Summer Program

Summer Program.

Posted in JOY for Adventure, JOY for Fun, JOY for Learning, Summer Program | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


There is nothing more satisfying, and professionally confirming, than having the parents of my students, and my students, take it upon themselves to promote my work! Over the past 15 years I’ve taught all grade levels, all subjects, in public and private schools, and all for one purpose: bringing fun and joy into children’s learning environment.

Below are testimonials I’ve received from students, parents and colleagues:

Mary, Thank you for a wonderful, magical year with Ella and her buddies. You are her best bud – she loved having you as her teacher! Thanks for venturing into this Waldkinder adventure with us – your generosity + creativity were greatly appreciated.” Lots of Love, The Klingelhebers.


Ella has a heart of gold!

Mary, you have been such a wonderful addition to our lives. Kinley has had an amazing time with you. Thank you for everything!” Love, Lisen, Todd, Kinley and Elleree


Kinley belts out one of her songs of joy

Mary, Not sure what we will do without you. Ashton will have so many memories from his Waldkinder days. We are so thankful for the love, energy, and commitment you have given Ashton.” Love, Lynn, Steve and Ashton


Ashton demonstrates his strength.

“Attention Carbondale Parents!! Just sharing this info about a fabulous summer camp possiblity and after school program for your kiddos. Miss Mary has been Dylans Waldkinder teacher this past year and she is beyond incredible. Kids love her and she leads the best adventures! You are the best & we love you!”                                                Donna Lambert Riley, May 2015


Dylan shows loves his love for mom on mother’s day, 2015

A transcript of a FB messaging conversation provided by my prior Carbondale Middle School student:
3:18 PM me: You ROCKED this weekend Kevin! Thanks for helping out at Mt. Fair. I hope you had a great time, and I hope YOU or Amaranda win the bike!
3:20 PM Kevin: You’re welcome Ms.Russell. And thank you for getting me involved in the fair. If it wasn’t for you I would have never known. I had a fabulous time.
3:21 PM me: AHH!! Thanks. With that comment, would you be willing to write that in a little “recommendation” letter? I’m collecting testimonials from students and parents about me as a teacher and community leader.
3:22 PM Kevin: Yeah sure.
3:23 PM me: Thanks. If you could make sure to include your name, address, phone number and email address, I’d appreciate it. Do you and Amaranda have any plans tomorrow, from 12-2:30pm? If not, do you want to come visit me at KDNK during my radio show?
3:25 PM Kevin: I would love to!!! But I don’t know if Amaranda can or wants to.
3:27 PM me: Well, then you come on over and you can help pick out music. The genre is “Funk, soul, african and world”…so, that means almost anything. I show up around 11:00 to start looking for the music. Come whenever you can.
3:28 PM Kevin: Alright. But about the recommendation letter, how do I do it?
3:29 PM me: Do you have Microsoft Office?
 Kevin: No.
3:30 PM me: Do you have a gmail account?
 Kevin: Yes
 me: Do you know how to open a Google Doc?
3:31 PM Kevin: Yes
3:32 PM me: Create a Google Document for the letter, then share it with me. Do you know how to share documents with other users?
 Kevin: No but I will try
3:34 PM me: After you open a new Google Doc, give it a title, like “Ms. Russell recommendation”. Then, click on the “Share” box, on the upper right hand corner of the document, and look at the bottom of the box that opens up. It’ll ask you to enter the email address of people you want to share the document with. Just type my email address,, in the box, then “SAVE”.
3:36 PM Kevin: Oh ok. Seems pretty easy.
 me: On another subject, do you remember all the shifts you and Amaranda worked? I want to update the Google Doc to include all of your shifts.
 Kevin: Yes
3:37 PM me: Give it a try, and I’ll be online all afternoon since I’m working on some online classes. Send me your times in an email, and I’ll update the spreadsheet. Thanks!@
3:38 PM Kevin: Do I do two Google docs then? One for the shifts and the other for the letter?
3:39 PM me: No. Send me a regular email for the shifts. Make a google doc for the letter.
 Kevin: Oh oh, ok.
 me: I’m signing off of my desktop, and will be back online on my laptop in about an hour. Let me know if you need any help.
3:40 PM Kevin: Ok thanks,
 me: You’re welcome!

