OUTDOOR Teacher RetreaT:
WELCOMING WINTER SOLSTICE WITH NATURE PLAY


Sunday, December 4, 2022                         

Robinson Nature Center
6692 Cedar Lane, Columbia, MD



About this Nature-Based Training

Bundle up and join ERAFANS at Robinson Nature Center for this 6-clock hour Professional Development Institute (approved for 6 MSDE clock hours)! Get ready to play outdoors as we start the day discovering how to share nature in winter. We will explore ways to welcome the Winter Solstice as we gather ‘round a campfire. A naturalist will get you thinking about maple sugaring activities, which ramp up in late January and February in Maryland. We’ll also touch on essential winter gear for children and teachers. In the afternoon, we’ll focus on our feathered friends and round the day out with a nature-based art experience.

All workshops will be full of practical ideas and activities you can use right away!  Presenters share insights and activities based on their work in nature preschools, forest kindergartens, or other nature-based programs. 

ERAFANS will provide a professional development certificate at the conclusion of the event. Please dress for the weather, as 100% of this training takes place outdoors, rain or shine. Lunch is included, but remember your canteen for drinks throughout the day. As regulations for COVID-19 continue to shift, we will maintain health policies to keep everyone safe and healthy.  We will email further guidance on our COVID-19 protocol within one month of this scheduled training.

Note: Please bring your canteen for drinks; lunch is provided. Dress for winter weather because we will be outside, snow or shine, for a large portion of this training. While this workshop is open to educators working with children of all ages, the content will be geared towards those working with children ages 3-8 years old.

Who Should Attend?

This training is ideal for educators, caregivers, and others working with young children. Our participants work in all kinds of settings, from nature-based schools and forest kindergartens to public schools, traditional preschools, HeadStart programs, childcare centers, daycare, and more. 

Workshop Descriptions

This retreat is packed with topics you will love! You can look forward to engaging, immersive sessions on the topics you need to learn, play, and explore with children outside. Workshop descriptions and full schedule coming soon! 

Winter Solstice Activities to Warm Your Heart I 9-10:30 a.m.

Spending time outside in nature offers a host of social, mental, and academic outcomes for your students that they can benefit from year-round, even in winter. It's never too cold to get outside. Gear up and spend time with Monica French as she shares ideas, activities, tips, and tools to extend successful outdoor learning during the winter months.

Morning Sessions (choose from below) I 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Maple Sugaring for Early Childhood Educators, Stephanie Holzman, Irvine Nature Center

Even as icy temperatures persist, the trees prepare for spring. Join Naturalist Emily Ludy to learn how to recognize maple trees in winter. We’ll also examine useful tools to use and hear other great tips for tapping trees, collecting sap, and boiling it down to a sweet treat.

Birds in Winter, Heather Quinn and Lisa Poe 

In winter, the colder weather makes it harder for birds to find food. In this workshop, you will learn about the species that ”winter over” in Baltimore County, Maryland, surviving the snow and cold. Heather Quinn and Lisa Poe are sure to turn you into a “bird nerd” while sharing their passions for birds. You will walk away with a flock of ideas to facilitate bird lessons in your classroom, from fine motor to math, implementing all domains and content areas. (nut-free ideas due to prevalent allergies)

Afternoon Sessions (choose from below) I 12:30-2 p.m.

Creative Nature Arts Inspired by Winter

Explore creativity in the winter landscape and learn about how you can plan for art projects outdoors, even in chilly temperatures! From snow inspired process art to icy mandalas, Kelly Vogelpohl will leave you with easy and fun ideas to take back to your indoor or outdoor classroom.

Nature Play in Winter

There’s more to winter nature play than sledding and snowmen! Being outdoors in winter offers opportunities for dramatic and imaginative play, games, and so much more. Heather Quinn will guide you through different ways to engage in play this winter, and encourage you to play a bit yourself!

Warm Up for Winter I 2:15-3:45 p.m.

There is nothing more important than keeping your students warm during winter outdoor adventures. Join Monica Wiedel-Lubinski around the campfire to discuss your strategies for staying warm in the cold, student and teacher gear, and share some songs and stories to keep spirits high!


Have questions? Reach out to Emily Woodmansee at emily@erafans.org.


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