Hi! My name is Jacci Cuff and I am a returning Teaching Naturalist at Upham Woods. I grew up in Waupaca, WI, best known for the Chain O’ Lakes. I spent a lot of time outside growing up, whether it was out on one of the many lakes in Waupaca, at Hartman’s Creek State Park, Cuff’s Strawberry Farm in Hortonville, in my backyard eating the produce from the garden or helping my parents with the compost. I took the most interest in being outside learning, and it came as no surprise when I went on to Lawrence University, where I received my Bachelor of Arts in 2015 in Geology and Environmental Studies. I have had a passion for being immersed in the natural world; always questioning how plants grew, about the adaptations of animals, or how a certain outcrop of rock came to be in its place.
My interest in Environmental Education has been a slow development, but something that has been with me since I was a young child. I found that my best learning happened outside, in the field next to a rock outcrop, river, or just digging in the dirt. I am a visual learner, and Environmental Education does just that; it allows the learner to become engaged in the surrounding area, not just taking knowledge from a textbook. Environmental Education allows any learner to fully immerse themselves, to get lost and then found, and to wake up each morning appreciating what comes and goes from the Earth. At Upham, I now get to teach visiting groups about the natural world and to help ignite the passion in young kids who may also have an interest in their surrounding environment.