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Meet Graduate Naturalist Rhea Mehrkens

January 11, 2018

By Jolene Brink

Jolene is part of the Wolf Ridge marketing team. Her favorite season is the North Shore of Minnesota right about now.

Rhea Mehrkens was a Wolf Ridge Graduate Naturalist from 2009-2010.

“I can hardly believe it’s been over 10 years since immersing myself in that beautiful place. I currently live a few miles out of Northfield, Minnesota. I am a public school educator, lucky enough to be on leave for the past four years with my four-year-old and one-year-old.

Before my time at Wolf Ridge, I was an elementary teacher for nine years.  I LOVED teaching however I needed some time to step away from the formal classroom to focus my values as a teacher and learner.  I had gone to the Ridge with my students for several years, and it was always my favorite week of the entire school year. It made me curious, what would it be like to live and teach at Wolf Ridge for an entire year?

I was lucky enough to get a whole school year to answer that question. I truly feel that I transformed both personally and professionally during my time at the Ridge. Not only did it change my thoughts on teaching, but it reignited my own love of learning. I felt alive!    DISCOVERY, PLAY, POSSIBILITY: these words empowered me to return to the middle school classroom for another eight years.  The outdoors as a classroom became a normal for my students.

Today, as a full time stay-at-home parent, I cherish the time I spend outside with my kids. Sharing my passion for the outdoors is one of my favorite parts of being a mom.”