"A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood."
― Rachel Carson: Biologist, Author, Activist
Inspired creation of the Environmental Protection Agency
If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere. -Vincent Van Gogh
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” —Henry David Thoreau
Matthew Fortin : Founder. Director. Lead Teacher
Matthew's entry into the field of early childhood and nature education has been nothing short of extraordinary! About 13 years ago, during his career as a union iron worker, he sustained a life altering back injury. After years of treatments and therapy, it was clear he would never be able to return to his previous profession. He realized he would have to take a new career path and decided that no matter what it was, it had to contribute to society in a deep, lasting and meaningful way. When he asked his 5 kids what they thought he should do, he was surprised that all of them said the same thing...."You should be a teacher or a coach! Kids love you and you're so much fun!" The thought of teaching in a classroom held zero appeal for him, so he put the kids idea far in the back of his mind. Then, after talking to his wife and walking his property, he realized that he could be a teacher of a different type, and it was out of this, Timber Creek Farm and Forest School was born!
Matthews specialty is early childhood development, holistic education and compassionate communication. He is a Certified Forest School Educator, first generation organic farmer and father of 5. Through Timber Creek, he engages the children with the wonders of the forest and the fruits of the field while giving them the foundation to build their imaginations, inner resilience, character and a strong moral compass.
Matthew believes that all the experiences of his life prepared him for this ultimate and ever changing creation that is Timber Creek. Every day he gives all of his heart and soul to creating a space where young people will thrive surrounded by love, safety, understanding and the beauty of nature. In his own words, "You know how I know this life isn't real?? Because I'm livin' the dream!"
Tinneca Fortin : Co-Founder. Lead Teacher.
Tinneca is Matthew's wife and one of Timber Creek's teachers. She's an educator and nurturer at heart and has homeschooled for over 10 years. When her husband began to get excited about the idea of a nature school, she saw an incredible spark in him and she's so proud to help her husband create and grow the Timber Creek family. Her specialty is connecting with the heart of each child, building their interpersonal skills and compassionately supporting their emotional growth throughout the school year.
In addition to Timber Creek Farm and Forest, Tinneca is a mother of 5, midwife and somatic therapist. Her holistic healing arts practice serves people from all walks of life that are looking for physical, emotional and spiritual renewal. As a midwife, she is humbled to see many of the babies she has delivered come into the Timber Creek program.
Zoe Donavan: Teacher.
From the time she was little Zoe knew she wanted to be a teacher. Growing up she loved being with children and spent the years of her teens and young adulthood as a babysitter and nanny.
Deciding to take her love for kids further she went to college and worked towards a teaching degree, but after a few years in she realized being a teacher in the conventional school system was not for her. She then took a a more holistic pathway to teaching people of all ages and became a yoga teacher. She taught yoga for kids, adults and pregnant women. After 17 years she took a step back to focus on being a mom to her son, Phoenix. In the Summer of 2021, when looking for a forest school for him, a friend told her about Timber Creek and loved what she found. She inquired if they needed an assistant teacher and the rest unfolded...
In her own words: It has been my experience that it is deeply nourishing to a child's development to help them find and explore their own relationship to learning, curiosity, leadership, creativity, confidence, well-being, self-responsibility, compassion, communication and nature. I have seen how school in the outdoors does this brilliantly and seamlessly and it is an honor to witness their growth in these areas, to give them my attention, be there for them as they find their way and learn through their fresh lens. I could not think of a better way to spend my time and I am grateful for every parent that chooses to give this gift of child-led, outdoor learning to their children.
This is our family! We are blessed to have 5 awesome kids that are our inspiration. They were the first 'real' class of Timber Creek, and spent countless hours hiking and exploring nature with Matt when they were young. Now that they're older (14-19yrs) and we continuously enter new stages of parenting, we more deeply honor and appreciate the special time that childhood is. We are forever grateful for our kids being our first teachers. To be able to continue influencing the hearts and minds of the children that come to learn and grow at Timber Creek Farm and Forest is truly humbling and brings us deep joy. (A few of our kids graduated high school in 2021!)
-Matthew and Tinneca Fortin