Sarah Milligan-Toffler, Executive Director
Sarah Milligan-Toffler is Executive Director of C&NN. Sarah is a creative, energetic, and mission-driven leader who brings more than 20 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. Sarah formerly served as Associate Executive Director of Wilderness Inquiry, a national leader in providing wilderness trips and environmental education activities that include people with disabilities, low-income families, and disadvantaged urban youth. While at Wilderness Inquiry, Sarah helped to develop the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures program, which has been recognized by President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative as a national model for engaging urban youth and families in the outdoors. She also helped develop Wilderness Inquiry’s Families Integrating Together and Gateway to Adventure programs, facilitating participation in the outdoors by families and individuals with intellectual disabilities. Sarah has extensive experience in strategic planning, program development and evaluation, board relations, fundraising and resource development, communications management, and volunteer management. Sarah is an avid runner, hiker, and backpacker and enjoys camping with her husband Jeff, son Jacob, and Golden Doodle Honey.
Juan Martinez, Director of Leadership Development
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. In 2009, Juan introduced Department of Interior’s Ken Salazar at Powershift in Washington, DC, and he was invited by the White House to attend the National Forum on Clean Energy Economy. In 2006, Juan was a delegate to the Latino Congreso, and he is included in “Hispanics Living Green.” A recent graduate of the California State University Los Angeles, he is a recipient of Congresswoman Hilda Solis’ Environmental Youth Leadership Award and “Looking to the Future” award from the Breaking the Color Barriers conference. Juan received a “Green for All” 2009 fellowship and is on the national executive committee for the Sierra Student Coalition. Juan is a spokesperson for the Sierra Club’s Building Bridges to the Outdoors initiative. He dedicates his energy and free time on grassroots campaigns that vary from health care and housing discrimination to creating garden space in the city of L.A.
Margaret Lamar, Director of Strategic Partnerships
Margaret is the of Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Children & Nature Network where she builds initiatives in target communities across the U.S. to fuel the effort to connect children to nature. Margaret is a policy and program architect who connects environmental learning and play with the goals of achieving health and wellness for children. Across Texas and the U.S., she facilitates community planning to increase children’s access to nature through partnerships that address specific needs in communities. Margaret is a national leader in designing programs that increase outdoor physical activity, mental health, and healthy lifestyles for children and families.
For over 25 years, Margaret has been committed to helping children achieve educational excellence in schools. As a researcher, curriculum designer, and publishing executive in the fields of K-12 reading and science, she has designed award-winning educational programs that have reached hundreds of thousands of children across the U.S. She holds two B.A. degrees and an M.A. degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She lives with her husband and their two sons on their ranch in Texas where her favorite thing to do is taking her boys on adventures in the creek bed.
Amy Pertschuk, Director of Network Communications
Amy Pertschuk is an award winning designer and internet entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in information design and technology. In 1991 she co-founded Communication Wave (C-Wave) a multi-media design studio with a focus on natural history museums and aquariums. C-Wave’s client list includes the American Museum of Natural History, the California Academy of Sciences, SFMOMA, Scholastic, Apple, Adobe, and Hasboro. In 1998, she co-founded eNature.com , the Web’s premier online nature-discovery resource. Pertschuk designed and developed C&NN’s online strategy and continues to manage the ever-expanding Web site and social media resources to serve the needs of the growing children and nature movement. She is part of the strategic planning and implementation team. She also serves as a member of the board of directors for Hooked on Nature and is chair of the garden committee at Willow Creek Academy, the local public charter school.
Janice Swaisgood, Director, Natural Families Network
Taraneh Arhamsadr, Digital Media Manager
Taraneh joins Children & Nature with over a decade of diverse experience in communications and outreach, primarily focused on environmental and social issues and public works projects. Most recently, she served as the head of communications for Berkeley’s David Brower Center, a community space serving as the Bay Area’s hub for the environmental movement. She earned her BA in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Irvine, where she also served as the Managing Editor for the weekly newspaper, then went on to earn her Master’s in Public Administration with a focus on Environmental Policy from San Francisco State University. Taraneh lives in Oakland, California with her husband, baby daughter and rescue pup. On the weekends, she enjoys exploring California’s great outdoors with her friends and little family.
