We know that there may be no more important element of Wilderland than the people who staff our learning community. We have searched far and wide and have had countless conversations with our community about what attributes and qualifications would bring Wilderland's philosophies to life. We are more than thrilled to have Miriam join our team as the Founding Lead Guide! We are still hiring our second guide, so if you are interested, please drop us a line.
Miriam has taught children in various capacities for 20 years, having worked five years at University of Utah’s Red Butte Gardens as a Youth Education Specialist, two years as a Youth Educator at the Natural History Museum of Utah, and volunteered at Salt Lake City’s first nature-based preschool Wonderbloom (inspired by European forest schools). In addition to her significant experience in nature-based childhood education, she has also dedicated substantial time to coordinate and raise awareness of hyperlocal food initiatives led by the Wasatch Community Gardens and the Red Acre Center and Farm.
The Board met Miriam Eriksson this summer, when she cofounded and facilitated Utah’s first regenerative farm camp (it was sold out!) at Argyle Acres. She dazzled kids and adults alike with her exuberant and warm personality, enthusiasm for natural ecosystems and biodiversity, and well-informed takes on all things childhood development. She is a parent of two and a microbe farmer, and has been sharing her family’s journey of holistic, primal health on her popular Instagram account. Miriam draws inspiration for her magical persona from Steve Irwin, Mary Poppins, and Ms. Frizzle.
Ericka has worked in education for 13 years, and recently spent seven of those as the Head of the Art Department and Art Educator at Huntsville’s Waypoint Academy, the anxiety residential treatment center for adolescent boys. She is thrilled to apply her holistic, therapeutic arts instruction—and self-directed, interdisciplinary, creative studio approach!—to the younger children at Wilderland.
Before Waypoint, she was an Art Educator and Head of the Art Department at Orion Junior High in Harrisville, UT for six years. She graduated from Weber State University with a B.S. in Art Composite. She also contributes significantly to the fabric of our community, having been a Board Member for the vibrant local non-profit Nurture the Creative Mind, a special effects makeup artist for the legendary Fear Factory, and an art judge for the Ogden Nature Center.
Ericka considers herself a passionate creator first, adventurer second and friend of animals everywhere third. Ericka is a native Utahn with a deep love for creating shared and collective experiences for others to unleash their inner talents.
Our Administrative Team
Our Board and other founding team members are 100% volunteer, and we pay tuition just like any other family in the community. Some might think we're a little extreme to dedicate significant amounts of time building a new educational environment—and for no ulterior financial benefit! But extreme times call for extreme measures. We are building this learning community for our own kids as well as many others in our community who are stagnating or withering amid outmoded and restrictive educational paradigms.
Shanan has been teaching with Montessori methods for two decades throughout northern Utah, from one-room schoolhouses in rural communities to our region’s very own Maria Montessori Academy in North Ogden. With 5 years of early childhood teaching experiences, 9 years of elementary, and 3 years in middle school, Shanan has shepherded children through the most formative years of childhood. She even taught for 4 years at the Ogden Valley Montessori school that operated right here in Eden 20 years ago!
Inspired by the modern and nature-based update on elementary education we are ushering in with Wilderland, Shanan has signed on to consult us on how to entice and inspire academic progress in a Montessori-like, freedom-based environment. We are so grateful for her guidance as she helps us set up proven and engaging exploratory environments for self-directed learning.
Director of Operations
Nicole graduated from BYU with a degree in humanities: art history. She has a diverse background with non-profit organizations and entrepreneurship. She worked at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, co-founded Antho—an interactive personal history app, and volunteered for the HER Foundation as a mentor for women suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. She currently works as a Youth Mentor at Waypoint Academy, a residential anxiety treatment center for teenagers in Huntsville.
As the parent of a twice-neurodivergent child, Nicole knows intimately the challenges that parents face when their child doesn't fit into the public school model of education. She is a passionate advocate for nature-based mental health solutions and loves all things outdoors.
Director of Special Projects
It truly takes a village to bring a learning environment like Wilderland together. So much of what we love about Wilderland wouldn't be possible without some of our greatest supporters out in the educational field!
Emeritus Board Member
Allison has 20 years of education policy experience. She has worked for multiple non-profits locally and nationally, including as Executive Director of Education Opportunity for Every Child, which spearheaded the successful passage of Utah Fits All this past winter in the state legislature. She has also been the Development Director at Utah Association of Public Charter Schools and Development Manager at Sutherland Institute.
Allison also has experience working within schools, as a Vice Principal at a charter high school and at a private school that educated dropout students across the country. Allison is known for her ability to grow things from the bottom up, and is driven to help every child love their education.
Allison's parents grew up in Ogden Valley, and has rich ties throughout the community. She has five children, each of whom has vastly different education needs.
Ian brings over 25 years of advising, investment, venture capital, entrepreneurship, and strategic consulting experience, with a primary interest in the health & wellness, real estate/community building, and high physical and social impact arenas. Ian and his wife Courtney are the proud parents of Lauryn (14) and Ashton (9) and are currently building intentional living communities in Utah, Costa Rica, and New Zealand.
Today, Ian spends his business-facing time as a thinking and accountability partner for driven entrepreneurs and small business owners, experts and thought leaders, devoted parents, and impactivists. He helps them get more of what they want out of life through frameworks, systems, strategies and tools that increase mental, physical, and financial performance.
In addition to a sizable anonymous donation to help us get our educational community started, Wilderland is a proud recipient of the VELA Education Micro Grant.