I am a naturalist at Warner Nature Center in Marine on St. Croix. One of my favorite programs is our Nature Play summer camps for young children. We have no agenda for these camps - they are focused on free play in nature and are primarily child-directed. It is a blast!
I also lead a family nature club though the Minneapolis Parks. We meet monthly at different parks in the city to explore the more natural areas of the park. I bring my young son and husband along with me and we have a great time - usually getting really dirty and wet!
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Just wanted to thank you for joining the Natural Teachers Network and for your posts in response to the new Natural Families groups starting up. I am hoping that Chip and Ashley Donahue will weigh in at some point. They have been at this longer than anyone and might have some good suggestions. My response to getting more families interested is that, like anything else, we compete for kids'and parents' time and must make playing outdoors compelling. This means frequent reminders of the outings and a theme or special activity that will get attention. Once you get going, it also means getting the parents and kids who joined you to get their neighbors and friends to participate. Word of mouth is powerful.
I see from your bio that you are an informal educator at Warner Nature Center. We are finding that afterschool programs, especially summer programs, are essential to continue the learning that occurs during the school day. More and more afterschool professionals are discovering the benefit of weaving nature-based activities into what they are already doing. Please share your experiences and suggestions often on the Natural Teachers Network group site, and thank you for your terrific work with kids. John
At 12:09pm on September 27, 2010, Suz Lipman said…
Hi Bekah! I'm so glad you've joined the forum and made yourself at home in a couple of groups. I'm sure as a parent, naturalist and family nature club leader, you'll find lots to talk about with the members here. I so look forward to reading more about your adventures. Feel free to post blog and pictures. I hope to see you here again soon.