111 episodes

Welcome to the Forest Educator Podcast hosted by Ricardo Sierra. Join Ricardo as he engages in enlightening conversations with educators from across the globe who are revolutionizing nature-based education. Drawing on his 35 years of experience in wilderness education, Ricardo shares practical insights, tools, and best practices to inspire and support forest educators and camp staff worldwide. Tune in twice a week for interviews with passionate educators and skill spotlights that delve into the challenges and triumphs of the field.

Forest Educator with Ricardo Sierra | A Podcast for Revolutionary Conversations about Nature-Based Education Podfox Media

    • Sports
    • 5.0 • 21 Ratings

Welcome to the Forest Educator Podcast hosted by Ricardo Sierra. Join Ricardo as he engages in enlightening conversations with educators from across the globe who are revolutionizing nature-based education. Drawing on his 35 years of experience in wilderness education, Ricardo shares practical insights, tools, and best practices to inspire and support forest educators and camp staff worldwide. Tune in twice a week for interviews with passionate educators and skill spotlights that delve into the challenges and triumphs of the field.

    Forest Education Spotlight: What's in a Name? The Challenge of Choosing Program Names

    Forest Education Spotlight: What's in a Name? The Challenge of Choosing Program Names

    Some Forest Educators seem to create amazing program and organization names effortlessly, with titles that evoke strong feelings, qualities and almost magnetic pull that draws in people excited to participate.   

    Some of us have to work REALLY HARD to get names that are 'fair' or serviceable, after a long process and hours of crystal ball gazing.   

    The fact is, finding a great name is both an art AND hard work, and it's something that takes a bit of intuition, luck and even a group of friends working a process to make it a little easier.  

    This episode dives into several factors that come into play as we explore organization or individual program names, and outlines a process I've used for years that helps make it a little easier for those of us who aren't marketing or communications professionals!

    Join the Forest Educator Patreon!
    https://patreon.com/ForestEducatorPodcast

    Connect with Ricardo:
    https://www.foresteducator.com/
    https://www.theforestboxforkids.com/
    https://www.hawkcircle.com/

    Linkedin:
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/ricardo-sierra-5980931/

    Instagram:
    https://www.instagram.com/the_forest_educator_podcast/

    Facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/RicardohawkSierra

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Community Supported Nature Programs with Jen Smith, MS

    Community Supported Nature Programs with Jen Smith, MS

    In a small town in Texas near Fort Worth, there is a program that seems to do everything.  On the surface, they seem like a typical summer camp, but they do so many other special things that serve the local community:  Bereavement camps.  Project Wild education.  Fishing & Angler Education.  Private Retreats for Adults.  Off Season School Groups. Wilderness Survival or Science Themed Summer Camps (day and overnight). Alumni Programs. (This list goes on and on.)

    Jen Smith is the Vice President of Outdoor Connections at Camp El Tesoro-Camp Fire First Texas, and she and her staff continue an over 90 year legacy of serving their community with outstanding nature based programming.   She and her team work incredibly hard to craft experiences that are relevant to today's youth, adults and families in a variety of capacities, which is needed now more than ever. 

    Camp El Tesoro is a great example of an organization that is committed to being willing to grow and change while still keeping the traditions and experiences that are time tested and transformational.

    Professionals like Jen don't seek the limelight, and spend the bulk of their days in the hot Texas sun, doing the work without fanfare, and making a difference, all with the enthusiasm and passion of a first year CIT.  

    Connect with Jen:
     LinkedIn:   https://www.linkedin.com/in/smithjen/

    Join the Forest Educator Patreon!
    https://patreon.com/ForestEducatorPodcast

    Connect with Ricardo:
    https://www.foresteducator.com/
    https://www.theforestboxforkids.com/
    https://www.hawkcircle.com/

    Linkedin:
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/ricardo-sierra-5980931/

    Instagram:
    https://www.instagram.com/the_forest_educator_podcast/

    Facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/RicardohawkSierra

    • 57 min
    Forest Educator Spotlight: Portals Into the Unknown

    Forest Educator Spotlight: Portals Into the Unknown

    When it comes to nature awareness and personal awareness, I've found it useful to see and perceive it in a few different ways.    Sometimes I see it in a mythological or 'rite of passage' perspective, and other times, I see it more from an 'awareness and perception' perspective.

