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Our 1-day Summit on Connecting to Nature in an Urban World, April 19, features a morning plenary and roundtable sessions followed by interactive workshops and walkshops in the afternoon. Building on the Summit is our Conference, April 20-21, featuring keynotes speakers, hands-on workshops and networking opportunities.

Please note: Schedules are now locked from being changed. If you would like to make changes to your schedule, please come see us at the registration desk. See you in Vancouver!

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Action Labs Walkshops and Workshops [clear filter]
Friday, April 21

9:45am PDT

Exploring Change through Social Enterprise
Limited Capacity seats available

How do you create change in a country that is 1.33 billion strong, with over 2000 ethnic groups when you can't bank on the government for support? Can a 21-year-old drive change? Join us in exploring how social enterprise can spread change through existing systems virally, yet effectively. Let's talk about how we can make business beautiful. Let's talk about how community and culture can support you in this. We will use simple theatre and role-play to explore cultural barriers and catalysts for nature connection in a facilitated open forum. Speaker Janani Eswar will share highlights from ways in which the organization she leads, Growing in Nature, has explored these strategies in India followed by a world cafe-style dialogue and idea-building session.

Max Capacity: 20 

avatar for Janani Eswar

Janani Eswar

Co-Founder, Growing In Nature (GRIN)
Janani Eswar is the co-founder of GRIN (Growing in Nature) a social enterprise that in incubated by ArtyPlantz in Bangalore, India. She finds innovative ways of blending theatre, public speaking, art, photography, naturalist studies, playfulness, ecopsychology and entrepreneurship... Read More →

Friday April 21, 2017 9:45am - 11:45am PDT
Chehalis (2nd Floor)

9:45am PDT

Family Nature Clubs: Theory into Practice
Limited Capacity filling up

Family Nature Clubs are sprouting up throughout the nation, and the world, offering a way for families to get time in nature back on the calendar. Join the Children & Nature Network and leaders who have started successful Family Nature Clubs to gain a deeper understanding of Family Nature Club models and dig into specific strategies for forming and sustaining a family nature club. During the action lab, you will also take action-oriented steps in planning and leading a Family Nature Club and have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in lively discussions regarding Family Nature Clubs.

Max Capacity: 60 

avatar for Heather Kuhlken

Heather Kuhlken

Executive Director, Families in Nature
Families in Nature is a non-profit organization that connects families to nature and to each other through time spent learning, playing and volunteering outdoors. Our vision is to inspire all families to fall in love with nature and foster the next generation of conservationists... Read More →
avatar for Monica Lopez Magee

Monica Lopez Magee

Director, Cities and Nature, Children & Nature Network
Monica is dedicated to developing programs, policies, and partnerships that advance equity, academic achievement, and children’s health while fostering a love and stewardship of the natural world. She currently serves as the Director of Cities and Nature for the Children & Nature... Read More →
avatar for Nette Pletcher

Nette Pletcher

Education Consultant, Beez Kneez Creative
Nette Pletcher is Founder of Beez Kneez Creative, offering independent contracting for conservation education leadership with an emphasis on education strategic planning and evaluation, project management, workshop facilitation, and curriculum design and development. She has served... Read More →
avatar for Nicole Straughan

Nicole Straughan

Children & Youth Program Manager, Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre

Friday April 21, 2017 9:45am - 11:45am PDT
Cypress 2 (2nd Floor)

9:45am PDT

Grappling with Bias for More Inclusive Youth Programs
Limited Capacity full
Adding this to your schedule will put you on the waitlist.

In this workshop, participants will be able to define and distinguish between diversity, equity, inclusion, and cultural competence. Participants will then learn how unconscious bias may impede our efforts to be inclusive of youth from different backgrounds. We examine ways that bias manifests in three lenses: (1) our individual thoughts and actions; (2) within our organizations; and (3) in the outdoor and youth development sectors as a whole. Using activities and scenarios, we introduce and practice using tools for mitigating and interrupting bias in ourselves and challenging bias in others and within our organizations' poicies, programs, and procedures. Participants will leave with new language and concepts, as well as concrete examples of how bias could negatively impact the work they do and some ways to navigate bias.

