Our staff collectively has over 50 years of experience teaching young children and there is nothing they love more than exploring the natural world alongside their students and families. Having the opportunity to view nature through the eyes of young children and witness the awe and excitement they feel is a true joy.
Stephanie Bozzo, Founding Director
Stephanie holds a B.S. in Psychology from Virginia Tech with a concentration of her coursework in child development. She also holds a certificate in early childhood education. Stephanie has extensive experience as an educator in formal classrooms as well as informal classrooms such as summer camp programs and public school enrichment programs, creating and implementing activities as well as providing leadership for children and staff. Connecting children to nature and finding the wonder in every moment is her life’s passion. Stephanie lives in North Bethesda with her husband, Tom and their sons Damon (6), Shane (4), and Desmond (2). Stephanie loves hiking, biking, cooking and baking, traveling, seeing live music, and spending time with family and friends.
Amelia McLaughlin, Saplings and Sprouts Teacher
Amelia, a Takoma Park native and graduate of Sandy Spring Friends School, holds a B.A. in history and political science from Guildford College and a teaching certificate in early childhood education from Montgomery College. She last spent the last eleven summers at a play-based outdoor summer camp, first as a camper, then a counselor and finally as a co-director the past four summers. This is Amelia’s third year as a Saplings teacher at ANP. Amelia enjoys exploring museums, doing yoga, and watching documentaries.
Chelsea Hawk, Saplings and Sprouts Teacher
Chelsea holds a B.A. in elementary and special education from Towson University. Chelsea believes that children learn best when given the freedom to explore, ask questions, and make discoveries. She aspires to bring her passion for curiosity and creativity into her daily teaching, and loves seeing her students develop their own passions as they continue along the road to becoming lifelong learners. Chelsea taught in last year’s Forest Kindergarten Oaks class and is excited to join the Saplings this year. She lives in Silver Spring with her children Olivia and Evan, their golden Gracie and their cat Duma. Chelsea and her family enjoy gardening, baking, and finding new hiking trails to explore.
Shannon Earle, Oaks Teacher
Shannon, Oaks Forest Kindergarten teacher, holds a M.S. in Natural Resources and Environment with a focus on Environmental Education from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of North Carolina. Her career has included work as an Interpretive Park Ranger in Canyonlands National Park, environmental education with schools around a community forest reserve in Costa Rica as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and eight years managing a conservation education and training program at Conservation International. She served as a board member and parent co-opper at the Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School for seven years. This is Shannon’s second year teaching the Oaks class. She loves fungi, gardening, cooking, camping, and travel. She lives on a tiny urban homestead in Takoma Park with her husband, three daughters (Kiera-6, Ailyn-8, and Riana-11), Hoodoo the cat and occasional tadpoles and caterpillars.
Julie Walkup, Oaks Teacher
Julie holds an MS in Early Childhood Education from Towson University, an MA in Sign Language Interpretation from Gallaudet University, and a BS in Psychology from Duke University. She comes to us with a wealth of experience teaching kindergarten and first grade in MCPS for the last 5 years. She also has a background in environmental education, and enjoys sharing her love of nature with children. Before teaching, Julie worked as a sign language interpreter. Julie lives in Rockville with her husband, 3 kids and their goldendoodle. She enjoys nature, arts and crafts, and spending time with family and friends. She is looking forward to her first year teaching at the Audubon Nature School.
Ruth Polk, Acorns Teacher
Ruth, Acorns teacher, holds a B.A. in English from Haverford College and a M.S. in Resource Policy and Behavior from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Ruth brings years of experience teaching pre-k through 5th graders throughout the DC-metro region. Ruth lives in Takoma Park with her husband, Shmuel, their two sons Aaron (14) and Ethan (12), and Pettigrew, their beloved dog, part coonhound, part lab. Ruth and her family are avid hikers and explorers of nature both locally and in the many nearby nature reserves and parks. Her former work included researching the links between the environment and women’s health, particularly breast cancer and working with industries to adopt less polluting technologies.
Kristin Roberts, Acorns Teacher
Kristin, Acorns teacher, holds a Masters of Arts in Teaching in Early Childhood Education from Trinity Washington University as well as a Master of Arts in Public Service in Nonprofit Administration from Marquette University. Kristin is starting her first year at ANP after teaching pre-k and kindergarten at Inspired Teaching School in DC for four years and is very excited to start the adventure of nature-based teaching and learning. Kristin lives in Northwest DC, with her husband (Cody), baby son (Alden), and two cats (Clementine and Olive). Outside of teaching, she likes to spend time gardening, running, biking, bird-watching, doing crossword puzzles, and, of course, hiking in Rock Creek Park and beyond.
The Audubon Naturalist Society’s children’s education staff will also lend their expertise to the program. Our program also benefits from warm and engaging experiences with our talented interns and volunteers.