Program Overview:

The Children Learning with Nature Institute is three full days of educational insight and discovery.  At CLN we provide a foundation in working with nature through experiential workshops.  All workshops sessions are 90 minutes long with some topics being a double workshop program of three hours.

Each day after breakfast at College 8 we will spend the morning in two sessions of outdoor experiential workshops down at the Arboretum, and one other site which varies each day (Natural Bridges State Park and the UCSC Living Lab).

After lunch at College 8 we head over to Porter College for two or three afternoon indoor and outdoor workshops plus a keynote presentation. Our keynote speakers this year are: Claire Warden, Rachel Larimore and Paul Roberts

Late afternoon is a time to relax, perhaps out on the grass chatting and enjoying our beautiful California sunshine.  Dinners are at College 8 followed by evening sessions on Thursday & Friday.  On Thursday evening we will have a Wine and Dessert Welcome Reception. Friday night is a warm and amazing sharing session with some of our attendees presenting short about some of the challenges and successes at their centers or schools.

Workshop List:

(Partial List, Subject to Change)

Please note some workshops are offered once and others are offered twice during the Institute so it’s a good idea to come with someone so you can share later. In the mornings there are five to six sessions offer simultaneously and in the afternoons typically three sessions at a time.

  • Nature Pedagogy
  • Mud Kitchen
  • Water Explorations
  • Fire
  • Cooking with Children
  • Ephemeral Art
  • Infants and Toddlers in Nature
  • Plant Dyes
  • Small Worlds & Fairies
  • Music
  • Managing Risk in the Outdoors
  • Mentorship
  • Designing with Nature
  • Den Building
  • Creative Headdresses
  • Nature Center and School Collaborations
  • Charcoal
  • Observing Nature
  • Bird Language
  • Creating the Outdoor Classroom

Consult kids Pic

Campus BBQ

(Saturday Evening, July 16)


This will be a wonderful & relaxing wrap-up to the institute and will be an excellent final networking opportunity for you and your peers.

The Dinner includes tasty BBQ with all the fixings (including vegetarian options!), soft drinks, wine & beer.

Institute Details:


Starting with a Continental Breakfast on Thursday we include three meals each day plus yummy food and drinks at the morning and afternoon breaks.  You won’t ever go hungry at CLN!

The food is tasty and healthy.  Yes we can accommodate special almost any kind of special diet (Please let us know in advance!)


We get lots and lots of comments from past attendees that they were so glad they stayed on campus in the conference apartments. Why, because it was a much more immersive experience, there is no stress about getting to the institute each day. The biggest reason though is they developed stronger relationships with both our fabulous presentation team and their fellow attendees.

Please understand these aren’t dorm rooms. Each suite is a fully furnished apartment with 3 or 4 bedrooms sharing a full kitchen, spacious living room and bathing facilities. Each bedroom is either private or shared. Never more than two attendees in a room, you decide which.

Yes we can accommodate couples, we have them every year, and yes your spouse and partner is covered by the meal plan, but they can spend the day out seeing the beautiful sights around Monterey and Santa Cruz.