As a dynamic educator living on beautiful Vancouver Island in BC, Canada, Crystal loves passionate, engaged learning for both students and parents that’s integrated with the living world. She strives to connect individuals to the earth and open up natural learning opportunities that spark joy.
Crystal is an experienced educator with a background in whole learning and project based instruction. For the last fifteen years, she has been dedicated to working in alternative
education, specializing in Waldorf instruction and outdoor learning. Upon relocating to the west coast of Canada from the canola fields of rural Alberta and realizing the underutilized potential for the opportunity to connect local youth to the stunning and nourishing natural environment right on their very own doorstep, she was inspired to create Under The Arch Outdoor. With the knowledge that every student has a unique learning style, she has developed a distinctive perspective on education, relevant learning practice and engaging program delivery. As a certified National Geographic Educator, her approach combines outdoor exploration with a Geo inquiry process that not only encourages students to be citizen scientists but also to become immersed in the biodiverse
ecology in their area.
Combined with a cross-curricular introduction to field notes/nature journaling, outdoor specific activities and the collection and interpretation of data, her specialized model aligns with many of the curriculum outcomes for Grades 1 to 5 in British Columbia.
Crystal can’t wait to learn with your family, naturally!
Saul Hillis’s introduction to the true possibility of learning in nature happened when he
and his family relocated to the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia from the woods and plains of rural Alberta at the age of sixteen. At seventeen, he enrolled in the R.O.A.M.S (Rivers Oceans And Mountains School) offered within school district 69. While participating in this program, Saul traveled across the province of British Columbia collecting experience and certifications in adventure tourism, outdoor survival, education and first aid. It wasn’t until later in life, pursuing a career in teaching gymnastics, that he found his love for education and working with children in community environments to create symbiotic relationships, independent, critical thinkers and real-life problem solvers.
His work in the gymnastics community offered the opportunity to work with a wide variety of children and individuals. Realizing he wanted to continue this branch of meaningful work with children, especially those with physical, behavioural or cognitive challenges, Saul joined the non-profit, Pacific Sport. In his role with the organization, he helped plan and run the WheelKids program in Parksville, B.C. and facilitated after school programs for at risk and behaviourally challenged youth until those programs were cut short due to COVID-19.
Upon reflection on his time in the R.O.A.M.S. program and his experiences with youth in public and private education programs, he realized there must be a direct correlation between nature and meaningful education which led him here, to Under The Arch Outdoor!
Relocating to Vancouver Island when she was just six years old, from Ontario, Maggie was mystified by the vast array of beauty in the Pacific Northwest. Spending her formative years camping and hiking on the beaches, among the forests and along the mountains and streams, Maggie developed a deep love and connection to nature.
Getting lost in imagination Maggie loved using the plants around her to create potions, foods and medicines pretending she had to survive in the forest. This love of the land and connection has followed her into adulthood and deeply influenced her decision to study herbal medicine.
She learned that many of the plants she gravitated toward as a child were in fact full of diverse uses. She began looking at the world around her with more awareness and appreciation. As she reflects on childhood, she wished that she was able to have known about how important plants are, how important our connection to plants are for our wellbeing, and just how many can be incorporated into our daily lives to help support us.
It has become Maggie’s passion to share with others the traditional practices of herbal medicine and to provide a space where others can join in the appreciation and connection to the world around us that these practices can bring with them.
Maggie Jacklin is currently studying with Pacific Rim College to become a Certified Community Herbalist