To read our team biographies please click on team member name.
Richard Louv is a journalist and author of nine books, including Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age, and most recently Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life: 500 Ways to Enrich Your Family’s Health & Happiness. His books have been translated into 13 languages and published in 17 countries, and helped launch an international movement to connect children and their families to nature.
He is co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Children & Nature Network, an organization helping build the international movement to connect people and communities to the natural world. With artist Robert Bateman, he serves as honorary co-chair of Canada’s Child in Nature Alliance.
As a journalist and commentator, he has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Times of London, Orion, Outside and other newspapers and magazines. He was a columnist for The San Diego Union-Tribune and Parents magazine.
He appears frequently on national radio and television programs, including the Today Show, CBS Evening News, and NPR’s Fresh Air, and often addresses national and international gatherings. In 2010, he delivered the plenary keynote at the national conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and in 2012 was keynote speaker at the first White House Summit on Environmental Education.
He has served as a visiting scholar for Clemson University and Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal, Ecopsychology; serves on the board of directors of ecoAmerica, is a member of the Citistates Group, and is a founding partner, with C&NN, ecoAmerica and the Nature Conservancy of Nature Rocks.
In 2008, he received the Audubon Medal; past recipients include Rachel Carson, E.O. Wilson and Jimmy Carter. Among other awards, Louv received the 2008 San Diego Zoological Society Conservation Medal, the 2008 George B. Rabb Conservation Medal from the Chicago Zoological Society, the 2009 International Making Cities Livable Jane Jacobs Award, the 2007 Cox Award, Clemson University’s highest honor for “sustained achievement in public service.”
Married to Kathy Frederick Louv, he is the father of two young men, Jason and Matthew. He would rather hike than write.
David Sobel is Senior Faculty in the Education Department at Antioch University New England in Keene, NH and he consults and speaks widely on child development and place-based education with schools, environmental organizations and the National Park Service. He has authored seven books and more than 60 articles focused on children and nature for educators, parents, environmentalists and school administrators in the last 30 years.
He has served on the editorial boards of Encounter, Community Works Journal and Orion and writes a regular column for Community Works Journal. His articles and essays have appeared in Orion, Encounter, Sierra, Sanctuary, Wondertime, Green Teacher, Play Rights, Educational Leadership and the Harvard Education Letter. He has written chapters included in Father Nature; Stories from Where We Live-The North Atlantic Coast; Place-based Education in a Global Age; and The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion. His most recent books are Place-based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities published by the Orion Society, Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators published by Stenhouse and Wild Play, Parenting Adventures in the Great Outdoors published by Sierra Books.
He was recognized as one of the Daring Dozen educational leaders in the United States in 2007 by Edutopia magazine.
Sara Knight originally trained as an early years teacher and then as Forest School leader. She worked for many years in schools and nurseries in the UK and for one year in a kindergarten in Norway. After spending several years training nursery nurses in Further Education colleges in Essex she moved to Anglia Ruskin University where she became a course group leader. As a University lecturer she taught on undergraduate and post graduate education courses specialising in outdoor learning, the early years of children’s education, children with special and particular needs and learning through play. Since retiring from the University she continues to play in the woods and to write about it. She contributes to the development Forest School in the UK, publishing academic papers and books on the subject, and is a keynote speaker at conferences worldwide.
Anders Farstad is the Director of Hval Gård og Vepsebolet barnehager (kindergarten), Asker Municipality, Norway.
He qualified as a Kindergarten Teacher in 1977 and has been the Director of Hval Gård barnehager for the last 27 Years. He has worked in kindergartens for the last 36 years.
Anders has always been involved with nature-focused education and established a ‘pure’ Nature Kindergarten in 1997.
He is active as a speaker at national and international conferences on the subjects of:
- Nature Kindergartens
- Men in Childcare
- Father’s role
He has led the Men in Childcare organisation in the Asker Municipality since 1996. He has been instrumental in introducing Talking and Thinking Floorbooks into the Asker kindergartens, in close connection with Mindstretchers (Scotland).
He is married with 3 children and 7 grandchildren.
Zazie spent 15 years working in television, producing and directing primetime factual series for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. Over the last six years, she has been working closely with Claire, producing all her videos - including the Outdoor Learning series ‘A Year At Auchlone’ and Claire’s online training series.
Her daughter Freya has, for over two years, attended Auchlone Nature Kindergarten and her seven-year-old son Ronan has enjoyed holiday camps there. As a parent, she has first-hand experience of Claire’s philosophy and teaching methodology, and whole-heartedly supports her approach.
Zazie is also an active member of her community. She is appointed as a community councillor and is heavily involved in the local primary school, including teaching video production on a voluntary basis.
Founder of Australia’s “Bush Kinder”, Doug has worked as a director and educator in a variety of Early Childhood services for over 25 years.
On a land in which nature and education have been linked for 60,000 years by Aboriginal Australians, it is not fitting that the advantages of learning in nature have been neglected by conventional education.
