Nature Guides


Chelsea Eerkes

Ms. Chelsea is a Nature Guide and the founder of Discovery Wilderness School. She is home-schooling momma to her five daughters: Mackenzie (17), Bella (9), Autumn (7), Ruby (5) and Luna (3). Chelsea loves to be outside with her girls every day, exploring and learning alongside them. Among her favorite things are exploring in woods and creek, gardening, foraging for wild foods, and reading great books with her girls by the fire. Chelsea is a certified Forest School Teacher through the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools (ERAFANS). She has 10 years’ experience as a science and phys ed teacher. Chelsea is bubbling over with excitement for more adventures this year with Discovery Wilderness School!


Sarah Dault

Ms. Sarah is the  Nature Guide for the Junior Explorers Courses with Discovery Wilderness School. Her gentle spirit and love for children make her a wonderful leader for our smallest explorers. Ms. Sarah leads students in yoga to start their day in class, and connects with students in a special way. She loves adventuring with her 3 children: Alexia (14), Ethan (12), and Elias (11) and enjoys gardening, biking, yoga, coffee, traveling, and exploring outdoors. Before joining Discovery Wilderness School, Ms. Sarah worked with children in various settings including licensed in-home daycare, school volunteer work, and as the children's director at church.

Jennifer Judson

Ms. Jen has been an outdoor educator for over ten years. She is lucky to be homeschool mom to Judson (13) and Michaela (11) and loves kayaking, paddleboarding, the beach, the woods, sunsets and adventuring! She is a happy MSU grad (go green!), certified STEM and Environmental Educator, Vernal Pool Monitor, and creator of STEM and Branch Academy. Jen spends every day appreciating the world around her. She works hard in finding joy in everyday life and lives to see students’ lightbulbs flash with brilliant discoveries! We are so grateful for the passion Jen brings to our students every day in the Nature Explorers outdoor classroom.

Laura Dykstra

Laura, aka Ms. Loo, leads students in the Nature Explorers class. Her work at DWS allows her to hear the creative expression of our students and help them to slow down and listen to the world around them. She sees her role at DWS as not just to educate young minds and facilitate connections with the natural world, but to also validate their ideas, bravery, and autonomy. Laura has been tutoring at Grand Rapids Community College for four years, working with college students to harness their voices. Ms. Loo invests in the lives of her six nieces and nephews, and enjoys walking through the woods, discovering new places, swimming at the beach until the sun goes down, and swing dancing. 

Dana Boyd

Ms. Dana has been a Nature Guide with Discovery Wilderness School for two years. She is mother to six children, two (now adult) foster kids and four younger kids: Anna (9), Samuel (7), Margaret (4), and Baby Isabel (3). Dana and her husband Jon love the outdoors- camping, gardening, sailing on Lake Michigan and playing in the woods. Dana’s life is filled with a loud and messy house, dirty feet, chickens, and lots of love. Before joining DWS, she was a middle school science teacher for 11 years. She has a passion for learning how to nourish and respect Earth and Mother Nature.

Jamie Platt

Ms. Jamie is a mother to three children; Noah (17), Jacob (8), and Peyton (6), and homeschools the two littles.  As a Nature Guide, Jamie loves that nature is our classroom and believes that children learn better when they are free to explore and are able to express themselves individually.  As a family they have found unique ways to challenge them to be outside more as part of the “1000 Hours Outside” and “52 Hikes in 52 Weeks” community.  They are just getting started on a new adventure of visiting all 50 States and 63 National Parks together. 

Cyndi Ambrose

Ms. Cyndi is a Guide with the Nature Explorers class.  She is a wife, mother and grandmother with over a decade of experience working as an outdoor educator at Nature Centers while learning about the wonders of creation alongside her students! Her work and life experience with children and in brain rehab therapy have strengthened Cyndi's ability to recognize the many ways that being in nature can enrich our lives. Cyndi travels with a set of binoculars, a hand lens, zebra stripe rubber boots and makes emergency rescue stops for road-crossing turtles. 

Dean Harrier

Mr. Dean is a guide with the Nature Connections class. He is our program's entomologist and his love for creepie crawlies inspires students and draws them in to look close and discover! Dean is an expert at asking questions to make kids think deeply, problem-solve and draw their own conclusions. He has been a Cannonsburg ski instructor for ten years. He is a passionate educator and outdoor enthusiast. Dean loves to camp, hike, and share his love and awe of nature with everyone around him.