Staff

Our staff members, many of whom have been in the field of early childhood education and affiliated with the Child Educational Center for more than 30 years, bring a wealth of enthusiasm and expertise to their work with the Outdoor Classroom Project. We all share a love for nature and learning, and believe that a connection with nature is vital for healthy human development. At the heart of our work stands the goal to provide and increase meaningful outdoor experiences for all children, for, as environmental pioneer John Muir summarized: “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”

Eric Nelson

Eric Nelson

Director
Demonstration Site Network Executive Committee Member

  • Provides consultations, program evaluations, design, trainings, research, writing, public speaking, and project management services, as well as overall leadership for OCP initiatives
  • Founder of the Outdoor Classroom Project, co-founder of the CEC
Ellen Veselack

Ellen Veselack

Associate Director
Demonstration Site Network Executive Committee Member

  • Provides consulting and training to centers, teaches OCP and Nature Explore workshops, conducts and analyzes qualitative research on children in natural learning environments
  • CEC Preschool Director
Ellen Veselack

Theresa Embry

Project Manager, Trainer, Consultant
Demonstration Site Network Executive Committee Member

  • Coordinates the OCP in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura Counties as well as the Orfalea Foundation’s Preschool Food and Healthy Habits Initiative
  • Extensive professional experience as preschool teacher, director and program coordinator
Carol Capito

Carol Capito

Trainer, Consultant & Consultant Coordinator

  • Provides consulting and training for the OCP in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura Counties. Coordinates consulting services.
Lynn Farwell

Lynn Farwell

Administration and Project Manager

  • Manages all OCP projects, outreach, publications and publicity; supports the Demonstration Site Network
  • Background at the CEC includes various management and administrative positions
Linda Palkovic

Linda Palkovic

Project Coordinator

  • Provides administrative support, coordinates materials and communication for OCP trainings and services
  • Background as Infant-Toddler Lead Teacher at the CEC
Cristina Michel

Cristina Michel

Consultant
Spanish Translator

  • Provides Spanish translation, presentation and consulting services
  • Infant-Toddler Master Lead Teacher at the CEC
Elyssa Nelson

Elyssa Nelson

Consultant
Demonstration Site Network Executive Committee Member

  • Provides strategic and outreach leadership as well as consultations to centers
  • Executive Director and co-founder of the CEC
Lisa Cain Chang

Lisa Cain Chang

Consultant

  • Provides consulting and training to centers, teaches OCP workshops, conducts and analyzes qualitative research on children in natural learning environments
  • CEC Program Director
Erinn Levin

Erinn Levin

Trainer

  • Certified Dimensions Nature Explore Trainer
  • CEC Infant-Toddler Director