Founding Director and Landscape Architect
Shannon was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to fall in love with nature as a kid, and she wants all young people to experience this connection. She believes that our kids and teens thrive through a deep understanding and relationship with the natural world around them, and that they will be the environmental stewards of our future. A mother of five and a landscape architect, she wants to pass on a legacy of love and respect for our earth. With this is mind, she founded Thrive Outside.
Shannon cares deeply about providing equitable access to nature for all youth, especially those who have the least opportunity. To this end, she founded a Green Team at her children’s school in 2010 and was recognized for her work by the nonprofit Save Bristol Harbor who awarded her the Joseph Arruda Environmental Stewardship Award, and Rhode Island Monthly named her a "Rhode Islander of the Year" for initiating a major renovation of the landscape surrounding her children's school and for creating an outdoor learning environment.
She looks to nature daily for inspiration and finds joy and solace by the ocean breathing in the salty air, exploring the world with her husband and children, biking, cooking, and occasionally line-dancing.
From growing up on a farm in Oregon to living in Rhode Island, Tiffany has always appreciated the benefits of spending time outside. She is committed to working to provide all children the opportunity to learn and play in nature.
Before moving to Rhode Island, Tiffany practiced law at a mid-size firm in Los Angeles, California as an associate, then partner. She served on the firm's recruiting committee and was a recipient of the firm's annual pro bono service award. She also served as a law clerk in the United States District Court in the Central District of California. Tiffany graduated with general and departmental honors from Vassar College with a degree in Biopsychology and earned her J.D. from UCLA School of Law.
Tiffany, her husband and their two children live in Bristol, RI where they enjoy exploring nature and learning to garden.
Sheila Dobbyn joined the Thrive Outside team in 2021 and heads up Teacher Professional Development and Business Sponsorship Development for the organization. Prior to working with Thrive Outside, Sheila led sponsorship development for the Bristol Warren Education Foundation, significantly growing and strengthening its business support network during her board service from 2017-2021.
Before getting involved with local public school education efforts, Sheila served as an advisor, counselor, DSO (Designated School Official for immigration purposes), and housing coordinator for international students coming from countries such as Brazil, China, Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, and Ecuador. This is where she developed her networking and relationship building skills, in order to help Roger Williams University, URI and Johnson and Wales students find housing, connections and support within their communities. Sheila drew from the same skill set working as a supported employment professional, developing job and volunteer opportunities for clients of the East Bay Mental Health Center and students of the Exeter Job Corps Academy.
Sheila, her husband and their two children live in Warren, RI where they regularly hike, play tennis, explore the marsh, look for horseshoe crabs, keep nature journals and are learning to leave a lighter footprint.
Melissa is a former public school music teacher of 24 years, and understands first hand the challenges facing educators and students today. She believes strongly in equity and access for all children to outdoor education and learning to respect our environment. She is also deeply committed to ensuring educators have the resources they need to effectively teach their students. These core beliefs and experiences brought her to serve as an educational consultant for Thrive Outside.
Melissa graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. She worked tirelessly to ensure students received a robust education, while working collaboratively with her peers, administrators, and community members to ensure high quality programs endured in her school district. In 2017 Melissa was recognized as Kickemuit Middle School’s “Teacher of the Year.”
She adores spending time in nature, whether it’s boating, wandering along the seashore, hiking, or just grabbing a good book and finding a shady spot. Melissa, her husband and their two children live in Bristol, RI where they can be found on or by the water, gardening, playing games, traveling, and exploring the world around them.
Teacher Learning Circle,
Coordinator & Facilitator