nature the Olympic Peninsula has to offer.

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