10th Annual NLI 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 will refresh our memories, offer opportunities to learn about and celebrate human relationships with animals, help us discover beneficial critters in our daily environment, and facilitate replicable hands-on, creative activities to engage children and caregivers with the animal kingdom.


David Becker, Senior Manager of Learning Experiences, Chicago Zoological Society, Lessons for Childcare Settings from the Zoo

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

Nilda Cosco, Education Specialist, Natural Learning Initiative, Learning with Critters

Rob Dunn, Department of Biology, NC State University, The Wilderness of Children’s Play

Inger Lerstrup, Forest Schools Research, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Wildlife in the Forest Kindergarten

Bryce Lane, Alumni Distinguished Professor, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State, University and Host of In the Garden, UNC-TV, Creating Wildlife Gardens

Margaret Lowman, Director, Nature Research Center, NC Museum of Natural Sciences, The Hidden Life of Tree Canopies

Robin Moore, Director, The Natural Learning Initiative, College of Design, Design It Right and They Will Come

Philip Waters, Play Program Coordinator, Eden Project, Cornwall, UK, The Worm that Turned

October 11-12, 2012