OUR TEAM AND OUR MISSION
Brooklyn Wild, LLC is a mission-driven company in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. We function as a low-profit LLC and measure success through our positive impact on our students, families, employees and community above considerations for our bottom line. Our mission is providing the space, time and permission for outdoor exploration and unstructured play to the young and the young at heart. We operate all outdoor classes using the principles of forest schools and adventure playgrounds, with a staff
trained in playwork--a professional approach out of the UK that supports play without judgment. We believe children have the right to play freely and to access the outdoors and communal spaces, and that adults have the right to play too.
Scroll down to meet our playworkers.
Founder, Director and Playworker
Stacy is a Sunset Park resident and mom to two boys, ages sixteen and seven, who thrive when they get outside. When her older son entered school, she knew he needed a program with hands-on projects and lots of movement, but she didn’t realize he needed those things because his brain was wired differently. Through her advocacy for him within the school system, and what she learned from experienced teachers and therapists, Stacy started taking him outside for play. It helped him regulate his emotions and develop better balance and gross motor skills—the essentials for sitting still in class! But during the school year—with long schedules and short recess times—getting outside was harder. Her son was often indoors, in an adult-led environment for the school day plus after school. When her younger son headed to pre-K, she wanted something different. So, in 2018, she founded Brooklyn Wild. Stacy has been a playworker for more than four years. She is certified in First Aid and CPR, and has been trained by Play:Ground NYC and Morgan Leichter-Saxby, a leading international play researcher who has worked in the field for more than a decade.
Stacy has a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology and is a member of Community Board 7, where she serves on the Education and Parks committees. In her day job, she edits commercial fiction and manages branded product lines at Harlequin/HarperCollins.
Maia is an environmental educator who comes to Brooklyn Wild with nearly a decade of outdoor education experience. She has worked as a forest play facilitator at the Queens Botanical Garden. She began teaching art in studios and includes creative projects in her current teaching practice of place-based environmental sustainability education. Maia fell in love with teaching kids outside during her service as an Americorps member at a community garden, and has continued to work with young people in outdoor exploration since. Maia was an avid rock and flower collector as a child and her love for nature has persisted throughout adult life. She values the skills, benefits and appreciation of nature that is derived from working outdoors and hopes to provide further spaces to connect her urban neighbors with their environment. Maia has a Master's degree in Environmental Conservation Education and has been with Brooklyn Wild since 2020.
James is a Long Island native, where he grew up constantly playing either at the beach or in the woods with his friends. He recalls times when he would duel his friends with foam swords pretending to be his favorite video game characters. He is a recent college graduate from SUNY Cortland, and was previously employed as a Hunter Hawk Health Monitor at Hunter College Campus Schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, championing students’ physical and mental health throughout the difficult adjustment to hybrid learning. James is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling & Wellness at New York University, and hopes to one day be the adult figure he wished he had growing up for the next generation of LGBTQ+ youth. James believes play, and the social development created during play, is critical to one's identity and appreciation for the beauty of nature.
Bo is a born and raised Brooklynite who has always found joy in city parks! They come to Brooklyn Wild with experience in arts education and facilitation work around gender and sexuality. Bo believes that group facilitation, with both young people and adults, should always be grounded in playfulness, joy, and the centering of the experiences of those in the group. Bo is currently pursuing their Masters in Social Work at Hunter College in order to hone their group facilitation skills going forward.
Isabella is Brooklyn-born and raised, but has roots in the Vermont mountains. Summer memories of playing in the wild, mountain biking and hiking, swimming in fresh ponds, catching frogs, going kayaking, horseback riding, picking wild raspberries, and so much more--that was where she had a blast. She believes it's important for kids to have their imaginations run wild so they can just be kids. Exploring the world around them builds character, helping them understand the natural world and not take it for granted. Additionally she believes being artistic and creative is a good outlet for releasing emotions and channeling energy. She's excited to be starting as a freshman this Fall at SUNY Cobleskill, studying animal science, and joining their equestrian team.
Taran is a rising junior attending Millennium Brooklyn High School, and one of his favorite things to do is play and hang out. He enjoys all kinds of play, though he prefers more physical activities. He has been babysitting for more than a year and loves helping kids grow and learn. He is looking forward to being a junior play worker this summer!
Sergio comes to Brooklyn Wild with several years of experience as a playworker. He began as a Nature Trek play leader at the Bronx Zoo, which led him to more advanced training and practice with Play:Ground NYC. In addition to his work with Brooklyn Wild, he is is also a playworker at The Yard, the adventure playground on Governor's Island. He is CPR and First Aid certified and is currently pursuing a degree in biochemistry from CUNY Brooklyn College. He remembers playing freely with tools around his parents’ home and believes children need more opportunities to play independently.
Karen is invested in supporting spaces where children can play freely together and practice collective care and self determination. She’s currently a playworker with Play:GroundNYC and has spent the last two years de-schooling and facilitating at a democratic school and Agile Learning Center in NYC, where she’s been excited to wander through the city with children, learning through unplanned encounters with people, junk, plants and animals. She’s come to self-directed education after many years of teaching and researching at different sorts of learning institutions from preschool to graduate school, and through a desire to experiment with more life-affirming choices. Other sources of joy include gardening, writing and being an aunt.