What is Nature Pod?
Sean Wild-Keenan founded Nature Pod in August 2020 because of the need to have a safe place for young people, Pre-K through 12th grade, to get outside, socialize safely without screens, be physically active, and form connections to the Natural World in the time of the Covid Pandemic.
Sean has 10 years of experience with outdoor education and is passionate about getting kids outdoors, away from screens, and engaging with nature. His number one goal is to have kids develop a sense of stewardship for the environment through cultivating fun and positive relationships with local ecosystems.
Sean has worked as a Field Instructor for outdoor science schools and spent 4 years as a wilderness/camping coordinator and leader for Helios school in Sunnyvale.
Kelsey Killoran is a teacher in the SF Bay Area. Raised in San Jose, she achieved a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies at UC Berkeley before entering the field of education. She has 9 years of experience in cutting-edge educational practices, both inside and outside the classroom.
Kelsey aspires to create an environment where a child can joyfully explore physical activity and interact with their own innate and fundamental need to connect with natural processes.
She believes more than ever that children need to be outdoors more than indoors following the trauma of this past year so that they can build essential understandings and compassionate relationships with the world that surrounds them.
Penske Ripley-Phipps (they/them) is a lover of nature, art and kids. They have worked with kids in a variety of settings over many years including at nature magic camps, an outdoor science school, and after school care. Penske currently works as a paraeducator at Monarch Elementary in Santa Cruz, Ca. Penske enjoys community organizing, making art, cooking, and spending nature time with friends and dogs.
Nature Pod takes place entirely outdoors. We will be researching the latest Covid safety protocols from the CDC as they appear.
Every day includes adventurous exploration of one of the many parks and open spaces that surround the South Bay Area. Locations include Alum Rock, Vasona Park, Castle Rock State Park, Rancho San Antonio and more.
Everywhere we go we find natural wonders. To help each other learn we practice making observations and asking questions. We start statements with, "I notice...", "It reminds me of...", and "I wonder...". After observations, questions naturally follow.
Students use their observations to create explanations for natural phenomena based upon available evidence.
Nature Pod students learn to see patterns in local ecosystems and develop environmental literacy by making connections between different experiences, observations, and ideas.
Through the process of conversation, drawing, and writing, students are encouraged to reflect on their experiences helping to solidify learning and internalizing experiences. Through sharing our reflections we can empathize with other's experiences too.