7th Annual NLI Design Institute

Natural Play Environments: Designing, Building, and Programming

Think back to when you were a child… It is likely some of your fondest memories are of the outdoors. Do you still remember what you used to do outside? Do you remember yourself actively exploring the outdoors, picking summer blackberries, playing with mud, building a fort in the woods, climbing trees, or playing with water? Research (and personal experience) tell us that the outdoors has a strong impact on physical activity of children. But today’s children have far less opportunities to enjoy themselves in the fresh air.

The goal of the 7th Annual Design Institute was to raise awareness about the role of the outdoors for healthy development and to offer innovative ideas and concepts for participants to implement back home. The two day and a half event included presentations, discussions, and interactive hands-on outdoor activities.

Robin Moore, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of the Natural Learning Initiative, NC State University. Creating Natural Play Environments. Creating a Successful Natural Play Project. The Importance of Phasing.

Elizabeth Goodenough, PhD, a scholar, author and activist, Wayne State University Press. Thresholds of Play.

Ken Finch, Founder and President of Green Hearts Institute for Nature in Childhood. Restoring the Nature of Childhood.

Phil Waters, Play Project Coordinator, the Eden Project, Cornwall, UK. Play Installations.

Nilda Cosco, PhD, Education Specialist, Natural Learning Initiative and Research Associate Professor, College of Design, NC State University. The Importance of Phasing. Creating a Successful Natural Play Project.

Brad Bieber, MLA, Design Associate, Natural Learning Initiative. The Importance of Phasing. Creating a Successful Natural Play Project.

Annie Nashold, Director of Children’s Education and Family Programs. Nature Art, Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Nature Art, Sarah P. Duke Gardens.

Beth Lake, Director, Sue Espersen, Coordinator, and Dona McNeill, NIEHS Day Care Liaison. Healthy Outdoors, First Environments Early Learning Center.

Randy Fulk, Curator of Education, Linda Kinney, Education Public Programs Coordinator, and Jessica Hoffmire, Visitor Educator, North Carolina Zoo. KidsZone, NC Zoo.

Betsy Grant, CEO. The Edible Schoolyard at the Greensboro Children’s Museum. The Edible Schoolyard at the Greensboro Children’s Museum.

Sharon Bright and Pam Hartley, VP, Exhibits and Core Initiatives. Castaway Cove Kids Garden, Marbles Kids Museum.

Nancy Easterling, Associate Director for Education, NC Botanical Garden. Nature Play at the NC Botanical Garden.

November 5-7, 2009