Missed out? Don't worry! You can view the recorded conference here. Sorry, PD certificates are not available for this recorded event.
Discover a range of outdoor learning environments and approaches to natural play space design during this one-of-a-kind virtual event! Enjoy a day full of engaging workshops that highlight ways to take learning outdoors. If you are searching for ideas for your program's nature play space, or you'd like more information about the benefits of nature play, this conference offers a variety of examples from the Chesapeake region.
A professional development certificate will be provided to attendees at the conclusion of the event. If you participate live and complete the assessment, Maryland teachers may also receive approved MSDE clock hours. This is event is co-sponsored by these wonderful partners of the Maryland Nature Play Space Working Group:
Schedule of Virtual Sessions
|Session or Activity
|9:30- 10:15 a.m.
| Keynote: John Henderson, Parks Rx
| Outdoor activity and bio break
Speaker Panel A: Case Studies of Natural Play Spaces
| Speaker Panel B: Dispelling Green Myths and Fears
Naomi Alana Sachs, University of Maryland
Rose Brusaferro, PhD, Backyard Basecamp/BLISS Meadows
Sarah Carlson, Founder and Director of Brooklyn Nature Days, NY
| Lunch with virtual networking option
Breakout sessions: Nature Play Space Design Tips & Tricks
Breakout 1: Affordable Nature Play Spaces
Facilitated by: Amanda Knight, Early Childhood Health Outdoors (ECHO),
Breakout 2: Design in Action: Folger McKinsey Elementary School Project
Breakout 3: National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative
Breakout 4: How Nature Play Spaces Support Skill Development
Outdoor activity and bio break
Speaker Panel D: Maintaining Your Natural Play Space
Brenda Iraola, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
|Networking Happy Hour with facilitated topic discussion
|Closing remarks and evaluation
The park prescription movement is providing incentives for people to reconnect with nature in their neighborhoods and communities. There is strong evidence that getting outdoors regularly for a dose of nature can improve your physical and mental health, but it can also make you happier. Discover ongoing efforts to broaden the audience for Park Rx beyond healthcare providers and their patents. Schools, universities, employee health, wellness programs, and veteran’s organization are audiences that can benefit from this insightful keynote.
For more information, you can read our presenter's bios here.
Speaker Panel A: Case Studies
Panelists present their natural play spaces and highlight their features and uses. Participants will discover how curriculum and skill development can seamlessly flow from these spaces. Tip, tricks, and ways to avoid planning pitfalls will also be discussed.
Speaker Panel B: Myth Busters: Dispelling Green Fears
Panelists will examine some of the concerns and often unfounded fears people have regarding nature play, especially in urban settings. Panelists will share strategies that help mitigate real and perceived fear surrounding the creation and use of natural play spaces.
Take a video tour of area nature play spaces to see: Elijah Cummings Druid Heights Community Development Corporation’s Nature Play Space, Irvine Nature Center’s Outdoor Classroom, and the Falls Church Episcopal Day School
Facilitators in each of the break out rooms model steps in the design process and important considerations for natural play spaces based on location, site, intended audience, ages, curricular and developmental goals, and range of other factors.
Break out room 1: Affordable Play Settings for Outdoor Learning Environments
Facilitated by: Colorado Early Childhood Health Outdoors, ECHO Program, National Wildlife Federation (NWF)
Learn ways to activate and improve your outdoor learning environment through low-cost, high-impact changes. Participants will gain inspiration and ideas that they can implement in their own spaces by creatively using affordable materials to support children’s play.
Break out room 2: Design in Action for Folger McKinsey Elementary School
Facilitated by: University of Maryland School of Landscape Architecture
Break out room 3: COVID-19
Facilitated by: Nancy Striniste, Earlyspace, LLC and Mary Hardcastle, Baltimore City Recreation and Parks
Break out room 4: How Nature Play Spaces Can Support Child Development
Facilitated by: Michelle Byron and Briget Mcardle
Maintaining Your Nature Play Space
Panelists discuss a variety of natural play spaces and give practical advice about how to maintain them, especially in licensed settings with young children.
Participants will complete a poll to determine discussion topics, which may include:
• Benefits of outdoor learning and play in the age of COVID-19
• Maintenance of Natural Play Spaces
• Design Ideas and Natural Materials
• Nature Play at Schools
• Funding Sources for Nature Play Spaces
We look forward to an inspiring day about nature play!
Learn more about our payment and refund policies here. Thank you for joining us.