What Doug has achieved through his work with “Bush Kinder” has successfully brought nature pedagogy into the consciousness of modern educators.
With the support of his community and like-minded collaborators, he has informed government, educational organisations and land managers.
Doug consults, writes and speaks nationally about the benefits of play based learning in the bush. He is also a respected hands-on educator. He advocates for the right of every child to learn through play, outdoors in nature.
Claire Warden is an educational consultant who has developed her approach to nature pedagogy and experiential learning through a variety of experiences. Her experiences have taken her on a pathway that includes working in a variety of types of centre, advisory work, and lecturing in further education.
As a lecturer in Primary Education at Strathclyde University, the development of training strategies and course creation have been applied to the dynamic and creative work currently undertaken by the company she first started, ‘Mindstretchers Ltd’. It has now grown to develop many aspects, including Claire’s own company, ‘Claire Warden Ltd’, through which Claire does her international and consultancy work, and her Community Interest Company, 'Living Classrooms', through which many community focussed projects have been delivered and which is now at the centre of the new International Association of Nature Pedagogy.
Claire Warden is an author of many books and materials relating to early years methodology. These include 'The Potential of a Puddle', which details UK national vision and values for outdoor play; 'Talking and Thinking Floorbooks', which presents the planning methodology that supports consultation and democracy in early education; 'The Right to be Me', which explores the rights of young children to high quality provision and 'Nurture through Nature', which explores working with children under three outside. 'Nature Kindergartens and Forest Schools' explores children's connection to nature and naturalistic spaces such as forest schools, forest kindergartens, woodland camps, nature kindergartens. Claire’s latest book, Learning With Nature – Embedding Outdoor Practice, which is published by Sage, has been very well received and is rapidly gaining a place as required reading on many academic education courses.
Claire is also still closely involved with her own nature kindergarten, Auchlone Nature Kindergarten, in Perth and Kinross in Scotland. This outdoor nursery works with children from 2-6 yrs old, who spend up to 90% of their time outside. The three spaces of ‘inside’, ‘outside’ and ‘beyond’ are mindfully linked so as to develop skills and confidence in a predominantly natural environment.
Claire is one of a leadership group of consultants who make up the World Nature Collaborative, a working party of the World Forum Foundation. The purpose of the group is to develop a cohesive network and approach to experiential learning in outdoor spaces in a variety of climates. The nature collaborative brings together educators, landscape architects, environmentalists and health workers to support a multidisciplinary approach to outdoor educational provision.
Wendy Lee is the Director of the Educational Leadership Project (Ltd), a professional learning provider for the early childhood sector in New Zealand. Wendy has been involved in early childhood education (ECE) field over the last 45 years as a teacher, tutor, lecturer, manager, professional development facilitator and researcher.
She has collaborated with Professor Margaret Carr on a number of research projects including:
- Assessment in Early Childhood Settings
- Centre of Innovation - Roskill South Kindergarten
- The Royal Society of NZ Marsden Fund Early Years Project – Learning Dispositions in a Social Context
- National Exemplar Development - Early Childhood Learning and Assessment Project
- Early Childhood Centre of Innovation – Greerton Early Childhood Education Centre
- Teaching and Learning Research Initiative Project – “Learning Wisdom”
During this period she was Co Director with Margaret of the National Early Childhood Assessment and Learning Exemplar Project that developed the Kei Tua o te Pae books on assessment for learning for the NZ early childhood sector.
Wendy has a deep interest in curriculum, advocacy and leadership issues in ECE. She is very enthusiatic about the power of documentation to strengthen the learner identity of children and is passionate about the importance of the outdoors for all children.
She has co-authored books on both Te Whāriki and Learning Stories. She has presented at conferences on ECE curriculum, leadership and learning stories throughout the world, including the UK, Germany, Japan, Iceland, Belgium, the USA, the United Arab Emirates, Norway, the Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Canada, Australia and Sweden.
Adam is an internationally acclaimed designer, builder, and researcher of nature based parks, and the founder of Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds. Adam’s nature-play advocacy work and spectacular natural parks and playgrounds have sent him around the world. Whether it is redesigning campuses for nature play in the wake of ISIS attacks in Jakarta or redeveloping the baby panda exhibit for the Toronto Metro Zoo, you will find Bienenstock at the forefront of the movement to connect children to nature.
Strategic projects and partnerships include Parks Canada, Right to Play, the Canadian Wildlife Federation, the US Army, New Zealand Parks and Rec, Nature Play Australia, nature centres, zoos, school boards, childcare facilities and municipalities around the world. Bienenstock sits on various advisory committees including the CSA Playground Safety Standard writing committee, Parliamentary Commission on Urban Conservation, and the Systematic Literature Review on Risky Outdoor Play.
His work is accessible, natural and fun, pushing the comfort zones of executives, municipal managers, procurement officials, teachers and principals. He is known for his wit and humor as a public speaker and invites us to laugh at ourselves as we roll up our sleeves to re-wild our cities and get our kids outside to play!
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