GROW-Wellbeing People

Duane Chong
Programme Director

Duane has extensive experience of lecturing and managing in early childhood education and care. Duane was Sure Start Programme Manager at one of the first programmes in the UK, and co-ordinated the Children First Forum in Liverpool, providing creative opportunities for children and young people. Duane wrote the early years programme for Merseyside's Find Your Talent initiative in 2006.

For ten years he lectured in education and childhood studies across Merseyside and North Wales, during which he collaborated with Natural Resources Wales to provide Forest School training for undergraduate student teachers in North Wales.


Duane saw how the natural environment not only provides opportunities to engage in all aspects of the curriculum but enhances social and emotional wellbeing. 

Duane is a Forest School Level 3 practitioner and The Therapeutic Forest CIC Approved Practitioner.

Liz McCreery
Forest School Leader

Liz is a Level 3 Forest School Leader and her passion is to get as many people outside, enjoying the benefits that being in nature brings. She believes fun, learning, friendships and positive experiences should be accessible to all, and is keen to adapt sessions for all ages and abilities. Liz is a recognised Therapeutic Forest Practitioner.

Liz has been a primary school teacher for 26 years, with a B.Ed. Hons degree. She has had a variety of other jobs in education and wildlife settings and has many links with organisations to support the protection and revival of our local habitats and wildlife as well as being involved in growing food projects. Running sessions for outdoor providers has given her a wide experience of gauging and controlling risk, whilst allowing self-discovery and problem solving to develop in participants. 

Liz loves learning new skills and facts, so if you have a skill you’d like to share or an activity you’d like to try in the forest then let her know and she’ll give it a try! 

Angela Samata

Angela has worked in the Arts and Mental health for 15 years, speaking publicly nationally and internationally. With a Masters in Art History and Curating, Angela is a member of Tate Liverpool’s Advisory Board and based at the Walker Art Gallery, led the John Moores Painting Prize until 2015.


She has worked with several NHS Trusts including Mersey Care and the Surrey and Borders Partnership as well as helping to create additional Mental Health services such as James’ Place.


An advocate for early intervention in health and wellbeing practice, Angela believes that by creating curiosity during a child's early years and the opportunity to explore the natural environment, we can instil good practice for their long-term mental health. 

Diane Burns

Diane is a registered social worker and team manager in a Fostering team. She gained a BA Hons in Social Studies at Liverpool Polytechnic and a CQSW combined with a Diploma in Applied Social Science at Swansea University.

Diane has a background in youth and community work having worked in a variety of settings. Her main focus however has been work with foster families in a Local Authority setting. This has required a sound knowledge of safeguarding, child development and attachment theory. Diane has also undertaken extensive work as a Practice Educator - having supervised and supported a large number of students over many years.


Diane has been a lifetime believer in the benefits to personal wellbeing of spending time in the great outdoors, and supports GROW's aims to develop opportunities for children and young people to connect with nature-based outdoor activities.

Lisa Bostock

Forest School Assistant

Laura Jackson

Forest School Assistant

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