The Nature Nurture team consists of three Directors and a dynamic group of Forest School leaders, conservationists, educators, artists, designers and technologists. A special team is selected to work on your project, all dedicated to using their skills and experience to provide positive experiences for all participants.
Natalie Ganpatsingh, Director
Natalie grew up in Reading and was lucky to have a nature-rich childhood which enabled hours of outdoor play. In the late 80s she studied Philosophy and Social Anthropology at The University of Kent. She explored biocentric and animistic cultures deeply connected with nature where people saw themselves as part of an intricate web of interdependent life rather than seeking dominion over nature and her questioning of 'civilised living', prompted her to seek out indigenous communities living closely with nature. She traveled to the Belizean jungle where she worked as an expedition artist, documenting life with a Mayan community, sketching jungle wildlife and painting murals.
Over the last 25 years she has worked as a community artist, a mural painter, theatre designer and illustrator. In 2011 she trained as a Forest School leader and founded Nature Nurture; amassing an eclectic team of educators, ecologists, artists and technologists all dedicated to re-wilding urban communities.
Her work has taken her to Belize (Raleigh International Expedition Artist, 1998), Ghana (Oxfam On the Line project, 2000), Kenya (Mediae Development Education Project, 2008) and Palestine (‘Real Time Video’ sound woman for 'Participate' United Nations project, 2013).
Prior to setting up Nature Nurture, Natalie ran a design company for 12 years where she provided marketing and design consultancy and managed the development of numerous educational resource websites and publications. As well as running Nature Nurture she is the Nature Lead for Dr. William Bird's company Intelligent Health. Her role is to co-design interventions to help people people maintain physical activity in urban nature, as a legacy to the Beat the Street mass participation physical activity programme.
Natalie is trained to deliver Forest School, Earth Education, John Muir and Arts Award Award programmes. She is a trustee of the Berkshire Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. She leads the 'City of Rivers and Parks' strand of Reading 2050 - supporting Reading's economic growth and evolution as a smart and sustainable city and is the Health lead for Reading Climate Change Partnership.
She is married with 2 children and enjoys yoga, canoeing, going to the theatre, camping and spending time with her family.
Richard Usher, Director:
Richard is a Director of local consultancy Just Ideas Sustainable Solutions Ltd, where he has established a strong track record of assignments with charities, research organisations and local authorities focusing particularly on evaluation, community consultation and supporting volunteering. His clients have included the National Trust, Natural England, Plan International and VSO; as well as local, community-based organisations such as Launchpad, Reading Mencap and Reading Voluntary Action. He is an associate of the Institute for Voluntary Action Research, London and School Governor at Churchend School, Reading.
Teresa is a wildlife Environmental Education and Forest School Specialist. She runs 'Reading's Outdoor Classrooms, project for Reading Borough Council, funded by DEFRA & Nat England, offering local schools free education visits to local nature reserves throughout Reading.
She worked for the RSPB for many years as their Education Officer in and still has strong links with RSPB on a local and national level and will be delivering education projects on various RSPB heathland sites in the South East from 2014.
She worked for many years as a teacher on an Organic Farm and is a member of FACE (Farming and Countryside Education) and has recently completed the ‘Countryside Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme’ training.
She regularly undertakes media work for the RSPB and presented features on Springwatch a few years back and more recently on the BBC's prime time programme Urban Jungle; presented by Chris Packham. She writes regular wildlife-related articles for the UK Handmade magazine.
She has started up her own Punch and Judy show (which has a distinct green/environmental tinge) and perform under the title of Professor Queen Bee.
Heidi runs a childminding business, graded ‘Outstanding’, along with her husband Gareth in Purley West Berkshire. Their setting has gained ‘Early Years Professional Status’. She is a trained Forest School teacher and works with reception children at Burghfield Primary School. She has worked with Nature Nurture on numerous projects, including The National Trust 50 Things at Basildon Park, the CBeebies Mr. Bloom Roadshow and the ‘Nature Play’ Project. Her previous experience includes working as a Residential Social Worker for Barnardos in Wokingham. She trained with "Relax Kids" and provides yoga/relaxation workshops for children.
