10th Annual Natural Learning Design Institute

Designing Living Environments for Children and Other Creatures.

As we increase nature in children’s outdoor environments, a myriad of creatures are attracted to these restored ecosystems. While many people enjoy plants, flowers, fruit trees, and vegetables, others wonder what to do with all of the uninvited bugs and other small creatures that suddenly appear in these rich environments! Have we lost the understanding that the living environment includes animals as well as humans? 


The 10th Annual Design Institute refreshed our memories, offered opportunities to learn about and celebrate human relationships with animals, helped us discover beneficial critters in our daily environment, and facilitated replicable hands-on, creative activities to engage children and caregivers with the animal kingdom.


Nilda Cosco, PhD, Education Specialist, Natural Learning Initiative. The Design Institute Through the Years. 

Rob Dunn, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, NC State University. The Wilderness of Children’s Daily Lives.

Margaret Lowman, PhD., Director, Nature Research Center, NC Museum of Natural Sciences; Research Professor, Physical and Mathematical Sciences, NC State University.The Hidden Life of Tree Canopies.

John Connors, MS, Coordinator of the Naturalist Center, NC Museum of Natural Sciences. Finding Inspiration Among Feathers.

Inger Lerstrup, PhD Candidate, Design of Urban Woodland for Forest Kindergartens, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Wildlife in the Forest Kindergarten.

David Becker, Senior Manager of Learning Experiences, Chicago Zoological Society, Playing With Animals, Zoo Lessons for Childcare Settings.

Bryce Lane, MS, Lecturer, Undergraduate Coordinator, Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University, Creating Wildlife Gardens.

Robin Moore, Dipl.Arch; MCP, Hon.ASLA, Director, Natural Learning Initiative, Design it Right and They Will Come.

Philip Waters, Play Project Coordinator, Eden Project; PhD Candidate, European Centre for Environment and Human Health, The Worm that Turned

October 11-12, 2012