Created in 1995,Tender Tracks was founded and is led by Wendolyn Bird. She has been involved in education for decades. She is a life-long naturalist, talented storyteller, harpist, and the mother of two grown daughters. Beyond her credentials, Wendolyn brings a devoted expertise to youngsters’ days. She cares deeply for them and, by example, teaches them to care for themselves and each other.
Wendolyn brings a unique and outstanding set of talents, training and experience to all her work with young children and caregivers. Her workshops and trainings for educators, caregivers and parents incorporate story, song and music and are informed by her years of experience running her own fully outdoor pre-school, Tender Tracks Tales and Trails, as well as her popular outdoor Summer Camps for older children. Her skill set is enhanced by her experience as a licensed Psychiatric Technician, who worked in Child-Adolescent Psychiatric Units, Juvenile Court Schools and the County Jail. She has taught for many years in schools with diverse populations, and has been a professional storyteller and musician.
Wendolyn has always loved being in nature, and has a deep understanding of the emotional, physical, academic and spiritual benefits that our children receive from the natural world. She has expertise in how to engage children with nature, and how to engender and foster a love and affection for the earth and all living things.
She teaches parents and other adults how to understand the mind of a child and how to ask the questions that focus on sharing and inspiring an enthusiastic, curious and interested state of being.When she was a child, her mother insisted that the children play outside, even in inclement weather. Their family vacations consisted of roaming the many diverse and beautiful wildlife areas of the United States in their camper van, exploring the natural world. Wendolyn shared her love of nature with her daughters, and her younger daughter remembers how she provided them with “carefree explorations and guided, respectful appreciation for nature.” Wendolyn continues that sharing through her outdoor pre-school.
Wendolyn has explored Native cultures and primitive skills, learning old tried-and-true methods of living in harmony with Earth and Sky. She began her storytelling as a young mother, and while working at Stanford’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Unit. It was then that she discovered the profound benefit of sharing stories for healing, growth, development, teaching and entertainment.
Audrey Lareau is a recent graduate of San Francisco State University’s Masters/Credential program in Moderate/Severe Disabilities. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she studied Environmental Studies as well as Education. She is also a graduate of the Anat Baniel Method Professional Training (based on the work of Moshe Feldenkrais.) This method uses gentle, non-habitual movements to reawaken the body, increase self-awareness, and help individuals understand their unconscious habits.
Audrey spent the summer of 2010 taking Nature Awareness and Earth Philosophy courses at the Headwaters Outdoor School near Mount Shasta. She now dreams of one day researching the neurological/health/self-esteem benefits of outdoor programs for school aged children, or perhaps creating a fully inclusive outdoor summer program so individuals with severe disabilities can embark on wilderness adventures with the support of their typically developing peers.
Laurie Hammond is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern, with more than 1700 hours of experience counseling children, adults, couples, and families. She earned her Master’s degree in counseling psychology from John F. Kennedy University’s School of Holistic Studies. Further training in mindfulness, body awareness, and connection with the natural world comes from 16 years of practicing and teaching meditation, as well as attending silent retreats at a monastery in the Sierra Foothills over the past two decades.
Laurie has been devoted to nature since childhood. She began riding horses at the age of three, exasperated her parents with the numerous animals she rescued and brought home, and continues to run the trails in local wilderness preserves several days a week. Laurie hopes to nurture lifelong connections with nature as she shares her joy with the young children at Tender Tracks.
In addition to her involvement with Tender Tracks, Laurie offers counseling services to individuals, couples, and families at the Community Center for Health & Wellness in Palo Alto. She can be reached at 650-493-5006, ext. 7118.
Scott Davidson, Marin Family camp co-teacher
Scott Davidson has a passion for wilderness and our place in it. As a long-time educator, permaculturist, and naturalist he nurtures the genius in each of us, one relationship and curiosity at a time.
Scott is an experienced conservation biologist and has a BS in Plant Ecology from UC Santa Cruz. He has a permaculture design certificate through the Regenerative Design Institute and is a certified animal tracker by CyberTracker International. Scott currently manages the Organic School Lunch and Gleaning Program with Marin Organic, powerfully connecting our kids to organic farms in Marin each week. He is a co-founder of the Marin County Tracking Club and Permaculture Marin. Scott is stoked to live in Point Reyes, CA where he loves holistically tracking mountain lions and song birds. Scott’s playful yet wise presence and his sound commitment to his work for the future generations radiates Aloha into everything he does.