Heather Fraser – BCYC, ECE
Owner & Educator
A mother of two, I am passionate about working with children and have a love for the outdoors. I have taught in a number of early childhood settings including toddler, preschool, and school-aged programs. I have a passion for nature and I am excited to share that passion with others around me. I spend my time gardening with my two children and exploring the beautiful trails and beaches around our home. I feel that it is so important to get outside whatever the weather and connect with the world around us.
My academic background includes a BA in Child and Youth Care from the University of Victoria, as well as an Early Childhood Certificate. I continue to take many professional development course in Early Childhood Education to keep up with current information in the field.
My passion for outdoor play and my understanding of the importance of connecting our children with nature inspired me to build Saplings Outdoor Program. I hope through this program to share our appreciation for nature and a compassion for all living things.
Imke Huebner – ECE
I began working with children at the young age of 10, growing up in Germany.
Since then my love for children has led me to pursue a career as a ECE Teacher, BI, and Program Coordinator for camps.
One of my beliefs is that play is a child's most important work and I strive to create and maintain an environment where your child can grow and thrive while exploring the world around them.
I am very happy to be part of Saplings Outdoor Program.
I am so excited to be part of the blossoming Saplings team. I have seen the joy that a morning out with Heather and the team brings to the children... they love it! I spent most of my time growing up on my best friend's farm, where whole days would go by carving out dens in hedgerows, making potions from mud and flowers, and climbing hay bales. There is such freedom in being outside.
Originally from the UK, I was initially employed by local government to develop trails and access to the outdoors. Following a postgrad diploma in conservation, I worked for various wildlife conservation organizations. Wanting to move more into the environmental education side of things, I spent several years working with both children and young people at risk on practical conservation projects and creative outdoor art installations. I am a firm believer that play, particularly outdoors play, is the best way for little ones to learn vital lifelong skills. In return, instilling a love for the outdoors in our children ensures the next generation of advocates for our wild and natural places.
I also have 3 small boys who are a constant reminder of the importance of mud, sticks, puddles, mud, and imagination to the growing child. Hmmm, did I mention mud?...
Matthew Van Oostdam– BEd,
Manager for Squamish Program
Matthew is our Squamish Saplings manager. He's come on to the team as someone who strongly believes in making these outdoor learning opportunities possible for children of all ages. He is a elementary and secondary teacher in the Sea to Sky school district and also works as a fly fishing guide. In his free time he is crawling and climbing his way up many of the local mountains as well as plummeting himself and his bike down the local mountain bike trails. You will likely see him helping out with the day to day operations of the Saplings programs as well as supporting much of background logistics. If you want to know more about the Squamish Programs feel free to shoot him an email at email@example.com
Lauren Black – B Ed. ECE
Born and raised in Ontario, I grew up surrounded by a wilderness of lakes and deciduous forests and began leading outdoor education trips with children in high school. After completing my Bachelor of Education at the University of Toronto, I moved west to discover a new outdoor playground amongst the mountains and ocean.
My educational philosophy is deeply rooted in a strong connection to nature and in learning outside of the walls of a traditional classroom. I believe the best way to learn is though experience, using the local environment as inspiration for discovery. My passion for learning outdoors drove me to complete Part 1 of the Environmental Education Specialist Program from University of Toronto and I am thrilled to be continuing to share my passion with Saplings this year!
Kathleen Carbert – ECE
I am a busy mom of two young children – a 6-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl. When my son was very young we began spending our days outdoors digging for worms and turning over rocks at the beach hoping to find crabs. It was during this time I gained an appreciation for children's love of nature.
My daughter attended Saplings at Hay Park and LOVED it, so when the chance to teach at Saplings presented itself I knew it would be a great fit for me. As an Early Childhood Educator, I am excited to get outside rain or shine with your little ones and have a great time exploring the great outdoors!