My name is Jess and I’m new to the Paddle Forward team! I’m very excited to be involved with Wild River Academy!
Who is Jess?
I am a student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. I'm studying Fisheries and Wildlife with an emphasis in Conservation Biology. I grew up in Isanti, Minnesota—about an hour north of the cities. Growing up, my summers were mostly spent on lakes. I developed a love for anything and everything water and the outdoors. While at the University I've worked various jobs. I began as a tutor for local schools and after school programs. I left that to work as a research assistant only to realize I really missed teaching and working with children. I decided to combine my passions and am now getting involved in outdoor education. I'm really passionate about sharing the value of nature. I also have eight siblings, am proficient in German, and I'm learning to tap dance. I love sunrises, biking, and playing tennis.
Why did she join Paddle Forward: Illinois River?
I am very excited for the Paddle Forward trip down the Illinois River in the fall! It’ll be a great experience to explore nature and to see how people interact with the water. I love water systems and a whole month in a canoe sounds like a dream. I also look forward to connecting with students and teachers along the way! It will be fun sharing our experiences through adventure learning.
What will she gain from the trip?
I am taking a directed study at the U of M to help me develop the K-12 curriculum that classrooms will use as they follow us on the trip. The professors here are so insightful and encouraging! I am lucky to get to take this trip and have it count towards my schooling. Professor Karen Oberhauser will be mentoring me on the project and I’m thrilled for her expert guidance. Overall I hope to do an analysis of the usefulness of adventure learning for K-12 classrooms. I want to see if teachers and students like learning through this type of partnership and to find ways to make it better.
I am so grateful for all of the support and encouragement from my family and friends. Also, the Wild River Academy team is so amazing!
I look forward to the adventures to come and the opportunities to learn!