Kristin Hammer

lead teacher

Hello, my name is Kristin Hammer. I created Nature Together because I love teaching young children and I have a passion for the great outdoors. I have seen first hand how engaged children become with the natural world and how excited they are to learn about wildlife.

 

I moved to Mukilteo 7 years ago from Illinois with my husband and, at the time, 3 year old son. We were in awe of Washington’s beauty and started exploring the parks in our community right away. We now have three kids and continue to take them outside to learn, play, relax and exercise.

 

I have a bachelor of science degree in ecology from Winona State University in Minnesota. After I received my degree I traveled around the country doing work in the ornithology (study of birds) field. Then I discovered that I had a passion for teaching. I decided to go back to school to earn a masters of science degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in environmental education from Northern Illinois University. I have taught in museums, nature centers, parks and preschools. I also completed Erin Kenny’s teacher training and became a Cedarsong-Certified Forest Kindergarten teacher.

 

In my spare time, I like to spend time with my family (husband, three kids and a dog), walk in the gulch, visit the mountains, the beach and work in my garden.

Theresa Costanzo

assistant teacher

My name is Theresa Costanzo and I will be joining Kris on her adventure with Nature Together.

 

My husband and I moved to Washington in 1997 and have raised 2 boys here. Having grown up in Pennsylvania, Texas and North Carolina I have been able to experience diverse natural surroundings but I admit the Pacific Northwest is my favorite. Our access to such variety: beaches, forests and mountains, is unmatched.

 

I have assisted in a traditional Preschool environment for the past 13 years and plan to apply all I’ve learned to the Nature Together model. I have always taken an active role in my boys education, volunteering in their classrooms and leading the Art Docent program at their school. I am a Certified Yoga Teacher having studied Viniyoga at Whole Life Yoga in 2013 and have been sharing movement and mindfulness with kids and adults since then.

 

I make time for a workout every day. I am passionate about fitness and healthy food and how they contribute to our emotional and mental wellbeing.

 

Melissa Volk

substitute teacher

Hello, my name is Melissa Volk, and I am happy to be assisting Kris and Theresa at Nature Together as a substitute teacher. I moved to Washington with my husband in 2002, where we have enjoyed raising our son and daughter, now 12 and 10 years old.

 

One of the things I appreciate about our area is the variety of educational opportunities available for our youth. I have been a parent educator since 2011, partnering with the public school district to give my children the opportunity to learn under a more interdisciplinary and inquiry-based approach. I am excited to support this kind of learning at Nature Together.

 

I have bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from Kansas State University and University of Nebraska at Omaha, respectively. Living in the tallgrass prairie taught me to look closely at the world and be ready to be amazed at every detail. This is a lesson I have enjoyed sharing with my children in the natural diversity of the Pacific Northwest.

 

Taking my children to visit family in the Midwest, exploring national park systems and other campgrounds along the way, is a highlight for me each summer. I also love being home together with our dogs, cat, rabbit, fish and chickens. And, I love gardening and preserving wholesome food.

Susan Mays

substitute teacher

Hi, my name is Susan Mays and I am excited to be joining the Nature Together program as a substitute teacher.

 

I was born and raised on Whidbey Island and have lived in the area most of my life. I now have the privilege of raising my own children (Indie and Lincoln) with my husband Adrian here in Mukilteo and I couldn’t be more grateful. I love the Pacific Northwest and all it has to offer – especially the forests and beaches where you can find us spending part of almost everyday.

 

I have a degree in sociology from Seattle Pacific University and spent years working outside the home, but now enjoy getting to spend most of my time with our littles. I also love spending time doing volunteer work for a few local non-profits, running and being active, and exploring new places with my family. I’m looking forward to getting to know you and your child!

Cara Mothersbaugh

substitute teacher

Hello! My name is Cara Mothersbaugh and I am excited to assist Kris as a substitute teacher for Nature Together. I think it is essential that children spend time in the outdoors exploring and learning through experience.

 

I grew up in Poulsbo, Washington, and have lived in Mukilteo since 2016. My husband and I have a two year old son and I have  been able to be at home with him since his birth.

 

Before I had my son, I worked at an alternative school in Renton teaching science to high school students. I taught biology, Earth/Physical science, as well as a class I developed called Sustainable Science which was focused on environmental challenges. Because I worked in an alternative school, I was able to work with small groups of students and tailor classes to their needs. This was both a pleasure and a challenge. I also have experience with middle school and elementary students as a student teacher and summer camp teacher.

 

I have a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Washington. While at UW, I was able to work in a lab studying army ant genetics. This was an interesting and eye opening experience that taught me I did not want a career in a lab, but rather working with young people. I went on to complete my Master’s in Teaching at the UW as well. The teaching program at UW provided the opportunity to work in many different schools around the Puget Sound region. This helped me gain an understanding of the many challenges schools in our area face and helped me develop tools to help meet those needs.

 

In my spare time I love working in my garden, going for runs in my neighborhood, reading, and experiencing new foods. I have also really enjoyed exploring some of the local parks with my son.