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Considering Wilderness Therapy? Admissions Director Tere Snodgrass Answers Frequently Asked Questions

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Tere Snodgrass

Tere Snodgrass

Senior Admissions & Professional Relations Director

Tere’s career in Admissions and Consultant Relations began in 1991. She has held leadership positions in therapeutic wilderness programs, boarding schools, and residential facilities. She has a deep understanding of the practical and emotional challenges parents face as they navigate the admissions process for a struggling child.

Highly regarded by parents and professionals for her relational approach, Tere strives to understand the unique needs of each client family and to create a personalized admissions experience based on open communication, integrity, and trust. Tere has a unique ability to navigate obstacles and attend to details while gently guiding her client families with compassion, insight, and care. Tere’s commitment to leveraging the strengths of a team while advocating for her families is evidenced in the positive relationships she has cultivated throughout her career. She works diligently with consultants and clinical professionals to ensure each family is equipped with the knowledge and information they need to begin the wilderness therapy journey. Her role is an important first step as it sets the foundation for future success and family healing.

Tere finds immense satisfaction in knowing she is representing a program which that promotes emotional strength, mental wellness, and physical safety. These components deeply align with her personal values, making Open Sky the perfect fit.

A Western girl at heart, Tere currently resides in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee. Her family is what she considers her greatest treasure. She is the proud parent of two beautiful daughters who bring her great joy and remind her each day what is important in life. Tere finds contentment watching her girls play volleyball or show their Tennessee Walking horses. While nothing gets Tere more fired up than SEC or PAC 12 college athletics, she also enjoys spending meaningful time with extended family, traveling, growing flowers, being outdoors, and losing herself in a good book.


Emily Fernandes

Emily Fernandes

Executive Director & Co-Founder

On a wilderness trip in Alaska with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in 1995, Emily discovered she could combine two of her passions: working with youth and being outdoors. Since then, she has worked for Aspen Achievement Academy, Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, and Connecticut Wilderness School. She was part of the founding team at Open Sky.

Emily worked as the lead therapist for adolescent girls for her first 5 years at Open Sky. Her areas of clinical expertise include depression, anxiety, grief and loss, trauma, self-harm, disordered eating, and adoption and attachment issues. Her clinical approach is informed by cognitive behavioral, psychodynamic, family systems, and attachment theories. Relationship building through letter writing is a major focus of her work with students and families.

As a founder and owner of Open Sky, as well as the Clinical and Executive Director, Emily brings a breadth of knowledge with her background as a therapist, field guide, trainer, logistics coordinator, emergency responder, and field director, Emily is known for her direct, caring leadership style, her ability to inspire excellence in others, and her team oriented approach. The student treatment plan is her compass for her decision-making regarding Open Sky’s students, families, and employees.

Emily loves reading, writing, yoga, mountain biking, telemark skiing, rock climbing, spending time with friends and family, and cooking with foods from the local farmers’ market.


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