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Learning should be joyful, rooted in community and place, and oriented towards collective liberation.

About Emma

I grew up on the ancestral lands of the Peoria, Anishinaabe, Potawatomi, Wyandot, and Mississauga people where I learned about love and wonder through deciduous woodlands, the Great Lakes, and the many Earthly kin who I shared time and space with. ​I graduated in 2021 from Northwestern University with a degree in Environmental Sciences and Neurosciences and without a set plan for the future as I realized that I wasn't comfortable in traditional science-oriented academic culture. I soon moved to spend time with Pomo lands and waters through an AmeriCorps position working with the Lake County Water Resources Department to develop a community engagement and education program about shoreline stewardship of Clear Lake. There, I had the chance to feel embedded in meeting conservation needs with practical ways to engage land owners with ways of living that support the shoreline and aquatic ecosystems. I learned from the traditional knowledge of the Pomo people through workshops, TREX, and in shared ecological restoration projects; from my mentors in the Department; and from the land, waters, and ecosystems themselves.


Feeling inspired by how I envisioned education playing a role in connecting communities to place and to one another, I decided to pursue my M.Ed. at the University of Washington through an experiential outdoor teaching residency program at IslandWood on Suquamish lands. There, I learned with 4rd-8th graders who visit IslandWood with their schools in the School Overnight Program, as well as with intergenerational groups at community education events, and preschoolers in Caterpillar Club.


This portfolio speaks largely to my experiences in the graduate program, where I learned so much about myself as an educator, learner, and human being. I feel strongly rooted in my beliefs that education is a means to the collective goal of liberation for all Earthly beings; for us all to feel empowered to live in love, care, and reciprocity; for us to be oriented to pursuits of justice, interconnection, and joy; and for us to find and share with authenticity our unique stories, cultures, and identities. 

Fern leaf

“When our lived experience of theorizing is fundamentally linked to processes of self-recovery, of collective liberation, no gap exists between theory and practice. Indeed, what such experience makes more evident is the bond between the two--that ultimately reciprocal process wherein one enables the other."

-bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom

What learning looks like...

Learning happens everywhere, all the time.

Featured in these pictures are groups of learners that I have had the honor of working with at IslandWood. Some images feature activities or discoveries made with preschoolers and ideas from intergenerational community events, while many others highlight some of the experiences that I had with students who would visit IslandWood with their schools.

​Also featured are some of the many more-than-human co-teachers who inspire me and instill wonder in the groups of leaners that I work with.

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