River's Edge was founded by child mental health practitioner, Teece Nowell, LCPC. Through her private practice Teece began to document the healing effects of spending time in nature for her clients. She researched her observations and found overwhelming support of the therapeutic benefits for children spending time outdoors and engaging in free play. After launching forest based programs, other professionals in various fields of child development "fell into her lap". They had come to the same conclusions in their work that Teece did in her practice; kids need to be outside more and they need time for free play to promote healthy growth and development. From this passion, River's Edge Forest Play was born and our nature play loving family of forest guides, kids, families, and schools continues to grow!

Adventure awaits, Come play with us!


The diversity of  our professions makes us a well rounded team to bring the best outdoor, WHOLE child development programming for your child! 

Teece Nowell, MS, LCPC


Teece Nowell, LCPC is a Maryland licensed clinical professional counselor in private practice. Teece has been supporting children and their families to reach their potential since 2005.  Teece has extensive training working with children whether in her therapy playroom or in nature. Teece has nature immersion training and has been certified by the countries most recognized professionals; Erin Kenny of Cedarsong Nature School and Angela Hanscom of TimberNook. 

Teece grew up on Maryland's Eastern Shore where she spent her summers exploring marshes, creeks and rivers and seeking adventures with her brother and sisters. When they weren't crabbing, sailing or chasing stingrays on Tripp's Creek, they built forts in the woods, pedaled for miles on their country roads, and discovered adventure trails through the fields. From sun up to sun down a gaggle of kids could be found exploring and adventuring and most importuning using their imaginations. 

Going back to her roots in the country of Maryland's Eastern Shore and knowing the positive impact nature had on her spirit and confidence as a child, Teece is honored and excited to share River's Edge Forest Play with children and families. 

Brooke Herrera,


Forest Guide/Advisory Board

Brooke is a pediatric Occupational Therapist licensed in the state of Maryland with a passion for the importance of free play, the therapeutic benefits of the outdoors, and the impacts of these on child development.


Brooke holds a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Towson University and B.S. in Psychology from Lees McRae College in the mountains of North Carolina. Her previous work experiences include pediatric sensory integration based therapy, skilled nursing rehab, and aquatic therapy at a center for children with Autism.


In her free time you’re likely to find Brooke either hanging out with her husband and daughter, praying, reading, hiking, camping, playing soccer, or going for a run!


Brooke finds peace in the wonder and joy children display when they are immersed in the beauty of nature and given the space to play.


She is honored to be a part of the River's Edge Forest Play team!

Paula Jackson,


Forest Guide

Paula is the mother of 2 school aged children and an active nature enthusiast! Her passion is to teach others about nature and the benefits of nature play. From a young age through college, Paul participated in Earth Clubs, school beautification projects and Ecology Corp Nature Programs setting a foundation for a career in Nature Education.


Paula is a graduate of Notre Dame Maryland University with a BA degree in Elementary, Early Childhood and Special Education. Paula has worked as a teacher in the public school system, special education, high school, SAT tutoring, Montessori and Nature Based Education. She has spoken at conferences, presented professional workshops and is a current ERAFANS board member.


Paula found her niche and true calling in nature based teaching and emergent learning. She loves getting messy, breathing fresh air and seeing learning happening.  She is a gifted nature instructor and we are pleased to have her as part of our team!


Paula is excited to be part of the River's Edge Forest Play team serving her local community and learning from the children.

Nicole LaRue, BA

Forest Guide

Nicole LaRue is a native of central Maine where she taught children to enjoy the outdoors, snow, rain or shine. Nicole is trained in the Reggio Emilia approach to guide children in their own learning through play.


Nicole graduated from the University of Maine with a BA in Child Development and Family Relations. She has always had a love for teaching young children which motivated her path to becoming and early childhood educator. Nicole’s previous work experience ranges from formal preschool education to private nannying for young families. 


Nicole enjoys any opportunity to detach and immerse herself in nature and the present moment. She spends her free time reading, hiking and exploring her new state of Maryland with her boyfriend.


Nicole believes children are driven by their interests and are capable of constructing their own learning. Nicole makes it her priority to support each child’s interest by offering opportunities that not only enhance their curiosity but stimulate growth in measureable ways.


Nicole is ecstatic to bring her knowledge of childhood development, outdoor preschool education and her belief in the freedom to learn at one’s pace to teaching and exploring at River’s Edge Forest Play. It appears to be a perfect match.

Colleen Wright


Forest Guide

Colleen is a native Marylander, a twin and the youngest of 6 siblings.  She enjoys nature and spending time with family, especially her nieces and nephews.


Colleen loves working with children and has been a private nanny, a school aged childcare teacher, a camp director and a Sunday School teacher. She is gentle, caring, encouraging and patient with children. 

Colleen holds a  Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy and a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupation and Wellbing from Towson University.

Colleen has worked for River's Edge Forest Play in their summer camp program for 2 seasons. She has a gift for working with children understands and appreciates the child-led inquiry based teaching style and appreciates the value of nature immersion in child development.

Colleen is excited to bring her expertise as an occupational therapist to the children of River's Edge Forest Play in the new FORESTtutorial program.

Sammi Ludlum

Forest Guide

Sammi attended Anne Arundel Community College where she made the Dean's list before transferring to Salisbury University where she is double majoring in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. .

Throughout her life, Sammi has had a love of the outdoors fostered by family camping and hiking adventures.  Having been a travel volleyball player, Sammi knows the benefits of being active as a youth.  Sammi continues to support her team but now as a coach. 


Being the oldest of 4 daughters, Sammi is well versed in caring for younger children, thus her interest in early childhood education. Sammi has worked with kids at Anchors A Wee Preschool and done countless babysitting jobs for her 3 younger sisters and other friends.


Sammi loves hiking and being outside in nature.  River's Edge seemed like the perfect fit!

Sammi has been actively involved as a guide with River's Edge for 3 full seasons and truly understands and appreciates the value of child-led inquiry based teaching. 

A nature immersion program designed to nurture children through nature play.


Teece Nowell Founding Director

PO Box 325

5030 Sudley Rd 

West River, MD 20778




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