About Us

About Us

Welcome to Wild Within! We offer unique experiential learning programs for children in Ely, Minnesota. Since 2006, we have been specializing in creating positive experiences for children to learn and grow. Through the use of creative program design children are presented with opportunities to explore nature, be physically active and creative through music and art programs. Our high quality programs give children the opportunity to develop life skills such as; leadership, goal setting, communication, problem solving, responsibility and accountability. By participating in these programs children gain confidence, learn about respect, and are inspired to become positive and productive citizens in the world. We invite you to contact us to discuss your specific needs or answer any questions you may have. We look forward to speaking with you soon!

Our Crew

Jessica Vallero

Staff Photo

Jessica earned her bachelor’s
degree in outdoor education
from Northland College. She
enjoys providing opportunities
for others to explore nature. As
the owner of Wild Within and
a licensed child care provider,
she has the privilege of providing
positive opportunities for children
to explore wild places and
discover wonderful things
about themselves.


Dominic Puglielli

Staff Photo

Dominic is co-owner of
Wild Within and a licensed
child care provider. He has
experience as a wilderness
guide and is passionate
about the environment. He
enjoys providing opportunities
for young people to experience
the North Woods and teaching
them the skills they need to be
comfortable in nature.


Nikki Putnam

Staff Photo

Nikki has nine years of
experience in early childhood
education. She is our activities
coordinator and an instructor.
She enjoys taking the kids on
field trips and watching their
excitement and curiosity when
they are out in nature. In her
spare time Nikki enjoys reading,
hiking and the outdoors.


Nick Allen

Nick joined our team after his
return from a 1,200-mile canoe
expedition to Hudson Bay in
2013. He enjoys introducing
children to new experiences
and has a passion for music.
He leads our music program
and helps out with the after
school program. In his spare
time he enjoys playing music
in a local bluegrass band. 


Maxx Shoop


Maxx joined our team as an
after school program instructor.
He has interned at the Voyageur
Outward Bound School and is
interested in educating young
people about the environment.
He is currently working towards
an associate degree in outdoor
leadership. In his free time
Maxx enjoys paddling, hiking
and rock climbing.