July 30, 2012 Kevin Morales, prior 5th Grade student at Carbondale Middle School

Posted in JOY for Adventure

Cabin Fever in Sunny Colorado!

Anyone who has ever spent time in Colorado, winter, spring, summer or fall, knows the sun shines relentlessly! It’s crazy to imagine getting cabin fever when it’s so sunny out and the temperatures hover between 30 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. But, I think I have cabin fever!


I do live in a little, cozy, fabulous bungalow with my cat Luna in the middle of a field and next to a river. I get plenty of natural light, get outside to play with my students for three days every week, and have plenty of time to spend outdoors on my days off.


I get plenty of personal time alone, reading, watching movies, listening to NPR shows, and making art. I volunteer as a DJ on my local public radio station, KDNK, and as an usher at The Wheeler Opera House in Aspen. I have a few close friends with whom I spend quality time with. So, why do I have cabin fever?

Two years ago I decided to downsize, work less, spend less, and play more. My play relies on being creative by not spending a lot of money. What I’ve realized is I am not making JOY in my life that is exciting to me. I haven’t taken a Journey Out Yonder since a short trip I took last summer, to Joyful Journey Hotsprings Resort.

Road trips bring me JOY! I’m ready for one, and know my cabin fever will disappear once I hit the road, listening to music, seeing new or familiar sites, and meeting new people.


What JOY will you add to your life to stave off cabin fever?

Posted in JOY for Adventure

Autumn in Colorado (a Vermont gal is still impressed!)

I was born and raised in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont (the NEK as we call it). I’ve lived, worked and played in Colorado and Wyoming for the past 23 years. Although I still believe no other place rivals Vermont in the fall – and in so many other ways – I do get star struck as I drive through the mountains, valleys and plains of Colorado during the fall. This scene in Vermont is astounding, it’s true. It makes me long for my home state during the fall season. 10417567_10152511920497408_6319747171422604861_n Courtesy of Marc Plourde, Vermont Instead, I take a drive to places nearby, to get my foliage fix. I recently took a Journey Out Yonder up and over Grand Mesa. She presented a spectacular display of autumn Aspen color. DSC_0022 DSC_0023 A landslide of color. DSC_0029 The Crystal River Valley has another week or two before it peaks. DSC_0027 DSC_0020 Foliage framed by dark conifers. DSC_0017 Brilliant oranges pop! DSC_0016 Grand Mesa, the largest flat top mountain in North America, exudes brilliance. DSC_0013 Reach to the sky! DSC_0010 Be like a fall Aspen tree…stand tall, and proud. DSC_0009 Aspens stand atop basalt boulders. DSC_0005 A pallet of red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. DSC_0004 A touch of dark, green pines and brilliant blue sky provides contrast. DSC_0003 Yellows dominate. DSC_0002 A touch of red reminds me of my VT home. DSC_0001 Some trees, just like people, resist change.

Posted in JOY for Adventure | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Words to Inspire

I’m reading E.O. Wilson’s book, Biophilia, for the first time. I have biophilia: the innate tendency to focus on life and life-like processes.


A tide pool to explore, in San Diego, CA.

Wilson’s book are his thoughts on humans, and our connection with other life forms and each other, on Earth.





Last night I read a most inspirational quote, a memorial tribute to Hermann Minkowski, by Daivd Hilbert, about the “…perpetual cycle with gentle botanic images”. His words speak volumes about why I do what I do, why I say what I say, and why I teach the way I do.

“Our Science, which we loved above everything, had brought us together. It appeared to us as a flowering garden. In this garden there were wellworn paths where one might look around at leisure and enjoy oneself without effort, especially at the side of a congenial companion. But we also liked to seek out hidden trails and discovered many an unexpected view which was pleasing to our eyes; and when the one pointed it out to the other, and we admired it together, our JOY was complete.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Tom Wessels and Aimee Ostensen

A trail in the forest, in Vermont.

