meet the team

Dedicated to nature

and community

Our dynamic team consists of a core group of experts and a network of wonderfully talented individuals including conservationists, community gardeners, educators, artists, designers, technologists, Forest School leaders, storytellers and actors.

our team

Natalie Ganpatsingh

Founding Director

After studying Philosophy and Social Anthropology, Natalie ventured to the Belize jungle as an Expedition Artist, exploring the symbiosis between indigenous societies and nature. This inspired her to establish Nature Nurture in 2011, aiming to unite Reading communities with their surrounding nature. Her eclectic career spans community art, theatre design, illustration, and Forest School. Additionally, Natalie collaborates with Dr. William Bird’s company  Intelligent Health and serves as a trustee for Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust and the Network of Wellbeing.

Richard Usher

Director

Richard is Director of the social and environmental consultancy Just Ideas and has been a Director of Nature Nurture since 2012. He has a wealth of experience leading and facilitating community engagement, research and evaluation projects. In Reading this has involved facilitating a yearly Climate Conference for secondary schools, exploring the link between healthy communities and climate and environmental action. He gets his energy from walking in the mountains and always has a pair of running shoes with him.

Teresa Verney-Brookes

Wild Teaching Officer

Teresa brings to Nature Nurture her expertise in Ecology, Environmental Education, Forest School, and Earth Education.  As an ‘Eco Clown’ she developed Professor Queen Bee and The Tree Doctor;  personas that  blend performing arts and scientific expertise to engage communities on nature and conservation. As well as her work with us, she manages  ‘Green Trees Education’ and leads ‘Reading’s Outdoor Classrooms’ project for Reading Borough Council, funded by DEFRA & Natural England.

Kat Clark

Wild Teaching Officer

Kat is a Level 3 Forest School Leader and horticultural therapist with a degree in History of Art, Architecture, and Graphic Communication. She combines storytelling, creativity, and meditation in her sessions, while also embedding the National Curriculum into sessions and supporting the learning support teams. She consults local churches on ‘Forest Church’ and is the Founder of Wild City Collective CIC. In her spare time, she crafts, paints, crochets, whittles, and tends to her vegetable garden.

Katherine Green

Wild Project Officer

Katherine’s role spans event organisation, research and administrative support. With experience in the education sector, she has supported students in their learning. Her passion lies in aiding SEND children to achieve their full potential through innovative approaches. Firmly believing in the therapeutic benefits of nature, she enjoys taking her family on long walks. Katherine holds a degree in History of Art and in her free time, she enjoys exploring arts and crafts.

Sarah Hacker

Fundraiser and Communications Lead

Sarah has a degree in Rural Environmental Science. She works with Nature Nurture as a fundraiser alongside supporting with partnership development, communications and project management. She strongly believes we need a deep connection with nature and community to stay physically and mentally well. Sarah, former Mayor of Reading,  is  a trustee for Reading Pride and campaigns for equity, focusing on women and disability. In her spare time she enjoys archaeology, sewing and growing food in her  small urban garden.

Brenda Goodchild

Wild Wellbeing Facilitator

Brenda, a trained primary school teacher specialising in Early Years Education, facilitates nature connection and creative workshops for our family and community programmes. She believes that outdoor play and learning in nature enhance wellbeing, creativity, and environmental stewardship. With a degree in illustration, Brenda has worked abroad, conducting sustainable art workshops and murals with local children. She has also worked on illustration projects with an environmental focus, including Friends of the Earth Scotland.

Elspeth Drenchfield

Wild Wellbeing Facilitator

Elspeth, an experienced Montessori teacher and Forest School Leader, helps organise and facilitate our Family Wild Days and  Earth Action Challenge events.  Her kind approach lies in ensuring children experience joyful, creative, play-filled childhoods, while having the freedom to learn in their own unique ways. She emphasises the importance of children feeling valued, respected, and trusted by adults. She also helps run our Green Social Prescribing programmes. Elspeth resides in Reading with her children, pets, and chickens.

