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Outdoor Teacher Retreat

Fri.-Sat., March 6-7, 2020 

Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, Columbia, SC


Featuring Keynote Rudy Mancke, naturalist, professor, and host of NPR's Nature Notes!

About this Nature-Based Training    
Riverbanks Zoo & Garden is a lovely backdrop for this special two-day training event! Join us as we discover best practices and approaches to nature-based education, especially useful for educators new to outdoor learning. Presenters share insights and activities based on their work in nature preschools, forest kindergartens, or other nature-based programs. 


This training is ideal for educators, caregivers, and others working with children three to six years old. Attendees 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. Light breakfast and lunch are included, but bring your canteen for drinks. 

ERAFANS will provide a professional development certificate at the conclusion of the event. Please dress for the weather, as at least 50% of this event will take place outdoors, and don't forget your canteen!

Registration opens at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 6, 2020 with a highly anticipated keynote at 7 p.m. with Rudy Mancke. Gather round the campfire afterwards for an informal networking session, complete with dessert, a drink on us, and a cash bar to enjoy while you mingle with new friends. On Saturday, join us for breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and a full day of inspiring workshops until 4 p.m. Registration includes breakfast and lunch, as well as admission to the zoo and gardens on Friday from 2- 5p.m.

Schedule of Workshops

Friday, March 6, 2020
6:30 p.m. Registration at Endoakie Lodge
7-8 p.m.  Keynote: Natural History In and Out of the Classroom by Rudy Mancke III
8-9:30 p.m. Campfire networking

Saturday, March 7, 2020
8:30 - 9 a.m. Breakfast and registration at Botanical Garden
9 - 12 p.m. Morning sessions
12 - 1 p.m. Lunch
1 - 3:45 p.m. Afternoon sessions
3:45 - 4 p.m.  Conclusion, including survey and professional development certificates

Friday Keynote

Natural History In and Out of the ClassroomPresented by: Rudy Mancke III
Seasoned naturalist Rudy Mancke shares ways to use natural artifacts and knowledge about local natural history to inspire connections with curriculum. Firsthand accounts of wild expeditions will open your eyes to all the learning that awaits outside the classroom door. (Don't miss Rudy's walk in the woods on Saturday, too!)

Saturay Workshops

Explore the Fall Line with Rudy | 9:15-10:30 AM
Join us for a walk to explore the geology and organisms typical of this area. Our walk will be the keynote remarks put into action in the field. We will consider the many connections in the natural world during a "real" walk in the woods.

Always an Adventure: Forest School at Loblolly | 10:40-12 PM
Jennifer Beal, Loblolly Adventures
The core principles of Forest Kindergarten/School help to form the foundation of an "ideal" program, but not everyone has the circumstances to build something that fits into the mold of that ideal. In this session you'll hear from staff at Loblolly Adventures in Charleston, SC, about how they adapted these core principles to fit the needs of their unique space and market. Learn how you can start incorporating the pedagogical concepts into your own program, and walk away with practical tips and tricks to give your early childhood students authentic, valuable, and fun experiences in and with nature.


Part 1: Wild About Nature-Based Education | 1-2:15 PM

Monica Wiedel-Lubinski, Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools

How is nature-based education different than traditional early learning programs? How do you facilitate outdoor learning experiences? Want to learn some approaches to fun outdoor learning? This interactive outdoor session is packed with fun ways to kindle the curious nature lover in you - and the children you share nature with. 


Part 2: Growing a Nature-Based Program | 2:30-3:45 PM

ERAFANS director, Monica Wiedel-Lubinski has founded three nature-based preschools in Maryland and comes with a wealth of knowledge for those looking to start or refine nature-based programs. Bring your questions to this lively, highly informative session.


Want to see what all the buzz is about? Register here!

Learn more about our payment and refund policies here. Thank you for joining us!

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