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Our Team

Natalie Jess-Fiene
Program Director and Lead Practitioner

Natalie has spent the last 15 years working outdoors as an archaeologist and silviculturalist in Nova Scotia, British Columbia, and Alberta. She holds an honours degree in Anthropology from Saint Mary’s University, is a certified Field Leader through the Outdoor Council of Canada, and is a certified Lead Forest and Nature School Practitioner through the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada.

Having worked through a myriad of adverse environmental conditions and challenges makes Natalie an excellent role model of resiliency and confidence. She is excited to share her enthusiasm for discovery and understanding of nature while fostering connections between children and the natural world. She believes that outdoor play and outdoor learning are the right of every child and necessary for a healthy childhood. She is excited to provide the children in her community with the opportunity to thrive and grow in Forest School. 

Natalie is interested in the history of land-use, the connection between culture and nature, and the role we can play in sustainability and environmental preservation. She believes that children must build a genuine connection with the natural world before they can truly act to protect it.

Mackenzie Muise

Bio coming soon!


Maya Hoehne
Support Practitioner

Maya is currently the full time forest school instructor and program director for Pictou County Forest School (PCFS) and also supports our summer camps. Prior to her role with PCFS, she ran a successful dayhome in East Mountain for several years, with an emphasis on free play, and building resilience and self confidence in nature.

A loving mother of two and active outdoor enthusiast, Maya has a depth of experience working with children and sharing her love and interest in nature.


Formally educated in Fine Arts and Child and Youth Care, Maya returned to her lifelong passion of being in the woods, free to run wild, to play, and to discover, without the confines of “learning in a box”. Drawing on a variety of life experiences she has the ability to engage children in sharing her sense of wonder and respect for the natural world.

Maya’s belief is that by spending time in the forest, through play and invisible learning, children of all ages will gain respect, and a sense of ownership and responsibility for the natural world.

Karina Shnaiderman
Support Facilitator

Karina is a farmer, educator, and researcher. Passionate about being outdoors as much as possible (and encouraging others to do the same!), she has worked with several organizations as a lead environmental and outdoor educator. Karina has extensive experience facilitating outdoor programming for a variety of participants, ranging from preschoolers, to corporate teams, to refugees and newcomers. In a society that is becoming increasingly reliant on screens, technology, and physical stagnation, she believes that one of the most radical things we can do is reclaim our autonomy by connecting with the natural world, and finding awe in the bugs, trees, and rocks that surround us.

Along with her work as an educator, Karina works as an agricultural researcher, and has conducted studies on barriers to first-generation farmers, agroecology as a response to the industrialized food system, and alternative land-access opportunities. Her most recent project was with Organic Nova Scotia, where she led a project assessing the capacity of organic food procurement by post-secondary institutions.


Karina and her partner recently moved to West Earltown to start a regenerative vegetable and flower farm, and look forward to being part of the environmental community in Colchester County!

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