As with any book, this has been a collaborative effort,
supported and enriched by the contributions of
many. My deep gratitude to all the generous people
who helped me along the way:
First, to the early childhood educators who love,
respect, and honor children, and who know that a
“greener Earth” is possible through play and shared
love for nature—I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for
the work that you do. It is honorable work.
Thanks to Kyra Ostendorf and the team at Redleaf
Press for all the hand-holding and patient support as I
fumbled through this process. To Heidi Hogg, thanks
for your diligent fact-checking and researching. And
to Emily Green, the editor and literary alchemist who
turned this book from a disorganized heap into some-
thing much, much better: your help was invaluable
and I learned so much working with you.
To the amazing women who make up my writ-
ing group, this never would have happened without
your encouragement and support over these years.
Thank you for reading, and re-reading, sharing your
photos, ideas, and stories, and offering so many
helpful suggestions along the way. Thank you to my
many friends and colleagues who shared inspiring
pictures and activity ideas, especially Amy Blaubach
of Curious Minds and my dear friend Tiffany Teske.
Thanks to Anders Noren for help with the glossary.
Thanks to the Children and Nature Network for
suggestions, support, and cheerleading. Thanks to
the Hennepin County Library System for always
being there. Of course, many thanks to Richard Louv,
David Sobel, and so many others who work tirelessly
to build bonds between children and nature. Your
work is a gift to future generations.
To Mom and Dad, thanks for believing in me and
always being willing to babysit your grandkids or look
up random citation questions for me. Your support
has meant the world to me.
To Dominic, my love, thank you for supporting
me in innumerable ways—from keeping my water
glass full to cheerfully managing the household and
entertaining our children while I wrote. Thank you,
thank you, thank you.
Most of all, boundless love and gratitude to my
two greatest teachers: Lucy and Julian. I am con-
stantly inspired and awed by you. It is my life’s great
honor to be your mom. Thank you for being so patient
while I worked on this book—I’m finally finished!
Let’s go outside and play.