About the Speakers

Photo of Ida AukenMrs Ida Margrete Meier Auken is the Danish Minister for the Environment since 3rd of October 2011. She has been actively involved in Danish politics for many years. As former Environmental Affairs spokeswoman in the Danish parliament and member of the Energy Policy Committee and the Environment and Regional Planning Committee she has played a vital role in shaiping Danish environmental policies from 2007 to 2011.

Photo of Christine AntoriniChristine Antorini was appointed Minister for Children and Education on 3rd of October 2011. Christine Antorini has a long career as a politician. She has written several books and been a presenter on TV. Recently, the Minister presented a large primary school reform. A big part of the new reform on primary school is a focus on movement. The aspect of movement e.g. in natural environment will in the future be a more integrated part of the school system both to ensure good health but also to promote the concentration of the pupils enhancing their ability to learn.

Photo of Tim Gill

Keynote speaker Tim Gill is one of the UK’s leading thinkers on childhood and an effective advocate for change. For over 15 years his writing, research, consultancy projects and other work has focused on children’s play and free time. Tim’s book ‘No Fear: Growing up in a risk averse society’ was published in 2007 and helped to challenge thinking, change attitudes and improve policy on childhood, in the UK and beyond. He is a passionate advocate for risk taking and connecting children with nature. www.rethinkingchildhood.com

Photo of Åsa HellströmÅsa Hellström – MSc in Educational Science and working at the Municipality of Malmö, Environmental Department. Åsa has been working as a teacher previously but is project manager of national and international projects with focus on education for sustainable development, integration especially between Malmö and Copenhagen. One of the most important fields of today is the possibility to step outside the school and into the extended classroom outside, to give children an opportunity to learn and study in a different context.

Photo of Märit JanssonMärit Jansson is a Senior Lecturer in Landscape planning at the Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Alnarp, Sweden. She has an interest in the management of landscapes, particularly concerning children’s environments, children as landscape users and children’s participation. Her current research studies include children’s perspectives on, and the management and development of, playgrounds and school grounds. She has also studied the value of urban green space and issues such as perceived safety in relation to urban woodlands. Brief: School ground greening and benefits for children – recent research findings from Malmö.

Photo of Inger Elisabeth Lerstrup

Inger Lerstrup  is PhD-student as part of the research group Socio-environmental Studies, Landscape Architecture and Planning, University of Copenhagen. Her project focuses on the wooded environment in relation to children’s outdoor activities in forest preschools. The aim is to make suggestions for design and management of urban forest and parks to support varied activity for children in the age-group 3-6.

Inger Lerstrup’s presentation at the conference:

Photo of Olav B. LysklettOlav B. Lysklett is associate professor in physical education at Queen Maud University College (QMUC) in Trondheim, Norway. QMUC has a leading position nationally within Early Childhood Education teacher training. Lysklett’s current research is focused on nature and outdoor kindergartens, their characteristics and the fact that many men are attracted to working with children in nature and the outdoors. He has recently published “Out All Week Long” (2013) (Ute hele uka) about nature and outdoor kindergartens. After the introduction of the national Framework Plan for the Content and Tasks of Kindergarten in 2006, Lysklett was editor of the brochure of national guidelines for nature and environmental education.

Photo of Elisabeth MillqvistElisabeth Millqvist is Co-Director and Artistic Director of Wanås Konst since 2011. Wanås Konst is located in southern Sweden and is a a venue for contemporary art and education. Wanås consists of a medieval castle, an organic farm, an art gallery, and a sculpture park. Since 1987 exhibitions have been arranged and every year world-renowned artists are invited to produce art. Special educational programs are offered with focus on the annual exhibitions. The park becomes a site for playful learning, making art and reflecting on spaces and environments around us. The educational program is continuously developed to reach new groups.Throughout the year several thousand children explore art in guided tours and workshop activities.

Photo of Helle Nebelong

Helle Nebelong is a Danish Landscape Architect and Master of Public Management who is internationally recognized as a designer of nature play spaces where children thrive. She runs her own private practice specialized in health design. As president of the Danish Playground Association and European representative in the leadership of Nature Action Collaborative for Children, NACC, she is a steady advocate for children’s rights to play and to have access to nature and a healthy environment. www.sansehaver.dk 

Photo of  Lari Pitkä-KangasLari Pitkä-Kangas, Deputy Mayor, Urban Ecology (Green Party) City of Malmö. Lari Pitkä-Kangas has been Deputy Mayor in the City of Malmö since 2006 and is in charge of Urban Ecology, Consumer Affairs and Sustainable Development. He is also responsible for the Department of Service Management, which takes care of the service operations carried out by the municipality for example managing Municipal Properties, School Restaurants, Ground Facilities, Land care and IT-service. He is committed to issues regarding Ecological and Social Sustainability, and the greening of the City in particular. Green Schoolyards is one example of a successful project that combines learning, biodiversity and health.

Photo of Theresa Schilhab Dr. Theresa Schilhab is trained as neurobiologist (Msc) (1995) and holds a PhD (2002) in cognitive biology from the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen. Research manager at Learning lab Denmark January 2006 to September 2009 at Danish University of Pedagogy. She is currently Associate Professor at University of Aarhus. She is author and co-editor of numerous books including the anthology ‘Learning Bodies’ (2008, together with Malou Juelskjær and Thomas Moser) and ‘The symbolic species evolved’ (2012 together with Frederik Stjernfelt and Terrence Deacon) as well as scientific papers in cognitive ethology, implicit knowledge, embodied cognition and evolutionary neuroscience. She has co-edited an anthology on the relation between neuroscience and pedagogy (‘Nervepirrende pædagogik’ in 2007) which is translated into Swedish and Norwegian.The co-authored book ‘School in the forest’ (2008) (Danish: ‘Skolen i skoven’) focuses on the perceptual advantage of nature-based learning on meaning attribution and memory formation. Her research touches on evolutionary perspectives on tacit and explicit knowledge, the evolution of epistemological mechanisms, and specifically the impact of bodily experience on human learning. She teaches both at graduate and post graduate levels in the field of implicit knowledge and supervises PhD theses in the field of outdoor schooling, nature-based learning and embodied cognition. In 2005-2006, she was an appointed member of the steering group of ‘Technology Foresight on cognition and robotics’ under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and in 2012 consultant for the Swedish Research Council on Brain and Learning.

Photo of Catharine Ward Thompson

Catharine Ward Thompson is professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of OPENspace Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh. Her work focuses on inclusive access to outdoor environments, including work with children, young people and older people; it covers environment-behaviour interactions, historic landscapes and contemporary needs, and salutogenic environments.

She was a member of the Scottish Government’s Good Places Better Health Evaluation Group. Current research includes a focus on the relationship between the quality, quantity and accessibility of green space and people’s health and wellbeing. This includes work exploring whether a woodland intervention programme improves psychological wellbeing in deprived communities.

Photo of Marc VeekampMarc Veekamp is a specialist on nature education and young children. In the Netherlands he is a leading person on this subject. He believes in the power of nature as a natural learning environment for children. In his work he challenges people like educators, pedagogues, parents and teachers to take their responsibility to accompany young children in their exploration of nature. The work of Marc Veekamp is related to day care centers. He carries out workshops, trainings and coaching projects and also lectures on many different occasions.

Marc entered the NACC leadership group in 2008. He is strongly motivated to extend the world-wide network in his country and in Europe. He is building up the network in Europe together with Helle Nebelong (Denmark) and Claire Warden (Scotland). He brings people from all countries to inspiring sites throughout The Netherlands and in Europe. www.veldwerknederland.nl. Member of NACC Leadership Team representing Europe Environmental.