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: 424
Latest Activity: Apr 3

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

Survey for educators in informal learning environments

Are you a natural teacher in an informal learning environment (nature center, botanical garden, zoo, aquarium, museum, library, etc.)? I am currently a PhD student at the University of Washington. As…Continue

Started by Emily Holm Tobin Apr 3.

Professional Development Courses In The Field

Ecology Project International is offering 7-9 day field-based professional development courses for educators focused on providing tools and methodologies to bring Next Generation Science Standards…Continue

Started by Caitlin Gill Jan 14.

Health and Wellness Programs in Nature

I'm hoping to tap into the group's expertise...We are a new wetland park, and we are just starting to create our programs. We want to focus some of our programs on health and wellness activities, and…Continue

Started by Tricia LeBlanc Jul 26, 2019.

CAMPference Teacher Nature Conference & Retreat

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

Started by Tania Moloney Jun 19, 2019.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Paul Roberts on March 24, 2013 at 1:33pm


Depends on how your program is organized.  Are you relying on partners for funding, staffing or both?

Besides a business plan you need to get your articles of incorporation filed with the State and then file for your non-profit 501(c)3 status with the IRS.  Finnacial partners may not take you seriously until you are an approved non-profit.

Present your idea to local service groups like Kiwanis and Rotary at their regular meetings (They are always looking for speakers).  They are often a source of volunteers and may have ideas on whom to turn to.  They may often help with a small amount of funding as well.  Have a speciofic request in mind when approaching them. Also since its a nature program appraoch an local conservation groups and also the local school district and charter schools in the area.  With their written support supporters will likely come out of the woodwork.

I am doing a similar thing myself having formed a non-profit, The Chilplay Institute for a new Nature Preschool and Training Center out here on the West Coast.  Right now I am stuck trying to get the lease finalized.  The site is a beautiful 23 acre nature preserve of which I am trying to rent one acre.  Since it is a Recreation District though their are lots of steps to the process and it is taking a  long time.

Test the idea out on folks who have good judgment.  Have them try and put holes in the plan to strengthen the ide and the exceution.

Hang in there.  If its a good idea it will bear fruit, just may take 3x as long as you hoped.

Comment by Deanna Fahey on March 24, 2013 at 12:20pm


I am in the beginning stages of creating a non-profit nature program for inner city kids in Maine. I have a business plan drafted up already but am having difficultly finding partners.   I am new to non-profits and would love any suggestions as to how to move forward.  


Comment by Suz Lipman on March 24, 2013 at 8:53am

NATURAL TEACHERS: 10 Ways You Can Add Vitamin “N” to your Classroom & Beyond. This is a wonderful, resource-filled blog from Richard Louv:

Comment by Suz Lipman on March 15, 2013 at 9:10am

Great opportunity: San Francisco Corps for Education Outside announced its 2013-14 applications. SF's is the first service corps program in the U.S. dedicated to transforming urban public schools into centers of 21st century experiential learning, sustainability and innovation.

Comment by Suz Lipman on March 14, 2013 at 7:59am

Thought you'd be interested in this story:

Classroom in the Pines. Maine teacher does his part to ensure that no child is left inside when it comes to learning.

Comment by Suz Lipman on January 15, 2013 at 1:19pm

National Parks Trust just announced its Kids to Parks Day School Contest. Classroom Scholarships are available to $1,000. 

The entry deadline is Friday, Mar. 1. Kids to Parks Day, an annual celebration, is May 18.

More info here:

Comment by Juliet Robertson on January 8, 2013 at 1:27am

Thanks Suz - this resource has been well-written and it's nice to see such a collaborative piece of work. I look forward to the day when such activities are considered the norm and not a novelty for every child. 

Comment by Suz Lipman on January 7, 2013 at 4:26pm

Happy New Year, Natural Teachers!

We thought we'd share a terrific new resource from Canada's Back 2 Nature Network, a Guide to Teaching in Nearby Nature that includes logistics, resources, forms, and learning experiences for teaching in nearby nature:

Comment by Suz Lipman on November 7, 2012 at 3:37pm

Kids learn better with Vitamin N! Check out our new FREE Natural Teachers Network eguide:

Comment by Suz Lipman on November 5, 2012 at 1:13pm

10 reasons why students should get outdoors and 10 great programs. Download C&NN's FREE eGuide:  


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