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C&NN Natural Families Network

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C&NN Natural Families Network

Welcome to the virtual gathering place of the Natural Families Network.  A “Natural Family” is any family who values and uses the natural world as a place for playing, growing, and learning. Natural Families believe that children who spend time in nature are happier, healthier and smarter, and aspire to share their experiences with other families. 

Website: http://www.childrenandnature.org/movement/naturalfamilies/
Location: Worldwide!
Members: 193
Latest Activity: on Wednesday

EVERY FAMILY CAN BE A NATURAL FAMILY!

The Natural Family Network is a forum designed to connect families virtually, giving space to share ideas and ask for suggestions, where families can be engaged, supportive and encouraged. Here, we discuss and ask questions about using the natural world as a playground for our kids, whereby connecting with nature on a regular basis, they will harvest the seeds of lifelong stewardship in and for the natural world.

It is our hope that this forum will help grow the movement and inspire more families to enjoy the wonders of nature, either with a family nature club, with friends, or on their own! This is a great place to get more information on how to start a family nature club if you’re interested, too. Peruse the topics here and jump in with your own questions and contributions often.


Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about the C&NN Connect site.

The goal of the Natural Families Network and this website is to encourage more families to connect their children with nature and to provide a forum where Natural Families can share their ideas, experiences and views.

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

You'll find tools and resources on the Natural Families Network home pages and throughout the larger Children & Nature Network website.

If you're looking for tools and resources you'll find them on the Natural Families Network home pages and throughout the larger Children & Nature Network website.

Discussion Forum

Geocaching -- Awesome Outdoor Adventure

Today I went geocaching with a group of my co-workers and had a blast. It's super simple, and the one we did was geared for any kids over the age of 7.  Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure…Continue

Tags: gps, hunt, scavenger, adventure, geocaching

Started by Dani Tinker Sep 20, 2013.

The End of Summer

I can't believe summer is over. I know, everyone is saying that right now. This summer I worked three jobs: sailing instructor for a women's sailing program, parks & rec summer camp director, and…Continue

Started by Ann Courcy Sep 11, 2013.

Explore the Great Outdoors with Hike & Seek

Event: Hike & SeekDates: Fall 2013 (varies by location)Locations: Chicago,…Continue

Started by Dani Tinker Sep 10, 2013.

Free Parent/Activity Resources

Kids are already curious and fascinated by the natural world. Growing up I was under the impression that I was the best bug catcher in the world. I spent hours out in the backyard collecting potato…Continue

Tags: environmental, education, resources

Started by Dani Tinker Aug 13, 2013.

Family Nature Club Leader Receives Award! 2 Replies

One of our very own family nature clubs, Austin Families in Nature, received the John Covert Watson Award for Vision in connecting…Continue

Started by Janice Swaisgood. Last reply by Janice Swaisgood Aug 12, 2013.

NFN Webinar: May 30th at 9:00 am PT 1 Reply

Now accepting RSVPs for next week's Natural Families Network Webinar!Topic: Family Nature Clubs and Organizational Partnerships: When, Why and How?Thursday, May 30th at 9:00 am PT/12 noon ETThe focus…Continue

Started by Janice Swaisgood. Last reply by Nkrumah Frazier Aug 6, 2013.

Cool new product for camping (and hiking)!

Fellow campers and hikers! You should check out this cool new product that will be an awesome addition to our box of tricks! The Aquabot turns your Nalgene bottle into a little powerhouse of water…Continue

Started by Janice Swaisgood Aug 5, 2013.

NFN Webinar recording now available!

C&NN's Spring Webinar for the Natural Families Network and Nature Clubs for Families leaders was fun and informative, with great questions and comments from participants! Fiscal Sponsorship and…Continue

Started by Janice Swaisgood Aug 5, 2013.

2nd Annual Reaching Nature Connection Conference 1 Reply

Greetings Folks,The…Continue

Started by Lia Grippo. Last reply by Janice Swaisgood Jul 15, 2013.

Do you have a great book to share? 17 Replies

We all have our "favorites"... favorite places, favorite sayings, favorite food, favorite "stuff", right? It would be great for all of us Natural Families to share our favorite books that are…Continue

Started by Janice Swaisgood. Last reply by Jan Ellen Ferrigan May 3, 2013.

Comment Wall

Comment

You need to be a member of C&NN Natural Families Network to add comments!

Comment by Juliet Robertson on December 9, 2013 at 8:06am

Great news! The film, Project Wild Thing, is now available online - it's may be something you would enjoy as it's about rebranding nature to encourage parents and children to spend more time outside http://vimeo.com/ondemand/projectwildthing

Comment by Nkrumah Frazier on November 12, 2013 at 12:43pm

I just wanted to post a link to my most recent blog.... I hope you enjoy it.

You don't have to "Go" anywhere to enjoy nature!

http://fanclubdad.blogspot.com/2013/11/you-dont-have-to-go-anywhere...

