Nature play and learning every day!


“Creating environments for healthy human development and a healthy biosphere for generations to come.”

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT and training includes theory, principles, and techniques that guide the design of play and learning environments with an emphasis on the design and management of natural environments to support healthy child development.

PROGRAMS integrate many multi-year PROJECTS with the aim of achieving higher levels of sustained quality. Projects are typically concentrated, short duration efforts that focus on specific design issues (e.g., design assistance, evaluation, professional development, or policy initiative).

RESOURCES are created, often in collaboration with NLI’s interdisciplinary partners, to support technical assistance, professional development, and generally to promote the importance of the natural environment in the daily experience of all children. Please use and share.

THE GREEN DESK contains numerous resources meant to improve outdoor learning environments and promote healthy, natural child development, physical activity, and nature-based learning.

News and Upcoming Events

20th Anniversary NLI Design Institute

20th Anniversary NLI Design Institute

POSTPONED – After much thought we have reluctantly concluded that given the high level of uncertainty related to COVID-19, we need to be proactive and postpone the 20th Anniversary Design Institute. We are deeply disappointed; however, there is nothing more important than the health and well-being of our attendees and employees. A large gathering is an unnecessary risk given the current circumstances. We do plan to reschedule the Institute and will post an update when we have more information.

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Oakland Declaration

Oakland Declaration

The Nature-Based Learning Network gathering at the Children & Nature Network International Leadership Summit provided an opportunity to create an international declaration on nature-based learning.

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NLI Online Certificate Programs

NLI Online Certificate Programs

Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Environments was developed with early childhood professionals in mind and Designing Early Childhood Outdoor Environments was developed for design…

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Did You Know Outdoor Time…

  • Supports gross motor skills
  • Encourages healthy eating
  • Improves eyesight
  • Promotes cognitive development
  • Improves academic performance
  • Lessens ADHD symptoms
  • Promotes self-confidence
  • Reduces stress
  • May boost immune system

Virtual Field Trip

Click the photo to view a virtual field trip of childcare outdoor learning environments.