Meet Our New Executive Director: Clarice Amorim Freitas — Free Forest School

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Why is outdoor play or nature connection important to you? 

While I didn’t explore nature a lot as a child, some of my fondest memories are from the beach where we used to spend our summer vacations. I enjoyed early morning beach walks with my grandparents, scrambling with my cousins to see who would get to lay in the front yard hammocks after lunch, playing hide-and-seek well beyond our backyard, and watching several peaceful sunsets. There was something truly magical about those days. Maybe it was that they were few and far between, that they were grounding and restorative, or maybe it was that I got to truly connect with family members who were ordinarily too busy to engage with me as a child at other times of the year. Regardless, those memories are so vivid that I can almost smell the ocean and hear the wind shaking the coconut trees if I close my eyes. And I want my children to have several memories like that to relish when they grow up.

What talents / perspective / unique passions do you bring to the FFS team?

I have a background in anthropology and public health; in a previous life I thought I was going to be a college professor. I later realized that was not the line of work that I wanted for myself, but I did keep the research skills, grant writing experience, and project management expertise that I developed during those many years as a graduate student. I also have a background working in equity, diversity, and inclusion. My last job prior to joining Free Forest School was coordinating a grassroots coalition that advocated for equity in health policies to support the needs of people of color and other marginalized communities. Finally, I am part of the demographic that Free Forest School would like to serve: I am a mom to two young children who knew very little about how to get outside with them and who could use a supportive community to help me do that.

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