Max Capacity: 20


Ava Holliday

Founding Partner, The Avarna Group
Ava believes in this work because she believes a more sustainable future is dependent on simultaneously working towards social and environmental justice. As a result, she has devoted the last six years to researching and working in this field. Currently a Ph. D. candidate at the University... Read More →
avatar for Aparna Rajagopal-Durbn

Aparna Rajagopal-Durbn

Founding Partner, The Avarna Group
We build capacity within organizations in the outdoor, conservation, environmental education, youth development, and camp space to engage in meaningful diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. Talk to me about DEI training, presentations, webinars, resources, climate/culture... Read More →

Friday April 21, 2017 9:45am - 11:45am PDT
Coquitlam Room (2nd Floor)

9:45am PDT

Maintaining Momentum for the Movement
Limited Capacity seats available

Texas has seen unprecedented population growth over the past few years. However, the state remains stuck at just 4% public lands for children and families to connect with. Now more than ever, it is necessary to forge partnerships and collaborations to come up with creative, local-based solutions to meet the needs of the the state. Texas Children in Nature has been achieving its goals since 2010 to reach the diverse population of the state through our eight regional collaboratives that service 97 counties, reaching over 3.1 million youth and 7.8 million adults in 2015.

We want to share our successes and challenges to help other state and local movements grow. In this workshop, we would like to share our recent survey results, our newly redrafted strategic plan and regional success stories within our own state movement.

avatar for Jennifer Bristol

Jennifer Bristol

Coordinator, Texas Children In Nature
Jennifer Bristol is the coordinator for the Texas Children in Nature Network, which brings the conservation, health, and education communities together to connect children and families to nature.  She is the former Program Director for Camp Fire Central Texas where she developed... Read More →
avatar for Nancy Herron

Nancy Herron

Board Member, C&NN and TCiN Board
Nancy Herron is a co-founder of TCiN and a board member of both Texas Children in Nature and the Children and Nature Network. She is co-chairing C&NN's health action strategy with Dr. Stephen Pont. Nancy retired after 23 years at Texas Parks and Wildlife and serving as their Outreach... Read More →

Friday April 21, 2017 9:45am - 11:45am PDT
Oak 2 (2nd Floor)

9:45am PDT

Master Class: Outreach and Engagement Strategies for Connecting Children and Youth with Nature
Limited Capacity filling up

Join Parks Canada and partners for an exciting hands-on “master class” during which you will learn about and experience leading-edge outreach and engagement programming for reaching children, youth, urbanites, and other new audiences— inspiring them to experience and connect with Canada’s treasured natural places.

To remain relevant, Parks Canada must actively build and maintain a strong base of support for its places and its mandate of protecting and presenting Canada’s natural and cultural heritage. Recognizing that this support is grounded on strong personal connections, the Agency and its partners have developed a variety of outreach and engagement programs targeted at specific audiences. Whether it is reaching young children through Parka the mascot, delivering “learn to” programming for urban families, or establishing Campus Clubs for young adults, innovative programs are making a difference.

This workshop will demonstrate several successful outreach and engagement programs, allowing participants to experience them for themselves. Discussion will focus on factors for success and key elements to consider in developing and implementing similar programming elsewhere.

Max Capacity: 40

avatar for Élisabeth Lacoursière

Élisabeth Lacoursière

Director, Outreach & Marketing, Parks Canada
Having joined Parks Canada in 2010, Élisabeth Lacoursière now manages national office leadership and support for marketing, promotion, outreach, and events as Director, Outreach and Marketing Branch. Prior to her arrival at Parks Canada, Élisabeth worked at the National Capital... Read More →

Friday April 21, 2017 9:45am - 11:45am PDT
Stanley Salon 1 (2nd Floor)

9:45am PDT

Natural Leaders in Action: Today's Leaders Working to Create a Better Tomorrow
Limited Capacity seats available

Natural Leaders are a network of young leaders working to increase equitable access to nature in their communities. They do this work both officially and as volunteers in various organizations all over the country, from nonprofit to government agencies. This panel of Natural Leaders will highlight the work several Natural Leaders are doing in their communities. It will also shed light on the benefits and ways they are encouraged/supported as a result of being a part of the Network.

Max Capacity: 50

avatar for Lauren Garrott

Lauren Garrott

Consultant, Shockey Consulting
Lauren Garrott is a Consultant at Shockey Consulting Services. Prior to Shockey Consulting she worked in park planning, urban planning, and served as a DOI/VISTA at Heartland Conservation Alliance. While serving as a DOI/VISTA, she was selected to be a part of the Natural Leaders... Read More →
avatar for Karolina Kukulka

Karolina Kukulka

Founder/ Educator, Nature Discovery Club
I offer an environmental education program to local early childhood education centers. Nature Discovery is a program designed to enrich children's experiences with nature both inside and outside of the typical classroom! The curriculum is one I created myself and the lessons are in... Read More →
avatar for Toyya Mahoney

Toyya Mahoney

Environmental Protection Specialist, Bureau of Reclamation
Toyya is an energetic and passionate professional working to connect the next generation to public lands. As a member of the Natural Leaders Network (class of 2015), she supports environmental and recreation education in the communities of Southern Nevada. She is employed with the... Read More →