She has 2 sons of her own, 14 and 10 years and enjoys the outdoors, including her allotment, yoga, theatre and live music.
Paul of Poco Drom uses sound and nature to bring people together, particularly children and families and help them to rediscover their love of music and grow an appreciation of all things wild and wonderful. It could be singing songs about animals on a community farm, writing a song about a water vole on a nature reserve, hand drumming in the woods or writing a musical about a frog in a school garden! He's been working with Nature Nurture in the Wild West and has recently created the soundtrack for the Wild West film!
Emily has more than 3yrs experience working at Oxford Rd Community School. Her current role is to provide Outdoor Provision, works as a KS1 Teaching Assistant and also as a Forest Schools Leader. She is also training to handle Birds of Prey. She has outdoor first aid and Epilespy training, attended specialised teaching courses ( ie. Talking Partners, Read Write Inc, speech and language therapy, Occupational Therapy, laughology, Building Learning Power, Achievement For All). And have a BA Hons Degree in Contemporary Craft from University College Falmouth. She has worked on numerous Nature Nurture Projects including Wild Family Days and Bug Hunts.
Elspeth has been working with Nature Nurture at various Playclubs around Reading as well as helping to run our popular Family Wild Days. She is an experienced Montessori teacher and Forest School Leader. She also works in a Montessori Nursery School running Forest School sessions. Her passion is based around ensuring children have joyful, creative, play-filled childhoods. That they have the time they need to learn in their own ways. That they feel valued, respected and trusted by the adults around them. She lives in Reading with her two grown up children and one younger son, two dogs, a cat and five chickens.
Felicity is the design genius behind Nature Nurture and has been creating an array of stunning brands and graphics to support our work. She's created Wild Child certificates and stickers, maps and more recently the fantastic Wild Reading project brand. Her company, 'Owl & Pussycat Design', offers a wide range of work, from branding small local businesses, to working on educational resources for the St Helena National Trust. She enjoyed being a part of The Wild Network last year and is passionate about getting children away from computers and game consoles, and exploring the real world!
She loves travelling and has previously lived in Romania and Tanzania, where she had the chance to participate in many community projects, particularly craft activities with children.
In her spare time she enjoys playing the clarinet, walking and cycling.
Heidi has been an Early Years and Primary teacher since 2004 and is a Level 3 Forest School Leader. She loves spending time in the company of young children and is passionate about outdoor education and adventures. Heidi has worked with children from 6 months up to 17 years in the classroom, British woodlands, the French Alps and on the sunny beaches of Sardinia. She has also worked extensively with children who have additional needs spending 18 months working in a speech and language unit and in a variety of positions with young people who have Autism Spectrum Disorder.
She loves the great outdoors, travelling and exploring and practically grew up in the garden with her two brothers, which is probably where her passion for Forest School began!
As well as teaching part time Heidi is also the Director of Nature Links CIC.
Growing up on a farm in Africa developed Charlotte's love of nature and animals and this has been an important part of her life ever since. She has lived in Reading for nearly twenty years and studied at Warwickshire College of Agriculture and then later at Reading University. She works as a teacher at The Coombes Primary School and also runs Erlegh Elfins, an outdoor toddler group. She loves working outdoors with adults and children as she believes that getting ourselves and our children out there is the best thing we can do for our health and well being.
Kaia is a second year psychology undergraduate studying at Royal Holloway. She loves working with children and has many years of experience looking after a range of ages. She has worked with Nature Nurture at a variety of events such as collaborating with Cbeebies, doing workshops in primary schools and working alongside the National Trust. She also works with Natalie on many different projects such as set decorating for the local theatre.
She's enthusiastic about getting children back to nature and travel and hopes to volunteer with children in different countries after finishing her degree. In her spare time she enjoys performing improv comedy, going to the theatre, watching comedy, gardening, cooking, going to the gym and spending time with her two young sisters.