    In this episode, I share some of the stages of awareness my campers, or students or staff have gone through in their journey into the world of nature, and how we all balance our lives in the Known and Unknown worlds, and sometimes even into the 'Unknowable' realms for which there is almost no descriptions.

    Join the Forest Educator Patreon!
    https://patreon.com/ForestEducatorPodcast

    Connect with Ricardo:
    https://www.foresteducator.com/
    https://www.theforestboxforkids.com/
    https://www.hawkcircle.com/

    Linkedin:
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/ricardo-sierra-5980931/

    Instagram:
    https://www.instagram.com/the_forest_educator_podcast/

    Facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/RicardohawkSierra

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Understanding the Challenges of the Developing Child's Brain, Part Two - with Wendolyn Bird

    Understanding the Challenges of the Developing Child's Brain, Part Two - with Wendolyn Bird

    When we remove all of the 'non-teaching stuff' that surrounds our profession, we educators are left with an opportunity- to connect with the 'still maturing' mind of our young students.   We can have all the trappings and bells and whistles and laptops or digital projectors or classroom props and decorations, but if we don't have the ability to make a real, personal, one on one connection to these human beings, we won't really have a positive, lasting impact.  Wendolyn Bird shares from her decades of experience working with very young children, parents and also other educators, and we dive into what it takes to deeply engage and 'lead' an early childhood program in a way that is soothing, stimulating and energizing.

    Wendolyn discusses ways to connect with children that meet them in ways that help them grow, which is crucial to achieving the goals we have as educators or parents.   Listening to her stories makes me wish she had been MY preschool teacher, too, because she is both wise AND fun.  The bonds we make with emotionally safe adults is incredibly important and soothing to us as children.  Learning these skills is a profound game changer for us as educators and for our students, which is sorely needed in today's rapidly changing world.

    Connect with Wendolyn:
    Website:   https://wendolynbird.com/
    Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/wendolyn.bird
    Instagram:   https://www.instagram.com/wendolyn__bird/

    Join the Forest Educator Patreon!
    https://patreon.com/ForestEducatorPodcast

    Connect with Ricardo:
    https://www.foresteducator.com/
    https://www.theforestboxforkids.com/
    https://www.hawkcircle.com/

    Linkedin:
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/ricardo-sierra-5980931/

    Instagram:
    https://www.instagram.com/the_forest_educator_podcast/

    Facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/RicardohawkSierra

    • 45 min
    Forest Educator Spotlight: Are Nature Educators 'Healers'?

    Forest Educator Spotlight: Are Nature Educators 'Healers'?

    There is no question that being in nature is 'healing' in both a practical and therapeutic sense, because this has been demonstrated in an impressive list of nature focused studies by researchers in several different countries from reputable academic institutions.   

    In this episode we dive into the different 'layers' of healing, from several different perspectives, and discuss how nature education can have significant positive impacts on both adults and children.   There are a lot of different ways that people experience healing, on the physical level, emotional and mental health levels and when they appear in our programs, it can be difficult to know what to do if we are unprepared or unaware.  

    My own journey and experiences with healing, both traditional, modern or alternative have helped me to understand some basic principles that have helped both me and my staff throughout the years.    Our world and humanity needs all of the healing we can get, on all levels, and this topic is one that can offer some hope for us all.

