Our Idaho Team

Leadership Team

Karyssa Tilden

(aka Miss Ryss)

Karyssa has been dreaming of opening Wild Beginnings Nature School in the Boise area for years. Her eyes were really opened to how beneficial and life changing a nature immersed program can be for families and individuals while working for the Anasazi Foundation in 2013 (an outdoor survival therapy program for at-risk youth). She then pursued a career in the outdoors which has included being a Wildland Firefighter, Backcountry Backpacking Guide, Whitewater Rafting Guide, Tinkergarten Leader and Head Nature Teacher at Wasatch Nature School. She is married to the love of her life, Michael Tilden, an adventure therapist, and they have two adorably sweet girls. As a family they love to backpack, rock climb and do anything else that gets them outside. Since moving to Boise in March 2020, Karyssa has really focused on how to bring out the light in others, especially children, during the difficult time of this pandemic. The time has finally come for the realization of her dream with the opening of Wild Beginnings Nature School! Karyssa has training in early childhood education and development, Nature Teacher Certification, The Cedarsong Way, and the Waldorf Method for early childhood. She has an innate love for children and believes that the greatest work we can do is to invest our time and energy on enriching the lives of all children. So get up, gear up and get out! Let’s have some fun!

Beki Call

Co-Founder

If Beki could spend all her time outdoors, she would. She loves getting outside and allowing children to learn and grow through outdoor experiential education. Beki is a mom to three nature-loving children. She and her husband are Boise natives and love the outdoor opportunities in and around the Treasure Valley. Beki possesses a degree in Elementary Education. She was a 4th grade general education teacher and has taught middle school Math, Science, and PE. She also taught English as a Second Language, both in a small village in Guatemala and online to children in China. Beki currently coaches high school soccer. Her experience in outdoor education began as a counselor at an outdoor youth adventure camp in eastern Idaho. She went on to facilitate and manage youth and adult outdoor team building and ropes course activities. When presented with the opportunity to join with the Wild Beginnings team and teach, it felt like the perfect fit.

Alison Lehrman

Director of Idaho & Nature Teacher

alison@wildbeginningsnatureschool.org

Alison has always been drawn to nature from roaming the riverbanks, to going to camp and from eating fresh fruit from her grandparent’s orchard to hiking the foothills. Alison finds comforting moments in getting her hands dirty in mud, watching the sunrise, and being at the lake.

Alison pursued a degree in History with an emphasis on secondary education and a minor in Dance Education through Central Washington University.

For over fifteen years Alison has been working with children and youth and in the past five years she has been connecting them with their natural world. Within the past three years her path has brought her to Wild Beginnings Nature School as a Nature Teacher and now the Director of Idaho managing eleven staff members, four programs and twenty four classes.

Alison is excited to see how Wild Beginnings continues to grow and help individuals make connections with nature.

Nicole Prassinos

Forest Preschool Coordinator & Summer Camp Director

Nature Teacher- Nature Explorers and Forest Preschool 

wildbeginningsforestpreschool@gmail.com

Nicole grew up rafting the rivers, hiking the hills and camping in the forests of the Treasure Valley. She has a true love for and connection to nature. She also lived in Oregon for 17 years and did a great deal of exploring the forests and beaches of the Pacific Northwest.

Currently Nicole’s days are spent outdoors with her children, and the children she gets to spend time with during Wild Beginnings classes. The way children see the world brings a bit of magic into hers. Watching the joy of discovery in nature through their eyes is near and dear to her heart. It’s how she grew up and she loves watching children grow up the same way.

Zoe Luke

Nature Explorers Coordinator & Community Events Coordinator

Nature Teacher- Nature Explorers 

zoe@wildbeginningsnatureschool.org

Zoe Luke stives to live life to the fullest by participating in many hobbies. Some of her hobbies consists of reading, creating, playing with her children, cooking and bikes rides on the green belt with her family.

Zoe also loves being outside in all types of weather and enjoys what every season has to offer!

This will be Zoes first year teaching at Wild Beginnings. She believes the community at Wild Beginnings is unlike any other in the Treasure Valley. “I am so proud to be a teacher at this school!”

And we are so lucky to have her! ⁣

Sophia Fitch

Nature Babies Coordinator & Nature Teacher – Nature Babies

sophiafitch17@gmail.com

Sophia is an Idaho native that grew up finding joy in being outside (and barefoot!). She has two young kids that share her love for nature. Sophia has been with Wild Beginnings since the Nature Babies program began. Her favorite thing about nature school is helping caregivers feel supported and empowered.

Melissa Triplett

Forest Kindergarten Coordinator

Nature Teacher- Forest Preschool & Forest Kindergarten

melissawildbeginnings@yahoo.com

M– makes adventuring in nature a top priority for herself, her own family, and now your child.

E– elementary school educator was her previous title. She also holds a degree in Early Childhood Education and is an avid life-long learner. 
L– loves to hike, bike, paddle board, camp, garden, read, try out new hobbies, vacation, and plan the next fun day.
I– is a mother to four awesome outdoor loving children. Sometimes she feels like her children are trying to turn her home into a zoo. Currently there are chickens, a dog, frogs, a lizard, fish, the occasional ant farm or beloved roly-poly. Who knows what else is currently waiting to be discovered living in a mason jar in the corner of someone’s closet. 
S– sharing her love of nature through fostering adventure, sparking creativity, discovery, excitement, kindness, and learning stewardship are ways she’ll help your child grow.
S– she is excited to be sharing her passions in the Wild Beginnings team and looks forward to leading your child on their next immersive nature adventure.
A– aspires to live a big beautiful joy-filled life. 

