jane morse headshot

Jane G. Morse 

Environmental Educator at Dragonfly Nature Preschool at The Ridges Sanctuary 

My mother was a K-3 art teacher growing up. I joined the Air Force, with no interest in teaching. Although, after receiving advice to gain some experience working with children, I took a position as a before and after school program assistant with military children after college. I fell in love with it! After moving to Wisconsin, I worked as a naturalist/intern, teaching school groups of all ages. Eventually I continued into early childhood education. I have been teaching for about 8+ years. 

I am the Lead Preschool Teacher for the Dragonfly Nature Preschool at The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin. I teach a nature-based emergent curriculum two days per week, but expanding to three days this fall. Learning is guided by the students with a bit of help from the adults. We use the changing seasons as our guide and instill a lifelong, meaningful relationship with the natural world. My goals are to get the entire family outside to enjoy all its beauty and calm.   

What most people do not know about my job is that I have as much fun as the children. Teaching children in nature is as much a learning experience for me as it is for them. I very much love to create art, and nature provides an endless bounty of craft materials and so much inspiration. As I tell my new parents every year, if their children do not come home dirty or tired, I did not do my job that day. 

The part of my work I am most proud of is when I hear a family tell me their child picked up trash on a hike without being asked to do so or when one of my students explained to an older child why he should not chase geese, and to be kind to animals. My goal is to teach children respect and love for the natural world. It has been shown that children that learn respect for nature, will respect each other as well. 

I would love to see all schools utilize a nature-based approach. I feel it is so important to get children involved in their communities by cleaning up trash and caring for the plants and creatures that share our planet. I earned a BS in Environmental Conservation and Biology. My college background is not in education. However, I have learned a great deal from previous educators I worked alongside and have had the help of some added college courses. Let nature be your guide; get outside and enjoy!