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Staff & Consultants

Contact the Children and Nature Team

General Inquiries: info@childrenandnature.org
phone: (612) 351-2723

Press Inquiries

Laura Mylan, laura@childrenandnature.org 612.237.2815

If you’d like to make a contribution

Sarah Milligan-Toffler, sarah@childrenandnature.org

International Conference
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Leadership Team

Sarah Milligan Toffler

Sarah Milligan Toffler

 Executive Director

Sarah is a creative, energetic, and mission-driven leader who brings 25 years of experience in developing, funding, and implementing outdoor education and adventure programs that provide a deep connection to nature for people of all backgrounds and abilities.

Cathy Jordan

Cathy Jordan

Consulting Research Director

Cathy Jordan, PhD, LP, pediatric neuropsychologist by training, is an associate professor in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. She is also an Extension Specialist in the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality. Cathy was the Executive Director of the University of Minnesota Extension’s Children, Youth and Family Consortium from 2004 until July, 2014. Cathy earned her PhD in clinical psychology from Wayne State University in 1991.

Margaret Lamar

Margaret Lamar

Director, Strategic Partnerships

Margaret is a policy and program architect who connects environmental learning and play with the goals of achieving health and wellness for all children. She is a national leader in designing programs that increase outdoor physical activity, mental health, and healthy lifestyles for children and families.

Juan Martinez

Juan Martinez

Director, Leadership Development & Natural Leaders Network  

A proud product of south central Los Angeles, Juan D. Martinez is C&NN’s Director of Leadership Development and the Natural Leaders Network. His passion to empower individuals and youth led him to direct Sierra Club’s first environmental justice youth leadership academy in Los Angeles.

Laura Mylan

Laura Mylan

Director, Marketing and Communications

Every organization has a story to tell. Laura Mylan has spent the past 25 years helping public, private and nonprofit organizations create and share narratives that define issues, deliver business objectives and advance causes. She brings a passion for the outdoors and youth development to her work and loves helping grassroots networks communicate effectively to bring social change.

Jaime Zaplatosch

Jaime Zaplatosch

Director, Green Schoolyards for Healthy Communities

Jaime is a strategic thinker, partnership builder, program developer, fundraiser and conservationist who is thrilled to help make green schoolyards the norm. She is the former Vice President of Community Engagement and Education at Openlands in Chicago, where she grew the organization’s school-based programs to include a substantial school garden and teacher training program for elementary and high school students, and launched its green schoolyard program, Space to Grow.

Staff and Consultants

Paxton Barnes

Paxton Barnes

Conference Sponsorship and Cities Summit Manager

Paxton has over 20 years of experience connecting people of all ages to the natural world. Prior to joining C&NN she developed hands-on exhibits at living museums including the Bronx Zoo, the New York Aquarium, The New York Botanical Garden and the Maritime Aquarium. Paxton’s primary goal for all projects has been to create unique opportunities to engage with nature that leads to a lifelong love of the natural world.

Cheryl Charles

Cheryl Charles

International Network and Research Network Consultant

Cheryl Charles, Ph.D., served as founding President and CEO of C&NN from April 2006 to July 2013. Cheryl is an innovator, entrepreneur, author, and educator who is among those instrumental in developing the worldwide movement to reconnect children and nature.

Avery Cleary

Avery Cleary

Grassroots Leaders and Research Network Organizer & International Conference Manager

Avery Cleary is the co-founder of the San Francisco Bay Area Children in Nature Collaborative and leads C&NN’s initiative to connect, support and empower Grassroots Leaders. She currently guides the team of Grassroots Leaders and C&NN staff who are committed to creating avenues of access to the latest tools, resources and research on Network Leadership Principles and Strategies.

CJ Goulding

CJ Goulding

Lead Organizer, Natural Leaders Network and Legacy Camps

CJ Goulding has worked with Washington’s North Cascades Institute introducing teens to backpacking and canoe camping trips, and has also served with the Student Conservation Association as a Community Crew Leader working with high school students in the city parks and green spaces of Seattle and Edmonds.

Martin LeBlanc

Martin LeBlanc

Senior Natural Leaders Advisor

Martin LeBlanc is a leading voice in the movement to reconnect children and nature. As a teenager, Martin’s own life was turned around through an outdoor experience. Since then, he has gained experience in government and the non-profit sector to unite diverse partners toward the goal of giving each child an outdoor experience.

Ana Moses

Ana Moses

Webmaster and Systems Administrator

Ana Moses is a dynamic, passionate, and results-oriented technology professional with experience that includes marketing, strategy, social and community engagement. She possesses the unique blend of creativity and analytical skill. A keen web strategist with a balance between strategic planning and operational skill.

Jenette Restivo

Jenette Restivo

Director, Content Strategy

Jenette is Director of Content Strategy at C&NN. She brings over 17 years of experience to the role and was a health and environmental reporter and documentary film producer for PBS, ABC, CBS & National Geographic before shifting into nonprofit communications and content. Jenette is passionate about nature and the environment and sits on an Advisory Board for the Endangered Species Coalition.

Mike Schut

Mike Schut

Assistant Director Natural Leaders Network

Mike is Assistant Director of C&NN’s Natural Leaders Network. For nearly 20 years Mike has worked to connect environmental and social justice, particularly within faith communities. He has served on the staffs of the national Episcopal Church, Earth Ministry, and Seattle University’s Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability. Mike has edited/partially authored three books: Simpler Living, Compassionate Life; Food and Faith: Justice, Joy, and Daily Bread; and Money and Faith: The Search for Enough. He lives in Seattle, enjoys most anything outdoors, and enjoys ice cream as much as any kid out there.

Mollie Thompson

Mollie Thompson

Program & Communications Manager

Mollie is the Program & Communications Manager for C&NN. She earned her B.S. in Environmental Science, Policy and Management and a Minor in Sustainability Studies from the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities.  For nearly a decade, Mollie has played a key role in developing and implementing strategic programs for diverse audiences—ranging from science and sustainability programs for international scholars, to outdoor adventure programs for youth and families, to training programs for community leaders in the U.S. and abroad—all with the goal of bringing people closer to each other and nature, to foster lasting engagement and stewardship.

Ruth Wilson

Ruth Wilson

Research Library Curator

Ruth Wilson, Ph.D. has over 30 years as a teacher and teacher educator and now devotes most of her time to writing and consulting on issues relating to young children and nature.  She wrote her first book on connecting children with nature (Fostering a Sense of Wonder during the Early Childhood Years) in 1993 and has since written several other books and numerous articles on this same topic.  Her most recent book, Learning is in Bloom, was published by Gryphon House in 2016.


The Children & Nature Network is a national nonprofit organization and led by a dynamic team of employees and consultants across the U.S. If you’d like to help us connect children, families and communities to nature, keep an eye our Jobs listing and our Facebook page for employment, contract and volunteer opportunities.

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