Comment by Suz Lipman on September 17, 2013 at 8:14am

Please join our Natural Families Network Coordinator, Janice Swaisgood, and many others for a FREE webcast:

Educating Tomorrow's Environmental Stewards

Thurs., 9/19, 1pm ET

sponsored by Alliance for Community Trees

Comment by Kari on June 25, 2013 at 9:22am

Hi all,

Forest Kids:
Why the Modern Classroom is Moving Outside

By Andrea Gordon
Forest schools have long flourished in Scandinavia, Germany and Britain. They are places where children learn through free play, movement and hands-on experience in nature. Now, Canada is exploring the benefits of outdoor learning. Sangster Elementary in Colwood, B.C., launched its joyous Nature Kindergarten last fall, and now outdoor preschools, kindergartens and primary programs are popping up throughout that province, as well as in Ontario and New Brunswick. Why? Because there’s mounting evidence that nature enhances children’s health, learning and confidence while cutting down on behavioural issues. In Forest Kids: Why the Modern Classroom is Moving Outside, Star journalist Andrea Gordon conveys outdoor learners’ engagement and sense of wonder, and probes the fascinating science of nature’s effects on the brain and body of people young and old. But she also explores whether it's just a passing novelty or has real staying power.

Read more about it here :
Forest Kids:
Why the Modern Classroom is Moving Outside

By Andrea Gordon
Forest schools have long flourished in Scandinavia, Germany and Britain. They are places where children learn through free play, movement and hands-on experience in nature. Now, Canada is exploring the benefits of outdoor learning. Sangster Elementary in Colwood, B.C., launched its joyous Nature Kindergarten last fall, and now outdoor preschools, kindergartens and primary programs are popping up throughout that province, as well as in Ontario and New Brunswick. Why? Because there’s mounting evidence that nature enhances children’s health, learning and confidence while cutting down on behavioural issues. In Forest Kids: Why the Modern Classroom is Moving Outside, Star journalist Andrea Gordon conveys outdoor learners’ engagement and sense of wonder, and probes the fascinating science of nature’s effects on the brain and body of people young and old. But she also explores whether it's just a passing novelty or has real staying power.

Read more about it here : http://www.stardispatches.com/single.php?id=37


Comment by Suz Lipman on February 12, 2013 at 11:26am

Congratulations Chip and Ashley Donahue and "Kids in the Valley, Adventuring" family nature club on 5 years of getting kids and families outside! Read their story here:

http://www.childrenandnature.org/news/detail/kids_in_the_valley_cel...

Comment by Katie Kunze on December 14, 2012 at 8:59pm
I live in Michigan and still live with my parents. My dad is disabled with young onset Parkinson's disease and uses a wheelchair to get around. Does any one know of any accessible activities or parks in Michigan, specifically southeast Michigan? Thanks!
Comment by Suz Lipman on December 10, 2012 at 2:06pm

LAST DAY!

Are you in a family nature club? Please consider taking C&NN's brief survey. Take the survey by TODAY 12/10 to be entered to win a $100 REI gift card and other prizes.

Leaders survey is here:

Participants survey is here:

 

Thank you for taking a moment to help Family Nature Clubs and the children and nature movement. We appreciate it!

Comment by Suz Lipman on December 7, 2012 at 12:54pm

Hello Natural Families Network members!

Are you in a family nature club? Please consider taking C&NN's brief survey and helping us out. Take the survey by Dec. 10 to be entered to win a $100 REI gift card and other prizes.

Leaders survey is here:

Participants survey is here:

 

Thank you for taking a moment to help Family Nature Clubs and the children and nature movement.

Comment by Heather Kuhlken on November 27, 2012 at 12:29pm

Hi Meghan, I am one of the leaders presenting tonight and on Thursday. I just wanted to let you know that one of the things I am planning to talk about is roughly what you are suggesting that your group may move to.  I have a group of 20 families that are mostly friends and friends of friends (and a couple of families that found us on Facebook). I have everyone sign up in August for the year and collect a fee for the year per family ($200 per year per family averages out to $1 per person per outing including campouts, plus a backpack for each kid). The fee covers our expenses for the year (campsites, preserve entrance fees, etc.. - I am a volunteer). It is not high, but it is just enough that I think it helps encourage participation. If a family pays for an activity (or extracurricular), I think they are more likely to have higher attendance. That higher attendance, in addition to having a consistent group of families in and out of activities all year, has really built a strong sense of community. This is our 5th year of having our FNC structured this way and many of the families have been in the group for all 5 years, despite having middle schoolers now. I agree with Gayle that community building in the group encourages attendance and it also encourages help from other parents in the group. (I am thrilled that last month a parent in my group offered to manage meal planning on campouts now - something that was taking too much of my time, and another parent manages our group finances.) The more invested the parents are in the group, the more they will help you. The downside of how I run our group is that my reach is limited and I am not making access to nature free. Hopefully our blog will help with the reach by telling others in the area of cool outdoor activities to take their families to. As a leader and a parent of 3, I have enjoyed how our group is structured because that sense of community benefits my family as well as the other families in the group. It makes leading the group less frustrating because it is rare that no one shows up to an activity. I also try hard to get everyone to RSVP to each activity so that I know how many to expect. If only 5 people are coming, I usually move or cancel the activity.

Good luck to you and I hope you can join us on Thursday. 

-Heather

Comment by Gayle Bodge on November 27, 2012 at 10:03am

Hi Meghan,


I'm going to be in on tonight's webinar, so I don't think we'll have a chance to connect there, but I wanted to share my experiences with my nature group.

Growing up ME is just a year old and aside from monthly outings I've been focusing on building relationships with the parents (mostly moms) of the group through "Mom's Nights Out" and have really encouraged their participation in planning events and sharing resources through a group Facebook page. Input from participants is that this budding community, sense of belonging, and relationships/friendships really encourage participation because it gives families a chance to spend time with people they know (and like) and they feel more comfortable going to new places with familiar faces. And it takes some of the planning/organization work off my plate!

I hope our story may be helpful to you!

Gayle

 

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