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About Us

Finding Inspiration in Every Turn

Established in 2006 by local farmer and earth-lover Erika Eschholz, Mountain Roots Education was originally named "Full Circle Education." In April 2021 we changed our name to reflect our mission and vision as stewards to our mountain heritage. Through educational gardens and monthly adult workshops for sustainable living, we connect our community to the natural world by practicing techniques passed down and shared with our local mountain community. Our website will offer you information about our programs, as well as ways to get involved through program participation and through monetary donations. We look forward to getting to know you.

Vegetable Farm

Our Story

Since our founding, Mountain Roots Education has been partnering with schools and community partners to accomplish our mission and vision. Our programs are twofold: school gardens, and workshops for sustainable living.
 

We believe in connecting people to the earth. Connecting people to the roots that come before us. Connecting people to their landscape, and the importance of healthy agriculture practices. We are inspired by our community of farmers, young and old, wise and learning. We love connecting local knowledge with local interest.


The first school garden program we launched was at Teton Science School's (TSS) Mountain Academy in Victor, Idaho. We're now operating school garden programs at Tetonia Elementary, Alta Elementary, Victor Elementary, Driggs Elementary, and Wilson Elementary in the Teton region of Idaho and Wyoming.
 

Staff

Meet the Team

Hayes Swinney

Executive Director

 

Hayes fell in love with the Tetons when she was 15, and after working seasonally as an outdoor educator and restoration crew member, eventually moved to Teton Valley in 2002. Then her career in land management and ecological restoration took her to Seattle for 17 years during which time she had a family and grew a myriad of fruits and vegetables in her yard. She is excited to be back in Teton Valley and digging into both the dirt and the community. You can find her biking, hiking, or skiing with her son, husband, and dog when she is not in one of our school gardens or attending one of our workshops.

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Taylor Todd

Garden Educator

 

Taylor grew up working at her father's plant nursery business in Pennsylvania, instilling her with a lifelong love of nature. Taylor taught in a public elementary school in New Jersey for almost ten years before staying home with her three children: Phinley (10), Lachlan (8), and Preston (6). After traveling to Teton Valley for vacation, she fell in love with the people and landscape and ultimately decided to relocate. Taylor values kindness, cooperation, curiosity, and imagination, and hopes to inspire children to love the natural world; but most of all, she wants to instill a love of learning. When not in school, Taylor can be found volunteering on the PTO, coaching soccer, skiing at Targhee, and exploring the outdoors with her family. 

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Taylor Farnum

Garden Educator

 

Taylor was very excited to join the Mountain Roots Education team in the fall of 2023. When she is not working with students in a school garden classroom, she works at Landganics as their field manager and noxious weed expert. She comes to us with loads of experience in ecology and habitat restoration with a focus on plants and noxious weeds. She also has experience teaching in Teton Valley, loves project-based education and gardening, and is very excited to share these joys with the students at Victor and Driggs Elementary schools. Taylor moved to Teton Valley in 2013, can often be found working in her vegetable and fairy gardens, and enjoys getting out on a good wildflower hike, mountain bike ride, or river float with her two girls, May and Charley, and husband, Ellis.  

Board of Directors

Dana Joslyn

Board Chair

 

Dana has a love of all things growing: children, plants, organizations and knowledge! Coming from a family of gardeners she loves to plant, tend and create delicious meals from the harvest. In her native Salt Lake City, Dana taught a gardening and nutrition class to 3rd and 4th graders at a school where food scarcity was a common occurrence. Watching their faces light up when growing and tasting plants is an amazing joy and she is excited to continue sharing the joy in Teton Valley.

Will Roth

Board Vice Chair/Interim Treasurer

 

Will joined Mountain Roots as a part-time educator and administrative assistant for the summer of 2021. He loved learning from local experts for the Adult Workshop series, and he enjoyed seeing how excited local elementary students could be for garden salads that they’d grown themselves. In spring of 2022, he joined the board with a focus on assisting with the grant writing process. 

Peter Poutiatine

Board Secretary

 

A career in education has convinced Peter of the value of wildness and natural environments for transformative learning.  Through stints at several independent schools, the George Lucas Educational Foundation, and most recently the National Outdoor Leadership School, Peter has worked to connect young people with outdoor experiences that germinate a personal relationship with nature.  An avid reader, an erstwhile writer, and a life-long fly fisherman, Peter now lives in Tetonia, Idaho, on a postage stamp of land where he and his beloved wife, Leila, dream of someday keeping horses.

Eliza Heath

Board Member

 

Having grown up in the Tetons, Eliza is someone who is completely dedicated to the betterment of our community as a whole and she cannot wait to jump right in! Having welcomed her son Bodie in early 2022, her motivation immediately shifted towards deepening her roots here in Teton Valley, with a focus on the hands-on education for the next generation. Eliza brings her extensive, decade plus, background in event planning and sales to the table as well as her deeply rooted passion for gardening and belief in the benefits of truly getting your hands dirty! Outside of being a new Board Member at MRE, you will find Eliza spending her free time time with her husband Levi, son Bodie and their two pups, whether that is at home or out and about on their next adventure!

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Erik Lyngso

Board Member

Coming from Chicago with a culinary background Erik quickly became employed in some of the best kitchens in Jackson. With a passion for being outside, this seemed like a great place to work and also spend time. The first time he came to Teton Valley
there was an instant connection. The proximity to national parks, rivers full of trout, and Grand Targhee drew him in and he never left. Now he lives in Victor full-time with his wife and 2 boys. In his free time, Erik loves to ski, fish, and mountain bike. He is excited to join the Mountain Roots community and share his knowledge of all things food, preparations, and techniques, and to continue to learn and grow himself.

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Brooke Garfield

Board Member

Brooke has worked in the spa and ski industry for 16 years in Park City, Utah, Colorado, Massachusetts, and here in Idaho. She has shared her trade in some of the West’s most sought-after spa and ski destinations. With a background in massage therapy, as well as early childhood education. Brooke moved out west From Marietta Georgia in 2004 seeking adventure. Landing a job at Deer Valley Ski Resort and never looked back after she fell in love with the Wild West. Brooke moved to Victor with her husband, Jay, and two kids, Johnny and Wren, three years ago and she is thrilled to be a part of the Teton Valley Community. She and her family can be found on the slopes of Targhee and fishing plus Rafting the Snake!

Our former executive director, Travis Gay, passed away on October 26, 2022, at 46 years old. Travis took on the leadership of Mountain Roots Education while she was still in treatment for colon cancer with a desire to direct her energies, where she often did, into her community. During her short tenure, before cancer took more from her than she could give, Travis forged meaningful and lasting relationships with partners, new and existing donors, volunteers, and supporters of Mountain Roots. She brought her love of plant-based eating and gardening into our education programs for both children and adults. We will continue to honor Travis by building stronger programs for kids and adults in the Teton region, and by growing our offerings to reach more people. Each year, we will give the Travis Gay Community Roots Award to a member of our community who embodies our mission the way that Travis did.

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