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ECO Leaders



ECO Stewards:

Kathy Balman - Arizona Chapter
Kathy quit her full time job in July 2011 to become a stay at home/homeschool mom to her two children. Besides being a busy mother she is also a devoted wife, blogger, fieldtrip expert, naturalist and social media guru. Kathy's is passionate about getting children outside and immersed in nature which she has been doing with her own children since they were just a few days old. It is this passion that has driven her to create ECO, so that other homeschool children can become immersed in nature and learn more about the natural world around them.

Kathy is an Outdoor Wildlife Leader, Conservation Leader, Master Naturalist and Treekeeper with Trees Atlanta. She is certified in Project Wet, Project Wild, Project Learning Tree, Aquatic Wild, and CPR/first aid certified. She has completed over 400 hrs of professional development training in the subjects of science and outdoor education.

When she is not tending to children or managing several homeschool group's across the USA, she enjoys blogging, scrapbooking, hiking, geocaching, arts/crafts, traveling and watching movies. Read more about the Balman family homeschool journey on their blog, Kathys Cluttered Mind

Brandi Knutson - Arizona Chapter
Bio coming soon

Candice Turalba - Arizona Chapter
Candice is a life-long learner and is homeschooling her two boys in the Phoenix Metro area. She has an undying love of nature and believes that connection with the natural world is of paramount importance for both children and adults alike. In addition to her studies at home, Candice often participates in educator workshops to further her knowledge of our wonderful planet.

Sarah Hunter-Smith - Georgia Chapter
Sarah grew up in TN and KY with an avid outdoorsman/historian father and a Girl Scout troop leader and garden enthusiast mother. She spent her summers playing outdoors, climbing trees, traveling to state parks with her grandparents across the western United States and reading every classic book she could. In 1999, she received her teaching certification and BA cum laude at Western Kentucky University in secondary education focusing on English and allied language arts. She spent a semester abroad traveling Europe and studying Irish poetry and British literature at Cambridge University. After graduation she worked as a substitute teacher, a director of public relations, and soon after her move with her husband to Atlanta, GA, Sarah began managing several tutoring services for students grades pre-K thru graduate level. For the last 10 years, she has been using her teaching experiences along with her love of travel and exploring outdoors to homeschool her son and daughter.

Sarah continues to see life as an opportunity to learn and continues to take courses whenever she can. In 2016, Sarah completed her Trees Atlanta Treekeepers certification as well as obtained her re-certification in CPR and first aid. She has tried to instill this desire for education in her children and believes outdoor immersion is a key element in their and in  all children's growth as students. She is extremely excited to expand this teaching to other homeschool families through her joining in partnership with Kathy in the development and implementation of ECO and focus on educating children outdoors.