Brinkley Hutchings

Founder, Director, Program Facilitator

Brinkley spent most of her childhood exploring and playing on the beach along Mobile Bay. One of her favorite things to do was make bowls out of the natural clay found on the beach. Brinkley is inspired by children's sense of wonder, curiosity, and play, and she's all about keeping that spark alive.  She loves to share her curiosity and enthusiasm for the natural world with people of all ages and has worked extensively with children for over ten years. 

Kakki Vance

Administration

Kakki grew up exploring and playing in the Mountains of East Tennessee. She recently relocated to Fairhope last December with her husband and two young boys. Kakki holds a degree in Environmental Science with a focus in Botany. She loves to teach and watch childrens' faces light up with curiosity and excitement when they are given the freedom and encouragement to play outside without the confines of walls and boundaries. When she is not working in the office at Nature Connect, she is out searching for new places to explore with her children while teaching them ways to love and respect Mother Nature. 

Laura Counselman

Program Facilitator

Laura Counselman is a native of Mobile, Alabama. She grew up with woods for a back yard and a natural creek down the road. Laura loves the outdoors, and cherishes family hikes and gardening together.  Laura discovered she enjoyed working with children when she began helping with storytime at her school’s library. As an adult Laura worked in the youth services department of a public library were she developed a special program for tweens. Since the birth of her child she has decided to spend those precious, early years exploring with her little one. After a month long cross country camping trip with a two year old, she feels prepared for anything.

Holly Langston

Program Facilitator

Holly grew up playing in the woods and creeks of her native southwest Georgia, as well as western North Carolina where she spent eight summers as a camper and counselor at a camp with an outdoors emphasis. Holly has a B.S. in Geology and enjoys learning about local ecosystems wherever she goes. After living in Kodiak, Alaska for three years, the Coast Guard relocated her family two years ago and they love living on the eastern shore. Their time in Alaska cemented her family’s love of the outdoors, with countless days spent berry picking, tidepooling, hiking, and playing in all kinds of weather! For the past two summers her children have experienced the wonder of Nature Connect camps; now Holly is excited to join the staff and looks forward to learning and sharing in joyful preschool explorations. 

Valerie Longa

Program Facilitator 

Valerie enjoyed playing in the woods and creek with her sister and friends growing up. She has called Mobile home for 15 years and worked with the local environment for 10 years. Her work has encompassed a variety of programming and she has specialized in event sustainability leading recycling efforts for events such as the Hangout Music Festival and Mardi Gras. While working with the Alabama Coastal Foundation, she helped facilitate large scale education activities with local schools including county-wide water festivals. Valerie is passionate about the mission of Nature Connect and enjoys helping to create lasting personal connections with the Earth for children. Outside of work, she focuses on spending fun, quality time with her husband and daughter.

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