C&NN Connect

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C&NN Natural Families Network


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


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


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

Comment by Janice Swaisgood on October 20, 2011 at 1:11pm

We use Meetup.com too Ken, as well as a Facebook page.  I used "BigTent.com" for about the first year, but much prefer Meetup. And you're right -- lots of people find you in your area on Meetup as it allows you to put in key words for people's searches.

Let us know how it goes Christine!

Comment by Ken Schmaltz on October 19, 2011 at 9:10pm
I organize kid's hikes through the Calgary Outdoor Recreation Association. We use meetup.com as our website, as well as for email, calendar and registration. I post the hike description, then meetup sends an email to all our members. You can see an example at http://www.meetup.com/Calgary-Outdoor-Recreation-Association-CORA/e... . Meetup is cheap and you'll be amazed at how many families in your area find you.
Comment by Janice Swaisgood on October 19, 2011 at 8:39pm

Hi Christine!
Well, congratulations on starting up your own group! My husband and I did too - two years ago this November!

Where are you based out of? I'm in San Diego, CA. Sometimes it's easier to chat on the phone that do this sort of thing by email/messaging. I'd read the article by Michele Whiteaker (below) and see if that provides any inspiration for you. Two other resources I'd recommend taking a look at are the "Nature Clubs for Families" Tool Kit (available to download for free at http://www.childrenandnature.org/movement/naturalfamiliestools/) and "Nature Rocks Flocks" (also a free download at http://www.naturerocks.org/flocks.aspx).

Let me know if you'd ever like to talk too. I'd be happy to share what we've learned and learn what you're learning too!

Best of luck!

Comment by Christine Barbir on October 19, 2011 at 1:36pm

Hi everyone,

I have just joined this group and am extremely excited to launch my local family nature hiking group. If anyone has any advice or information on a good email format to use as the introductory email to invite families on the hikes, can you please advise. I appreciate any information! I look forward to working with you all in reconnecting kids and adults to nature!!!


Comment by Chip Donahue on June 8, 2011 at 7:47am
Yes, this is a great jumpstart article for families.  Thanks so much for taking the time to write it up.  A great resource!
Comment by Lindsey Wilson on June 7, 2011 at 9:46pm
Great Article Michele!  I loved it. Really. Thanks for sharing.
Comment by Michele Whiteaker on June 7, 2011 at 9:20am

I wrote a PRINT article for OC Family magazine in Southern California about "The importance of play" and included quotes from Richard Louv's book - along with a call to families to start a Family Nature Club.  We've loved our experience and want others to get out and have some fun.  I also included references to NatureRocks.org and ChildrenandNature.org.


The article is a pretty basic intro. It's on pages 34-35: http://digital.ocfamily.com/publication/?i=71226


Hope you're all having fun and playing often!

Comment by Amy Jenkins on May 21, 2011 at 11:26am
Open-Air Parenting book wins literary award.  --Just found out that the parents from the Parent Approved/ Parent Tested endorsement organization have sanctioned Every Natural Fact: Five Seasons of Open-Air Parenting: It's an award winner! Very nice coming on the heals of a writing award.  Taking kids outside can be as easy as a mom and son on a nature walk.   (also of note: Saw Louve in Milwaukee last week. Awesome.  Loving his new book.)
Comment by amy pertschuk on May 1, 2011 at 7:43am
Comment by Ariella Randle Rogge on February 17, 2011 at 1:02pm

I just wanted to invite ALL families in the Natural Families Network to join C&NN, the American Camp Association, and Sanborn Western Camps for a #GNO (Girls/Guys Night Out) Twitter party on February 22nd from 9-11 EST.


It is a fun, interactive party where we will all exchange ideas about getting kids and families outdoors, discuss the benefits of summer camp, and much, much more.  Hope you will be able to join us! 


Check out: http://ow.ly/3Yw7A for more information and for a chance to win a tuition to the Sanborn Junior program at Sanborn Western Camps in Florissant, CO.


Members (193)


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