Aldo Leopold Nature Center (ALNC) is fortunate to have a dedicated team of Environmental Educators with a variety of backgrounds, who use their knowledge of local flora and fauna and their passion for environmental education to carry out our mission to engage and educate current and future generations, empowering them to protect, respect, and enjoy the natural world. ALNC Environmental Educators (EEs) have significant experience working outdoors with children and backgrounds in a wide variety of fields. All EEs have been through a thorough background check, are certified in Standard First Aid and CPR, and are fully-vaccinated against COVID-19.
To meet out Nature Preschool Staff, please visit our Nature Preschool Staff page.
Brian grew up traveling around the state of Wisconsin with his family and exploring the many landscapes the state has to offer. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology and Environmental Studies from UW-Madison and an M.S. in Conservation Biology from UW-Stout. Brian has been an environmental educator at ALNC for 8 years and has enjoyed leading backpacking, canoeing and camping trips, as well as working camps and field trips with kids of all ages. 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, and cheering on his favorite Wisconsin sports teams.
Doug has been a part-time environmental educator at ALNC since 2013. He is a retired middle school science teacher and forester. Prior to becoming a teacher, he worked for the U.S. Forest Service for several years in Minnesota and Idaho. He recently completed the Wisconsin Master Naturalist program and enjoys spending time outdoors with family and friends hiking, bird watching, and bicycling. When not exploring the outdoors, he can often be found juggling a variety of objects as he is also a seasoned performer.
After spending her formative years trailing toads, turtles, and butterflies, Kaitlin earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from UW-Madison and, a few years later, a masters in education from Colorado State University. She has taught science, cultural studies, and literacy in both formal and informal educational settings, all in pursuit of helping people understand and feel community with the natural world. In working at ALNC, Kaitlin feels lucky to be able to help people of all ages build resiliency, connect, and heal through spending time in nature. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, gardening, and learning new ways to be a good citizen of planet earth.
Maddie grew up exploring the woods of Green Bay, WI, which is where her love for nature sprouted. She has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While attending university, she was in the UW Marching Band as a flügelhorn player and was a member of the Badger Band Sustainability Team. Maddie started in 2022 as a preschool support teacher and as an environmental educator for various school-aged programs. If Maddie isn’t playing alongside the kids or spitting out all the cool nature facts, she would most likely be found with her pets or her partner; hiking, baking, playing instruments, and watching movies. When she grows up, Maddie’s dream job is to be an interpretive park ranger, much like what she loves doing here at ALNC. She is incredibly passionate in what she does and cannot envision herself doing anything else!
Maggie comes to ALNC from New England by way of Idaho. She spent the last year getting her master’s in environmental education and science communication at the University of Idaho’s McCall Field Campus. Prior to that, Maggie spent 4 years in Vermont completing her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies. While in the Green Mountain state, she worked as a conservation crew leader, a reporter for a small-town newspaper, a coordinator for a mountain bike summer camp, and did research on effective science education in schools. She has also spent time in Panama researching community based eco-tourism. Maggie’s passion for environmental education is rooted in helping folks tall and small nurture a caring relationship with the natural world. In her free time, Maggie enjoys Nordic skiing, alpine skiing, mountain biking, backpacking, running (but never up hills), drawing, napping, eating popcorn, and drinking raspberry tea!
Melissa has been at ALNC since 2016 and has been in the teaching profession for 16 years, having taught in California for several years before returning back home to Wisconsin. She loves spending time outdoors exploring new places and adding birds to her life list. If she’s not working, she’s usually spending time with her family or out birding in and around Madison.
Natalie is a Madison native who grew up camping, hiking, and otherwise exploring the outdoors. She has graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Management from UW Superior. In her spare time, Natalie can be found biking, birding, or spending time with friends and family.
Getting equal joy from the lakes of Minnesota as the waterfalls of Minas Gerais, Brazil, Nate’s bi-cultural upbringing fostered an early appreciation of diversity in humans and the greater community of life. He is passionate about social and environmental justice, as well as community living and positive youth development. They got involved in youth work while getting a bachelor’s in Biology and Environmental Sciences from UW-Madison, and now have nearly five years experience as the Teen Program Coordinator at a local neighborhood center. They also have nearly a decade of cooperative living experience in Madison, including being a co-founder of the housing co-op where they currently reside. Nate enjoys frolicking in the prairie, and spending quality time with his wife and daughter.
Rowan grew up exploring Madison’s city parks as well as visiting the woods, prairies, and lakes all around Wisconsin. These early introductions to the outdoors created a love for being and learning in nature and a passion to help others have these opportunities as well. In 2020 Rowan graduated from Northland College with a bachelors degree in Outdoor Education with an emphasis on equity and inclusion. Rowan has spent time working with preschoolers to teenagers leading summer camps, after school programs, and overnight trips. In their free time Rowan loves to garden, swim, cook, and craft!
Siri grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and studied Environmental Studies and Norwegian at St. Olaf College. She recently moved to Madison from Minneapolis, where she ran nature-based programming as a Certified TimberNook Provider for Edina Public Schools. In her free time, Siri enjoys cross-country skiing, cooking, and spending time with her husband, Sam, and their basset hound pup, Luka.
Tara has been in the Early Childhood field for over 10 years and the field of education for over 15 years in various capacities. Tara has a Masters in Environmental Education (UW, Stevens Point), which led her to combine her passion for the outdoors and teaching. She created and implemented the Wonder Bugs Preschool Program and the Aldo Leopold Nature Preschool here at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center. Tara is currently an adjunct instructor at UW-Whitewater, teaching two of the four courses for the Wisconsin Registry Nature Based Early Childhood Education Credential, and she has returned to ALNC as a part-time environmental educator after a COVID-related “leave of absence.” When Tara is not outside enjoying various outdoor activities in all seasons with her family (two daughters, one spouse, and a fur baby), she can be found enjoying a plethora of creative and musical endeavors.
Weekend Environmental Educators & Community Assistants
Abi grew up in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin. She spent most of her summers hiking different national and state parks. She studies Environmental Science at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. She enjoys hiking, traveling, beading, and spending time with her friends and family. Her appreciation for nature is something she often shares with others.
Growing up outside Chicago and living in Iowa and Wisconsin, makes Alec a Midwestern man. He graduated from the University of Iowa in May of 2022 with a degree in the environmental sciences. During his time at Iowa, he discovered a love for tall grass prairie, birds, and a plant-based lifestyle. His favorite midwestern birds are the Barred Owl and Northern Flicker. In his free time he can be found skateboarding, thrifting, going to concerts, or playing guitar.
Caitlin has been with ALNC since 2018. She grew up in River Falls, Wisconsin and has always been a big fan of the natural world and sharing her environmental passions with others. After getting her degree in Zoology and Environmental Studies from UW-Madison she got her first job in environmental education and has been hooked ever since. Caitlin enjoys kayaking, skiing, hiking, exploring aquatic environments, chasing butterflies, and talking about all things water resources.
Raised in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Grace spent her childhood exploring Wisconsin’s beautiful natural landscapes through camping and fishing trips, hiking, and cross-country skiing. Her love of the environment is reflected in her studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Global Health and a certificate in Environmental Studies. Grace enjoys learning about climate change ecology, ecosystem sustainability, and science communications! In her free time, Grace can be found baking, watching the latest documentaries on Netflix, attending to her many house plants, or playing with her puppies.