Lee Baker, Program Manager
Lee Baker joins C&NN with over 30 years of diverse project management experience, specializing in marketing communications, special events, and media relations. With a strong track record in developing and managing public awareness campaigns that address critical and complex social issues, Lee is skillful at building strategic connections and leveraging community partnerships. Lee started her career at a promotional marketing agency in Minneapolis managing promotional programs and special events for Fortune 500 companies. She aligned her personal and professional passions by focusing her work on cause-related marketing efforts that promote the health, education, and well-being of children and families. Lee, her husband, and two sons share fun family time together skiing, sailing, hiking, and exploring state and national parks across the country.
Erin Colasacco, Special Consultant, Communications
Erin joins Children & Nature as a contractor with several years experience as a graphic designer and art director in an agency setting. She earned her B.A. in Applied Advertising and Graphic Design from Northwest Missouri State where she also worked in the Marketing/Management department. As a military brat, Erin grew up in several different areas but now resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota. On the weekends, she enjoys being active especially around the city’s lakes, listening to music and drinking good coffee.
Lindsey Davis, Natural Leaders Network Assistant Program Director
Lindsey Davis is C&NN’s Associate Program Director of the Natural Leaders Network. Prior to joining the C&NN team, Lindsey worked for Texas Parks and Wildlife as the State Parks Outdoor Education and Outreach Coordinator. There, she managed a statewide team of staff and volunteers that connected families to nature through programs like Texas Outdoor Family, which introduces families from diverse backgrounds to camping and other outdoor activities through ranger led events and workshops. Prior to that, she served as a Park Ranger coordinating volunteer projects and leading outdoor education and outreach programs. Lindsey has also worked with Recreation and Park undergraduate courses as a guest instructor. In her spare time, Lindsey is currently working to create a program for first-time camping families in the Northern Virginia area. Lindsey holds a BS in Recreation and Parks and a Master’s in Public Service and Administration from Texas A&M University. She lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband and enjoys camping and hiking in the surrounding natural areas as well as trail riding with her horse.
Martin LeBlanc, Natural Leaders Network 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.
A founding Board Member and Vice-President Emeritus of the Children & Nature Network, Martin is inspired by the vision of Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle. For 10 years Martin was with the Sierra Club, the oldest and largest conservation organization in the United States. Most recently he was the National Youth Director. In this role, he introduced over 200,000 children to the outdoors. Martin has established non-traditional alliances with the military, educational groups and health organizations. He was instrumental in establishing the Outdoor Alliance for Kids, a national partnership of organizations from diverse sectors with the common interest of expanding opportunities to get kids and families outside. Martin has built relationships with the Obama White House Administration, including the Department of Interior’s Office of Youth, and the First Lady’s Let’s Move Initiative. Martin helped organize President Obama’s June 2009 kickoff event for the United We Serveinitiative in Washington, DC.
Martin earned his BA in Political Science from American University of Washington, DC, and an MA in Environment, Culture, and Society from Lancaster University in England. He was recently appointed Senior Vice-President at IslandWood. Martin lives with his wife and young daughter in Seattle. At every available opportunity, the family spends time at the parks throughout the Pacific NorthWest.
Robyn Bjornsson, Executive Assistant
Robyn Bjornsson is the executive assistant for C&NN. She provides support and administrative services for the network and responds to information requests. Prior to joining C&NN, Robyn worked with low income families in various non-profit organizations, primarily as a program director of a childcare subsidy program. Robyn received her bachelor’s degree from UC Davis and master’s degree in East-West Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. She spends her free time enjoying the outdoors with her husband and two daughters and in San Diego.
Jacqueline Green, Special Consultant, Public Affairs
Jacqueline Green founded her Los Angeles-based public relations company, JGPR Inc., in 1979 and has represented clients in the arts, entertainment, publishing and literary fields, including Walter Cronkite, Al Gore, Alan Shepard, and Letitia Baldrige. She has worked with Richard Louv on several of his books. Jackie’s love of the outdoors stems from a British upbringing, during which her co-ed boarding school education included gardening and walks in the forest. Though she now lives in sunny Southern California, Jackie remembers the long, damp, cold winters with a certain fondness.
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[+] What is Nature-Deficit Disorder?
— USA Today, Nov. 2006
– Cheryl Charles
— Orion magazine
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C&NN PublicationsAs part of our ongoing efforts to build the movement, the Children & Nature Network has published these resources for leaders, organizers, and participants at the local, national, and international levels:
2010 C&NN Report
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Children and Nature 2009: A Report on the Movement to Reconnect Children to the Natural World
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C&NN Community Action Guide: Building the Children & Nature Movement from the Ground Up
[>] Download PDF [1.4MB]