Dorothy VARNER

Dorothy VARNER

Outdoor Educator | Dragons Assistant Teacher

Dorothy has been with us since we first opened our doors, leading an extended specialty every Friday afternoon. In 2021-2022, Dorothy is going deep into nature with the students every day as part of our Outdoor Education program. In addition to exploring our five-acres of pristine forest, Dorothy teaches students how to build forts, tend fires, paint snow, tie knots, and even make their own maple syrup. The children come in from a day with Dorothy red cheeked and buoyed from convening with nature. Dorothy will also assist the Dragons in the mornings, and is mother to Ronan and Cavan.

After graduating Clark University with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Geography, I worked to pair my love of travel, nature and adventure with employment opportunities with myriad exciting experiential education organizations. I spent time teaching about the endangered Orca pods off the coast of the San Juan Islands, led sustainability-focused trips to Costa Rica, and organized and led science/culture-based trips to the tundra in the Canadian arctic. Drawn to deepening my relationships with students and communities, I spent a few years at Sarah Lawrence College organizing service learning opportunities, and alternative spring break trips for students in Yonkers, NY. I completed a masters degree in humanistic and multicultural education from SUNY New Paltz in 2014. This program helped solidify my commitment to environmental education as an act of social justice. In addition to facilitating the MWS Outdoor Education program, I am currently the environmental educator for the Esopus Creek Conservancy, and facilitates afterschool and summer programming for both the Saugerties and Kingston Boys and Girls Club.

I am wildly grateful for the opportunity of continued adventures outdoors with the extraordinary children of the Middle Way School! We’ve created an outdoor classroom in the woods, shaded and protected by the hemlocks, pines and maples together.