My name is Julie
ONCE UPON A TIME in Nicolaus, California, there was a girl who grew up roaming in the pastures cultivated by her Swiss-immigrant grandfather, and climbing the dairy barn and outbuildings he built. Here she learned the power of moving in her body, balancing on top of fences, and playing hide n' seek among the trees and bushes.
And here she first learned to create spaces. Spaces for adventure, for gathering, for looking out, for solitude. Among them were intricate hay stack mazes, a magical Eucalyptus Kingdom, and a spook-tacular Haunted Barn for the community, thanks to that book Free Stuff for Kids.
THE FIRST LANDSCAPE THAT HAUNTED HER,
in a good way, was a place called Jenner’s Park, in Loup City, Nebraska. A few streets away from her grandparents’ house. Stepping inside those stone entry walls was like walking into another world. Each summer she couldn’t wait to bike on over to explore... She can draw it from memory still.
LIFE ADVENTURES TOOK HER AWAY FROM THE FARM... to other wild places… to an Australia that words fail to describe… to remote Y’upik villages in all the vastness that is Alaska… to San Quentin State Prison even… before she discovered a passion for creating safer and more inclusive schools for all.
Years passed honing her ability to facilitate conversations and training, and to help teams make more inclusive spaces -- on playgrounds, in classrooms, and board rooms.
THEN SHE RETURNED TO HER OWN BACKYARD. With the help of her father. She returned to creating outdoor spaces. It was magical. People came and saw. And, they asked, “Can you come to my garden?”
MORE THAN A DECADE OF RETURNING TO HER ROOTS, including hands-on experience in the design-build-horticulture world, now guides her design approach.
And those cover crops her grandfather once planted, tilled only by the hooves of cows, have now come back in style.
Folks now call it 'regenerative.'