Drew Harwell Director, Lead After-school Mentor, and Lead Summer Camp Mentor
Drew Harwell is the founder and director of Pathfinders Nature Mentoring. He is a nature awareness and Permaculture mentor with over 26 years of experience working with children, teens and adults in nature and garden settings. As a child, he spent a lot of time exploring the Foothills and Baylands of Palo Alto, as well as gardening at the community garden behind the main library with his family. At the age of 17 he spent a month backpacking in the Wind River Wilderness of Wyoming with the National Outdoor Leadership School. Those experiences nurtured his passions and planted the seeds for his career.
His style of mentoring is to help students explore nature through their individual passions and creativity. He uses experiential activities, storytelling, songs and the art of questioning to inspire curiosity in others in developing their relationship with the natural world. Whether he is working in the garden or wandering in the hills, he loves to connect people to the healing powers of nature. He has a BA from Prescott College in Environmental Restoration and was trained in nature awareness and regenerative design at the Regenerative Design Institute. He is a lecturer in the Stanford Graduate School of Education, where he mentors Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) teacher candidates in garden education for elementary schools. He has worked as a guide and mentor for the Exploring a Sense of Place program, Tender Tracks and the Riekes Center. He is the former manager of the Common Ground Demonstration Garden and the Stanford Community Farm. He loves to spend family time with his wife and two children exploring the foothills, baylands and local creeks.
Teresa Gonsoski Lead Preschool Mentor (M-F)
Teresa Gonsoski is an early childhood educator with over fifteen years of experience working with children zero through five years. Born and raised in San Francisco, she loved playing in the small wild spaces of her neighborhood, including Ocean Beach, the nearby grassy hill below the reservoir, and her backyard. It was also where she learned she loved working with young children, when in high school, she volunteered at the preschool she had attended as a child, Sunset Nursery Co-op.
She truly developed a love for the outdoors after spending several years exploring the redwoods in Santa Cruz and discovering the joys of car camping. This eventually led to becoming a volunteer backpacking trip leader for the Sierra Club, as well as organizing campouts for families and backpacking trips for adults with Trails Together. In the meantime, she also began working in the child care field, with an emphasis on the outdoors, creating "yes" environments, and allowing children to take risks. She shares her passion for working with children as faculty at Foothill College, teaching with the Teacher Pipeline Program.
Teresa has a BA in Art History from UC Santa Cruz and a Masters in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College. She is Wilderness First Aid certified. She is excited that she gets to be in nature with children every day with Pathfinders. In her spare time, she continues to enjoy the outdoors as a hiker, trail runner, backpacker, and gourmet campout chef. She lives in the redwoods near Skyline Blvd., with her husband and two cats.
Kelsey Shaw Preschool Mentor (M-F)
Kelsey is an early childhood educator with ten years of experience working with children zero to six years old. Born and raised in San Jose she loved exploring the Northern California coastline and forests. October days building sand bridges at Rio Del Mar beach, summer evenings catching frogs in the Yosemite area and chilly mornings exploring her family’s dairy farm along the Oregon border all engrained a deep reverence for the natural world in her heart.
In the past few years Kelsey’s connection to nature has deepend and grown through experiences traveling and exploring the historical sites in India, the countryside in England and waterfalls in Bali, learning about medicinal plants and car camping with her black lab Ritter. She has worked in childcare field over the last ten years as a nanny, aupair, summer camp art teacher and more with an emphasis on social emotional support, community centered connection and child led play. She strives to hold loving space for authentic human experience, relationships and exploration of the natural world.
Kelsey has a B.S. in Liberal Studies from San Jose State University and a 500 Hour Yoga Certification from Ashtak Yoga School in Goa, India. In her spare time she enjoys teaching and practicing yoga, singing in choir, spending time at her family’s cabin in Groveland, CA and hiking with her dog. She currently lives in the heart of San Jose and aspires to live in a community setting closer to nature in the future.