The people who bring our program to life

Karyssa Tilden aka Miss Ryss

Founder/Director & Nature Teacher - Forest Preschool


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/ Administrator

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 WildRoots team and teach, it felt like the perfect fit. She is so excited to see you in her outdoor classroom!

Alison Lehrman

Director of Caregivers and Me

Nature Teacher - Boise Location

Alison was raised in a small farming community in northern Washington where her love for the outdoors was cultivated. As a little girl, Alison played hide and seek with the barn animals, made mud pies, and climbed trees. Fast forward several years where Alison majored in History with an emphasis on Secondary Education and minored in Dance Education. After moving to Boise Alison became the director of a before and after school learning center where she tutored elementary students in their academics. Alison is no stranger to outdoor education she has worked as a nature leader through Tinkergarten. You can often find Alison hiking on the weekends in and around the Boise foothills with her family, and during the weekdays she is homeschooling her preschooler. Alison looks forward to coupling her love of immersive nature play with her formal background in teaching.

Nicole Buell

Director of Nature Babies

Nature Teacher - Boise Location

Nicole was raised in Central California where her family spent most summers camping and hiking in the surrounding National Parks. Her love of children grew through helping in her younger brothers and cousins kindergarten classes over several years. She went on to become a nanny for several different families and continued to enjoy watching children learn. Nicole moved to North Idaho (a state with 4 seasons!) in the summer of 2018 and spent most weekends outdoors hiking with her husband and dog, learning to ski, and picking huckleberries as often as possible!

She earned her Early Childhood Montessori Diploma and became a Montessori preschool teacher in the Coeur d’Alene area.

Nicole has also spent time as a toddler dance teacher, and a certified Group Fitness Instructor (Jazzercise and Barre) and understands how fundamental movement is for the development of children’s minds and bodies.

Nicole is married to her best friend Cody, and together they have a 4 month old daughter Emerson and their German Shepherd Oakley. They moved to the Boise area last year and are excited to get to see what beautiful adventures the Treasure Valley has to offer!

Staci Lyn Knox

Director of Education

Nature Teacher - Caregivers and Me & Nature Babies

Nampa Location

Staci Knox has been working with children and families for over ten years. She has a degree in Child Development with an emphasis on Early Childhood Education, a preschool teacher certification, and is a certified childbirth and lactation educator. Staci is passionate about educating families about gentle parenting and supporting families with new babies and toddlers. Her 2.5 year old daughter is her greatest joy and she loves seeing the world through her eyes. In order to truly connect with young children one must connect with their inner child, and Staci embraces every bubble and bug that enables her to bond with the young children she works with!"

Emily Colley

Community Outreach Coordinator

Nature Teacher - Nature Babies

Boise Location

Emily was born and raised in Southern California. She grew up playing with her sister in the mud, making banana leaves into jewelry and flower petals into soup.

Emily attended California State University Stanislaus on a full music scholarship. She is a classically trained vocalist, performing in operas to jazz groups. She camped for the first time in college, and fell in love.

After graduating, she moved to Utah. While in Utah, Emily found a passion for special education. She worked one on one with students with multiple disabilities, specifically deaf-blindness.

Emily moved from Utah to Mountain Home AFB, Idaho where her husband is currently stationed. She is married to her high school sweetheart, and they have a son named Ezra who was born in March 2020. Their family now lives in Boise with their two cats.

Emily enjoys hiking with her son on her back, usually once or twice a week. Getting outside was an important part of Emily's post partum journey, and she wants to inspire other moms to do the same. She seeks to make nature accessible to all families and encourage connection with each other.

Jessie Hopkins

Nature Teacher - Nature Babies

Eagle Location

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 WildRoots!

Sophia Fitch

Nature Teacher - Nature Babies

Boise Location

Sophia is an Idaho native that has always had a love for the outdoors. She loves that nature has the ability to help us slow down and realign.

She has always sought out opportunities to work with children - as an after school tutor, coach for girls on the run, helping with summer reading programs, volunteering in classrooms, and working in a preschool. Her greatest passion in life is being a mother.

Sophia is excited to help other mothers and caregivers create lasting memories with their little ones in her Nature Babies class.

Maddie Gervais

Nature Teacher - Forest Preschool

Eagle Location

Maddie Gervais grew up traveling around the country as a military brat. She’s seen everything from the snowy cold Alaska winters to the beautiful Lake Michigan in Michigan and the hot summery weather in Florida. No matter where they lived, her dad would take her out exploring in nature and stargazing. Maddie would even study animal encyclopedias as a child as her fascination with animals grew. As a child, she told everyone she would go to China to be a Panda researcher. As she grew older, she realized she also had a passion for guiding kids and giving them healthy role models. After getting a job at the Kalamazoo Nature Center for their summer camp program and shadowing their nature preschool, she realized she could combine her love of nature with children. She’s continuing her journey to become a nature school teacher, almost completely with her bachelors in psychology with an emphasis in children and adolescents. She plans to continue her teaching education training to help teach kids in a nature setting.

Jessica Dillard

Nature Teacher - Forest Preschool

Eagle Location

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 WildRoots.

Jessie Clarke

Nature Teacher - Forest Preschool

Eagle Location

Jessie has a passion for nature and assisting others to engage with it. She loves working with children (inspired by her own mom who works at an elementary school!) and has experience in childcare and education in various settings.

Jessie has her degree in Sociology and is currently receiving her Associate Teaching Certificate for Early Childhood Education. She has been a behavior technician for children with autism. She has also been a service coordinator for adults with disabilities. Jessie has enjoyed her time in social services and hopes to continue integrating this knowledge while working with more children.

Dancing and getting the wiggles out is one of her favorite activities! She also loves hiking, traveling, art, and all-around adventure. She hopes to help foster development so children can be their best selves. Jessie believes that programs like WildRoots are the future of education and she’s excited to be part of the movement!

Nicole Prassinos

Nature Teacher - Caregiver & Me

Eagle Location -

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.

Nicoles love for children started when she was 9 and she was relegated as the kid who was in charge of the other children in her large family. This went on until friends and family members started having children and the cycle started over. Leading children around outdoors has been a part of her life for many years.

Nicole has been back living in Idaho for the past 5 years and spends the majority of her time outdoors with her 3 year old Josephine and 6 year old Julian.

Currently Nicoles days are spent outdoors with her children, friends children and the child that she nannies. 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 Teacher - Caregiver & Me

Eagle Location

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 WildRoots. She believes the community at WildRoots 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! ⁣