Play. Explore. Create. Love. Discover. Run. Learn. Sing. Be Messy. Laugh. Be Free.
Sarah Carlson, Founder and Director
Sarah Carlson is a Bank Street Graduate with an M.S. Ed. in Early Childhood Elementary Education, and has taught in a variety of public and private school settings in New York, New Jersey and London for the past 17 years. She is certified as a Forest School Kindergarten Teacher through Cedarsong Nature School. Sarah holds Permanent Certification in both New York and New Jersey. She is certified in Infant, Child and Adult CPR and First Aid. Sarah is inspired by children's authenticity, energy, and expression and is rooted in the idea that we are always learning through experience, reflection, and finding the magic in day to day moments. She believes strongly in the freedom, health, and creativity that ample time in nature can provide.
Lilly Clark, Assistant Director & Teacher
Originally from New York City, Lilly Clark graduated from Brooklyn College with a B.A. in Childhood Education, minoring in Sociology. She continued her professional studies at Bank Street College of Education, focusing on the Reggio Emilia approach. Lilly believes in nurturing the whole child through unconditional acceptance and compassionate interactions that are respectful of the child's ideas, input, and social-emotional development. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, book club, color-coding spreadsheets, and exploring the city by bike with her family. Lilly is certified in Infant, Child and Adult CPR and First Aid.
Susannah Bortner, Director of Community & Family Outreach
Susannah is originally from Hershey, PA, but has been a Brooklynite for 14 years. She holds a BA in English with a minor in Women's Studies, an MFA in Poetry, and has 6 years of classroom experience with ages 2-5. Susannah has also continued her education with courses and certificates through CUNY's New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute. She is certified in Infant, Child and Adult CPR and First Aid. Susannah believes that children are powerful in both body and mind and that they possess the skills and strength to complete difficult tasks autonomously. She loves the freedom of play and nature-based teaching and is excited to be working with Brooklyn Nature Days. Susannah lives in Cobble Hill with her husband and two young sons and loves biking, reading Scandinavian crime fiction, watching Buffy, and playing strategy board games.
Alice Ryan, Teacher
Alice Ryan is a graduate of the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts and hails from California. She loves spending time with kids and has over a decade of childcare experience. It brings her great joy to share her passion for music, dance, and storytelling with the kids of Brooklyn Nature Days. Alice is certified in Infant, Child and Adult CPR and First Aid.
Anna Fitzgerald, Teacher
Anna Fitzgerald spent her childhood in Connecticut's "quiet corner" and historical encampments all over the east demonstrating 18th century American life for families and students. She has been a Big Sister (BBSS) to amazing LIttles, and has since worked as a nanny in Park Slope. She coordinated educational and literacy all-ages events at the community arts venue she co-founded in Brooklyn. Her current documentary work continues her graduate study in civil organization and social movements at Goddard. She now shares her Ridgewood home with an aquatic snail, a beloved human, and some very cool plants.
Anna Fischer, Teacher
Anna grew up in San Francisco, CA, but has called Brooklyn home for the past seven years. She has a BA in Human Rights from Bard College and is currently pursuing a Masters in Early Childhood General and Special Education at Brooklyn College. Anna has four years of teaching experience, in preschool and 1st grade classrooms. Anna fondly recalls growing up outdoors in California, playing in streams, climbing mountains, and exploring red wood forests. Now, when not working or studying, she can be found enjoying a good book in the park, biking, baking bread, or doing yoga. Anna is certified in Infant, Child, and Adult CPR and First Aid.
Alida Burry, Teacher
Alida Burry grew up in Western Massachusetts. After graduating from the University of Vermont with degrees in Anthropology and Spanish, she moved to Brooklyn in 2007. Alida's experience as an educator began in Vermont, where she worked in a preschool for refugee children. She continued to explore education, working as an English teacher in Argentina, a gardening educator in the suburbs outside of Buenos Aires, and a children's garden instructor at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Alida began teaching at a Brooklyn preschool in 2008 and completed her Masters Degree in early childhood development at Hunter College in 2013. Alida brings a great appreciation for all living things, an open mind, and an appetite for good books to her teaching. Her students are a constant source of inspiration, and Alida loves guiding spirited group discussions, exploring, laughing, and singing alongside her students. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys long walks in the woods, eating heartily, and watching things grow.
