Preston Larimer

As a child, I would play along a birch-lined creek in Northeastern Ohio. I would catch toads and salamanders, and hike with my Golden Nature Guides, learning all that I could about the birds, trees, and wildflowers. One day bulldozers came, and an apartment complex and shopping mall were built where my white birches once stood. The company had problems, and the apartments sat for a couple years partially finished, looking like a bombed out warzone. In a few years, there was no green space left where I once found scarlet tanagers and tiger salamanders. I began to see the devastating effect that man could have on nature.

Many years later, I’ve become more aware of the increasing divide between young people and nature, as spoken of in Richard Louv’s book, “The Last Child in the Woods.” I have dedicated my life to closing that gap.

My work in experiential education started in the 1970’s teaching in a small, alternative high school in Maine. Now after well over 20 years of teaching and 10 years in business, I find myself back teaching in another small, alternative high school. I love to teach in intimate settings, using project-based and inquiry-based learning.

I have led numerous trips for high school students, in as varied locations as New York City, to cave kayaking in the rainforests of Belize. I have realized that these times are the purest of educational experiences, and have gotten accustomed to students letting me know how these trips ‘changed their lives,’ while actually, it became clear that I was facilitating the development of a broadened worldview through the immersion into various cultures.

Education

  • BA Biology/Secondary Education—Principia College, IL
  • M. of Agriculture—Wildlife Science with an emphasis in Conservation Education—Texas A&M University
  • Graduate work through U. of California, Davis at the Teton Science School
  • Christian Science Class Instruction

Professional Experience

  • Naturalist and Wildlife Rehabilitator—Ft. Worth Nature Center and Refuge, TX
  • Teacher—Tatnic Hill School for Environmental Studies, Kennebunk, ME
  • Program Director and Director of Outdoor Education—Crystal Lake Camps, PA
  • Co-owner and President—Willoughby Coal & Supply Co., OH
  • Instructor of Biology—Principia College, IL
  • Instructor and Fly Fishing Guide, Streamside Adventures, MO and WY
  • Science Department Head—Principia Upper School, MO
  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology and Natural Resources, teaching Online—Principia College, IL

Additional Experience and Recognitions

  • Studied abroad in Australia, SE Asia; Interned at USEPA, Washington, DC, researching energy issues
  • Led Student trips in Maine, NYC, British Virgin Islands, and 6 trips to Belize, C.A.
  • Selected as a NOAA Teacher-at-Sea in the Gulf of Alaska as a visiting scientist on the R/V Miller Freeman
  • Served on Resource Advisory Boards for Trout Unlimited, Washington DC; and Lake Metroparks, OH
  • Certified as a Teacher Facilitator in Project Wet, Project WILD, and Project Learning Tree; and a Certified Educator in the Leopold Education Project
  • 11 years as assistant wrestling coach at Principia School
  • New Teacher Mentor at Principia School
  • Member—National Marine Educators Association, Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education