My name is Tahlia (Miller) Hoogerland. I am in my late 40s, but I’m still climbing trees, wading in swamps, walking logs over streams, holding frogs and snakes, braiding flower chains, building snow forts, and watching for fairies in forests and gardens.
I currently live in Rockford, Michigan with my husband, our dog, and 3 cats. My husband and I are both educators. I have been teaching young children since 1996 and have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in early childhood development from Michigan State and Grand Valley State, respectively. I am also an educator at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I lead the zoo’s preschool age programs.
I had the good fortune to be raised largely in the woods and fields of northwest Michigan by parents who, for a time, chose to live in a dome they built minus electricity. It was the late 70s and into the 80s that I spent my formative years playing outdoors freely and with minimal supervision. I learned the names and features of many plants and animals as well as a love of and respect for this one and only planet of ours. It wasn’t until I was midway through my teaching career that I realized how my unusual upbringing defined me and was directing me toward connecting children with the natural world around them.