The Natural Start Alliance's Council of Nature and Forest Preschools was created by nature-based education professionals and is a subset of the Natural Start Alliance membership. The Council is focused specifically on advancing nature and forest preschools.
The Council works in committees, listed below. If you'd like to get involved, please contact the team lead for the area (or areas) that you are interested in. You can spend as much time on Council activities as you like: this is an all-volunteer effort of professionals who want to advance the field. Each team works on its own schedule.
Or for general inquiries about the Council, you can contact one of the Co-Chairs:
Rachel Larimore: RachelLarimore@gmail.com
Monica Wiedel-Lubinski: firstname.lastname@example.org
Council Focus Areas and Contacts
Professional Development and Resources
Higher Education/Teacher Preparation
The Council for Nature and Forest Preschools began to form in 2015 at a meeting at the National Conservation Training Center to explore how the Natural Start Alliance could help accelerate the nature-based preschool movement. At that meeting, leaders in the field were clear: nature and forest schools need specialized professional support to ensure quality and grow the movement. The nature-based education professionals listed below have come together to help the Council get started, and they form the Leadership Team. They invite other leaders--whether parents, educators, administrators, researchers, or others--to join them in helping to push the field forward.
Rachel Larimore, Director of Education, Chippewa Nature Center
Monica Wiedel-Lubinski, Director, Irvine Nature Center Nature Preschool
Anna Dutke, Nature Preschool Teacher, Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools
David Sobel, Professor, Antioch University
Erin Kenny, Director, Cedarsong Nature School
Kit Harrington, Co-Director, Fiddleheads Forest School
Ken Finch, Director, Green Hearts Institute for Nature in Childhood
Megan Gessler, Director, Natural Beginnings Early Learning Center
Nickie Weller, Director, Children's Treehouse Child Development Center
Patti Bailie, Professor, University of Maine Farmington
Patty Born Selly, Faculty Program Coodinator/Assistant Professor, Hamline University
Sarah Heller, Co-Director, Fiddleheads Forest School
Sheila Williams-Ridge, Director, Shirley G. Moore Laboratory School, University of Minnesota