Paige and I met in grad. school for environmental education in '05. We both graduated in '07, full of fire and passion, certain that we needed to do something creative, timely and drastic to help save the planet. But we didn't become full-time "Jeff & Paige" until '11. Between '07-'11 my work was in the capacity of Lead Instructor for Thorne Ecological Institute, which you probably know as the rebranded Thorne Nature Experience.
Thorne gave me a shot, let me do my thing. I went into countless classrooms from Longmont to Denver with bins of worms, animal skulls and model solar panels. I wrote my first curriculum and slowly learned classroom management the hard way. The staff also encouraged me to bring my guitar playing and songwriting into the schools. Songs like "Thank You Honeybee," "A Conversation Between an Entomologist and an Insect" and "Into the Alpine" were originally written to support Thorne's in-school programs.
The job also gave me my first laptop, my first benefits package, first business card, and my first experience being part of a dedicated staff for more than 3 months at a time. Leaving Thorne and my colleagues who were like family in '11 to pursue a full-time, fully unchartered career as a kids' musician was painful, somewhat akin to a breakup.
Now nearly a decade later I've lost the benefits package but maintained the working partnership with many of my old colleagues at Thorne. Paige and I get to partner with Thorne staff to put on big events like Spring and Fall Fest as well as our 3rd year of Jeff & Paige summer camp with Thorne at the helm. And next year our son Wolf will finally be old enough to attend summer camp.
Paige and I create lots of little sparks and first glimpses into the world of environmental education. The work we do helps to pave the way for organizations like Thorne to go deeper in the super fun and super rewarding work of connecting kids to nature. For instance, did you know that Thorne is midway through year one as Boulder County’s first and so far only fully licensed nature-based preschool?
Thorne’s summer camps are open for registration – check them out! (https://thornenature.org/summer-camp/)
And remember, Jeff & Paige fans can always use promo code "J&PFRIENDS" for 10% off any Thorne summer camp experience.