Clare McDonald

Cumberland Lake Park
Early Years Program
Nature Educator

Pronouns: she/her

I was blessed with being raised by parents who instilled a sense of reverence for nature and allowed us time to explore in and grow with nature. Through that time I learned how to problem solve, test my skills, expand my knowledge and learn about the interconnectedness of all living things. I could enjoy silence as well as noise, sometimes adding my own voice to the mix.

My education with nature continued into my teen years and young adult life as I volunteered at our local nature centre, helping to run workshops teaching children and youth about nature and its role in our life.

My formal education led me into child and youth care and then later into psychology, and lastly to complete the ECCE program at North Island College. In 2012 I brought my focus to personal growth and began my journey with the Yasodhara Ashram. For a year I lived at the ashram learning about yoga and, more often than not, how we can learn from being in the natural world. Many of our classes required us to find a quiet space in nature, sit quietly and observe (both our surroundings and our minds). As part of this training I was able to take on a lead position in the summer kitchen where I learned how to preserve the crops we grew and about how the garden sustained the community throughout the year. Through the Ashram I was able to combine my various educations to create a united vision and approach to teaching.