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Our Staff


Denise Matthews

Director and Lead Educator

Denise Matthews is the director and lead educator for Worms and Wildflowers Nature School. Denise is passionate about helping children experience the wonder and awe of nature through hands-on, playful, experiences. Denise has taught environmental education for 17 years in both Oregon and New Mexico. She has her masters degree in science education, is a certified science and ESOL teacher, and taught at the Pajarito Environmental Education Center for 5 years as their play-based education specialist.


Denise is currently working on becoming a Forest and Nature School Practitioner through the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada. Denise enjoys tending to her garden and going on outdoor family adventures that may include camping, canoeing, backpacking, and skiing.

Topher Matthews

Guest Teacher

Topher Matthews (Mr. T),  Denise Matthews's husband, quickly came to understand the importance of outdoor experiences for children after they had two children of their own. While Topher works as a nuclear engineer during the day, he finds time to support the nature school in many ways including building structures, gates, and furniture, fixing the many things that go wrong on a farm, tending to our beehives and assisting with website design.


Topher’s light-hearted sense of humor and positivity are a natural fit for working with children. Topher will be in and out of the classroom and serve as an occasional guest teacher. Topher is a Los Alamos native and spent his winters skiing at Pajarito mountain and canoeing on the Rio Grande, which he continues to enjoy with his family.

Sheena Stachelek.jpg

Sheena Stachelek


Sheena earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Science from the University of Maine and then began her journey of cross country travels and career exploration. Through her work at a fisheries laboratory, aquarium and Montessori school she discovered her love of education.  She is especially passionate about guiding students to help them follow their interests, which has included leading cooking and baking classes, backpacking with students and being able to share her love of nature. Sheena spends her free time cooking, hiking and exploring New Mexico with her family.

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