Friday April 21, 2017 9:45am - 11:45am PDT
Mackenzie (Ground Floor)

9:45am PDT

Strategies for Activating the Research: Brainstorming Creative Mechanisms for Disseminating Research in Ways that Spark Action
Limited Capacity seats available

Evidence-based information is likely critical to your work to enhance the quality and rigor of your practice, advocacy, communications and decision-making about connecting children to nature. Evidence, generated through research and evaluation, is typically disseminated through scientific publications and other mechanisms not easily accessible, or useful, to C&NN’s constituents. In this Action Lab, C&NN’s directors of research and communications will engage you in lively brainstorming to generate ideas for creative and effective ways that C&NN can 1) collect information from you about ongoing needs for evidence-based information, and 2) translate and disseminate research in ways that help you activate that evidence through your work. 

Max Capacity: 40 

avatar for Cathy Jordan

Cathy Jordan

Consulting Research Director, Children and Nature Network
Cathy Jordan, PhD is the consulting Research Director for the Children & Nature Network. She is Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Extension at the University of Minnesota. As C&NN's Research Director, Cathy leads the Research Library, which curates and makes accessible the scientific... Read More →
avatar for Laura Mylan

Laura Mylan

VP Marketing and Communications, Children & Nature Network

Friday April 21, 2017 9:45am - 11:45am PDT
Oak 1 (2nd Floor)

9:45am PDT

The Perfect Nature Program
Limited Capacity full
Adding this to your schedule will put you on the waitlist.

What is the perfect program? Well, “it depends.” As creative people, many of us have no shortage of ideas for nature programming, but aiming to turn all of our ideas into programs is the surest path to one thing—burn out. Amongst all the possibilities, which programs do we choose to implement? The perfect program is one that best achieves YOUR goals with the resources available to you. This workshop introduces Stanley Park Ecology Society's program scoring tool that you can customize to draw out the diamond in the rough.

avatar for Celina Starnes

Celina Starnes

Public Education and Outreach Manager, Stanley Park Ecology Society
With infectious enthusiasm, Celina inspires the people around her to connect to the natural world. She attended the McGill School of Environment where she learned about our amazing and vital interconnections we have with the natural world. Celina has worked as an environmental educator... Read More →

Friday April 21, 2017 9:45am - 11:45am PDT
Seymour (Ground Floor)

9:45am PDT

The Role of Play in Creating Meaningful Connections to Nature
Limited Capacity filling up

Playing in nature has essential benefits to children's health and well-being. Join voices from the play and nature movements in a discussion on strategies for scaling the connection between play and nature to create high quality outdoor experiences for children. This session will seek to forge new ground in turning nature play into a widespread concept for all communities. Session will include a short panel presentation and roundtable discussions.

avatar for Margaret Lamar

Margaret Lamar

Children & Nature Network

avatar for Christine Alden

Christine Alden

Program Director, Lawson Foundation
Outdoor play - with its risks - is essential for healthy child development. The Lawson Foundation's Outdoor Play Strategy includes nature play and risky play as key elements. Environmental organizations and outdoor learning programs are among our diverse stakeholders. Talk to me about... Read More →
avatar for Allen Cooper

Allen Cooper

Director of Organizational Learning, National Wildlife Federation
Allen Cooper is Director of Learning at the National Wildlife Federation where he provides leadership and management training and coaching for conservation professionals. He is coauthor with Robin Moore of Nature Play and Learning Places: creating places where children engage with... Read More →
avatar for Rusty Keeler

Rusty Keeler

Over the past 20 years, Rusty Keeler has worked with hundreds of community, school, parks, university, and childcare leaders to dream, design, and construct beautiful outdoor environments for children in more than 30 states and throughout Canada, Europe, China, Australia, and New... Read More →
avatar for Fran Mainella

Fran Mainella

president, fran mainella consutling
Fran Mainella is a Visiting Scholar at Clemson University Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. She is also President of Fran Mainella Consulting,LLC.  Director Mainella served nearly six years as the 16th Director and the first woman to lead the U. S. National... Read More →
avatar for Lisa Moore

Lisa Moore

Sr. Vice President, PlayCore
Lisa Moore is the Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategic Services for PlayCore, a leading play and recreation company. In this role she is responsible for the company’s strategic services which includes market analysis and strategic planning, corporate communications & marketing... Read More →

MaryLynn Pulscher

Environmental Education Supervisor, Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
avatar for Anne-Marie Spencer

Anne-Marie Spencer

Corporate VP of Marketing, PlayCore

Friday April 21, 2017 9:45am - 11:45am PDT
Stanley Salon 2 (2nd Floor)