Pictou County Forest School

The Pictou County Forest School is a not-for-profit organization offering nature immersion and outdoor education programming in our forest facility in Meadowville, NS. Established in the spring of 2021, we first offered Summer Nature Immersion Camps and offered a couple of day programs for community groups.

In September of 2021, we began offering year round programming for school aged children. Modelled after the highly successful Guelph Outdoor School, we have been using much of their proven programming and curriculum and working in close partnership with them for our initial sessions.

Programming at Pictou County Forest School consists of six 5-week sessions per school year. Children attend one day per week during each session.

PCFS operates during school hours – won’t my child fall behind?

This is the most common question from parents. Research and experience from other outdoor schools indicates that a child’s participation in a weekly nature immersion program supports success in their other weekly endeavours. This can mean higher grades, better focus, more positive social interactions, increased participation in family and household activities and chores, and a generally increased sense of autonomy and well-being.

Our programs are designed to complement conventional classroom learning and homeschooling/ unschooling choices. Our goal at PCFS is to work with schools and classroom teachers to help students reach their full potential.

An Educational Driven Team

Meet our team of educational instructors:

Scott Ross

Founder & Instructor

PCFS founder Scott, has a huge variety of experiences to share, having worked with a number of wilderness camps and programs including Outward Bound. A teacher by training and character, he also has a background in business and a passion for helping kids develop a sense of wonder.


  • Skill: Helping others make their projects and dreams come to life.

  • Talent: Sharing his sense of awe and wonder of the world with those around him and telling jokes.

  • Focus: Developing and enhancing learning objectives through nature-based programming.

Maya Hoehne

Program Director & Instructor

A loving mother of two, active outdoor enthusiast, and former child care worker, Maya has a depth of experience working with children and sharing her love and interest in nature. Drawing on a variety of life experiences and jobs she has the ability to engage children in sharing her sense of wonder and respect for the natural world.


  • Skill: Navigating and embracing chaos through balance and acceptance.

  • Talent: Nurturing and celebrating strengths and abilities.

  • Focus: Engaging and connecting children with nature in a meaningful way.

Fred MacKenzie


Fred has recently retired from North Nova Education Centre where he taught Biology and Leadership. We keep hearing from more and more former students that Fred was their “favourite teacher ever.” Fred is an avid birder and is passionate about sharing his knowledge with students. (He is also fabulous at giving everyone nicknames!) Fred will be working mostly with our Wolves group on Thursdays.


  • Skill: Biology, identifying birds by hearing their song and enjoying nature.

  • Talent: Assigning nicknames to students on the spot.

  • Focus: Leadership skills and team building.

Ruben Irons


Ruben works as an artist blacksmith at the base of Dalhousie Mountain. He has spent most of his life exploring the woods of Pictou County.


  • Skill: Working with his hands. Teaching kids to empower themselves through wonder and experimentation.

  • Talent: Patience and flexibility.

  • Focus: Providing a safe and challenging environment for kids to deeply connect to themselves, each other and the environment.

Joella Arsenault


Joella has experience in outdoor education settings and worked for many years for Redtail Nature Awareness Camp. She currently volunteers as a board member with the Friends of Redtail Society and helps with nature-focused events. She has also worked with school-aged children running before and after-school care programs. She has a passion for nature and loves spending time with kids.


  • Skill: Observing the small signs in nature that help connect to the world outside our doorsteps.

  • Talent: Sharing stories about animal encounters and interesting things found in the forest.

  • Focus: Fostering a sense of connection to nature that respects and gives intrinsic value to all beings.

Christine Whelan


Christine is the mother of 3 little kids, a photographer and an enthusiastic outdoor explorer. With a degree in Environmental Science, Christine has a passion for nurturing children’s relationship with nature so that when older, they will not only enjoy time outside but will also work to protect it.


  • Skill: Staying curious, asking questions, googling answers!

  • Talent: Finding the light – in the environment and in people.

  • Focus: Creating a safe space for children to play, explore and learn.

Nick McCabe


Nick is a father, husband, homesteader and a lifelong learner. Nick has many years experience as a classroom educator but is now following his dreams of immersing kids in meaningful, nature-based experiences.


  • Skill: A lover of growing, foraging, making and sharing good food. Mediocre rhythm guitarist.

  • Talent: Listening to others and making kids of all ages feel comfortable and content.

  • Focus: Helping kids recognize their inherent talents and their enormous potential as learners and cultivators of joy.