About the Butterfly Garden


The Butterfly Garden is a nature-based program turning education inside out(side) and thinking and playing outside the box (or building)! 


We offer a minimum of 5 hours of outdoor time each day, and are always  "screen free".


Meet Janine:


As a mother of three (10 y/o, 23 y/o, 25 y/o), a pediatric registered nurse, and a certified teacher, I've been given the unique perspective of viewing a child's optimal growth in terms of health, intellect, and spirituality. I feel I have a firm grasp on what education is meant to be and this, in turn, has become my burning passion! The quote "A mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains it's original dimensions"--Oliver Wendell Holmes, sums it up nicely. I believe what our schools focus on (read Our Philosophy) is the inherent right of every child, and it is my purpose in life to provide it!


Along with children, my other passion is nature. I feel strongly about protecting and preserving nature and our environment (you might call me a tree-hugger!). I may feel this way because of my experiences and exposure to nature and the outdoors as a child growing up (camping, hiking, biking, etc.), which may have just been the generation I grew up in ('70s/'80s). But what I see now, and what statistics are saying, is that this type of recreation is on the decline. That saddens me as I know the future of our earth will rest upon the decisions our children make as adults (as well as ours today, of course!). And I wonder how much they will try to protect and preserve something they can't appreciate and have no close, personal relationship with. This has led me to the creation of the Butterfly Garden and opened my eyes to the necessity for every child to have access to one in their neighborhood.

What I have discovered is a way to merge my deep love for nature with my passion for children in a way that can only be described as spiritual. To me this is not a job, it is a calling (that I would do even if I won the lottery)!


So now, after having moved from Maryland, South Africa, Virginia, San Antonio, Germany, Copperas Cove, Corpus Christi and finally to Austin, I am ready to call this place home and follow the direction of this path. I intend to use our programs as a vehicle to express my passion and enthusiasm for nature and education through the nurturing and care of the children in our communities, while sharing my knowledge and experience with their caregivers to the benefit of their children and our planet!


As my dad always taught me, "Always leave the campground a little cleaner than you found it", I'd like to leave this world a little better than I found it!





Meet Rachel 

I love being a teacher and spending time outdoors with children. The positive energy that is created when children are allowed to explore and play in nature is so exciting and rewarding. The natural world has so much to offer, creating new adventures every day. It is the perfect environment for growing minds to learn and develop, and I have much to share from my landscape architecture background with respect to plants and animals. Favorite activities of mine are hiking, swimming, gardening, and of course, spending time with my dog Scoots. I am passionate about promoting a better understanding of our world for future generations to enjoy the same empathy and sense of wonder that was instilled in me as a child playing outside. I have worked in several City of Austin programs that focus on children and youth interacting with nature, and I look forward to spending the year at the Butterfly Garden and all the discoveries and adventures to come!

Meet Alexis

Hi, everyone! My name is Alexis and I am extremely passionate about children, education and the environment.  My background includes working with pre-kindergartners and kindergarteners in Houston, New York, and Japan, and I am currently pursuing my Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in early childhood education.  Some things I enjoy include travelling and exploring new places, baking, holistic living, reading and learning.  I have two cats, Willy and Huntington, and love working with animals.  I am a firm believer in allowing children to construct their own meaning and learning from their environment, and I believe nature is the perfect place to do so.  My teaching philosophy is centered on the belief that supporting all facets of development, empathy, kindness and acceptance in children are essential.  Each child brings their own uniqueness to the world and we should celebrate each of them.  I look forward to getting to know every one of your children!  


"Now I see the secret to the making of the best persons.  It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth."     —Walt Whitman