Leader since Winter 2017

Hi, my name is Karen Shihadeh. I am a leader based in Pacific Grove, CA

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About Tinkergarten

Tinkergarten provides high-quality early childhood learning in the healthiest classroom of all—the outdoors. Families connect with trained leaders in their local community for play-based kids classes that help develop core life skills, all while having fun!

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I grew up in the Southeast, the child of a soil scientist and botanist, spending much time in the forest, field and farm, from the pine barrens and swamplands of the deep South in Mississippi to the Blue Ridge and Appalachians in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland. Fortified with degrees in Biology, Anthropology, Sustainable Agriculture, Spanish and richly steeped in Appalachian culture- music, medicine and storytelling, I spent over a decade traipsing across the country- in Texas, Missouri, North Carolina, Maui and California- following mammals, plants and birds. In 2004 I returned to California to marry my sweetheart and manage the Big Sur Ornithology Lab, the Monarch Recovery Program and other research projects. When Malika was born, I stepped down to become a full-time parent, and our family soon grew to include Mariam. Since then, I have continued to share my knowledge as a naturalist guide, storyteller and teacher to my children and in the community. I am so excited to be a Tinkergarten instructor and to share my love of nature, place and play.

- Karen Shihadeh


Karen Shihadeh has led classes in George Washington Park (Pacific Grove, California), Fort Ord National Monument Creekside Terrace, Salinas (Salinas, California), Gigling Rd at 8th Ave (Seaside, California), and Asilomar State Beach (Pacific Grove, California).