My name is Michele Whiteaker and I’d love for you to think of me as your personal Play Concierge. When I used to search online for family-friendly activities, nothing quite fit my playful outdoor interests. I just wanted playgrounds, nature, simple play ideas, nature walks, and outdoorsy stuff to do. Things to do with my kids that didn’t cost a lot of money or take a lot of planning.
So . . . I started writing about parks for FUN.
I’m a mom first. But, in addition to my passion for keeping things simple + exploring new places, I also happen to be a writer. So I naturally started writing about parks for fun to share with my friends. It was easier to write about my experiences once and share a link, rather than stumble through sending individual emails. This all started back in 2008 when my kids were 2 1/2 and 6. Almost before BLOGS and definitely before iPhones were widely popular!
7 Random Things To Know About Me
- I hate talking about myself, but I can talk all day about parks!
- I love to write so much that I have 2 blogs (this one and ItineraryGoals.com).
- I resolved to not eat French fries (in California) for the entire 2018 calendar year. I modified from my original “no French fries for the year” when we took a month-long vacation to the land of lobster rolls this summer. I mean, I’m doing this for fun so my vacation was blind to the goal — and I don’t regret that decision one bit!
- I’ve mentored a number of beginning bloggers. I even consult and coach clients on content strategy under the title of Content Strategy Coach.
- In 2013, I trained to become a Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) as recognized by the National Association for Interpretation — and I’ve maintained my certification. So now I have some of the same training as Interpretive Specialists and Park Rangers when I write about parks.
- I’ve been a Grassroots Leader in the Children & Nature Movement since about 2010. I’m a charter member of the Children & Nature Network and I attended their invitation-only Leadership Summit in May 2018 where “425 leaders from 29 countries worked together to develop action agendas for change.” I’m also a member of the California Outdoor Engagement Coalition.
- My best days are when I get a feeling about something YOU need – either from the weather, something I hear on the news, chatter on social media, or even direct emails and questions from you – and then I get into a writing zone where I can transform YOUR needs into a blog post filled with information that serves your particular need. (Especially if it’s a need you’ve discounted or don’t think is important! I love giving voice to small things that can really change your day-to-day life.)
Over the past decade, we’ve personally visited and mapped over 325 parks as a family. What started out as an audience of a few friends transformed into a readership of over 300,000 families per year!
My strategy of “hummingbird parenting” resonated with both Richard Louv (author of Vitamin N and also Last Child in the Woods) and Dr. Scott D. Sampson (of Dinosaur Train fame) – so much so that they quoted me in their popular books and on their blogs.
Now it’s my full time part-time job.
In March of 2017, this blog moved from 9 years as a “side hobby thing” into a more serious commitment as a full-time job with part time hours.
For the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school year, I’m also Social Media Strategist for Inside the Outdoors Foundation sharing all sorts of tidbits about environmental education in Orange County on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds.
Please email me anytime! I’m here to help you play outdoors. I always say I get paid in pennies & smiles – and, of the two, the smiles are much more valuable to me!