Meet Vanessa Wyns, Canopy’s Environmental Educator

By Canopy Team on December 5, 2019

We’re excited to welcome Vanessa Wyns to the Canopy team!

Vanessa is Canopy’s new Environmental Educator. She has taught environmental education across the world and is now bringing her enthusiasm for teaching youth about nature to Canopy. We asked Vanessa to share a bit about herself:

Can you share a bit about your background with us?

Vanessa: I’ve just moved to the area from the AZ-Mexico border, where I was a bilingual environmental education intern with the National Park Service. Prior to that, I worked as an instructor at an eco camp in a village in northern Spain; a job which I took after earning my Master of Science in Ethnobotany at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. I’ve also worked in the past as a science and art teacher at a rural bilingual school outside of Granada, Spain, and an environmental educator at an urban farm in Tucson, Arizona.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role as an Environmental Educator with Canopy?

Vanessa: I am so looking forward to meeting all of the students that Canopy works with and getting the chance to talk to them and find out ways to make learning about trees and nature seem exciting and relevant to them.

Why do you think it’s important for youth to be connected to nature?

Vanessa: There are so many reasons! To start, nothing offers more opportunities to experience awe and wonder than the outdoors. Nature also offers vital respite from the sensory overload of modern life and all of the accompanying demands on our time and attention. Finally, interest in and advocacy for nature occur only after people have developed a love for it, and getting youth connected to nature is the first step to ensuring they grow to love it.

How did you get into environmental education?

Vanessa: Through a personal illness, actually, which drastically re-routed my trajectory. In learning ways to better support my health and nutrition, I also began to learn about many commonly accepted and ecologically devastating practices that I unwittingly took part in through my choices as a consumer. I wish I had learned about them sooner so that I could have made better choices, which is a sentiment that drives me to bring this knowledge to youth to empower them to make good choices.

What is your favorite tree?

Vanessa: The Monkey Puzzle Tree. First off, it has a great name. And it is so geometric and delightful to look at.

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