Where I've Been
As a baby, I played in the sandy beaches of the Virgin Islands. As a toddler, I explored the red dirt of the Ozark Mountains and the Massachusetts mud. Northern Michigan is my one true home, although I grew up in Colorado, and went to college in Florida.
My first big overseas trip was for three weeks to Australia with my mom when I was 13 years old. To raise the money for the plane ticket, she helped me to start a jewelry business. That school year was filled with creative late nights in the basement, and weekends loading up the station wagon for art fairs.
That experience changed my life. Twenty-something years later, I can still remember so many details. My first unique wildlife encounters, my first time snorkeling. My first rainforest exploration, and my first nights staying in hostels and meeting other travelers. I learned not only the value of prioritizing travel at a young age, but also how to make it happen for myself.
Amalia Fernand Leather Designs are created from scraps from my fathers handmade leather shoe business, Fernand Footwear. For many years, I have made leather bracelets to support traveling and teaching adventures.
In high school, I was a counselor at an outdoor education camp and an exchange student. In college, I started teaching children's programming at a nature park. I worked for a few years in experiential education, and a few in Montessori.
I got an undergraduate in Environmental Studies with minors in Marine Science and Anthropology. At Eckerd College in St. Pete Florida, we had a winter term program, and I organized my own projects abroad.
For my Master's Degree, I camped for 225 days, and then spent 3 months working in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. This experiential approach towards higher learning gained me a Master of Science in Ecological Leadership and Education.
For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed teaching children about nature. Nature Explorers has evolved from my experiences into a comprehensive curriculum that has brightened children's lives in many countries.
Hauling around art supplies, magnifying glasses, and binoculars isn't easy, but the children's joy always makes it worth it.
I have been to many places. In most of them I have taught, written, photographed. I am just starting this blog, but I already have a lot to share. Find out more about me, and look for weekly Throwback Thursday posts from the countries below.