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Teacher Mary

Substitute Teacher

I am a writer, educator, and naturalist here in Portland (by way of NYC), and I'm excited to join The Treehouse community as a substitute teacher. For the last several years, I worked as a residency teacher in the New York City public schools.

As a birder and naturalist, I've seen the ways that learning about birds, plants, ecology, and nature can be life-changing, both for myself and the folks I've worked with, and being in The Treehouse School's forest garden is an absolute joy. A few years ago, I started wondering about the street trees outside of my apartment and decided to learn what they all were. From there, I started noticing and identifying the weeds growing in the sidewalks, the sweet bird (a house finch, I later learned) plucking blooms from the cherry blossom tree outside my window, and the different delicate patterns of dragonfly wings when I visited my local wetland. I now hold an Urban Naturalist certificate from the New York Botanical Garden and am an Oregon Master Naturalist in training. The slowness and wonder of noticing the magic of the natural world has forever changed me, and I hope to share that wonder and attention with the Treehouse community.

In my years as an educator, my experiences have been both vast and rich: I have grown wheatgrass and raised butterflies with Kindergarteners, written community plays with elementary school students, created superhero stories at an honors middle school, facilitated workshops on trauma-informed teaching and birding 101 to adults, and taught urban farming in high-security youth detention centers.

When I'm not teaching, you can find me gardening and creating a backyard habitat (alongside my beloved chicken!), birding in our many wildlife sanctuaries in the Pacific Northwest, and searching for the best slice of pizza in Portland.

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