Facilitator of Outreach and Regenerative Design
Director, Children at Play Network
Claude has more than 30 years of experience in informal education supported by a foundation in ecology. He led the Bernheim Children at Play Initiative, which pioneered healthy outdoor play strategies that connect people with nature.
Claude is licensed by the State of Kentucky, Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Division of Childcare as an early care trainer for play-based learning. He believes the support of play in nature is a root strategy for fostering a next generation of environmental stewards.
Play memory: I grew up in a neighborhood where all children played together. As long as we were within hearing distance of the bell that called us home we were fine. I think I might still have a map of that neighborhood somewhere that includes an X where the treasure was buried.
Coordinator, Children at Play Network
As an advocate for children and the environment, Melissa believes that children need nature and nature needs children who grow to become lifelong stewards of the earth. She has more than 20 years’ experience helping organizations in the non-profit and public sectors achieve their goals. She is a mother of two, and knows that improved and increased outdoor play experiences for children is the best way forward.
Play memory: As a child, I couldn’t imagine a more perfect place to live than inside a tree. I pretended that the largest tree in our backyard was my home, a secret place near a wood pile where I made “sassafrass” tea from crunchy leaves. This little backyard patch was my home away from home, a quiet, natural space where I was free to create the world as I wanted.
Coordinator, Children at Play Network
Forest Kindergarten Facilitator
Debbie was born and raised in Scotland, where she taught elementary education for many years. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Education and a Post Graduate Diploma in Leadership and Management. She moved to Louisville in 2013 with her husband Angus, and now spends her days teaching K1 and as a mom to their baby daughter, Floraidh (Florrie). Debbie is passionate about education, the development of children and the outdoors. She wants to connect children with nature to help families connect with each and the natural world in a positive, compassionate and fun way.
Play memory: I lived as a child with a forest outside my backdoor. It was my and my sisters’ playground, where we climbed trees, searched for animals and played hide and seek. My dad and I built a tree house there, which meant I finally had somewhere to inspire the creation of stories, let me talk to animals and provide shelter from the Scottish weather. Having that space provided a sense of calm and helped me feel more connected to myself and to the world around me.
Jessica Forst, CAPN Play Facilitator
Jessica Forst is living out her life's passion as an early childhood educator in the Jefferson County Public Schools. She grew up climbing trees and running through a forest on her family’s property in Indiana and considers herself a full-grown child with a continued love of mud and adventure.
Carolyn Waters, CAPN Play Facilitator
A native of Louisville, Carolyn Waters has a Master of Education with a focus on Environmental Education from Western Washington University. She worked in the North Cascades National Park as a naturalist, backcountry guide and park ranger and now teaches Environmental Studies at Bellarmine University and leads workshops, trainings and guided experiences for a variety of organizations around town.
As a child Carolyn ran wild through her neighborhood, exploring the adjoining abandoned farm property, swinging on vines over a creek and collecting forest detritus to make a “witches’ brew.”
Zach Bramel, CAPN Play Facilitator
Zach Bramel lives and plays in Louisville and in his spare time writes and performs puppet shows. As a kid, creeks were one of his favorite things to explore, and they still are.
Rachel Brunner, CAPN Play Facilitator
Rachel Brunner became involved with the Children at Play Network in 2013 while working at the Shippingport Memorial Garden. She has a degree in agricultural economics and works at Common Earth Gardens, Louisville's refugee agriculture program. As a child she spent hours in the pine trees of Colorado behind her house inventing a new adventure each day. She loves seeing people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds interact with nature and discover new things to create or grow.