Forest School Mentor
Melissa Bell has been a WildWise Mentor since 2019. With strengths in community connection, implementation, and as a compassionate conversationalist, the teaching of WildWise’s core curriculum of awareness, kindness and respect, gifts Melissa an opportunity to continually mentor students in achieving life skills, presence of place through nature connection and the importance of exploration, observation and the power of learning that helps bring balance to the human dynamic in individual and mixed-aged settings.
Prior to WildWise, Melissa was a dedicated stay at home mama for Vayu and Sequoia who are, in turn, the directional beacons that lead her to becoming a part of the WildWise Family. Melissa’s strengths, as an employee and mentor, are cultivated from a life of vast experiences. She was born in Southeast Florida with strong roots in New England. Growing up between the Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean with occasional seasonal travel, Melissa got an early taste for adventure and enjoyed experiencing the uniqueness of people and place.
Raised in a family of educators, Melissa knew from a young age there was something about creating intentional space and helping others. She has always found herself in jobs of service, with her most influential being an elementary school custodian for consecutive summers from age 14 through high school.
Solid work ethic is foundational for Melissa, as well as firm handshakes, eye contact and PLAY, and she credits a lot of her upbringing for exemplifying this.
Her deep appreciation for the human experience is derived from limitless mentors in her life, grit & gratitude, laughter & tears, travel, living various places, exposure to different cultures, working on a family run orchard, body surfing and free diving, breathwork and slack-lining, over 2 decades of studying and practicing, leading and teaching yoga, harnessing the art of listening, mamahood, relationships, Rites of Passage apprenticeship, aspiring Wilderness guide work, spiritual voyaging, alone time, a current, integrative journey with family illness and THIS WORK that she has been both invited and called to.
In Melissa’s ever becoming, she has learned that understanding comes from experience, finding relatable, repetitive moments with children create openings, that teaching to learn is learning to teach, there is value in stillness and in leading by example and when our children demonstrate integrity: kindness, awareness, respect, honest effort (over outcome), trustworthiness, humility and self regulation/care, compliments make a magical difference.