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: 414
Latest Activity: Feb 12

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

Workshop: Nurturing Our Children, Ourselves, and Nature

Dear All,    We are launching a new program supporting adult teachers and facilitators of nature and learning experiences. We begin with a workshop on October 7, 2017 in White Plains, NY:Nurturing…Continue

Started by LoraKim Joyner Jul 26, 2017.

Backpacking Wilderness Summer Camp Counselor Positions Available

Camp Unalayee, a non-profit wilderness summer camp for kids, ages 10-17 is looking for outdoor lovers who want to be backpacking Summer Camp Counselors. Come spend the summer in the beautiful Trinity…Continue

Started by Sarah Camp Feb 7, 2017.

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, 2016.

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, 2016.

Comment Wall


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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.

Comment by Corine Anderson on February 7, 2012 at 9:38pm
Comment by Kari on February 2, 2012 at 1:18pm

Hi everybody,

I just started a new topic on my site that I think should be of interest for educators.

I'm sharing my nephew's outdoor time in his new daycare in Norway.

 My sister and family lives in Oslo, Norway where she has two kids and is a lawyer by trade. Right now she is on maternity leave with her baby. Her son just started to go to Orion Daycare in the middle of downtown Oslo. In Norway about 90% of kids spend time in daycare starting around the age of 1 one year old. Many of the daycares offer program that focus on outdoor play and friluftsliv (Norwegian word for outdoor living).

The ‘Norwegian child' should live an active and outdoor childhood. Strong emphasis is placed on the relationship between young children and their wider environment, in particular the outdoor environment and more generally, with nature. Apart from being fun and healthy, being outside throughout the year is about learning to live in and with strongly demarcated seasons and extreme weather conditions... In short, being active and outdoors is both an issue of health and an issue of value, or identity”. -OECD Norway country note, 1999

Every week I want to share with you news from my sister’s and son’s experience at Orion Daycare in Oslo. A very typical daycare located in urban Oslo that focuses on outdoor play and friluftsliv (Norwegian word for outdoor living).

Here is the link :

Comment by Suz Lipman on January 30, 2012 at 12:00pm

Hi All, I'm passing on a classroom opportunity from National Park Trust.  National Kids to Parks Day, a nationwide day of play, is set for May 19.

In conjunction, NPT is sponsoring a national classroom contest designed to inspire children to create their own KTP Day event. The theme of this year's contest is "Explore outdoors, the parks are yours!" NPT will award scholarships in the amount of $250, $500 or $1000 to winning entries. Deadline for entries is Thursday, March 1st. Winners will be announced Monday, March 19th. For contest details and a full listing of national partners visit .

You can read more about National Kids to Parks Day here:

Comment by Carmen Field on January 30, 2012 at 12:11am

Hi Tina,

I'm so glad there's a conversation going on here about mud play! I've loved reading everybody's ideas and suggestions for more info. I've just sent via email to you a summary of how Mud Games at The Wallow began in Homer, Alaska along with a couple flyers from past Mud Games events. I'll post our summary here, too,  in case anyone else might be interested in how a permanent mud play space was created and then used in our town. Our planet needs more mud wallows...and not just for elephant seals :)




Comment by Tamra Willis on January 27, 2012 at 10:14am

Mud is the best! This picture of me was taken during a Mary Baldwin College graduate course for teachers entitled "Reading on the River."  With the help of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, we took our teachers to a mudhole for a 100% nature immersion experience. Some of the teachers were hesitant at first, but the peer pressure was great and the results were life-changing. Let's just say... teachers need mud, too.

Comment by Jan Hummer on January 27, 2012 at 9:29am



Hello !  I currently live in Bloulder County and think you should contact Gene Hooley at the Alaya Preschool about yurts ... she has one in the front playground area of the school and knows a lot about what you can and cannot do in Colorado.

Love to come to Aspen and see your yurt in the near future.


Cheers !

Jan Hummer -

Comment by Tara Smoot Nasmyth on January 27, 2012 at 9:11am

Nothing better than mud than what we find in the mud!


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