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, Shane, and Desmond. 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 has spent 10+ 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. 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 has taught in Audubon’s Forest Kindergarten Oaks class and the Saplings and Sprouts classes. 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. She loves fungi, gardening, cooking, camping, and travel. She lives on a tiny urban homestead in Takoma Park with her husband, three daughters (Kiera, Ailyn, and Riana), 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.
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 and Ethan, 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.
Jane Dimyan-Ehrenfeld, Acorns Teacher
Jane holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College, where she was also certified as an elementary teacher. She has eight years of experience teaching in urban public schools in Prince George’s County, MD, and in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. Jane received an M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. She has worked as a civil rights attorney for the U.S. Department of Education, and, most recently, was first the Director of Teaching and Learning, and then Executive Director, of Center for Inspired Teaching, a DC-based nonprofit dedicated to helping teachers create authentically engaging, playful classrooms where students learn how, not what to think. Jane lives in Silver Spring with her husband Michael and their three daughters, Veronique (Vee), age 9; Amarantha (Annie), age 6, and Elise, age 4. Jane is the daughter of an ecologist and a conservation biologist, the sister of a farmer, and the sister-in-law of the founder and head of a wilderness education nonprofit, and so she has been steeped in the wonders and importance of outdoor education all her life. She loves baking, reading, playing Scrabble, writing, playing her guitar, seeing theater and dance performances, wandering in the woods, and watching her kids explore the world and let their wild imaginations run free.