When Suzanne Moss first established The Nature Bus in 2016, the mission was simple: to be a vehicle for transformative, shared nature experiences and to nurture people’s affinity for nature. While Suzanne has always had a passion for all things outdoors, she wasn’t always in the travel and tour industry.
In school she had a difficult time picking between becoming a schoolteacher or studying Ecology. In the end she chose teaching and graduated with a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. For many years Suzanne taught in a gifted 4th grade classroom which she enjoyed, but often found herself looking out the window wishing she could be teaching outdoors instead.
After having children of her own, it was a natural decision for Suzanne to decide to homeschool them so she could teach them outdoors and go on many nature adventures. Her youngest daughter shared her love of nature and even started a neighborhood nature club. This club grew in popularity and led to a nonprofit called Nature Matters.
Suzanne and her family’s passion for nature eventually led to the purchase of The Nature Bus. It provides private group tours for 10-16 people as well as open-to-the-public Saturday Local Tours called “Saturday Escapes!” The tours include Guided Nature Hikes, Nature-themed Birthday Parties, Kayak Tours, Wine Tours, White Water Rafting, Outdoor Yoga Classes and more!
One of the company’s greatest business successes has been the relationships and partnerships they’ve formed with the community and important organizations. Suzanne says their most wonderful connection is their community partnership with REI. The managers at REI have embraced The Nature Bus and allow them to begin and end their tours at their location. In turn, they gift REI their bus for their community service projects.
The biggest challenge for Suzanne when starting The Nature Bus was making sure people understood she’s not trying to make a profit at the expense of nature. She calls herself a “naturepreneur” – doing good for the earth and connecting people with nature. She believes that the more people that fall in love with nature, the more likely they will help protect it. Suzanne is a certified Virginia Ecotour Guide, meaning she is trained to care for the environment in all that she does as well as conduct sustainable tours. She also was a recipient of the 2021 Annual Virginia Green Travel All Star Award.
After having to shut down tours for a full year due to COVID, Suzanne is excited that the wheels of the nature bus are rolling once again. Her future ideas include bringing children’s programs into her business model and is even considering adding a summer camp. She’s also considering a brick-and-mortar location to bring people in inclement weather, but for now she’s happy to be a mobile business that prides itself on connecting people with the beauty of nature.