Amos Massey III, Teacher
Amos grew up exploring the lush forests, swamps and gardens of Central Florida, which gave him a lasting appreciation for the outdoors. After several years as an elementary school teachers’ aide, where he led students through countless trips and activities, he moved to New York where he worked for the nonprofit Housingworks for 7 years, eventually leading the auction team. Along the way, his love of nature returned to the forefront, and he transitioned into horticultural work for several Brooklyn companies. Amos is excited to return to an educational role with Brooklyn Nature Days and instill his love of plant life, nature and the outdoors in the next generation of nature lovers. In his spare time, he you can find him in his pottery studio, on a climbing wall or hiking trail. He's currently studying to aquire a certificate in horticulture.
Courtney Kotsionis, Teacher
Courtney Kotsionis received her BFA in photography from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is nearing her 10th year living in Brooklyn. Courtney is excited to be a part of Brooklyn Nature Days, where she finds each day more inspiring than the next. Courtney is passionate about being present and engaged with children, especially when she’s able to share her love of dancing, art, music, and nature.
Deenah Shutzer, Teacher
Deenah hails from a small seaside town in northern Massachusetts. She most recently worked at the Brooklyn Public Library as an outreach educator in the Brooklyn Collection, the library's local history archive, where she got to touch dusty newspaper articles (using gloves!), skim through card catalogs, and teach Brooklyn's unique history to public school students every day. Prior to that, she worked for a number of arts organizations in the city as a Teaching Artist, leading drama classes and creative writing workshops in all types of classrooms. She loves to speak Spanish, talk about her neighborhood Ditmas Park, and take care of her friend's cats whenever possible.
Jennifer Liao, Teacher
Jennifer Liao is from New Jersey and is currently a student at Boston College studying Elementary Education and Applied Psychology & Human Development. She has had several years of experience working with children both in and outside classrooms as an assistant preschool teacher. In her spare time, she enjoys reading books, baking, and being outside enjoying the beauty of the outdoors. She believes in allowing children to direct their own learning experiences and engaging in nature in an often digital age. Jennifer is looking forward to creating beautiful messes with the kids at Brooklyn Nature Days.
Jess Levy, Teacher
Jess is a New York City native who comes to Brooklyn Nature Days with a decade of professional childcare experience, including founding, directing, and teaching in her own co-op play school in Park Slope. Jess is an avid reader, frequent Hudson Valley hiker, Krav Maga practitioner, and is highly enthusiastic about dogs, particularly her spaniel mix, Cannoli. She is certified in infant, child, and adult CPR and first aid.
Kaitlyn "Kate" Eldridge, Teacher
Kate grew up a block from the ocean in Long Beach, NY and has been living in Brooklyn for over 10 years. As a young teenager, her very first job was as a babysitter, and she has continued to work with children ever since. More recently, Kate has worked as an after-school counselor, a Montessori preschool teacher’s aide, a guitar teacher, a summer camp counselor, and as a nanny for children and infants as young as 2 months old. She is certified in Infant, Child and Adult CPR, and First Aid. When she's not working with children, Kate travels the world playing music with her band.
Maeve FitzHoward, Teacher
Maeve FitzHoward grew up in San Francisco, California. She moved to New York to attend the Cooper Union School of Art, earning her BFA in 2017. Throughout college Maeve worked as a part-time nanny for families in Brooklyn. Since graduating, she has been working as an assistant and freelance photographer. In 2016 Maeve took a semester off from school to hike 1,000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail with her twin sister. She is the happiest when she is outside, and loves being silly and creative with children.
Megan Supina, Teacher
Meg, a central Pennsylvania native, earned her Bachelor and Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Delaware. Over the years, Meg has had extensive experience with children as a babysitter, voice teacher, and paraeducator. Meg certified in Infant, Child and Adult CPR. Growing up surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains, Meg developed a deep love of nature and she is excited to share that with the students of Brooklyn Nature Days. In her spare time, Meg loves yoga, travel, cooking, and snuggling with her roommates dogs.
Menemsha Milnor, Teacher
Originally from Connecticut, Menemsha graduated from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2015 with a master’s degree in political science. In addition to working at Brooklyn Nature Days, she also teaches preschool at The Co-Op School, where she engages students in learning through song, dance and joyful play. She believes in the importance of fostering inclusivity, and uses anti-bias curriculum to affirm uniqueness and diversity in the learning environment. Menemsha is currently enrolled at Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and expects to graduate in 2020.
