Who We Are



Nicola Wood, LMSW


With a decade of experience working in the outdoors with youth, Nicola found her calling introducing young people to what climbing a mountain can do for one's soul and spirit. After years of working for multiple outdoor education organizations and gaining a deeper perspective on life from traveling the globe, Nicola dreamed of jumping out and starting her own organization. She was inspired to do things a little differently after she noticed gaps of the population missing from the outdoors and observed a distancing of the younger generations from the natural world.

Nicola received her Bachelors in Arts from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon in 2006 and her Masters in Social Work from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College in New York City in 2014. She is a Licensed Social Worker in the State of New York.

When she's not working with Outside Perspectives, Nicky, as she is known by most, can be found traveling to remote locations, searching for powder during the ski season, practicing yoga, meditation, painting, gardening or curling up on the couch for a good action movie.


Shannon Zich


Shannon fell in love with the outdoors as a child camping and romping through the woods of her home state of Wisconsin. As an impressionable 5-year old, a “Nature Nut” program showed her that experiences in the outdoors were connectors amongst people. As a college student, Shannon earned a degree in Recreation Management, studied abroad in Australia, completed an internship leading expeditions with people with disabilities, and experienced new cultures as often as she could. These transformative opportunities set her career path and her desire to share the outdoors with as many people as possible. She believes whole-heartedly in the power and growth potential of time spent in wild places.

As an instructor, course director, and program coordinator at various programs across the U.S., Shannon has 15 years of experience in Outdoor Education and Therapeutic Wilderness programs working both in the field and behind the scenes. As a graduate of The Institute of Sustainable Nutrition, Shannon experientially incorporates nutrition, foraging, movement, stress management, and holistic wellness concepts into her work, seeing these as vital tools for supporting youth in reaching their full potential.

When Shannon is left with time to spare, she can be found feeding her insatiable curiosity listening to podcasts, cooking, growing veggies, foraging, building with salvaged wood, exploring the wilderness, backpacking, exploring mysterious places, lounging in a hammock with a good book, and spending quality time with friends and family.



Andrew Wood


Born in the north of England, Andrew Wood has travelled far and wide since his youth. He moved to Chicago in the United States in the early 1980’s with his wife and eventually found a home in New York City and Connecticut where he raised his three daughters. Andrew’s love of the outdoors began in his youth wandering the hills of Northumberland in England, but he has continued to seek out beautiful wild places in his many travels. Understanding the benefits of the outdoors, he was thrilled to help his daughter start an organization that allows access to youth who would otherwise find difficulty in finding their way into the wilderness.

Andrew has had forty years of experience in the investment real estate sector, working for companies such as Richard Ellis, The Yarmouth Group and Lend Lease; and working in regions such as the UK, Continental Europe, Asia and the US. His primary focus for the last 30 years has been private equity Funds Management. He eventually became a founding shareholder and Director of MGPA a real estate investment management business where he served as Chief Investment Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Andrew is a Counsellor of Real Estate and a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Andrew retired following the sale of MGPA to Blackrock in October 2013.

Andrews interests include skiing, fishing in the Long Island Sound, attending the theatre and travelling. Andrew now resides primarily in Connecticut, USA, but will always have strong roots in England.

Laura Kaplan, LMSW


Laura's love for the outdoors stems from childhood summers happily spent at summer camp in the forests of northern Wisconsin. She found her way to Great Hollow Wilderness School (CT) during college, where she immediately embraced the program's mission of expanding experiential education to populations who normally lack access to it. Laura was involved at Great Hollow for over ten years, serving as Instructor, Intern Coordinator, and Assistant Program Director. There she internalized the conviction that young people can experience extraordinary growth and change in a wilderness context.

Laura is a licensed social worker with extensive experience in schools and juvenile justice settings. She currently works as a social worker in a Brooklyn public high school, where she has successfully found ways to bring her students out into the woods! She enjoys finding nature within New York City and is excited to help connect more NYC-area youth to the wilderness through Outside Perspectives.

Laura received her Bachelors in Arts from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT in 2004 and her Masters in Social Work from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College in New York City in 2012.


Philippa Wood

Ambassador, Social Media Expert & Grant and Proposal Editor


Philippa lives and works in Austin, TX with her grumpy cat, which she rescued from the streets of Guatemala, and her over excited dog Gizmo. Philippa currently works as a Training Director for the Texas Democratic Party. Philippa graduated from George Washington University in 2008 majoring in Political Science and Journalism and is a 2012 graduate of the University of Sussex's Institute of Development Studies with a Masters in governance and development. Philippa is also a proud returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Guatemala 2009-2011). She worked as a Program Officer for Political Party Programming at the National Democratic Institute where she works to promote democracy abroad before moving to Austin in 2017.

In her free time you might find Philippa walking with her dog , exploring a winery, or enjoying a picnic with her friends in one of Austin's many parks. She's honored and excited to be a part of Outside Perspective's mission and looks forward to watching it grow.