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: 418
Latest Activity: Jun 28

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

CAMPference Teacher Nature Conference & Retreat

CAMPference Teacher Nature Conference is on again August 2nd – 4th 2019 in…Continue

Started by Tania Moloney Jun 19.

No Child Left Inside 6 Replies

                                                                     Imagine what it would be like if every K-12 school across the country made environmental education (EE) an essential part of the…Continue

Started by Tamra Willis. Last reply by Sarah Burroughs Nov 28, 2018.

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.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Stephanie Rach-Wilson on February 21, 2011 at 9:49am
Hi John, We would love to support this endeavor as we've created our Chipper Ambassador program which runs through June (first day of summer). I still have about 15 backpacks sponsored by Coleman which are perfect for teachers, community leaders, enthusiasts to help get everyone connected. We have lots of events planned which could help build exposure for Let's G.O. Would I discuss with you??? Chipper%20Ambassador%20Into%20the%20Great%20Outdoors.pdf
Comment by John Thielbahr on February 20, 2011 at 3:50pm

Fellow Educators,

In creating the Natural Teachers Network, one of our goals was to connect like-minded children and nature advocates in their local communities so they can work together on projects in their own communities and participate together in national children and nature events.  In that spirit, The Children & Nature Network (C&NN) is organizing a national Let's G.O. (Get Outside) campaign during the month of April 2011 as part of C&NN's Children & Nature Awareness month.  This is a youth-led, month-long campaign unifying all of C&NN's initiatives and coalition partners, including the Natural Teachers Network, to implement a variety of innovative community projects to connect children with the natural world.  Our goal for 2011 is to inspire a minimum of 100 events in 25 cities.

Please join with your colleagues and your students to participate in Let's G.O.  You can find out more and download the Tool Kit at .

As part of this initiative, we are creating regional lists of local teachers, parents and grassroots organizers who see themselves as leaders in the movement.  These are people who other people new to the movement can contact for information and direction.  If you would like to be listed, please contact my C&NN colleague Avery Cleary, Let's G.O. co-chair, at , or if you have questions, feel free to contact me at .  My sincere thanks for your commitment to connect children with nature.  John

Comment by John Thielbahr on February 18, 2011 at 5:31pm

Thanks so much for sharing this, Sarah.  If you haven't already done so, you might also post on the Early Childhood Group Site.  All the best,  John

Comment by Sarah Shealy on February 18, 2011 at 3:02pm

Hi all! I am a children's book publicist and pop in from time to time to let you know about appropriate books and materials to enhance your curriculum about the natural world. I'm working on a book called ARBOR DAY SQUARE by Kathryn Galbraith for ages 4-8. If you're doing anything for Arbor Day in your classroom, you might be interested in this free curriculum guide for the book:


Comment by John Thielbahr on February 18, 2011 at 12:35pm
You're so right Stephanie.  There is still so much for all of us to do.  Each new electronic gadget introduced captures another wave of people, young and old.  Just a quick note to you and others, if you come across companies who are interested in supporting our work, please send them to me, Cheryl Charles, Suz or Amy Pertschuk.  We will follow up immediately.  Very glad you were talking about C&NN.  That helps greatly to bring in new people.  We need to add many thousands to the movement.  All the best,  John
Comment by Stephanie Rach-Wilson on February 18, 2011 at 12:13pm
This is a great workshop - I hope you're well Suz. We were talking about C&NN sooooo much last week in NY. It was very exciting meeting with companies from all over the world and watching them quickly write down the link. Keep up the great work - there is still so much for all of us to be a part of...
Comment by Suz Lipman on February 17, 2011 at 12:38pm

Hi everyone -- Just came across this and thought I'd share it with you:


Free Nature Photography Workshops for teachers through Univ. of Minnesota.


This sounds wonderful. Please feel free to pass it on to others, and let us know if you know of similar workshops. If you're especially interested in using photography in your teaching, we have a group on C&NN Connect called Enviro Photo Educators. Please come over!

Comment by Suz Lipman on February 16, 2011 at 9:05am

Greetings Natural Teachers!


As you know, C&NN launched its Natural Teacher Award last fall. A tremendous success, the award honored K-12 teachers in public schools who used the outdoors for learning and inspired others to do so.


The NTA winner, Larry Volpe, was awarded a Galapagos expedition with Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic. Finalists Dennis Dowling, Halo Shapiro Smart and Rona Zollinger received $500 awards. They were chosen from a field of 23 outstanding and inspiring nominees.


C&NN Senior Writer Sara St. Antoine has compiled profiles of each nominee, so you can read more about them. Enjoy! Congratulations and thank you to everyone involved.

Comment by Suz Lipman on February 7, 2011 at 3:35pm
Congratulations Natural Teacher Award Finalist Dennis Dowling, science teacher at Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, CA. One of three finalists, Dennis will be honored at a meeting of his school board Feb. 10. Read a profile of Dennis here:
Comment by COA's Family Nature Camp on January 26, 2011 at 7:28am

Dear Natural Teachers, thought some of you may be interested in this...

---From our summer office at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine:

We are offering dynamic roster of courses this summer, perfect for K-12 teachers and other adults who want to delve into a new subject, expand your teaching toolkit, and earn graduate level credit. All courses are based at College of the Atlantic’s Bar Harbor campus – where the Atlantic Ocean and the islands, lakes, mountains and forests of Acadia National Park are our outdoor learning laboratories.

Visit our website for the full course list, descriptions, faculty bios, and to register online:

Some courses include...

- Edible Botany

- Letters from the Summer Place

- Fisheries Management and Climate Change

- Writing Islands: Poems of Place and Possibility

- Anatomy and Physiology: Inquiry-based Approaches to Teaching

- Our National Parks: Research and Science behind the Scenery

- Spanish through Immersion: In the Student’s Shoes

- Introduction to Whales, Porpoises and Seals

We hope you will join us for what promises to be a great summer!---


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