About the Bloggers

Erin Boehme grew up freely exploring the pastures, creeks and high deserts of the Eastern Sierras, this is where she truly learned about early childhood. Her passion to work with children and families in and through our natures wonders has led her on a journey into teaching. While studying early childhood education and child development, Erin worked as a Public Project Coordinator at Kidspace Museum in Pasadena. In 2000, Erin traveled to Italy to study in the Reggio Emilia Municipal Schools and returned to Santa Barbara to teach preschool and mentor student teachers at Santa Barbara City College Children's Center, volunteer for Wilderness Youth Project and assist a speech pathologist. 
Erin has been living in Santa Barbara for 18 years and currently serves on the board for True Nature Society.  Erin is teacher extraordinaire fir the kindergarten class at Wild Roots Forest School.  She is mentored by her 2 young children every day and still runs barefoot exploring in nature.

 Lia Grippo has been an early childhood educator since 1989, serving Santa Barbara area families since 1991.  In that time Lia has worked in a variety of settings including preschools and kindergartens, parent co-ops, and wilderness education programs.  Using the arts of storytelling, poetry, movement, color, and play, Lia is dedicated to helping children and families develop their powers of imagination, and through these powers discovering their relationship with all of life.  Lia is the grateful mother of two tree climbing boys, a parent educator, storyteller, and aspiring naturalist.  She is also the preschool teacher and founding director of Wild Roots Forest School and operates Seedlings, a Waldorf-inspired mixed age kindergarten.

Kelly Villarruel grew up in Santa Barbara and has an intimate knowledge and love of our area.  With a background in early childhood education, she has worked in both preschool and home, day care settings for close to 20 years.  Kelly has been a massage therapist since 1989 and was an instructor at a local massage school where she focused on bringing awareness skills into daily life. She also holds a degree in Environmental Horticulture with an emphasis on restoration and regeneration. Kelly is senior staff with the Wilderness Youth Project where she is thrilled to find an environment to combine her passions for children, nature, and awareness skills.  She is currently the lead mentor for Wilderness Youth Project's preschool program, Chickadees.