Courtney is a lifelong educator who believes strongly in the power of playing and learning in the outdoors. Courtney taught kindergarten for many years prior to becoming ALNP’s director. She has a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from UW Madison, as well as a Bachelors in Elementary Education and Psychology. Courtney believes that nature can bring so much to both children and the people they learn from – joy, wonder, curiosity, peace — and is dedicated to helping nature-based education become a central foundation of all teaching and learning in our community. When not at work, Courtney spends time running, reading and trying to tame her wild vegetable garden.
Sarah is passionate about seeing the joy on the children’s faces each day as they explore and learn. Each child lights up with a new discovery as they ask the questions of scientists, readers, mathematicians, artists and great thinkers. She has loved being a part of ALNP, being immersed in nature each day and learning together with the children. Sarah grew up in Racine but has called Madison her home for over 20 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Environmental Studies from UW-Madison and also completed Post-BA Teacher Certification coursework at Concordia University-Wisconsin. She is WI state certified to teach birth-early adolescence and this will be her tenth year teaching preschool. She lives on the east side with her husband, Jeremy, and enjoys reading, traveling and watching UW women’s volleyball.
Julie’s connection to nature developed during her childhood, hiking the dunes and playing in the waters and sands of Lake Michigan. Her wonder, care and concern for nature led her to pursue a Bachelor’s of Science in ecology from the University of Michigan and a career as an environmental educator. Then, after several years working in a preschool, her love of children and the desire to foster their wellbeing, led her to Western Washington University for a Masters of Education in school counseling and to work as an elementary school counselor and child and adolescent therapist. After moving to Madison in 2010, Julie worked in the non-profit sector, supporting school sustainability efforts and collaborating with teachers to integrate place-based, outdoor inquiry in their teaching. As a preschool educator, Julie aims to facilitate the wellbeing of children, families and the natural world through helping to connect people to themselves, others and nature. Julie enjoys hiking, cooking, baking, gardening and acting. She lives in Madison with her husband, son and dog.
Liesl spent her childhood playing and hiking in fields and woods of Wisconsin, developing a connection to the natural world. Liesl has a degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood from Butler University in Indianapolis. At Butler, she was a member of the basketball team and was fortunate to continue her playing career for two years in Europe. Liesl returned to the states and coached women’s basketball at the collegiate level for 5 years. She then returned to her home state and taught for 9 years at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Preschool in Milwaukee, one of the first Nature Preschools in the country. After moving to Whitewater, Liesl established and leads a school garden at an elementary school. Liesl enjoys hiking, biking, gardening, photography, traveling and cheering on her Butler Bulldogs.
Nicky has been an environmental educator for 20 years and has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental
Education from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. She has experience working with children as young as infants and as old as teenagers. Working for the Forest Service allowed her to teach children all across the country from different backgrounds. She spent two years at Nature’s Classroom learning how to write curriculum, teaching team building skills and doing historical simulations. At Neighborhood House of Milwaukee, Nicky worked with every age of kids, but really fell in love with teaching the toddlers. For the past 11 years, she has loved working as a Naturalist at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center. Nicky is most looking forward to dipping in our pond throughout the year and watching the phenological changes with the children. In her free time, she enjoys knitting, running, traveling to other countries and camping and has
3 children who love coming to ALNC.
Since moving to Madison from New York in 2001, Claudia has enjoyed getting to know Dane County, especially the flora and fauna of the prairies. She thoroughly loved teaching the Tuesday/Thursday morning Chickadees during ALNP’s inaugural year! Claudia adores finding wonder and joy in the little surprises to be found in nature, delighting in sharing that with young people. She has worked as an Environmental Educator at ALNC since Spring 2018, teaching school programs and summer camp for students from 3 years old to high school, and thinks any day spent outdoors is bound to be a good one. An enthusiastic hiker and camper since her childhood in Germany, she is also a committed “Leave No Trace” advocate, recreational runner, and dedicated knitter, and is excited to share her love of nature with anyone who lets her prattle on about our amazing and diverse ecosystems [and who can see the fun in a muddy puddle].
Brian grew up traveling around the state of Wisconsin with his family and exploring the many landscapes the state has to offer. Originally from Wauwatosa, WI, he has spent the past 8 years in Madison after getting his bachelor’s degree in Zoology and Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin. Brian’s experience in environmental education started in college where he was a camp counselor for UW Camp Kesem and a nature club leader for middle school students in Madison. He has been an environmental educator at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center for 5 years and has enjoyed leading backpacking, canoeing and camping trips, as well as working camps and field trips with kids of all ages. Brian had fun filling in as a substitute for the nature preschool last school year and is looking forward to spending more time in the preschool this year. Brian believes every day spent outside leads to new discoveries and that connecting with nature is an integral part of education. In his free time Brian enjoys birding, photography, camping, playing sports, and cheering on the Badgers, Brewers, Bucks and Packers.
Lauren is coming to us from the Chicago area. Growing up, she would enjoy annual summer road trips with her family that always included some national park or state park hiking, this was the start of her love for the outdoors. Since then, she has kept her connection with nature through running and her career aspirations. She has a BA in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Ecology from Luther College. Since graduating Lauren has found herself doing work with environmental-oriented organizations but was always looking for the connection between children and nature. She has found that calling here at ALNC. In her free time you can find Lauren running, exploring Madison and enjoying a good book!