Our Story

The goal of A Kid By Nature is simple: more time outdoors for children, and fewer plastic toys on the planet. A Kid By Nature was founded when architect Colleen Mahoney began searching for healthy play options for her own two children. Worried about the number of plastic toys flooding into homes every year, Mahoney decided to engage elementary school kids in projects that raise awareness about what plastic means for our planet. At the same time, A Kid By Nature leads children outdoors, demonstrating the benefits of playing in nature while encouraging children to feel a strong commitment to caring for our earth. Most of all, A Kid By Nature supports having fun while we learn.

Who We Are

Colleen Mahoney

A biomimicry specialist and architect, Colleen creates innovative and sustainable building designs. She has a degree from the College of Environmental Design at the University of California. As well as being mom to two children, Colleen is a master in martial arts, an amateur photographer, and she loves playing outdoors more than almost anything.

Susan Silber

Susan is an consultant, environmental educator and community organizer. She has worked as a program manager, teacher and fundraiser, and is the founder of many environmental education community resilience initiatives, including the Nature’s Voices Project with the Green Schools Initiative. Susan enjoys longs walks on the beach with her husband and daughter, eating fresh veggies from her garden and biking around town, in the mountains. In the hills. -- yay for Pedal Power!

Jen Burke

An artist and teacher, Jen founded the Young Artist Workspace providing visual art classes to thousands of Berkeley children since 2000. She also founded Westside Studio, where she teaches art classes to teens and adults. Besides being wholly committed to making art, Jen loves being a parent to two incredible children, hiking the trails of Tilden Park with her dog, doing a lot of yoga, and traveling to see art all over the world. 

Kim Beeson

Coordinator for Rosa Parks Elementary School

A biologist turned kindergarten teacher, Kim has taught pre-school through 8th grade. She is an avid bike commuter and loves sharing the natural world with her family and students. 

Sean Keller

Coordinator for Jefferson Elementary School

A teacher and a naturalist as well as a dad and an avid backpacker, Sean has a BS in Environmental Science and an MS in Environmental Education.

A.J. Wacaser

An ecologist, entrepreneur, and biomimicry specialist, A.J. is one of the founding members of the Bay Area Biomimicry Network, a docent at the California Academy of Sciences, founder and president of PlanDone, a planning and collaborative software, as well as on the advisory board of AskNature.org.

Sophie Steinbock

Artist, project manager, and website administrator, Sophie lives in Marin. She is optimistic that the next generation will be better stewards of our natural resources if her own three kids are any example.

Rob Fox

Rob is the Technical Director at ABC-TV where he has worked in broadcast media for 24 years. He is also the owner of Foxtale Productions, which specializes in nearly all aspects of video production work from producing to shooting, editing, and finalizing video in many formats. 

Ann Krueger Spivack

A writer and editor, Ann has coauthored projects with hundreds of people from Chuck Williams to Jean-Michel Cousteau. She once swam in a tank with Keiko, the world’s most famous killer whale, to give elementary school children an orca’s perspective.

A linguist by training, Véronique teaches languages and runs a trilingual (French, Spanish, English) marketing and communications firm. As a parent and a sailor, she worries about the negative impact that we have on the oceans. Her goal is to expand the reach of the program to the Hispanic community.