Southern Utah Nature School


Connecting Children to Their World

SUN School offers experiential, play-based, and place-based learning in the natural splendor of Southern Utah. At SUN School, children are given the tools to grow into confident, competent, and connected community members, learning through play, exploration, appropriate risk-taking, safe tool use, and direct experience in nature. Over the course of the program, participants build close connections to their peers, learn new skills, experience the wonder of each season, and gain an understanding of their own strength.

Our Mission

Our mission is to connect Utah families to the natural world and to their community through rich and meaningful experiences in nature. We envision a childhood full of wonder, discovery, and connection.

Our Staff

Katherine Hales

Katherine Hales

SUN School Founder, Ravens and Roadrunners Lead Teacher

Katherine Hales grew up in Olympia, Washington, where she spent her early years exploring, playing, and falling in love with the outdoors. Today, she enjoys hiking, birdwatching, and adventuring in the desert with her husband, Bruce and their 3 dogs. Katherine earned her BA in Environmental Studies and Geography from Western Washington University, is a certified Forest Kindergarten Teacher through Cedarsong Nature School, and has spent 5 years as a Forest and Nature School Teacher and Director. She is also a Utah Master Naturalist in Mountain Adventures, and is completing a Forest School Practitioners certification through the Child & Nature Alliance of Canada. Katherine is passionate about place-based education and helping children and families discover the joy of connection with the natural world.

Heidi Kearns

Heidi Kearns

Roadrunners Assistant Teacher

Heidi is very grateful to have been in education for 30 years. She studied Early Childhood Education at Bellevue College and loves sharing her knowledge, peace, and love of the outdoors with the Roadrunners each week. She can see how much the kids enjoy SUN School and is proud to be a part of it. Heidi moved to St. George from Seattle and enjoys the weather and hiking in the beautiful desert!
Talisa Gibson

Talisa Gibson

Ravens Assistant Teacher

Talisa has been a local to the southern Utah area for over 26 years and still finds the natural surroundings extraordinary. She grew up playing in the desert with her family and is very hands-on, and still continues to take her daughter on adventures through the outback. She draws inspiration from Rachel Carson, Jane Goodall, and Steve Irwin, and just like these wildlife and environmental activists, she believes that humans are a part of nature and not above or separate from it. She is thrilled to be a part of SUN School as the methods and values are already her lifestyle and she cannot wait to show more children the wonders of the local wilderness.

Want to know more about our programs?

Contact us today about class sizes, locations, and times.

Call Us

(435) 525-5511