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Current Staff

Meet all of the High Country Forest Wild leaders who will be teaching your children in the woods.

Rémi Wingo (she/her)


Hometown: Ocean Springs, MS & West Jefferson, NC

As founder and director of High Country Forest Wild, Rémi has 30 years' experience in outdoor education, from being Head of Mountain Biking at Green Cove summer camp in Tuxedo, NC, to Program Director at NC Outward Bound School's Table Rock basecamp. She worked for five years in wilderness therapy at Eckerd Youth Alternatives in central FL, then as an instructor, course director, and program director for NCOBS for 12 years.


From 2010-2015, she was a stay-at-home mom and organizer of Sprouts School, a loose gathering of parents and toddlers who spent a lot of time outdoors. She has worked at Mary's School and Mountain Pathways Montessori in Boone, as well as Atkins High School in Winston-Salem (teaching Algebra and Geometry) and Exploris public charter school in Raleigh (teaching 8th grade math & science).

With High Country Forest Wild, Rémi has brought her passion, skills, past experiences, and expertise together to realize a long-term dream of creating an all-outdoors program based on the principles and philosophy of forest schools in Scandinavia, embracing outdoor experiential education, child-centered learning, supported risk-taking, and social-emotional development.

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."
– Annie Dillard –
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Cullen Beasley (he/him)

Assistant Director/Facilitator

Hometown: Gastonia, NC

Cullen has a deep passion for botany and the outdoors.  Plants are everything to Cullen and he tries to pass that curiosity and love on to everyone he meets.


He graduated from Appalachian State in 2019 with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and a minor in Biology. His favorite hobbies are hiking (to ID plants), biking (to spots with cool plants), and reading (about plants).


Cullen feels a strong sense of eagerness and privilege to be a part of children’s environmental education. He finds joy in those moments of curiosity and fascination that are so common in the forest.

“The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.”
– John Muir –

Anna Claire Funderburk (she/her)


Hometown: Indian Trail, NC

Anna Claire completed her Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Psychology and minor in Sociology at Appalachian State University in 2023. She is currently taking a break before pursuing her master's in clinical mental health counseling. She has a passion for advocating animal rights. 


Anna Claire's affinity for nurturing young minds and immersing herself in nature led her to Forest Wild, where she is eagerly anticipating a summer filled with creativity and outdoor adventures alongside her fellow staff and the children.  Anna Claire's adventurous spirit has taken her across Western Europe, the Western and Eastern Caribbean, Mexico, and beyond. 


When she's not traveling or at Forest Wild, you can find her enjoying leisurely walks with her cat and whipping up culinary delights in the kitchen.


“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.’”
– Sylvia Plath –
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John Turner (they/them)


Hometown: Winston-Salem, NC

John is a rising senior at Appalachian State University studying Sustainable Development and Political Science.

Originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, John grew up in the city. However, they prefer the countryside, growing up hiking, camping, and exploring the outdoors with their family. In their free time, they enjoy attending concerts, making meals with their girlfriend, playing spades, and reading Dune.

With their second year at High Country Forest Wild approaching, John is ready to facilitate a fun and educational summer with the kiddos!

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings obliteration. I will face my fear and I will permit it to pass over me and through me.”
– Jessica Atreides (Frank Herbert) –
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Luke Lawrence (he/him)


Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Luke loves to experience the natural world around him, whether that is on a bicycle, in the water, on a climbing rope, or barefoot with mud between his toes.


Luke moved to Boone in 2019, where he attended Appalachian State and has remained ever since.


When Luke is not at Forest Wild you can often find him cycling around the beautiful roads of the high country, whether it be pavement, gravel, or single track. He is also an avid musician who plays the keys and guitar in bands locally.

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Libbie Warren (she/her)


Hometown: Richmond, VA

Libbie is a Virginia native who was drawn to the High Country by her love for the mountains and passion for outdoor recreation. She attended Appalachian State and graduated with a degree in Exercise Science in 2023. Following graduation, Libbie moved to Bar Harbor, Maine and worked as a sea kayaking and bike guide in and around Acadia National Park. 


Once the kayaking season came to an end, Libbie returned to the high country to continue working and playing in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. On top of working at Forest Wild, Libbie is also a baker at Stick Boy Bread Co. and loves serving the Boone community in both of these capacities. Libbie loves backpacking, snowboarding, live music, cooking, and reading. 


Libbie loves observing the developmental, emotional, and social benefits that outdoor play provides for children at HCFW and watching the kids gain confidence and learn new skills. In the fall, Libbie will be attending the University of Utah’s Doctor of Occupational Therapy program in Salt Lake City and loves finding the overlaps between outdoor education and occupational therapy practices. After earning her doctorate, she plans to work in adaptive sports and utilize recreation to accomplish clients therapeutic goals.