Posted in JOY for Adventure

Summertime in Colorado, and Beyond

I’ve taken some short and long journeys out yonder since my last posting. Here are a few photos of the JOY I experienced with people in special places:

Panther Creek, in Shoup, Idaho


Panther Creek Hotsprings


Two brothers heading for breakfast


My sister Marty gifting me a Mother Chuckar’s t-shirt


My traveling companion Luna


Geology of the west never disappoints




The valleys and plains are nothing but magnificent!






The wild horses of the west are a sight to be seen





Back home again

DSC_0284 DSC_0285

Sammy and I shared our love of Crested Butte and Gothic with our dear friend Diana and her new love, Ziggy!









New friends from Denver




Posted in JOY for Adventure | 3 Comments

Spring Has Sprung…Get On Out There and Have Fun!

It’s baseball season! My father was a player and a fan, as well as a lover of everything wild. He passed away two years ago, the day before Earth Day, listening to his wife and three other women talking about the Colorado Rockies, as he lay peacefully at home. Our most memorable times together were attending baseball games and taking road trips.

He knew how much I loved to explore, and joined in on some of my trips.

He left this life with a smile on his face, just like the one I captured above on our trip to visit the Wild Animal Sanctuary, in Keenesbury, Colorado.




He wore his new baseball themed Keep Your Fork Kit proudly!


A tiger at the Wild Animal Sanctuary soaking in the cool water, in the warm sun.


Evening games at Coors Field, with the sunsets, are spectacular!

Celebrate spring in the Rockies by getting outside, alone or with friends and family, to enjoy all the world has to offer.



In Maybell, a town in Northwestern Colorado, cowboys move a herd of wild horses to greener pastures.



No matter how old, a day in the desert will sooth your soul.

As the days get warmer, the snow melts and the ground softens.

This is a great time to get outside and hunt for natural treasures. Lee Mestas turned his love of rocks into a business, when he opened High Country Rock & Gems, in Glenwood Springs.

He no longer owns the store, but he still hunts for rocks.



There are a lot of opportunities to put your love of the outdoors to good use, for others.

Protecting the Greater Canyonlands is a cause worth contributing to.


Is there something you really care a lot about?


Do you have a favorite hobby in the outdoors?



A match made in heaven!

Sometimes it’s easier, and more fun, to get outside and enjoy a walk or a bike ride with a dog.

My friend Anne takes her dog for a ride on the beach in Florida.

He enjoys this as much as running, and she gets a bit more exercise with his added weight.



Do you know a dog who needs a walk?

Have you considered offering to walk your neighbor’s dog, or volunteering at the local animal shelter? The Roaring Fork Valley has a very special place for homeless animals.

Consider donating or volunteering at Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE).



Learn something new that will take you to beautiful places, like the Maroon Bells. 

I recently won a free, half-day fly fishing lesson by renewing my membership to the Wilderness Workshop.

Since I live on the Roaring Fork River, I’ll take full advantage of this lesson. The Carbondale Recreation Center offers year-round recreation lessons and activities for youth.

Learn now, and enjoy these activities for a lifetime!



There’s nothing better on a hot day than soaking in cool water, with friends.

I’ve explored a little bit of the Roaring Fork River I live near, and have found a couple swimming holes.

Be safe, and stay out of the river currents.

And, never go alone! It’s always more fun with friends!



Take a walk in the woods with your mother.

Spending time with your family, in the outdoors, offers an opportunity to connect with loved ones in new ways.

Leave the iPod and iPhone at home.

Bring some water and a snack, wear a hat, and take a slow stroll while getting to know each other better.

It’s never to late to reconnect with those you love, and doing it outside, with few distractions will make it more meaningful.

Enjoy your spring!


Posted in Plan a Journey Out Yonder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment