The Tulgey Wood was started as a program of the Katie Johnson Fellowship (KJF). KJF was created to honor the short but compelling life of Katie Johnson, a charismatic and spirited red-head with quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Katie passed away at the age of twelve after spending half her young life in a Maryland institution.

She spent two joyful summers there, learning to use a computer and making many new friends.

In 1995, some of those new friends founded The Katie Johnson Fellowship in the fervent hope that her short life might be actively remembered. In Katie's name they hoped that other children and adults with severe disabilities might find friends who would become life long, and who would include them in exciting adventures. 

The Katie Johnson Fellowship has since been responsible in philosophy and support for the start up of several "sprouts".


After the age of six, whatever Katie knew or experienced of life outside the institution depended on two caregivers, Midge and Maria, who worked at the institution and were captivated by her. Midge took Katie home with her for holiday weekends. Together, Midge and Maria took Katie to a summer camp on Martha's Vineyard.