Waskowitz Outdoor Education
45505 SE 150th St
North Bend, WA 98045
Waskowitz - Burien Office
440 S 186th St. Portable #80
Burien, WA 98148
- Dr. Roberta McFarland, Director/Principal
- Carey Gannaw, Office Manager
- Johnny Gannaw, Assistant Director/Resident Manager
- Meredith von Trapp, Assistant Director/Dean of Environmental Education
- Jacob Belsher, Outdoor Education Specialist
- Kelsey Walker, Administrative Assistant
- Sammy Porter, Lead Outdoor Educator
- Josh Porter, Lead Outdoor Educator
- Brad Fenbert, Outdoor Educator
- Heidi Spohn, Outdoor Educator
- Joshua Schuab, Outdoor Educator
- Outdoor School Interns
Dr. McFarland serves as the Director/Principal of Outdoor Environmental Education for Waskowitz Outdoor Programs since 1997. An innovator and educational entrepreneur she leads her staff in developing programs that motivate students to find the ‘magic’ by engaging on a diversity journey of people and nature. Her favorite place at Waskowitz is finding a warm rock by the south fork of the Snoqualmie River near the campfire amphitheater.
Roberta served for 35 years as a residential outdoor environmental educator. Starting in a tent with students and currently in an office with a fireplace. College degrees from the east coast (Springfield College) to the west coast (City University of Seattle) and several in-between (Sam Houston and Stephen F Austin). Educational Doctorate in curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Proudly admits to being a naturalized Northwesterner as a coffee aficionado and hiking enthusiast. Her career started with the Houston TX Outdoor Education Center programs in 1979; however, some argue she started year one- as the youngest staff at the Boy Scout Camp Mohican.
Carey Gannaw is the Office Manager for Waskowitz and WELS. Born and raised in Seattle, she attended Evergreen High School and then Highline Community College majoring in Early Childhood Education. Prior to joining Highline School District in 1996, she worked at a bank, owned a small painting business, and taught pre-school. She helped enroll students when the WELS program began and then continued to watch the success and growth of the program over the years. She officially joined the Waskowitz staff in July 2013 as the Office Manager. She loves learning how Waskowitz and WELS work and expand every year; and feels that her computer and administration skills are an asset to the office team. She enjoys being able to support the students and staff while working and learning something wonderful each day; Waskowitz is her perfect job!
When not in the office she bikes, walks her German Shephard, reads, hikes and plans for the next vacation. She loves spending time with her husband, daughters and their spouses and two granddaughters.
Mr. Johnny Gannaw serves as the Assistant Director/Resident Manager of Camp Waskowitz. He has been a part of the Waskowitz team since 2010, serving as a naturalist, leader coordinator, WELS instructor, and success dean. Johnny works hard to provide inspiration and a “sense of place” to all people and groups that come to Waskowitz. He has built on the over 70 year traditions of Waskowitz through creating the ROOTS (Reconnection Ourselves Outdoor to Succeed) program. These programs include Freshmen Success Programs, Literacy (Lit) Camps, and Summer Celebration. The intention is to provide an additional pathway for students to continue their journey at Waskowitz and to seek support and inspiration through credit recovery, challenge initiatives, and team building.
As a product of Outdoor Education both as a student and leader, Johnny understand the importance of social/emotional learning and continues to stay actively involved in programs that foster this. Johnny proudly graduated from Green River College in 2006 with his AA degree and then from the University of Redlands in 2008 with his Bachelor’s degree.
Meredith von Trapp received her undergraduate degree in Environmental Education from Western Washington University in 2000 and then traveled to Colorado, Oregon and Alaska working a variety of jobs in the field like backcountry field instructor for adjudicated youth, SCA volunteer Ranger in Katmai National Park and Waskowitz Naturalist! After working as a Naturalist for 3 years she earned her Master’s in Teaching from City University in Bellevue. For the next ten years, she taught 5th grade at North Bend Elementary and infused her passion for the environment by creating and facilitating staff and student green teams, taking her students on walking field trips to the Snoqualmie River and leading the 5th graders on their annual trip to outdoor school. She has returned to Waskowitz as a National Board Certified Teacher and is beyond thrilled to support teachers in their magical journey helping students explore the diversity of people and nature. She hopes to inspire students to be life-long learners and responsible stewards of their community and the planet as a whole. In her spare time, she can be found exploring the trails with her family, baking yummy treats or reading a good book!
