Meet Our New Tiny Trees Board Members – Christine, Mike and Geeta

Tiny Trees’ board of directors recently elected 3 new trustees who are committed to strengthening our organization and expanding our impact. While each brings a unique set of experiences and skills to our board, they’re all passionate about outdoor early learning, social justice and environmental stewardship, and we’re thrilled to welcome them to the Tiny Trees family.  Here are their stories:

Christine Larsen

Christine is an experienced nature connection instructor who volunteers with Wilderness Awareness School’s programs for teens and children. A former Peace Corps volunteer, Anderson Consulting Manager and Seattle Parks Board Commissioner, Christine led a 4-year effort to renovate Seattle’s Dahl Playfield. She has served as a trustee on the boards of the University Family YMCA, Bertschi School and Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is the mother of 3 children, the youngest of whom is a high school freshman.

When asked “Why Tiny Trees?” Christine responds:

I believe the outdoors is essential for education and I am passionate about nature connection for all ages. It is critical for children to understand their place in the world of plants and animals – and urban kids don’t have to go “out into nature” to experience that – it is available in their own back yard. With access to early outdoor experiences, there’s a greater chance young people will associate it with vibrant living and continue to seek it out for the rest of their lives. I think families deserve the opportunity to send their children to affordable preschools. I’m interested in geographic distribution of preschools, programming, and community building.

Geeta Naidu

Geeta is the founder and artistic director of Afsaana Dance Company, whose mission is to transform students into powerful dancers and performers, and to enrich the cultural landscape of Seattle.  She’s been performing since she was five years old for the small South Asian community while living in Anchorage, Alaska.  Geeta is a former Hindi linguist with the Department of Justice and teaching associate at UW, and has been an advocate and fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Habitat for Humanity and Global Village Builds.  She’s the mother of two boys, one of whom attends our Be’er Sheeva classroom, and one who is eager to do so in 2 years.

When asked “Why Tiny Trees?” Geeta responds:

I’m excited to provide insight to families of color and immigrant families on the importance of early education and how it can be accessible, and the joys of providing that education outdoors. I did not have that opportunity growing up.  I was told it was too hot or too cold to play outside and that parks were meant for very special occasions. As a parent of a child attending Tiny Trees, I can see first-hand how much he is gaining from the experience!

Mike Montgomery

Mike is the Head of Middle School at Open Window School in Bellevue and was its founding middle school math and science teacher. He currently serves on IslandWood’s Education Advisory Committee. A former environmental education instructor at YMCA Camp Orkila, the Pacific Science Center, and Citizens for Healthy Bay in Tacoma, Mike first experienced the power of outdoor experiential education while working as an AmeriCorps member with Play for Peace in Chicago.  He is the father of two girls and enjoys sea kayaking, bicycling and backpacking.

When asked “Why Tiny Trees?” Mike responds:

I understand the desire of families in this area to have their children connect with nature and build character and resilience from an early age. My work with middle school students has revealed an exponential rise in student anxiety and depression and how it’s trending younger quickly. Research has revealed how important outdoor play and exploration are in developing social and coping skills, resilience, and confidence. I see great promise in Tiny Trees’ ability to give young children a strong character foundation and appreciation for nature that they will carry with them for their entire lives.

Please welcome Christine, Geeta, and Mike to the Tiny Trees board!   

We are grateful for the service of Marcus Dover and Darin Knapp, each of whom recently ended their tenure as Tiny Trees trustees after years of dedication, hard work, and ambassadorship for our growing organization.  

We are always eager to talk with community members who want to engage in our work as trustees or volunteer in other ways!  If that’s of interest, please get in touch:

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