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 bluffs. Brinkley is inspired by children's sense of wonder, curiosity, and play, and she loves to share her enthusiasm for the natural world. Brinkley graduated from UNC Wilmington with a degree in Environmental Science. She has worked and studied extensively at multiple outdoor schools across the country and is so grateful to establish Nature Connect in her hometown. Brinkley is the director for both our Alabama and North Carolina chapters. She is also a certified coach and consultant for other nature schools.
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 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.
Britt spent the majority of her childhood in northern Illinois riding bikes, swimming, playing in forest shelters she made with her friends, and cooking up some serious mud cakes, complete with decorative dirt dusting! She was up and at 'em as soon as the sun was warming the earth and only came inside to eat and sleep. Britt has an Associates in Early Childhood Education and over ten years experience in the field. She has a passion for teaching kids new things, appreciates how much they're learning when their imaginations are at work, and loves learning what they teach her, too! Born in North Carolina, Britt always had a soft spot in her heart for the south, so when her husband's job brought their family to the eastern shore in 2019, she embraced it whole heartedly and has loved every second of it. Britt loves to paint, bake, organize, and most importantly, spend time with her husband and their two sons tossing the football, going on nature walks, and spending endless days down at the beach.
Amy grew up on a series of parks near Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans and spent her childhood playing outside with her four siblings and neighborhood friends. She remembers that when the grass was freshly mowed, they built farms with the “hay”; when storms blew down palm branches, they constructed huts with the limbs; when heavy rain flowed, they splashed in makeshift swamps. Then and now Amy loves being outside, whether it's running, biking, boating, hiking, or just watching her three children play in the yard. Until a few years ago, Amy and her husband were raising their children on these same parks when they received an opportunity to move to Germany. Filled with excitement for this new adventure, they set out at a rapid pace to explore as much as they could. After the first six months, they had visited six different countries! While life in Europe was exciting, they hoped to eventually settle in Fairhope to enjoy everything that the Gulf Coast offers. They received the opportunity in January, 2019, and have enjoyed getting to know this beautiful area of gullies, creeks, rivers, and bay.
Amy has a B.A. in communications/journalism and an M.F.A. in creative writing. Throughout her career, she has written for a variety of publications, including Mobile Bay Monthly. She also worked for eight years as a public relations coordinator and volunteered as a Girl Scout leader for four years. Now settled in Fairhope, Amy is excited to be a part of the Nature Connect team. Her three children have all come home happy, dirty, and full of excitement after their days in Nature Connect programs!
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.
Sarah Bogdanovich, LMSW
Staff Development & Team Building Facilitator
Sarah was raised on the shores of Mobile Bay, where she learned to throw a cast net and catch bluegill on white bread. After spending two decades away from the area as a military spouse, Sarah is happy to share the wonders of south Alabama with her family and yours. Sarah enjoys leading camps, field trips, and workshops that inspire participants to engage more fully in their environment. She is also a licensed master social worker, focused on helping families build stronger relationships with each other and the natural world.
Marketing & Outreach
Alison was born and raised in the foothills of North Carolina and attended UNC-Wilmington
where she received her Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies. Her connection with nature began early, growing up on her grandparents' farmland, hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains and exploring the shoreline of the coastal Carolinas.
Alison worked for over 10 years in the education department at Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida as an educator, grant coordinator and department manager, firm in her belief that caring for wildlife and wilderness begins with our youngest minds. She’s also worked as a development associate for Wildlands Network and naturalist for the Environmental Learning Center. Her passion for conservation education and stewardship is the foundation for cultivating strong community relations. Alison is a certified FL master naturalist and owner of Seahorse Stables, a farm and equestrian center in Wilmington, NC.