Five years ago a group of Early Childhood Educators, Landscape Architects, Teachers, and Administrators started having networking meetings at Discovery Children’s Centre in Winnipeg to learn more about the building of Adventure playgrounds in Manitoba. Attendees shared resources, design ideas, and funding source tips. Meetings expanded to include topics like gardening with children and a variety of things having to do with Nature Education. The idea snowballed and soon there was an average of 70 people attending every meeting and new people joining all the time.
In 2008 a group of delegates from Manitoba attended the World Forum NACC (Nature Action Collaborative for Children) conference at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska, where they networked with Nature educators from all over the world. The delegates returned inspired and energized and the idea of the Nature Summit sprouted.
A reoccurring concern at MNACC meetings was; we had established that we should be putting nature education back into the lives of children but how could that goal be accomplished if the educators themselvesdo not have biophilia? It was decided that the best way to alleviate this problem would be to host a Nature Summit that would provide opportunities for educators to learn about and become inspired by nature so that they can pass this inspiration and experience on to the children that they work with.
As a result the 2010 Nature Summit September 10, 11, and 12 at Camp Manitou on the outskirts of Winnipeg, was born. It was a weekend of interactive workshops and events designed to educate and connect delegates with the natural environment. There were opportunities for delegates to network and learn about organizations that are doing similar work.
In response to the overwhelming positive feedback from Summit 2010, we will be hosting a second Nature Summit, September 14-16, 2012.
The Manitoba Nature Action Collaborative for Children still has quarterly meetings to network and discuss nature playgrounds and a variety of other nature education topics.