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: Substitute Teacher Assistant Teacher Employment Application

Staff

Sarah Salazar-Tipton
Program Coordinator and Lead Teacher

Sarah started a play group called Adventure Club in 2012. In 2014, with a group of adventure loving parents, they founded Olympic Nature Experience. Sarah is a Lead Teacher at Owl’s Hollow Early Learning and Adventure Club. She has a B.S. in Marine and Environmental Sciences from the US Coast Guard Academy and has a Forest Kindergarten Teaching Certificate. She is passionate that all people have access to nature connection and brings a focus of diversity, equity and inclusion in her work and her personal life.

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Sarah Greenwald
Sarah Greenwald
Administrative Director and Lead Teacher

Sarah brings with her many years of experience in informal outdoor education along with Master’s Degree in Environmental Education and a Forest Kindergarten Teaching Certificate. She loves stomping in puddles, exploring beaches, and eating trail snacks. A true Californian at heart, Sarah can normally be found seeking out the sunshine or working in the office as the Administrative Director.

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Nancy Morris-Vogel
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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Erica Calhoon
Lead Teacher and Curriculum Lead

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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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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Andrea Low
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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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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Amanda Murphy
Amanda Murphy
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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Laira Stewart
Laira Stewart
Teacher

Laira Stewart spent her childhood growing up next to the beautiful Olympic Peninsula Forest in Sequim. She would spend most of her day’s bike riding and hiking in the forest, learning about the plants and animals of the Pacific Northwest. She was homeschooled growing up and during that time she became passionate about photography and loves to take landscape photos. She married young in 2007 and has two children; a son born in 2009 and a daughter born in 2012. Both her and her husband returned to college to get their degrees while raising their young children. Her husband’s job after graduating from UW took them to live on Maui in 2013.  She obtained her B.S. degree in Elementary Education in 2014 while attending part time distance learning.  They decided to move back to Sequim in 2015 to homeschool their son who was struggling in the public school system because of his autism and speech delays.  She has been homeschooling ever since and she has spent time teaching in homeschool co-ops and ALE programs.  She has always loved working with children and finding fun and engaging ways to facilitate learning. She spends her free time studying martial arts, kayaking, rowing and doing photography!

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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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Mandy Miller
Teacher

Mandy has worked all over the country in multiple states gaining over a decades worth of experience in outdoor and environmental education. From teaching school groups about forest ecology, geology, and marine science, to being a nature guide in Alaska, she has seen the powerful effects that natural spaces have on people. She loves creating spaces where children of all ages foster connections to the earth, each other and themselves. She arrived in Port Angeles 10 years ago and never left! She is excited to be a part of the team at Olympic Nature Experience!

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Lana Myers
Teacher

Lana grew up in the Northeast where she fell in love with hiking and camping as a child. She attended the University of Maine where she earned a B.S. in Park Management/Natural Resource Protection. She spent 15 years working as a Park Ranger with the National Park Service and 5 years as an adjunct instructor teaching the Intro to Backpacking course at Olympic College. Lana loves spending time outdoors with her family. She even met her husband in the mountains! You’ll find her with her family backpacking up the Dosewallips or sledding down the pasture with her kids on their small farm in the foothills. Lana is a member of Olympic Mountain Rescue and is passionate about volunteering in her community. She is thrilled to be a part of the team at Olympic Nature Experience.

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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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Jill Zarzeczny
Treasurer

Jill, a native to the Midwest, made her way to the Pacific Northwest shortly after college to
pursue a career in environmental restoration. She and her husband moved to the North Olympic
Peninsula in 2009 to work in Olympic National Park. She spent 5 years at the Park coordinating
volunteers for the Elwha River Revegetation Project. After the Elwha Project, Jill moved on to
manage a local Conservation District – working with farmers and other private landowners to
meet sustainable land use goals. Jill currently stays home to raise her two wild girls (named
after wildflowers) and to grow her herbal plant business. Jill is passionate about connecting
people to one another and our local landscape through food and native plants.

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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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