Johnson Whippie

Outdoor Inspiration
OE alum Johnson Whippie canoeing

Major: Outdoor Education
Graduation Year: 2015, 2016G

Born and raised on a small farm in Westmoreland, NH, I connected with the outside world throughout my childhood. Growing up I had the opportunity to creatively play outdoors, help around the farm, and fully embrace all that my small town had to offer. I began going to Camp Takodah as soon as I was able and decided I never wanted to miss a summer of camp. My love of helping others learn and grow led me to fall in love with teaching, and I devised a plan to follow in the footsteps of a mentor teacher of mine and become a high school physics teacher. 

That dream brought me to UNH. My Camp Takodian roots ran deep, and I was inspired to take a Challenge Course Management class my first semester and was enamored with the Outdoor Education program. I busied myself with a five-year plan to earn undergraduate degrees in Physics and Outdoor Education and a Masters of Secondary Science Education. I was a teaching assistant for as many Outdoor Education courses as I could to deepen my fluency with the curriculum and develop my teaching skills at the collegiate level. I found myself surrounded with inspirational peers and mentors that set a new trajectory for my career. 

I directed a leadership development program and a small summer camp at Takodah until after I completed my time at UNH. Then the Chewonki Foundation hired me as a teacher in the Outdoor Classroom. After a fantastic season full of canoeing in tidal waters to islands on the coast of Maine and sparking a passion for outdoor experiences in middle school students, I was hooked. We bring students to our campus in mid-coast Maine to sleep in tents, cook over fires, engage with the natural world, and learn to be better teammates and community members. After that first season, I was offered the opportunity to become the Outdoor Classroom field coordinator, and I’ve been rockin' and rollin' ever since. 

How fortunate am I to live and work in an amazing environment surrounded by dedicated and passionate educators? Very. In my role, I support an exceptionally talented group of outdoor educators to reach their potential in the field. Outside of Chewonki, I am a canoe instructor and challenge course facilitator at Unity College, the Browne Center, Camp Takodah and UNH when they’ll have me.