Myllicent Felder, Teacher
Myllicent is working toward her Master's degree and certification in Early Childhood Education and Special Education at Brooklyn College, CUNY. She received her BFA from Purchase College, SUNY in Theatre Design/Technology with a focus in lighting design. She has been working with young children, in mostly play-based, child-led classroom for three years now, and is looking forward to many more. She is excited to step outside the classroom and explore the great outdoors with Brooklyn Nature Days. She is certified in Infant, Child and Adult CPR, AED and First Aid. Myllicent lives in Prospect Heights with her husband and her two cats, Oliver and Doodle. In her free time, she enjoys healthy cooking, reading non-fiction, and cuddling with her cats.
Sara Stokes, Teacher
Growing up between California and Hawaii, Sara has been living in Brooklyn for the last decade. She received her BA in Cultural Studies and Media from Eugene Lang College and has done graduate research in religion, ecology, environmental ethics and philosophy. Most recently Sara has been working as a gardener throughout the city and is currently working towards a certificate in Urban Agriculture from Farm School NYC, an organization committed to food justice and community empowerment. Humbled by the flora and fauna of our planet, Sara looks forward to sharing her love of Earth's micro and macro wonders with Brooklyn Nature Days.
Sean Fagan, Teacher
Sean is a graduate of Florida State University with a diverse background in the recreational nonprofit world. A true Florida native, Sean has spent majority of his summers teaching children the joys of the outdoors at 4-H summer camp, from kayaking to archery. He spent his final years in Florida making wishes come true for kids with life threatening illnesses at Give Kids the World in Orlando. Sean moved to Brooklyn earlier this year, and is looking forward to all of the adventures Brooklyn Nature Days has in store!
Zannie Owens, Teacher
Zannie grew up on the banks of the Neuse River, one the the largest rivers contained entirely in North Carolina. They spent most of their childhood sailing, swimming, and exploring the Croatan National Forest, a vast and fascinating coastal forest that contains saltwater estuaries, beech and oak forests, wetland swamps, pine savannas, and many other beautiful habitats. At 16, Zannie was accepted to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where they studied classical guitar and music theory. Upon graduating from UNCSA, Zannie set out for New York City, knowing that it still retains its status as a mecca of sorts for young artists and creative types. Zannie has worked as a Montessori teacher, and has spent the last three years teaching music to young students. Their teaching practice focuses on learning through creation, by fostering an environment where the child’s curiosity and feelings can be processed, expressed, and honored. In their spare time, Zannie enjoys playing synthesizer, skateboarding, karaoke, and soaking up the sun in Prospect Park. Zannie is very excited to share their love of nature and play with Brooklyn Nature Days.
Kelly Brennan, Yoga
Kelly has been teaching yoga to people of all ages for over a decade. In 2007 she left her successful advertising career for the yoga mat and never looked back. Her passion for the practice truly shines whether she is 'playing' yoga with children, helping teens meditate, or guiding adults through a creative flow. Highly regarded as a kids yoga expert, Kelly spent four years regularly traveling the world training kids yoga teachers. She resides in Brooklyn and teaches in schools, studios, and privately in homes all over the city.
Stacey Capobianco, Yoga
Stacey is a children’s yoga teacher, family health coach, former Kindergarten teacher and mom of three young girls. She loves watching children explore and is forever in awe of the way they see the world. When not teaching or taking yoga classes herself, Stacey loves to cook, travel and spend time in nature.
Ali Shockey, Earth Art
Ali Shockey graduated from Oberlin College in 2016 with a B.A. in Studio Art, and has gone on to pursue Child Education and Healing Arts in Brooklyn while she continues to practice her art in sculpture and printmaking. Since January, she has been a Work Study with Maha Rose Center for Healing in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and is an assistant teacher for Fairy School. She is a certified Reiki healer in level 1 and will also begin her Reiki mentorship with founder Lisa Livine beginning in September. Alice attended the Princeton Waldorf School from Pre-K through 8th grade and believes in independent thinking and creative play. She spent most of her childhood using her imagination in the forest, and is so happy to share this experience with kids from New York City.
Yo Re Mi, Music
Yo Re Mi is thrilled to bring music, yoga and mindfulness education to Brooklyn Nature Days. Our unique musical yoga program enhances learning, encourages creativity and imagination, while promoting whole-child wellness. Having started at one preschool in 2014, Yo Re Mi now provides music and movement enrichment at over 20 schools and daycares in New York and New Jersey. Founders Dan Costello and Rachel Costello are local Brooklyn residents and their team of talented teachers are certified yoga instructors and professional musicians. See videos and hear songs at www.yoremikids.com