Guiding your connection to nature
Co-Founder, BOD President
When Kate is not working with leaders throughout the state of West Virginia through her role at Leadership West Virginia, she spends free time in nature hiking, running, biking, climbing, camping, swimming, snowboarding, cross-country skiing or searching for mushrooms and fauna with her adventure-seeking family. She has a deep love of quiet snowy days and the magical sound of peepers on early summer mornings.
Kate was formally educated at West Virginia Wesleyan College where she earned a B.A. and continued on to George Washington University to earn a M.P.S. Kate is a Tinkergarten leader, a certified philanthropic fundraiser, and a Level 2 Certified Kripalu Mindful Outdoor Guide. However, she credits her real education from the time spent in the Appalachian Mountains. Kate enjoys meeting and working with children and families in the North Central region of West Virginia as they deepen their love and connection with nature!
Valerie Hart Warner
Co-Founder, BOD Vice-President
Valerie grew up adventuring in the wild wonderful woods of West Virginia. She ventured away from home to pursue a Bachelors in Chemistry at WV Wesleyan College and a Masters of Forensic Science at George Washington University.
After working in the forensic science field for 13 years and growing her family by two wild kids, she felt the pull to come back home and lead a simpler life with more nature and more connectedness.
Now as the Co-Founder of Wonder & Grow, a Level 2 Certified Kripalu Mindful Outdoor Guide, and a WV Master Naturalist in training, she has the joy of sharing her intense curiosity and wonder of the natural world with anyone and everyone!
Valerie loves to spend her time climbing trees, fossil hunting with her kids, petting moss, star gazing, and listening to as many podcasts and audiobooks as possible.
Board of Directors
Jessica has been enjoying the outdoors for as long as she can remember. First as a child with her parents and then as a parent herself, through camping, hiking, snowboarding, climbing, biking and running. She also shares this passion as a cross-country coach for the local middle school, promoting fitness and nature as a healthy part of constant growth. Jessica has been a resident of Elkins for nearly eighteen years and works for the City of Elkins.
Andrew is an English teacher at Elkins High School where he also serves as Chair of the Department of English and Co-Director of the Appalachian Academy for the Humanities. He holds a B.A. in English from Davis & Elkins College. His professional interests include the American South, 19th-century American culture, interdisciplinary studies, academic debate, service learning, and collaborative instruction. He is excited to serve and support Wonder & Grow because he has seen firsthand the power of mindfulness as a classroom management strategy and the power that nature has to inspire his students to stay in West Virginia for the long haul. Outside of the classroom, Andrew connects with nature through trail running, biking, and jumping into rivers and creeks whenever possible.
Caleb is a business lawyer in Charleston and relies heavily on hiking, biking, and trail running all over West Virginia to balance out the time he spends in an office environment. As a father to a young daughter, he was eager to join Wonder & Grow to help advance its efforts to connect children with their natural surroundings.
WV Division of Natural Resources
Certified Public Accountant
Callie Cronin Sams
I live in Buckhannon with my husband, Nathan, and daughter, Willow. I work for the City of Buckhannon writing, imagining, planning, and designing projects and stories for our website and social media, press releases, and grant proposals. Prior to that, I spent six years with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Youth Environmental Program as an environmental educator for a district of ten counties. With the City, I continue to deliver conservation education from the perspective of our municipal parks, trails, community center, and library. I enjoy imagining and creating programs and spaces that allow nature to be accessible by all in the community. We have been thrilled to host Wonder & Grow programming at our parks in collaboration with Stockert Youth & Community Center. In my spare time, I love hiking, cross-country skiing, and being near the water with my family.
Lucy Godwin, teacher at Beverly Elementary, was raised in Randolph County. As Mom to a toddler, she is rediscovering the beauty and simple joys the natural world offers daily! Wonder and Grow has provided programming in Lucy's classroom as well as special events for the Beverly Bookmobile. Many of her favorite classroom memories have been made with Kate and Valerie- enjoying a sit spot in Stuart's Park, council on the summit of Spruce Knob, and dancing in Files Creek in the pouring rain! Lucy is grateful for the opportunity to serve and learn with Wonder and Grow! She has seen firsthand the positive, enriching experiences they provide.