Matt Davis

Matt Davis

Hawthorne Valley’s Place Based Learning Center is pleased to announce Matt Davis as the new Director of Children’s Programming. In this role, Matt will oversee the residential and day programs for children, including the Visiting Student’s Program, Farm Camp, and Kids Can Cook Day Camp.


“I am deeply grateful that Matt Davis, with his over 17 years of experience as a farm-based educator, has agreed to take on this leadership position as Director of Children’s Programming,” said Rachel Schneider, Director of the Place Based Learning Center (PBLC). “He has both the skills and history with our Place Based Learning Center to insure the ongoing stability of our work and to help us envision the future of this very important part of the PBLC.”


In his role as Director of Children’s Programming, Matt will be responsible for ensuring that the children’s programming is flowing smoothly, interfacing with parents and teachers, and supporting the program’s staff in their work and their needs for ongoing professional development.


Matt has worked in the PBLC since fall of 1999, when he became an intern in the Visiting Students Program. “I had been working on an educational farm in California where I was exposed to Waldorf Education and Biodynamic farming,” he said. “I came here to learn a bit more about both. I’m still on that learning journey today.”


After finishing his internship, Matt had the opportunity to stay on with the Program as a permanent staff member. He has served the PBLC in many ways over the years, including managing the children’s gardening activities, waterfront safety at the pond, managing the Field Camp for teenagers in the summer, and codirecting the Visiting Students Program.


Matt’s interest in place based learning was cultivated while he studied Sociology and Environmental Studies at the University of California San Diego. He frequently led trips in the Rockies and Sierra Nevadas for teens and other college students.


“I always enjoyed that kind of work, but I always had a nagging feeling of dissonance from spending so much time going between wild and urban places,” Matt said. “My first experiences of working on a farm allowed me to experience living and working outdoors, in a beautiful place, in a close working relationship with the natural world that was profoundly meaningful to me. Previously, my experiences of outdoor and environmental education completely missed the relevance of food and farming. I feel that Hawthorne Valley strives to address so many of the elements of land stewardship and social renewal that I am interested in.”


Matt looks forward to working as the Director of Children’s Programming, getting to know the parents and teachers, supporting the program’s staff, and ensuring that all programs run smoothly and harmoniously integrate into other initiatives and activities at Hawthorne Valley.