Variety, the Children's Charity of Texas

Variety, the Children’s Charity of Texas, provides opportunities for children with special needs to engage in accessible play in the great outdoors and empower through nature and adventure. Through Variety’s Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children, an all abilities camp facility, over 7,000 children participate in recreational opportunities through the Environmental Education Program, Weekend Program and Summer Program each year. As a true collaborative force, Variety operates on a partner model which allows for their staff to work alongside qualified medical professionals, social workers,...


Starla Simmons, Clinical Assistant Professor, The University of Texas at Austin

Starla Simmons, LCSW is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Field Liaison at the UT Steve Hicks School of Social Work and is strongly rooted in social justice and racial equity. She worked in Austin ISD for over 10 years providing a range of direct care services to families, students, and staff. Starla has a passion for supporting the vitality and resilience of communities of color. She is experienced in holistic practices such as eco-therapy, mindfulness and TBRI (Trust-based Relational Intervention). In addition to direct services, she worked as the liaison and coordinator for AISD’s...


Kerstin Johansson, City of Austin, Park Ranger Education & Outreach

Kerstin Johansson was born in Vermont where she has fond memories of catching frogs and exploring the woods with her family. After graduating from college, she has been passionately working for a world that is more sustainable, equitable, and where people are more connected to nature. Locally, Kerstin has been involved with coordinating climate marches and rallies, and organizing her neighbors around wildlife habitat and healthy creek initiatives. She loves bringing people together and connecting over solutions to environmental and social justice issues, and nowhere is that more evident...