Meet Julie Richards

Julie will be working closely with program staff and local communities to grow our current offerings and co-create new programs.

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Julie’s interest in the outdoors started at a young age.

As a native Wisconsinite, Julie spent her summers in the northern part of the state, where her family owned property. “We had a camper set up there until I was 21. As us kids got older, my parents would push us out of the camper and into tents so I spent my summer bathing in lakes and cooking over a fire.”

That love of the outdoors followed Julie when she moved to Washington, D.C. for college. While pursuing her English Degree at Howard University, she began working in out-of-school time programs, eventually ending up at the Lowell School as the After School Program Director. Having come from a long line of teachers, youth work felt like a natural career path.

Building familiarity with the outdoors

At the Lowell School, Julie coordinated all of the out-of-school time programs, worked as staff for summer programming, and chaperoned class camping trips. “Starting in second grade, kids had overnight camping trips; the older they were, the more nights they spent away. During the summer programs we’d go spelunking, climbing, and kayaking – all the things I came up doing as a kid”.

Though Julie feels comfortable in the outdoors, she acknowledges that, “nature can be kind of scary if you’re not used to it. People want to feel safe and have a right to be where they are. The idea of ‘nature at home’ is less scary for many people and is a great entry point to a larger exploration of the outdoors.”