3rd Rock Kids, Inc.
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Founder/Board President
Joanne Boulanger

Moira Mathieu/Board Treasurer
About 3rd Rock Kids, Inc.
Meet the people behind our program. 3rd Rock Kids is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization through the Internal Revenue Service. We are incorporated in the state of Massachusetts. Our program is organized with a Board of Directors who oversees the running of the program. We enlist individuals on our Board of Directors that can compliment our mission and vision.  Here are the people who steer  our ship.
     For 37 years, Joanne has dedicated her life to igniting a love of learning in young minds. From her early days owning and operating a bustling child care facility and after-school program,  to her current roles as an art instructor at her Beyond Crayons Children's Art Studio and founder of the 3rd Rock Kids program, her passion for experiential, hands-on learning shines through.

Joanne holds both Director II and Program Administrator certifications in early childhood and school-age programs, reflecting her deep understanding of children's developmental needs. More than just qualifications, they represent Joanne's commitment to providing safe, nurturing spaces where children can thrive.

Her unique approach draws inspiration from her experience homeschooling her own children. She developed a curriculum rooted in real-life experiences, sparking curiosity and a sense of wonder in every subject. This philosophy forms the core of the 3rd Rock Kids program, where children engage in active learning, exploration, and discovery.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Joanne is an artist, naturalist, and outdoor enthusiast. She actively shares her love for nature and science as a member of Mass Audubon and The American Association for the Advancement of Science. This deep connection with the natural world fuels her desire to instill a sense of environmental stewardship in the next generation.

Joanne brings this vision to life, fostering a love of learning that goes beyond textbooks and classrooms. She is a dedicated educator, a passionate advocate for nature, and a role model for young minds eager to explore the world around them
Moira has always embraced the intersection of art and nature. Her passion fuels her career in environmental science, with a Bachelors degree from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, where she majored in Environmental Science and minored in Studio Art.

Moira's journey has taken her through diverse roles, from ensuring accessibility in outdoor spaces with the DCR Universal Access Program to fostering environmental awareness with Natures Classroom. Currently, she protects the vital source of life at DCR Water Supply Protection, safeguarding the Quabbin Reservoir Fishing Areas.

But Moira's true passion shines during her off-hours casting a fishing line on a quiet lake, exploring area trails on foot, or searching for hidden treasures among the forest floor during mushroom hunts. Even winter transforms into an adventure playground, with snowmobile expeditions adding a thrilling layer to her connection with the natural world.

Moira's life is a testament to the beauty that arises when artistic expression merges with environmental stewardship. She is a living example of how curiosity, creativity, and a love for the outdoors can pave the way for a fulfilling and impactful life.
Heather isn't just your average dog trainer. Sure, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in animal and behavioral science from UMass, Amherst, and has honed her skills as a professional trainer (think wagging tails and happy pups!). But beneath the surface lies a deeper passion: connecting people with nature through responsible animal care and sustainable practices.

As a small business owner, Heather empowers you to build a strong bond with your furry companion, understanding their needs and fostering harmonious relationships. But her expertise extends beyond dog training. Heather has experience in owning several farm animals over the years including chickens and goats. Heather is a fervent permaculture enthusiast, embracing green living and regenerative practices. From her vibrant gardens with fresh produce to her dedication to animal welfare, she leads by example.

Driven by a desire to nurture future generations, Heather strives to ignite a love for nature and empower others to live more sustainably. Whether it's animal care or cultivating a flourishing garden, Heather brings a unique blend of animal expertise, ecological awareness, and passion for education to the 3rd Rock Kids Program. She's proof that living harmoniously with nature and our beloved animals is within reach.
Board Vice President
Heather Staas
Board Secretary
Kristeen Reed
Krissy has dedicated over 30 years to enriching the lives of young children. She acquired a Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from Holyoke Community College and a Bachelors Degree from UMass, Amherst. From teacher and director of preschool and infant-toddler programs to Early Intervention Specialist, she has worn many hats! What unites these roles is her deep passion for supporting youth as they explore the world and discover their full potential.

Krissy believes in the power of sensory exploration to ignite curiosity and build connections. She fosters environments where children learn through engaging activities that stimulate their senses. This hands-on approach goes beyond the classroom walls, as Krissy incorporates nature-based learning into her programs. She understands the calming and inspiring benefits of the outdoors, particularly for children on the autism spectrum.

Krissy's dedication extends beyond curriculum and methods. Warmth and empathy are her hallmarks. She builds strong relationships with families, becoming a trusted advocate and guide on their child's journey. Her extensive experience, ranging from Head Start to early intervention, allows her to tailor her approach to each child's unique needs.

Michael is a passionate member of our board of directors who is deeply committed to reconnecting young people with the natural world. While his academic focus lies in accounting and finance, his extracurricular activities reveal a well-rounded individual with a strong desire to give back to the community.

Currently enrolled in a demanding 5-year BSBA/MSA program at Western New England University, Michael is on track to graduate with a near-perfect GPA in Accounting & Finance. His dedication to his studies is further evidenced by his anticipated completion of 150 credit hours towards his CPA license, putting him ahead of schedule for this esteemed professional qualification.

Michael's work experience at Kohl's demonstrates his strong communication and customer service skills. His ability to adapt to different roles and contribute to achieving daily goals highlights his flexibility and teamwork spirit. These transferable skills will undoubtedly be valuable assets to our board.

Beyond academics and work, Michael is actively involved in the Western New England University Accounting Department Mentoring Program and the Accounting Association. This involvement showcases his commitment to his chosen field and his willingness to support his peers.

In his local community, Michael volunteers as an assistant coach for the Chicopee Comprehensive High School Girls' Tennis team. This dedication to youth development aligns perfectly with our organization's mission of reconnecting young people with nature.

Michael's well-rounded skillset, combined with his passion for youth development and the environment, make him a valuable asset to our board of directors.
Board Member
Michael Gauthier