Our Staff

Gary Williams


There is an expression (something like this) "We are now who we were when we were 10 years old."  When I was 10 I loved being outdoors, riding my bike, exploring the neighborhood and local empty lots overgrown with Ragweed and other "prairie" plants, catching butterflies and bees, and working on my bike. I also raised tropical fish.  I don't have the tropical fish now but I still love exploring, riding my bike and being around water life.

Founder & Leader SOAC: 27 yrs

School Bus Driver: 15 yrs

Master's Degree in Community Mental Health

Taught: Middle School Math & Science: 4 yrs

                  High School Math & Science: 4 yrs

                  Part time Instructor, MATC: 20 yrs

Elementary Guidance Counselor: 15 yrs

Mental Health Consultant Tri County Human Services: 10 yrs


World Peace Through Bicycles and 10 Year Olds

Learning outdoors

What to do in the Woods

Wingin’ It--Nature Education

Warm Simple Wisdom for Caring Parents

Simple Reminders for Caring Teachers

Jen Maggio-Laack


I am thrilled to be carrying SOAC into the future. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Environmental Education in 2002 and became the Youth Programs Specialist for the Highlands Center for Natural History in Prescott, AZ after graduating. When I relocated to WI in 2004, I taught for the Kickapoo Valley Reserve in La Farge, WI before attending graduate school to earn my high school science teaching license. I moved to Reedsburg in 2012 to join the RAHS science teaching staff, and taught Biology and Chemistry through 2015. I then took a few years to simply focus on my family. I have two beautiful children. I feel so fortunate to have found SOAC in 2019 because teaching children in nature is my favorite!

Nature is where I go to regain a fresh and peaceful perspective on life. It’s where I take my family for both the joy of adventure, and to escape the burdens of everyday challenges and responsibilities. In nature I feel inspired and free, a part of a greater whole. And it’s not because the great outdoors is what I grew up with. In fact, I grew up in New York City. That’s how I know that a little time in nature can have a big impact on a child. 

In my years as an Environmental Educator, I have seen students come alive with wonder as we explore a new trail or look closely at some animal tracks. I have seen them glow with triumph as they make it to the top of the steep trail, and I have seen their scientific abilities to notice patterns and ask questions flourish naturally. Time in nature has a place in the education of every child, and it is the surest way to foster stewardship of the earth in the next generation.