Woodland Wonders Nature Preschool offers our students the best nature-based education possible with our highly-qualified teachers. Our teachers are passionate naturalists and dedicated educators, with strong backgrounds in natural resources and the outdoors and specializing in early-childhood education concepts and techniques.
Sarah Crim, Education Director and Teacher
Sarah has been dedicated to the environmental education of young children since 2009 when she co-founded Forest Friends, an award-winning preschool program offered at the Kreher Preserve & Nature Center. The program began after she searched for an experience for her own children that engaged them with the outdoor world. She has a B.S. and M.S. in Forestry from Auburn University and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education at Auburn. She became inspired to begin a nature preschool after observing a nature preschool campus in her hometown of Nashville, TN. She has attended numerous conferences and workshops on nature-based education including working with Claire Warden at the Journeys into Nature Workshop. Sarah is first-aid certified and has had over fifteen years of experience working in the forest and over six years of professional experience working with children. She has served as the Education Director for the Kreher Preserve & Nature Center since October of 2017.
Sierra Patterson, Naturalist and Teacher
Sierra Patterson grew up in Orlando, Florida boating on the Atlantic, in the Keys and on the many inland lakes and canals with her family and because of this, her love of the outdoors and the natural environment started at a young age. As an adult, she moved to Auburn in 2007 where she met her husband who ignited her love for the mountains and forests of Alabama. They have spent nearly 12 years hiking, camping, and backpacking across the country and Alabama with their two children (16 and 3). She grew especially passionate and curious about the National Forests and wilderness areas of Alabama and all there was to learn from the wetlands to the rocky, higher terrain and all the livings things within them. While staying at home with her new baby in early 2016, she was driven to bring her personal love of the outdoors to the Auburn community and founded the local Hike it Baby branch with the sole intention of getting little ones outside on trails in a safe and supportive environment. This venture led to working with Chewacla State Park and the Kreher Preserve & Nature Center to bring educational programs to the children and their parents about our local ecology. She continues to teach programs and lead children on trail hikes as a naturalist at the Kreher Preserve. Sierra is so honored and thrilled to be able to spend her days immersed in nature with little learners as a teacher at Auburn’s first nature school! Sierra has been trained in Leave No Trace principles and Wilderness First Aid Certification.
Jennifer Lolley, Outreach Administrator and Substitute Teacher
Jennifer has served as the Outreach Administrator for the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center since 2007. She has a passion for environmental education and has taught tens of thousands of children about the wonders of the outdoors. Her favorite student currently is her grandson. Jennifer has a background in biology but is talented in a wide variety of skills from engineering to wildlife care. She currently serves on the board of the Environmental Educators of Alabama and is first aid certified.