Rebekah Johnson (pictured left) grew up on the east coast, in a time when playing outside daily was the norm. Romping in the woods after school with neighbors, sledding on whatever scrap of hill presented itself, climbing trees most parents cringed at, sailing on the nearby river, biking to school every day with friends, and pitching tents in many, many forests across the US with her family, Rebekah came to love the outdoors and the people she found there. After earning an undergraduate degree in civil engineering, where form and function merge to create beauty in our designed structures, Rebekah discovered her true vocation in landscape architecture, in which good design calls for consideration of nature and the people who interact with it. Rebekah’s Masters of Landscape Architecture drew her to the midwest to study, then to Austin, Texas, where she practiced with rvi landscape architecture + planning, designing parks, streetscapes, and veterans’ cemeteries. Now settled firmly in Duluth with four children, Rebekah is passionate about providing outdoor places where children can play, learn and grow.
Laura Judd (pictured right) earned her early childhood education degree and teaching license from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. While she had grown up playing outside, whistling to the cardinals, tracking animal prints, and scrambling on rocks and logs, it wasn’t until college that she slept under the stars for the first time, backpacked, kayaked, and built a campfire. Life had changed. Upon graduation, she moved out to California for her first job as a second grade teacher while also playing in Muir Woods, the Sierra Nevadas, and of course, the coast. Laura then became a Peace Corps agroforestry volunteer in The Gambia, West Africa, with a focus on community gardening and beekeeping. Upon return to the United States, these two passions came together as the youth program director for a non-profit, Wasatch Community Gardens. Now with two children of her own, Laura is focused on finding ways for all children to play and develop their sense of selves outdoors. This has led her to be on the start up committee of Hartley Nature Preschool, on the team that brought the Lester Park Outdoor Classroom to fruition, an advocate with the Duluth Nature Play Collaborative, a teacher at Wind Ridge Schoolhouse, and now one of the co-founders of 3 Owls Outdoor Play Consultants!