Dr. Cecile van der Burgh
Cecile is a human geographer and the Director of the Kids In Nature Network, which she co-founded in 2010. She is passionate about giving everyone the opportunity to experience the wonders of nature, especially young people. Cecile is a versatile campaigner for a nature rich future, specialising in urban and regional geography, collaborative leadership, community development and people-nature relationships. For over fifteen years, she has led a wide range of award-winning campaigns and collaborative initiatives celebrating and protecting nature across Australia. Working for positive outcomes for both people and nature, she has worked with children, Traditional Owners, farmers, drovers, scientists, journalists, politicians, artists, bureaucrats, educators, activists, doctors, photographers, pilots, tourism operators, emergency workers and more.
In late 2017, Cecile completed a doctorate in environmental science with the Institute of Land Water and Society at Charles Sturt University. Her research explores the practise of connectivity conservation in Australia; a collaborative, networked approach to large-scale nature conservation and restoration. She is a fellow of the Centre for Sustainability Leadership, an alumnus of Women's Environmental Leadership Australia, a recipient of the Mary Byles Award and a Milo Dunphy Award Finalist.
Born and raised in The Netherlands, Cecile spent a large part of her childhood playing outside. A few of here favourite things include bushwalking in remote places, dinghy sailing, cycling and making music.
Emily is a Melbourne based mother of 2, and passionate environmental educator. She has been involved with KINN since 2015, helping to coordinate the Nature Play Week calendar and launch events. Emily works with the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, and with her team, develops and teaches education programs based on sustainability, Connecting to Country, health and well being, and nature play. Through her own deep connection to nature as a child growing up in Tasmania and Far North Queensland, Emily believes that fostering a connection to the natural world for children creates a clear pathway to developing a sense of care and respect for the earth.
Trish currently works as a Senior Learning Facilitator for the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. She has worked as a primary teacher and sustainability specialist in various schools in Melbourne. Trish is a passionate environmental educator interested in place-based education as a framework for sustainability and recently completed a minor thesis exploring this potential. She has also worked in the media industry and is happy to be bringing her combined skills and passion for connecting kids with nature, to work with Kids In Nature Network.
Chris Joy grew up in little country towns, exploring, discovering, and finding a sense of place and wonder in the world. Conversations with Chris may often be interjected by interactions with birds, as she wonders and imagines what they are saying to each other. She is a passionate and renowned leader in the environmental education field.
For the last 18 years, Chris has been dedicated to developing, coordinating and delivering high quality, best practice, educational and play-based experiences for children, parents and teachers. She has developed, delivered and enriched many educational programs for the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, especially in the fields of Indigenous connecting to Country, biodiversity, climate change, literature in the landscape, nature play and well-being. Chris was on the design team for the world-class Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden of Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.
Chris is interested in the stuff of where passion is born... the role of the senses and memory, interplay between our interactions with nature and landscape and the imagination, creativity, stories, art, song, poetry and dance; the connection between time spent in nature and the development of empathy and compassion; connecting to nature through Indigenous culture.
“Every child needs to touch the earth and be touched by it. Every child has their own thoughts, feelings and ideas, their own individual way to connect with nature. Allowing children time and space to play outside, to find their own key, is vital to their well-being and to their growing relationship with themselves, others, and the world around them.”
Dr Dimity Williams
Dimity is a medical doctor who is fascinated by the relationship between our health and nature, especially how time in nature nourishes the well-being of children.
She works in general practice in inner Melbourne and is a co-founder of Kids In Nature Network. She has worked to develop the network over the first 5 years and during that time also provided strategic health advice to the network, keeping us up to date on developments in child health and networking broadly throughout the health sector. She has been a part of the core group who developed Nature Play Week and she has presented on our behalf on the well-being benefits of time out in nature for kids.
Dimity is also the biodiversity convenor for Doctors for the Environment Australia, a voluntary medical organisation which seeks to protect health through care of nature. She is the mother of three gorgeous teenagers and so brings with her an understanding of the challenges parents today face in getting their kids out into nature. Her favourite place for nature rejuvenation is Thurra River at Croajingalong National Park where she immerses her family in nature each January.
Dimity is still working at the health-nature interface and if you’d like to contact her, please email her directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sanne de Swart
Sanne de Swart was one of the co-founding members of the Kids In Nature Network, through the Centre of Sustainability Leadership where she met Cecile and Dimity. She believes her experiences in nature growing up have provided the foundation for her love of nature. Sanne has a background in peace, conflict and development studies and a strong commitment to social justice. She loves to travel and get out of the city. After a couple of years abroad and becoming a mum, she is back in Melbourne and involved with Kids In Nature Network on a project basis.