We invite you out for a hike to explore the magic of the natural world, our trails are free and open daily from dawn until dusk.

We ask that all staff and visitors follow our mask policy to help keep everyone safe and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Please stay tuned and do not hesitate to contact us with questions at

*Please note our facility’s date of reopen to the public is based on public health recommendations and other factors.

Nature Preschool Staff

Courtney Woods 150 x 150

Courtney Woods, Nature Preschool Director
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.


Julie Jarvis

Julie Jarvis, Nature Preschool Educator (M-F, Full Day)
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.


Amy Callies 150 x 150

Amy Callies, Nature Preschool Educator (M-F, Full Day)
Amy is passionate about providing inquiry-based, hands-on, place-based and play-based environmental activities for children. Amy has been an elementary educator for over 30 years and she recently retired from Park Elementary School in Cross Plains, WI. Amy has a Masters from UW-Madison in Educational Psychology. Amy has a BS in Preschool/Kindergarten and a second BS in Elementary Education from UW-Madison. She is nationally board certified as an early childhood generalist. Amy served as the school forest coordinator and grant writer in her school district for 15 years. She has raised hundreds of monarch caterpillars to use in classrooms and at the nature center. Amy spent many years teaching young children how to cross-country ski at Bluemound State Park. Amy has worked as an environmental educator at ALNC since 2011. She is a lifelong Madisonian and an avid Badger fan. She loves to kayak, garden, cross country ski, ice skate, hike….spend as much time outside as possible enjoying all that nature has to offer!



Liesl Schultz Hying, Nature Preschool Educator (MWF AM)
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 Mondroski, Nature Preschool Educator (MWF AM)
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.



Claudia Lewis, Nature Preschool Educator (T/R AM & T-F PM)
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 Schneider, Nature Preschool Educator (T/R AM & coverage for M-F interim period & Float/Sub)
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 Mordini, Camps Coordinator and Nature Preschool Educator (M-F, After Care)
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!


Aldo Leopold Nature Center