Meet the Forest Days Team

Jennifer Butler, VP of Youth Programming & Forest Days Program Director

Jennifer Butler, VP of Youth Programming & Forest Days Program Director

Jennifer Butler grew up in Greenwich and is an attorney turned stay-at-home mom to two little girls and a sweet Golden Retriever. Her dream to help found a forest-based program for preschool aged children began during the countless hours she spent outdoors with her toddler.  After researching and discovering the vast benefits of outdoor play, she took her idea to Greenwich Botanical Center where she sits on the Board and serves as the Vice President of Youth Programming.

It was through GBC that Jennifer connected with Laurel Scarlata and the two have since worked tirelessly to provide the community with a unique and growing forest-based program.

Jennifer received her J.D. from Pace University School of Law and B.A. from St. Joseph’s University. In addition to sitting on the  Board of Greenwich Botanical Center, Jennifer now serves as the Director of Forest Days. She and her husband, Barron live in Cos Cob with their growing family.


Laurel Scarlata

Laurel Scarlata, Lead Educator

Laurel Scarlata is native of Greenwich, where she inherited her love of the outdoors and nature from her father, Jim McArdle of McArdle's Florist and Garden Center.   

Laurel holds a degree in Early Childhood Education and a Masters in Special Education. She previously taught preschool in town for nine years as well as Kindergarten and First grade for the town of Greenwich.

She and her husband Chris have three teenage sons and live in Cos Cob. Her hobbies include hiking with her family, gardening, birding, cooking and reading. 


Kristen Paradise, Educator

Kristen Paradise, Educator

Kristen Paradise moved to Greenwich at the age of four. She grew up with a love for animals, outdoor adventures and competitive sports. Horses became one of her passions and she learned to ride at age 7 and soon competed locally and then nationally. She then became a riding instructor and taught children ages 3 and up. Her love of teaching children continued when she became a preschool teacher at St. Saviour’s Nursery School and then at The Preschool at Second Congregational Church.

Kristen attended Greenwich High School, Boston University and Manhattanville College, earning a BA. She currently resides in Cos Cob with her husband and 4 children, ages 4, 6, 15 and 16. Some of her hobbies include running, gardening, hiking and exploring the local trails with her children and dog.