EPIC’s Learning Team

Teacher

A BC Ministry Certified teacher onsite with children two days per week. They oversee home learning component, SLP and be the interface with NIDES.

Ocean-lover, forest bather, mountain climber, and lover of forming communities with kids in nature, Megan Grupe is a Pacific Northwest native, but originally from the state side (Oregon!). Having spent the last decade and a half living up and down the west coast of North and Central America, she has fallen in love with nature-connection and navigating these spaces with others from the rainforests of Costa Rica, to the kelp forests of sunny San Diego, the rocky intertidal of the Pacific Northwest, and most recently the forests of Victoria BC with Oak & Orca’s Forest School/DL Program. 

With a goofy, patient, empathetic, kind, gracious, and warm motherly energy she comes at teaching with curiosity and delight, believing that she acts as both a facilitator and participant in the learning environment. She holds a Bachelors in Marine Biology & Environmental Science from University of Oregon and a Masters in Education from University San Diego, California and is a B.C. certified teacher. She participated heavily in the Knowles Teaching Initiative Fellowship as well. All of these experiences have contributed to her passion and love of teaching while thinking critically about how to create harmonious learning environments with organic rhythm and flow that channel the diversity and beauty each human brings to the learning community. Much of her classroom teaching background is with teaching math and science to middle school and high school aged humans, but she has worked in outdoor education with humans of all ages and also with families to create learning at home. She has also done a multitude of training around teaching mindfulness, yoga, and self-compassion practices to littles and loves to incorporate this into her teaching style.

Outside of being a teacher, she calls herself mom to a beautiful, lively, and creative 2 year old daughter and wife to a tall avid gardener and deep sea biologist. She is very much looking forward to meeting and working with each and every one of you to create and build community together.

Mentors

Additional educators, specifically with outdoor wilderness awareness training. A mentor is present onsite all 3 days.

Francie Morgan is a gardener of delicious food, relationships and curiosity. She can usually be found outdoors taking in the slug/moss/tree’s eye view, scaling mountains with her adventurous family and sharing her enthusiasm for nature. She is a believer in diverse community, mending, music and of surrounding one’s self with plants at all times.

As a settler in New Brunswick, Francie grew up living between the traditional territories of the Passamaquoddy and W∂last∂kwiyik (Maliseet) peoples. She and her forest biologist partner moved to Lekwungen territory of Victoria in 2011 and quickly feel in love. In 2013 she graduated with a joint degree in Environmental and Gender/Indigenous Studies. She has had the greater privilege of nurturing many friends through the passage into motherhood as their Doula. Being a Doula is fundamental to the way Francie understands and navigates the world, especially now as the mother of a sensitive and curious 2.5 year old.

For the past six years Francie has loved being a member or the education team at Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary where her focus was primarily on place based ecological programs and home school science courses. She has seen firsthand the transformative power of nature on community and self and believes strongly that nature herself is the best mentor. Whether in laughter, sprint or silence Francie looks forward to meeting your children where they are at on their journey to self and world discovery.

Cilla Holmes Is a graphic designer, creative writing coach and forest mentor working with local youth at Epic, and also at the Wolf and Forest Dwellers programs at Thriving Roots Wilderness School.  She is known for her enthusiasm and heart-centred communication, and for her giant backpack overstuffed with tools and natural crafting materials to share.  She is a lover of wet ink, clay, and salmon leather tanning, a maker of driftwood looms and fairy apothecaries, and she loves designing activities that can be deepened by story and that create an exchange with the land. Kids, including her own, are her favorite creative co-conspirators.

In 2009 Cilla moved from the American east coast to Vancouver with her Canadian partner and spent a decade training in fine arts, creative arts education, literacy and counseling, and raised a family while working as a Reggio Emilia inspired arts and storytelling instructor and educational documentarian at the Lyceum of Literature & Art. She holds a certificate in Fine Arts & Design from Emily Carr University, completed her graduate work in creative writing at the Stonecoast MFA program, and she is currently studying prerequisites towards a masters in Counselling Psychology, with a projected focus on wilderness, narrative and art related therapies. 

In Victoria, she has deepened her nature connection, mentoring and land-based education offerings through two Thriving Roots apprenticeships and the yearlong Wild and Alive adult immersion program. Through the 8Shields institute and with local colleagues and artisans Cilla continues to pursue courses in decolonizing practice, mentoring, nonviolent communication, bird language, wilderness survival and first aid, invasive species weaving, leather tanning and other land-based and ancestral arts offerings.  Cilla is excited that all of her passions dovetail so beautifully with her work at Epic.  

Catie Bainbridge (she/her) is a white settler with Irish, French, and English ancestry. She is a storytelling, bone collecting, cloud watching, mud playing child-at-heart who recently moved back to Lekwungen territory (Victoria) from Sinixt Territory (Nelson). 

Catie began working in the field of mental wellness and addiction recovery five years ago. In that work, she witnessed adults become reconnected with themselves in the safe hands of nature. Integral to her teaching practice is nourishing these connections with children so that their relationships with themselves and their communities stay strong. She believes that every being should have a place in nature where they can feel held as they grow and that our families, communities, and environment can heal and flourish if we learn to love and listen to the land again.

Her first teaching experience was working in a bioregional forest school located at PKOLS in the 2018-19 school year. It was there that she learned so much about the world from the candid wisdom of children in nature. She holds a B.C. Teaching Certificate and is learning about place-conscious, inquiry-based learning models with an emphasis on indigenous principles, identity development, and anti-racist pedagogy.

Student Mentors

A practicum student, from the University of Victoria Child and Youth Care Program is
onsite 3 days a week. They spend 3-4 months with the community to complete their course requirements.

Bridgit Nutting (she/her) is a painter, mountain-climber, ocean-swimmer, surfer, lover of sports, animals, art and music. Born in Calgary, Alberta but raised in California, she quickly fell in love with the warm weather, beaches and rainforests offered by the Lekwungen territory of Victoria when she moved to the island 3 years ago. She is in her final year of her Child and Youth Care degree at UVic, with a plan to take a post degree in education in order to reach her dreams of becoming a teacher and coach.

Guides

Parents and forest community members are invited to be involved onsite with EPIC. They can also facilitate workshops for learners and the EPIC community