Julie Dieguez is founder & Principal Consultant of The Wild Child… and an unapologetic champion of muddy hands & big imaginations! Julie spent her own wild childhood outside, embarking on outdoor misadventures with her sister; “gunkholing” around the Chesapeake Bay with her sailor father; quietly spying on wildlife with her mother; and embracing the sheer stinky joy of marsh mud-fights with whomever was brave enough to join in.
Julie eventually settled into a career in environmental education, leading schoolyard habitat programs with Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center and The Chesapeake Bay Foundation before joining the Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education (MAEOE) & the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as a Schoolyard Habitat Specialist. She later became a member of the Boards of Directors for both MAEOE and the Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council. Recently, she served for several years as Coordinator of the Maryland No Child Left Inside Coalition, a wildly successful coalition of 250+ organizations that played a key role in supporting the passage of the first environmental literacy graduation requirement in the nation! Julie was awarded the Izaak Walton League of America’s National Honor Roll award and a Governor’s Citation for her Coalition work. She continues to deliver enthusiastic presentations for local, regional & national audiences on a variety of topics, including innovative ways to engage kids (and adults) with nature.
When the call of the wild eventually lured Julie to sink her hands back into the dirt, she founded The Wild Child to help organizations & families create affordable, imaginative outdoor nature play areas.
In addition to dreaming up fun nature play & learning concepts, Julie serves on the Project Green Classrooms Nature Play Space Work Group and just completed an online School Action Project Guide for the Mid-Atlantic on Bay Backpack with the support of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association Bay Watershed Education & Training (NOAA-BWET) program, featuring instructions and plans for 100+ greening projects in schools, on school grounds and in communities
Julie also served as President of Unity Gardens (offering grants for community greening projects), and volunteers with several community environmental groups and MASTER-PUP Terrier Rescue. Most importantly, she is being happily raised by her own “wild child”, a very enthusiastic research assistant for nature play investigations and a constant reminder of the importance of adventure.