Meet The Team

Kestrel is a collaborative learning community. Staff at all levels contribute original ideas, knowledge, and suggestions to help guide the organization. We plan together, work together, and connect with the natural world together. We pay fair wages and provide excellent training to qualified instructors. 

Jessica Kagle, Founder & Program Director

Jessica holds a master’s degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and has a lifelong passion for playing in the woods. She has 15 years of experience as a professional naturalist and educator, and a great love for the wildlife and lands of New England. She is also a certified K-8 science teacher with several years of classroom teaching experience in both public and independent schools. Jessica teaches primarily through asking children to design creations based on real experiences, and by encouraging them to be silly, adventurous, and muddy.  She loves nothing more than educating people through relationships with wildlife. Jessica can often be found bicycling around New England or standing out in the rain watching frogs and salamanders. Jessica is certified in Wilderness First Aid, CPR, and is a certified Lifeguard.

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Brian received his B.A. in Environmental Studies from NYU, and his M.A. in Marine Conservation and Policy from Stony Brook University. He's spent the past 6 years researching sharks and rays in The Caribbean, collecting data onboard commercial fishing vessels in the Northeast US, and directing a global education non-profit. When he's not working to prevent overfishing and pollution in our oceans, Brian is either searching for surf around New England, climbing some of New Hampshire's 4,000+ foot mountains, or fishing for big bass. His goal is to inspire the next generation to respect and protect the sea.

Fern MacDougal, Program Instructor


Fern has a tendency to seek out long adventures and to find new ways to look at the natural world, such as from tops of trees. Growing up in Gloucester, Fern spent countless hours rambling in Dogtown's rocky and piney north woods. Fern graduated from Warren Wilson College with a degree in Environmental Science, and recently got her Master’s in Conservation Ecology from University of Michigan. Fern is in love with the secret wild places of the Cape Ann area. She spends a lot of her spare time identifying plants and observing wildlife while on wild adventures.

Emily Craig, Program Instructor

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Emily graduated from Essex Technical High School with a concentration in Natural Resource Management. She is now a student at Endicott College majoring in Early Childhood Education. Emily found Kestrel her senior year of high school and interned for us throughout the winter and spring. As she moved on to college she could not resist coming back to Kestrel and now teaches for us! She enjoys being outside, learning, and adventuring, and has a passion for teaching and the outdoors. She grew up in a very adventurous family where she got to explore the environment around her but she wishes she had a resource like Kestrel when she was growing up!

Kirsten Alexander, Development & Marketing Officer

Kirsten grew up next to Franklin Park in Boston, on a street designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. She rambled around that 527-acre park in all seasons as a child. She and other neighborhood children participated in a civic action project collecting cans that resulted in the passing of the Massachusetts Bottle Bill. She also attended nature camp on Thompson Island. Kirsten serves as the program co-chair of the Hamilton-Wenham Garden Club and represented the Junior League of Boston Garden Club at the 2019 Art in Bloom at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. As a board member of the Wenham Village Improvement Society, she dreamt up and is currently spearheading a civic project to restore and beautify the community's overgrown and crumbling stone walls. She holds a BA in Art History from NYU and MFA in Creative Writing from American University. She brings more than 15 years of marketing and development experience working for and consulting with non-profits in Massachusetts, including several on the North Shore. Kirsten's favorite part of the day is visiting the fish and frogs in the pond she restored this year.

Tracy Bowen, Bookkeeper  

Tracy is grateful to have grown up in a place and a time where she was free to roam unsupervised in the Great Sippewissett Marsh and play with the animals at neighboring Sacconnesset Farm on Cape Cod. She's a great believer in giving kids time to explore nature, and in Kestrel's mission; she's hopelessly drawn to working in non-profits. Plus, she enjoys an on-going argument with Jessica about whether cats or dogs are better (cats are).