Trine Darboe

Wild Wellbeing Facilitator

With a foundation in environmental science, Trine moved her focus to yoga instruction for families before later re-training as a primary school teacher. Specialising in early years education, she fervently promotes outdoor activities, ensuring her students enjoy plenty of active time in nature. Passionate about environmental wellness, Trine encourages everyone to discover the parks and woodlands that are just a stone’s throw away from their homes.

Nan Brandsma

Wild Wellbeing Facilitator

Nan joined our team after attending our Wild Days with her children. She provides nature connection activities with a creative approach with our children and adult groups. She balances her work at Nature Nurture with outdoor education at Rushall Farm. Nan believes in our connection to nature – it’s our origin and destination. Through her daily life and work, Nan strives to reestablish this vital bond. She envisions our community extending beyond humans to embrace the entire natural world.

Adrian Lawson

Lead Conservationist

Adrian advises Nature Nurture on woodland management, leads walks and gives talks on Reading’s natural world. He leads on our conservation ‘Look after the Nook’ programme in Coley. Adrian held various roles in ecology, including open spaces manager at Reading Borough Council and columnist for the local paper. He authored three books on nature in the Reading area. Adrian also chairs the Friends of Fobney Island management group and instructs woodland skills to school-excluded children at Path Hill Outdoors.

William Mathew

Wild Innovation Lead

Bill, Nature Nurture’s go-to inventor, has designed and built immersive devices including  sound art installations and interactive exhibits such as‘Talking Trees’ our Woodland Trust funded project. As a lecturer in Sound Art and Music Production, Bill’s background as a sound engineer, passion for nature, and experience as an educator and artist contribute to his role in engaging the public at Nature Nurture events.

Tom Walmsley

Eco-education Collaborator

Tom, with a background in ecology, wildlife film and photography, feeds his global expedition experience into outdoor education. He provides Wild Teaching consultancy to schools, advising them on enhancing outdoor learning, promoting biodiversity, and fostering climate-conscious youth. We collaborated on the English Heritage Darwin project, providing resources and training for their staff and volunteers. Tom also founded The Environmental Education Project in Bristol.

Nikki St Paul

Mind, Body, & Breath Coach

Nikki, a Mind, Body, & Breath Coach, works with Nature Nurture to integrate mindfulness into our programmes, helping ensure they support mental health in both children and adults.

Founder of Breathing Mindful Coaching, she is on a mission to redefine rest and show that success does not have to come at a cost to wellbeing. A Brunel University graduate with a successful 18-year pharmaceutical career, she advocates for slowing down, mindfulness and connecting with nature to appreciate the present.

Our collaborators

Food4families supports communities, schools, and individuals in growing their own food, improving well-being through community gardens

With a focus on contemplative sound art practices, ‘a noisy silence’ gathers together the various solo and collaborative projects of musician and sound artist Richard Bentley.

Commando Jugenstil’s aim is to use art, storytelling, and design for social cohesion and sustainability by reclaiming non-places and creating cultural value.

Walk Works, based in Reading, provides guided walking tours, showcasing the town’s rich history, architecture, and local culture.

Facilitated by The Engine Room, an arts & mental health project, The Lost Museum is a collective of artists and storytellers from The Dee Park community.

Funsa specialises in organising outdoor activities, fostering connection with nature, and promoting adventure and exploration.

McAlistair Hood is a stone sculptor who, as well as creating his own original artwork runs workshops to tutor others.

Silver Birch Outdoor Learning facilitates workshops with Forest School Leadership, Outdoor Learning Instruction and Natural Mindfulness.

Think Lockhart has organised art events, projects, and exhibitions for over a decade, valuing experimentation and the exchange of creative concepts.

Owl & Cat designs brochures, newspaper ads, and website graphics, specialising in creative and visually appealing solutions.

kind words

Spending time outdoors has a protective effect on mental health. Restoring and expanding green and blue spaces in urban areas increases the resilience of cities in the face of pandemics.

Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences as part of a international study carried out in March-May 2020.

If you’re ready to explore how we can help enhance the wellbeing of your communities, let’s talk.