Jacob is a passionate educator with so much drive and dedication to the trade. We are excited to see him excel in his role here as Program Coordinator. Jacob has recently worked in a similar role at a camp in California. He is eager to return back to his native Pacific Northwest roots, and join the new Waskowitz team. Jacob sees Outdoor Education as a combination of his deep love of the natural world with a lifelong interest in teaching and learning. He finds ways to incorporate his humor with his intellect. For example, he is an avid believer that “baby carrots” are not actual baby carrots, as well as the Credence Clearwater Revival isn’t from the south… want to know more, Jacob will fill you in!
Kelsey joins the team to fulfill the much needed role of Administrative Assistant. She brings a background of restoration ecology to the team, and local knowledge having grown up right down the street, but is excited to support the team from behind the scenes. Kelsey ensures that questions are answered, program needs are supported, and coordinates with our non-school user groups to host retreats and camps. Being part of the Waskowitz community has allowed her to remain a part of the outdoor community she loves while growing her career in new direction. When she is not at work you can find her in her garden or hiking in the mountains with her pup!
Sammy loves being involved at Waskowitz serving in many capacities throughout the years. This includes summer camp volunteering, leadership staff, an internship, and ROOTS program support. With her BS in Recreation & Tourism, Sammy brings a sense of place and a lot of positive energy to the team! She has served in several recreation program roles and is excited for another year on the Outdoor Ed team because she is very attracted to the challenges and growth that it promotes. She is a passionate hiker, and prides herself on her PCT adventure where she lived outside for three months, walked 1,200 miles, and ate 2-3 candy bars a day.
Josh comes to Waskowitz with a BA in History and nearly a completed teaching certificate. He is a very intelligent young man with a passion for teaching as well as learning- a perfect fit for an Outdoor Educator! Josh has known since early in high school that he wanted to pursue a career in education. Seeing that he loves the outdoors, he is thrilled about interacting with students outside of the traditional classroom setting. He is an avid hiker, and excited about all of the trails North Bend offers.
Brad graduated from Western Washington University with a BS in Engineering in 2015. After a year in the field, he decided to take his love for science and discovery and utilize it in education. Growing up near Cispus Learning Center and working at Cascade Middle Level Leadership Camp taught him the incredible impact camps can have on student's lives. He is thrilled to spend his time in the woods of North Bend and be a part of the magic of Waskowitz Outdoor School. If you are looking for a high five anytime, Brad is your guy!
Heidi comes to Waskowitz with a BS in Clinical Physiology and Biology from Central Washington University. She is currently working on her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies and teaching certificate. She has been working in youth recreation and summer camps for nearly 10 years, both in Washington and on the East Coast. Heidi spends her summers working at a camp in Maine and searching for Moose. She is excited for the opportunity to work as an outdoor educator. She is looking forward to bringing her experiences to Waskowitz and grow as an educator. When not at work, Heidi enjoys going on adventures with her dog, playing soccer and painting.
Joshua joins the Waskowitz team as an alumnus of the 6th grade Outdoor School program he attended with Beverly Park Elementary School. He has great memories of his time at Waskowitz and is excited to be a part of bringing the magic to the next generation of kids. He graduated from Evergreen High School and went on to attend Pepperdine University where he graduated with a degree in psychology. His work and studies continued on to a degree in counseling and working with at-risk boys at a camp in Colorado. From his early exposure to nature and the outdoors he has continued pursuing this passion to climb mountains, go on treks around the world and enjoy the wonders of nature. Most recently he attended a 30-day Outward Bound program in the San Juans and North Cascades learning to lead groups in sea kayaking and backpacking expeditions. In his down time, Joshua enjoys exploring the local restaurants of Seattle with his wife who is a culinary expert.