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: on Friday

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 on Friday.

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 John Thielbahr on May 25, 2012 at 11:51am

Fascinating suggestion from Janine Carpenter about "Crowd Funding."  Hope the brain trusts on the C&NN Board and Staff will ponder this.  I see some infrastructure and other hurdles to overcome, not the least of which are legal and regulatory, but if the bar is set very low for certain kinds of activities and projects, it is worth considering.  Cash funding is only one aspect.  I would love to see a "Network Marketplace" that could source non-cash donations to new schools, day care providers, and other projects such as nature books and outdoor materials for nature explorations, or even local volunteers to help with local fund raisers.  All of this would build community, which is the essence of our movement.  Thanks to Janine for this idea.  jt

Comment by Barbara Mascareno on May 25, 2012 at 11:14am

Thanks John for the great comment. Bilingualism in any subject can be a great motivator for educators to encourage any type of literacy or other topics. I would love to know more about the teacher's tool you have in Spanish or in bilingual form. Thanks for considering me for this project. 

Comment by Suz Lipman on May 25, 2012 at 10:49am

In case you missed it, here's C&NN's latest Natural Teachers Network News, featuring contributions from NTN members Herb Broda and Tamra Willis, as well as the latest movement news. Let us know what you think!

Comment by Juliet Robertson on May 24, 2012 at 2:50pm

Hi Janine

We have Please Fund Us here in the UK. I'm part of the Geography Collectiveand we recently crowd sourced the publication of a book about Food. It worked well in that you could fund from £1 to £1000+ so no-one was too rich nor poor to donate!

The book will be published soon! Yay! And some of the soil missions are mine! And one illustration will be of me, my husband and son which is a surprise for them!

Comment by Janine Carpenter on May 24, 2012 at 2:40pm
*Crowd Funding*......Not sure if many of you know what this is as I just found out about it myself this morning. I went to a seminar on Angel Investing as I need to raise the funds to support the growth of our school this summer to our new location. It turns out angel investing is for those needing to raise $200,000-$2,000,000 (we need less than $100,000). But there is something called crowd funding where you post your project online and people can go there and donate. One such site, but I looked it over and it lists specific categories of projects they post and education, nature, schools--nothing along those lines was an option. Same with the other ones I visited. So it got me thinking...why don't we put a "group" together on this website similar to that? It would be a place where people could post their nature-related project and those looking to donate could go in and find a project they wanted to help succeed. Just a brainstorm idea I just thought of....what does everyone think? Or does something like this already exist?
Comment by John Thielbahr on May 21, 2012 at 2:49pm

I am so pleased that Barbara Mascareno from Henderson, NV has signed up to participate in the Natural Teachers Network Group site.  Barbara is a bi-lingual nature educator, according to the profile she posted on this site.  C&NN is very interested in reaching every Spanish-speaking child about the importance of being in the natural world for health, well-being and enhanced learning.  Many of our tool kits have been translated into Spanish, and we are working on finding funding to produce a Natural Teacher's Tool Kit in English and Spanish.  Perhaps Barbara would like to help us with that project, and encourage other bi-lingual members of The Natural Teachers Network with understanding cultural nuances that we need to be aware of.  Also, I am sure Juan Martinez would be very excited to have Natural Leader referrals from Barbara and others.  My thanks to Barbara and all bi-lingual educators for your great work in connecting kids to nature.  jt

Comment by Suz Lipman on May 16, 2012 at 7:34am

TEST QUESTION: Will the next wave of school reform be better than the last one? Or worse? Read the latest blog from Richard Louv:

Comment by Suz Lipman on May 1, 2012 at 8:50am

Hello Natural Teachers and friends,

I know you will enjoy this very inspiring article about Leo Politi Elementary School in downtown L.A. which displayed markedly improved standardized test scores (by as much as 6 times in science) after a habitat garden went in:

Comment by Suz Lipman on April 27, 2012 at 11:31am

CONGRATULATIONS Chip Donahue, Natural Teacher and Nature Club for Families leader.*

Chip was just awarded Teacher of The Year for Roanoke County (VA) Schools. Way to go, Chip!

Here are two stories about Chip and the award:

*In addition to this accomplishment, Chip and Ashley Donahue run Kids in the Valley Adventuring, KIVA. Learn more about them through the Natural Families Network and Chip's blogs on this forum.

Comment by Suz Lipman on April 18, 2012 at 7:41am

Hi All. This should be of interest to those in the Natural Teachers Network:

NEW blog from Richard Louv: Thoughts Following the First-Ever White House Summit on Environmental Education.


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