Natural Teachers

Welcome to the virtual gathering place for Natural Teachers. A Natural Teacher is any educator who uses the natural world as a powerful learning environment—whether the subject is biology, writing, art, or any other.

Members: 400
Latest Activity: on Monday

Every teacher can be a Natural Teacher.

Think of this forum as a break room full of your peers ready for a conversation, a place where you can share ideas and ask for suggestions, where you can be engaged, creative, and encouraged. The subject: How to use the natural world as a classroom to improve your students’ health and well-being, including cognitive ability and attitudes toward learning. The objective: Inspire action, individually or in groups.

Like any meeting place where diverse opinions and concerns are shared, the discourse here must be civil. For further guidance on the “rules of engagement,” please see a set of Frequently Asked Questions located at

The goal is to encourage more teachers to connect their students with nature and to provide a forum where Natural Teachers can share their knowledge and views. Collectively, Natural Teachers can have a profound impact on improving the lives of children, and, in some schools and communities, that is already happening.

Please participate actively, and encourage others to join. Get together face-to-face as well.

You'll find tools and resources throughout the larger Children & Nature Network website.

The Children & Nature Network Leadership Team will monitor this NTN Group web site from time to time, to respond to ideas and encourage action. Thank you for your commitment to children.

Discussion Forum

Music and the outdoors 8 Replies

I'm wondering if  you know of any resources connecting music to  the outdoors ?Continue

Started by Kari. Last reply by Tara Lynn Von Dollen Sep 18.

ParkLAND Project Get Kids off the Playground and Into the Wild Corners of Local Parks

A new Raintree School initiative is afoot. And we're inviting everyone! From preschoolers to scouts, Missouri to Maryland, we'd like to…Continue

Tags: mapping

Started by Brandi Cartwright Aug 9.

BEETLES Project Releases New (free!) Resources for Outdoor Science Programs & Educators

Hi, Natural Teachers!BEETLES (Better Environmental Education, Teaching, Learning & Expertise Sharing) is excited to announce the launch of its …Continue

Tags: curriculum, student, activities, learning, development

Started by Jedda Foreman Jan 22.

Have an Ecoliterate Year!

Hi Folks,I wanted to share our new blog post with you. Have an Ecoliterate Year!(Warning: Compound sentences…Continue

Tags: outdoor, education, environmental, ecoliteracy

Started by Dwain Wilson Sep 10, 2015.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Suz Lipman on April 3, 2012 at 12:26pm

San Francisco Bay Area teachers: Cal Academy of Sciences is offering a teachers' discount to hear Richard Louv discuss his new book "The Nature Principle" at the Herbst Theater April 24. Details are here:

Comment by Suz Lipman on March 26, 2012 at 11:47am

Hi All - Thought you would want to know about this online conversation on Children, Nature and Education, hosted by NAEYC (National Assoc. for Education of Young Children) that is happening all this week. Here's a link:

Q&A with selected authors of Spotlight on Young Children and Nature

Comment by Suz Lipman on March 21, 2012 at 9:10am

Hi All --

I thought you might be interested in this new blog from professor, author and NTN leader Herb W. Broda:

INVISIBLE INK: Is the Natural World Disappearing from Children's Books and Education?

Let us know what you think.

Comment by Suz Lipman on March 17, 2012 at 9:16am

I thought you all might be interested in an exciting partnership that has formed between Scholastic and the American Camp Association to help fight the "summer slide" in learning and reading skills that kids in every socioeconomic group experience each year when school is out for the summer.

The Explore 30 literacy initiative is designed to keep kids reading all summer. And, best, because ACA is involved, many will be doing so in the natural settings of camp. Here's the story:

Comment by Jacob Francis on March 9, 2012 at 6:51am

This could be a great citizen science opportunity for some of us!

Comment by Amy Butler on March 5, 2012 at 10:38am

Thanks John and Jacob for your replies! I plan to attend the mapping workshop in March.

Comment by Jacob Francis on March 2, 2012 at 6:39am

Amy and John,

We do some mapping with our middle school students.  They use topos to look for and predict streams, and use infrared aerial photographs to make predictions about vegetation.  We also have them explore maps in Google earth, and add student generated data to the Google earth maps.  Here is a screen shot of some of the Goggle Earth mapping.

Comment by John Thielbahr on February 21, 2012 at 2:58pm

Hi Amy,

Great post.  I have sent out an email asking for anyone who has this experience with mapping.  One reply so far wanted you to know that David Sobel is doing a workshop on mapping at Antioch U. New England, Keene, NH on March 31.  I will pass on more when I get it.  Mapping in place-based learning is a terrific learning tool.  Keep us posted on your success with it.  John

Comment by Amy Butler on February 21, 2012 at 12:19pm

Hi !

Looking for anyone doing map making with children based on experiences they've had outdoors in their communites. I am hoping to hear some stories of place based learning projects with mapping as a focus. I have David Sobel's book, Mapmaking with Children. I'd just love to see some photos and examples of similar projects from elsewhere!

Comment by Suz Lipman on February 21, 2012 at 11:33am

Hi Folks, The Network for NJ's Afterschool Communities is offering a FREE webinar tomorrow 2/22 11AM ET:

Children and Nature: Perfect for Afterschool.


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