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“The body heals with play, the mind heals with laughter, and the spirit heals with joy.”
– Proverb –

Maddy Ryan


Hometown: Charleston, SC

Maddy is excitedly entering her second year at Forest Wild! She will be a graduate of Appalachian State University in May 2024, with a degree in Sustainable Development and a minor in Religious Studies. 


Maddy enjoys making art and reading books whenever time permits. Maddy spends most days outdoors gardening, thinking about nature and relaxing with friends. Maddy's a bit of a world traveler, always seeking another nugget of truth about the space around her. 


Recently she visited Nepal to learn about yoga and its relationship to farming. She will complete her yoga teacher certification in May 2024. She hopes to share her love of the natural world with the folks of Forest WIld.


“There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot.”
― Aldo Leopold –
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Malcolm Vaughn


Hometown: Apex, NC

Malcolm is currently a senior in the Sustainable Development department at App State University. He has spent the last five summers working with kids of different ages, whether abroad as an au pair in Italy, assisting at a preschool, or working summer camps.   


An avid lover of the outdoors, Malcolm enjoys hiking, climbing, and backpacking in his free time. He is also a lover of reading, yoga, meditating, and climbing trees with friends. Education, mindfulness, and the outdoors are his deepest passions, and he seeks opportunities to combine these as often as he can. 


Malcolm spends time working at the ASU Roots Garden as a Garden Ambassador where he enjoys the work of growing food for the community. He also works with Mountain Alliance in Avery and Watauga counties, where he takes high schoolers on outdoor adventures based around experiential education.  He is excited to work outside with the wonderful staff and students at Forest Wild and can't wait for all the adventures to come!


"Isn't this the purpose of education, to learn the nature of your own gifts and how to use them for good in the world?" - Robin Wall Kimmerer
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Molly Donahue (she/her)


Hometown: Davidson, NC

Molly graduated from Appalachian State with a B.S. in Psychology in May 2024. When she is not at Forest Wild you can find her painting in her studio at the Nth Gallery or spending time in the sun with her friends or her three sisters.  


Molly works at Forest Wild because, while she loves the outdoors, she also has an interest in Family and Child Psychology and has always enjoyed working in childcare. 


What she enjoys the most about Forest Wild is watching the students express their passions and creativity in a safe environment. She is always inspired by their carefree spirit and ability to feel free to express themselves at a young age.



“We could never have loved the Earth so well if we had had no childhood in it, if it were not the Earth where the same flowers come up again every spring that we used to gather with our tiny fingers as we sat lisping to ourselves on the grass, the same hips and haws on the autumn hedgerows, the same redbreasts that we used to call ‘God’s birds’ because they did no harm to the precious crops. What novelty is worth that sweet monotony where everything is known and loved because it is known?” 
-George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss
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Oliver Weaver


Hometown: Durham, NC

My name is Oliver Weaver and I'm from Durham, NC. I have been a nature lover since I was an infant. I grew to really enjoy backpacking and spending long periods of time in the woods. I am currently a student at App State, studying Sustainable Development with a concentration in Agroecology. Nowadays my biggest hobbies are rock/tree climbing, intuitive motion & dancing, and indulging in any form of creativity. I love seeing the endless wonders of kids in nature, and am so excited to explore every nook and cranny of Forest Wild with them. 


"We will skip through the meadows and run through the woods and swim in the river. In the evenings we will sit right here on this front porch and count the stars."
– Frog and Toad –
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Rachel DeRienzo


Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Hi, my name is Rachel and I’m from Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m currently studying Recreation Management in Outdoor Experiential Education at App State. After graduation, I would love to work for an outdoor school to inspire and educate kids about the wonders of the natural world.

I’m a big fan of anything that’s outside, whether it’s hiking, climbing, or tubing down the Watauga River. Apart from my outdoor endeavors, I have a passion for traveling and reading. I currently own over 400 books and fill a lot of my downtime reading outside. For the past two summers, I’ve caravanned around the US, and this summer I’ll be taking my travels to Spain to explore along the coast.


I am thrilled to work for my second summer at HCFW! It's an honor to be part of an organization dedicated to nurturing curiosity and fostering a deep appreciation for the outdoors in young minds. This summer is going to be a lot of fun! 


“Why, sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
– Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass –
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Teddy Boyle


Hometown: Durham, NC

Hi, I’m Teddy. I’m from Durham, NC and this is my second year at HCFW. I am currently a senior at App State studying apparel design. I’m super passionate about sports, art, and outdoor activities.

During the school year I practice with the App State women’s basketball team, and I coach a team of 5th grade boys for Peak Basketball. I have so much fun working with kids because I’m genuinely always learning from them. I’m excited just to be outside this summer since the weather is getting so awesome. I’m also thrilled to get to teach about the outdoors.


My favorite quote is the entire song “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers; it can get me out of bed any morning. 

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