Stories from the Field

Staff Spotlight: Kim Hanson

Combined Shape Copy Created with Sketch.

Congratulations to Kim Hanson who recently accepted the permanent position of Mid-Atlantic Regional Director after serving as Interim Director for the Mid-Atlantic Region. Now in her third decade of working for NatureBridge (she began in 2002!), Kim brings a wealth of experience, wisdom and vision to the role.

Starting as an educator at NatureBridge at Olympic (then known as Olympic Park Institute), Kim has spent much of her time working in NatureBridge’s Education Department in addition to Operations and Sales. In 2014, Kim moved to Virginia and began working at the Prince William Forest campus.

I was drawn in by the place, of course, but also by the people and the mission. And I stick around NatureBridge [after over 20 years here] for two main reasons: one is I am always being challenged, always learning...and I always feel I have something to contribute.
Kim Hanson, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director

Speaking of contributions, Kim notes that one of the traditions she started at Olympic is still going strong! She recently heard from Olympic Education Manager Emily Volz that “Kim Hanson Burrito Night” (at least that’s how Emily refers to it) still happens regularly at the Olympic campus. The burrito night was a ritual Kim initiated during her time there; it was an informal event encouraging all the educators to come together the night before staff training began for dinner and a meet-and-greet. “I guess if I had any legacy at Olympic, I like to think that it’s a legacy of community building,” Kim says.

When Kim crossed the country to start working at the Prince William Forest campus, she brought that spirit of community building with her. She has her sights set on quadrupling the number of students the Mid-Atlantic Region (MARE) serves within the next five years (the campus’ pre-pandemic annual average was around 2,000 students). A combination of building strong partnerships between the parks and local school districts—along with supporting the regional board and building staff capacity at the campus—is how Kim believes MARE will achieve that lofty goal. “MARE is still reemerging from the pandemic and I think we are poised to reemerge stronger than we were before,” Kim remarks. “I’m looking forward to making that happen.”

Kim is humble as she describes these future goals, recognizing that teamwork and shared passion will be the keys to MARE’s success. When asked what she is most grateful for at NatureBridge, Kim immediately replies “My colleagues—all the people who share dedication and passion for what we do.” At the end of the day for Kim and all her NatureBridge colleagues, it comes down to a deep love for learning and serving students as they discover the wonder and science of nature.

Our work is about the students we serve and my love for this field comes from seeing our students experience what I always say is "lightbulbs and laughter."
Kim Hanson, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director

Thank you, Kim, for your dedication to making those “lightbulbs and laughter” moments happen for so many students over the past 21 years—and for even more students to come!

Photo courtesy of Kim Hanson

Check out these other