Nichole Hayden

Youth Instructor: Tree Frogs



    My nature connection started as a very young child growing up in my grandparent’s apple orchard.  I lived on the farm, and was often outside climbing the trees or playing with kittens, dogs, bunnies, or at the feet of my grandfather who was processing apples in one way or another. My favorite time was the fall harvest and cider making.  Since the beginning of my time, I was often the child that wasn’t playing the games, but sitting somewhere else away from people watching a spider weave its web or observing ants working hard bringing back crumbs and other bits of food for their colony. At White Pine we call this a sit spot.  I clearly remember being unsuccessful at trapping birds with my homemade laundry basket / string/ bait traps.  I spent hours and hours of my life as a young child wondering, observing often alone with nature.  My dad, who was not any type of outdoorsman, took us camping every summer.  It was the greatest gift he gave me.   As time passed, and I grew a family of my own, I  was eager to share the great outdoors with my own children, camping, hiking, creek stomping, observing the littlest creature and appreciating the cycle of life together. Summers are filled with camps exposing us to new skills and opportunities to try new things. I love to backpack, and the challenge of leaving comforts and adapting greater appreciation to those comforts. I have had an interest in fiber arts for a long time, weaving, felting, dyeing, and spinning fibers. I enjoy losing track of time walking slowly through the woods soaking up the smells, sounds, textures.  I am learning to go even slower and id plants, to think about how they are useful and to forage for parts that I could use.  I am currently taking classes in the Indiana Master Naturalist Program and am excited to learn even more about the natural world around us.

     I started at White Pine as a parent of a Tree Frog. It was perfect timing as life was chaotic, and the magic of experiencing the nature connection as a Village Keeper ignited a tiny ember that had always been there but was now a fire that could not be ignored. 

    My heart is full of gratitude for the opportunity to grow with the Tree Frogs and allow them the space and opportunity to be curious kids getting lost in nature.  I hope to share the wonder and magic of the forest with them, creating a life long appreciation of the natural world.