Nature Teachers

Courtney Shaw

Nature Teacher – Nature Babies (Eagle)

Courtney has a deep love for spending time outside. Growing up, she spent most of her time playing sports, camping, riding horses and four wheelers, and simply hanging out by a lake or river. She feels blessed to not only share my love for the outdoors with her babies, but other caregivers and their kiddos as well. Spending time outside fosters the little one’s inquisitive nature, creativity and problem solving. It also encourages concentration, increases motor coordination, and reduces stress levels. Nature is food for the soul, and she believes we can best support kids’ inquisitive nature by “raising them outside.”

Jessie Hopkins

Nature Teacher – Nature Explorers (Star)

Jessie is an Idaho native and has always loved an outdoor adventure! Growing up she spent her summers in Palisades and couldn’t wait to be out exploring nature.

She graduated from ISU with a degree in Human Resources and Training Development. A large focus was adult education but now that she has her own children she is diving into childhood education!

With two kids of her own she loves learning with other parents and helping kids grow and learn new things! She excited to be apart of Wild Beginnings!

Becky Allison

Nature Teacher- Nature Explorers (Nampa)

Becky loves spending time in the natural world with children who find so much wonder in the smallest things.  She loves the Nature Explorers classes because the caregivers get outside too and our connection to our children, the natural world, and each other is so supportive for our beautiful, wild journeys. Becky has been a Summer Camp Program Director, Kinesiology college professor and Search and Rescue Volunteer. Her experience has influenced her love and knowledge for children, caregivers and our participation with the natural world.

Heather

Nature Teacher- Nature Explorers (Boise)

Heather loves being outside with her two girls and watching them explore and challenge themselves in dynamic ways. She also loves connecting with other adults that enjoy the outdoors and prioritize wilderness time for their children. Heather is a former public school teacher and current Free Forest School facilitator.

Amanda Bustillos

Nature Teacher- Nature Explorers & Forest Preschool (Nampa) 

Amanda grew up in the Treasure Valley with her many siblings playing and being imaginative. Since a young age she has cared for and helped with children and that grew into the goal of becoming an Elementary school teacher.

After graduating with a Bachelors in Elementary Education and a certificate of teaching for English as a Second Language (ESL) she taught for a couple years down in Utah until she was blessed to stay home with her own babies.

She has been back in Idahome for four years where she was able to work at the local recreation center as a preschool teacher and have her son attend. Amanda loved having her son there, but was looking for a change to help build his confidence and resiliency before Kindergarten and found Wild Beginnings to be the perfect fit. Even better, she became a nature teacher for Wild Beginnings that fit her family’s schedule better, but more importantly she will help her two sons and others be in a wonderful program that will help them grow and learn in the best setting, nature!

Jessica Dillard

Nature Teacher – Forest Preschool (Eagle & Nampa)

Jessica was raised here in Idaho. She grew up in the countryside of Emmett.

Currently she is finishing up her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.

Teaching children is a huge passion of hers. She enjoys the beauty in expanding children’s minds and helping to let their creative nature out.

Her passion with working with children started with her first nannying job and has never stopped.

In her free time, you can find her enjoying nature with her three dogs. Hiking, camping, and fishing are some of her favorite past times.

Combining her passion of working with children, and being in nature, led her to Wild Beginnings.

Linda Thomas

Nature Teacher- Forest Preschool (Boise and Eagle)

Linda has had a love for the outdoors all of her life. She grew up a military brat living all over the country and then moved to Alaska after high school. In Alaska her love for the outdoors turned into a passion to explore, and experience all nature had to offer. She eventually made her way to college and graduated with a degree in Parks and Recreation. Her degree pushed her in the direction of environmental education, teaching for Utah State Parks, Division of Wildlife Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife services as well as several non-profit organizations. She spends her free time hiking with her family, finding a new outdoor adventure or planning activities for her kids and their friends. She loved watching her youngest child learn and grow during his first year of forest preschool and she looks forward to helping and watching the growth of others as she starts her first year with Wild Beginnings.

Emily Stoker

Nature Teacher- Forest Preschool (Boise)

Emily grew up in Meridian Idaho, spending much of her childhood outside building forts and fairy houses. Her family instilled in her a deep love of the outdoors with plenty of camping trips, as well as time spent snow skiing and dirt biking.  After high school, Emily attended Utah State University where she received her bachelors and masters degrees in biological engineering. While she loves engineering, she has focused the last several years on raising her four children. Apart from teaching them all how to ski and ride motorcycles, Emily spends much of her time organizing adventures and activities for her kids. One of their favorite family activities are their weekly hikes. She loves finding ways to make learning fun and hands-on, and is excited to be a part of Wild Beginnings.

Christina Custer

Nature Teacher- Forest Preschool & Forest Kindergarten (Eagle)

Christina started her journey with Wild Beginnings working during their Summer Camp Program. She is working her first year of Forest Kindergarten & Forest Preschool. The children flock to her and she loves running around and playing with them every chance she gets!