    Join the Forest Educator Patreon!
    https://patreon.com/ForestEducatorPodcast

    Connect with Ricardo:
    https://www.foresteducator.com/
    https://www.theforestboxforkids.com/
    https://www.hawkcircle.com/

    Linkedin:
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/ricardo-sierra-5980931/

    Instagram:
    https://www.instagram.com/the_forest_educator_podcast/

    Facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/RicardohawkSierra

    • 51 min
    Understanding the Challenges of the Developing Child's Brain, Part One - with Wendolyn Bird

    Understanding the Challenges of the Developing Child's Brain, Part One - with Wendolyn Bird

    When we remove all of the 'non-teaching stuff' that surrounds our profession, we educators are left with an opportunity- to connect with the 'still maturing' mind of our young students.   We can have all the trappings and bells and whistles and laptops or digital projectors or classroom props and decorations, but if we don't have the ability to make a real, personal, one on one connection to these human beings, we won't really have a positive, lasting impact.  Wendolyn Bird shares from her decades of experience working with very young children, parents and also other educators, and we dive into what it takes to deeply engage and 'lead' an early childhood program in a way that is soothing, stimulating and energizing.

    Wendolyn discusses ways to connect with children that meet them in ways that help them grow, which is crucial to achieving the goals we have as educators or parents.   Listening to her stories makes me wish she had been MY preschool teacher, too, because she is both wise AND fun.  The bonds we make with emotionally safe adults is incredibly important and soothing to us as children.  Learning these skills is a profound game changer for us as educators and for our students, which is sorely needed in today's rapidly changing world.

    Connect with Wendolyn:
    Website:   https://wendolynbird.com/
    Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/wendolyn.bird
    Instagram:   https://www.instagram.com/wendolyn__bird/

    Join the Forest Educator Patreon!
    https://patreon.com/ForestEducatorPodcast

    Connect with Ricardo:
    https://www.foresteducator.com/
    https://www.theforestboxforkids.com/
    https://www.hawkcircle.com/

    Linkedin:
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/ricardo-sierra-5980931/

    Instagram:
    https://www.instagram.com/the_forest_educator_podcast/

    Facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/RicardohawkSierra

    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

Tim in ME ,

Great Advice From A Long-Time Industry Veteran

Ricardo’s podcast is full of great advice for those in the outdoor industry, as well as for those considering a leap into it. He has decades of experience teaching and mentoring in the forest. Definitely worth a listen. I look forward to each episode.

Foxwalk Adventures ,

Captivating and thought provoking!

Ricardo is a captivating storyteller. I often feel like I’m sitting around the campfire while listening to this podcast. Given his decades of experience in the field of outdoor education, he brings a wealth of clearly articulated value, entertainment and thought provoking ideas. Keep up the good work Ric!

E Q-Dub ,

I'm not a "forest educator" review - love this pod!!

I’m not a “forest educator” but I enjoy engaging with the natural world. I know a little about tracking and bird language, I may nibble on a ‘wild’ edible while on a hike, and I’ll start a fire with a bow drill when camping, etc. - I don’t expect I’ll ever run an outdoor school but I will share what I know with family and friends. The interviews and Spotlight episodes on The Forest Educator Podcast help me to better appreciate what I know, help me identify what I don’t know, and offer guidance as to what I might need to learn or do a little differently to feel more at 'home' and a little safer whether I’m out on a hike or in my own backyard. Additionally, I found some of the lessons provided by Ricardo in his Spotlight episodes - such as “The Many Gifts of Rain,” “The Forest Entrepreneur,” or “The Contradictory Nuances of Nature Awareness” (to name just a few) - translate into my ‘everyday life.’ Guests interviewed on the pod generously share their passion and wisdom - I've gained 'life lessons' and other insights from pod guests too (as I write this, there are 40 episodes(!) up)! Best of all, the podcast may have even offered me a gentle nudge a few times to go outside. Ricardo is positive, uplifting, and smart – while also “keeping it real.” So much food for thought, so much to learn! Thank you for this podcast, Ricardo!

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