Current News:

12th Annual Design Institute: Design for Nature Play and Learning
October 2-3, 2014
NC Botanical Garden
Chapel Hill, NC

Click here to register for the 12th Annual Design Institute: Design for Nature Play and Learning.

Click here to download the flyer for the 12th Annual Design Institute: Design for Nature Play and Learning

NCSU Students Take the Challenge

Through the pilot program of the Come Alive Outside Design Challenge NC State created a design for an awesome outdoor learning environment at Root Elementary School in Raleigh. The NC State students have done a great job of getting the parents and teachers involved, as well as local businesses and community organizations.

2014 Conference: Save the Date: March 27, 2014
Location: NC Zoo Asheboro, NC
SAVE THE DATE: March 27!


Join us for the 7th Annual North Carolina Children and Nature (NCCAN!) Conference. We are expecting this year's conference to be something wonderful, we will return to where we began at the NC Zoo! In addition to the conference, attendees will get a preview of the New Kids Zone and other Zoo new exhibits that promote connections to nature. Hear from exciting speakers on topics related to early childhood development, education, health and wellness, teens and millennials, community action and the green industry. Share your thoughts and ideas and hear from others in our posters sessions, exhibit hall and our joint "shout out" session.
Come and have some fun networking with others from across the state and country, learn more about the children and nature movement in North Carolina and how NCCAN! serves as the regional contact for the national movement, and spend some time at the zoo, outdoors, and networking with some new friends. Collaboration and communication is the key!
Registration information coming soon!


Tell Us about your Efforts to Build Connections to Nature!
Children and Nature Believers, we know that you are doing many wonderful things to promote the connections between children and nature. We want to share the good news of your work and find ways to further support efforts in our state! As we seek greater visibility for all of our efforts in an effort to create state wide excitement and support, it is helpful to know more specifics about what goes on across NC.

Please fill out this very short survey to let us get an idea of what you are doing and how many you impact. Your information is very important and we appreciate your assistance! Happy Nature Play!


Celebration of the Military Child Outdoors
April 26, 2014 10-3 Onslow Beach, NC
NCCAN! is facilitating,with our partners at E-Corps leading, the COMCO event in NC as part of our Let's G.O. (Get Outside) promotion. Selected a one of four national signature events by SIerra Clubs, other partners include Blue Star Families, USO of NC,OAK, Get Moving Outside, Joining Forces, Children and Nature Network. The event will be held at Onslow Beach and includes, hiking, kayaking, Play Daze, USO of NC mobile unit, touch tank and lots of nature games. The theme is Mission Explore Outdoors - kids will be tasked with a mission - if they choose to accept it - will get outdoor fun items for mission completions. Lots of fun and a great way to show children of the military that we are grateful for what they give up when a parent serves our country. Join us - have your organization share a nature activity at their table, spread the word to military families. Contact us for more information on how to get involved.

New Annual Award Initiated by NCCAN!
BROWNS SUMMIT, NC – Professor of Landscape Architecture Robin Moore and Associate Research Professor Dr. Nilda Cosco were honored as the inaugural recipients of the NCCAN! Natural Initiatives Award during the 5th Annual North Carolina Children and Nature Coalition (NCCAN!) Conference.



The Natural Initiatives Award named for the Natural Learning Initiative, a group founded at NC State University’s College of Design by Moore and Cosco in January 2000 is awarded to those with “exemplary service to NCCAN! and to those that contribute tireless work and energy to building connections between children and the natural world.”  The award will be given annually to “honor North Carolina citizens that demonstrate the same passion and drive for getting youth to explore our natural world.”

Also during the award ceremony, early NCCAN! supporters and longtime colleagues of Moore and Cosco in the NC children and nature movement (Jani Kozlowski, Policy Unit Manager, and Janet McGinnis, Education Consultant for the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education) were also awarded the Natural Initiatives Award for 2012. Their leadership of the Outdoor Learning Environment Alliance (OLE) resulted in many cultural and policy changes in the early childhood programs in NC.

“NCCAN! celebrated 5 years at this conference and felt it important to look at our roots and the work of those who played such key role in our initial efforts,” said Kathy Bull, chair of NCCAN! “These individuals helped lay a foundation for our future efforts to promote connections between children and nature!”

North Carolina News

Congratulations to NCCAN! partners at the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and their Kids in Parks program. Special thanks to B

lue Cross Blue Shield Foundation for their support of this great program. Learn more at:Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Kids in Parks Program Featured as part of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation Effort to Inspire Positive Change

Join with us and add your support today: – National Wildlife Federation: Healthy Kids Outdoors Act Sign-On Letter
The Healthy Kids Outdoors Act (read the fact sheet and bill text on the link here) will improve our children’s health, support economic growth and strengthen the future of conservation in America by reconnecting our children, youth and families with the natural world. It will do so by fostering the creation of innovative state strategies that connect communities with green spaces, provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and natural play, engage the health community in educating parents and caregivers, and other cross-cutting initiatives. This legislation will facilitate a similar federal strategy and advance related research.

Congratulations to NCCAN! partners at the Greensboro Children’s Museum.
The Association for Children’s Museums recognizes Greensboro Children’s Museum’s Let’s Move! Activities in North Carolina.
Looking for a fun way to get your hands dirty AND grab a healthy bite to eat? The Greensboro Children’s Museum has established the first and only licensed Edible Schoolyard (ESY) within a children’s museum setting. Info at:http://www.gcmuseum.com/

More Children and Nature News around the world! 

NC Children and Nature Coalition (NCCAN!) News
Congratulations to NCCAN! partners at the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and their Kids in Parks program. Special thanks to Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation for their support of this great program. Learn more at: Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Kids in Parks Program Featured as part of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation Effort to Inspire Positive Change

Join with us and add your support today: – National Wildlife Federation: Healthy Kids Outdoors Act Sign-On Letter

The Healthy Kids Outdoors Act (read the fact sheet and bill text on the link here) will improve our children’s health, support economic growth and strengthen the future of conservation in America by reconnecting our children, youth and families with the natural world. It will do so by fostering the creation of innovative state strategies that connect communities with green spaces, provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and natural play, engage the health community in educating parents and caregivers, and other cross-cutting initiatives. This legislation will facilitate a similar federal strategy and advance related research.

Congratulations to NCCAN! partners at the Greensboro Children’s Museum.

The Association for Children’s Museums recognizes Greensboro Children’s Museum’s Let’s Move! Activities in North Carolina.

Looking for a fun way to get your hands dirty AND grab a healthy bite to eat? The Greensboro Children’s Museum has established the first and only licensed Edible Schoolyard (ESY) within a children’s museum setting. Info at: http://www.gcmuseum.com/
More Children and Nature News around the world!

Healthy Kids Outdoors Act

National Children and Nature News


“This Isn’t a Partisan Issue”: Sen. Udall, Rep. Kind Make the Case for Healthy Kids Outdoors

At a congressional briefing today on the benefits of reconnecting Americans with the outdoors, Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) announced their intention to introduce Senate and House versions of the Healthy Kids Outdoors Act (HKOA) sometime this Fall.
The bill would support state, local and federal strategies to connect America’s youth with the outdoors through natural play; outdoor recreation like camping, hiking, hunting and fishing; public health plans; outdoor learning environments; service learning and other initiatives.

Pointing to a rise in childhood obesity rates and other health problems related to sedentary (and mostly indoor) lifestyles, Sen. Udall, chairman of the Senate’s Subcommittee on National Parks and co-chairman of the bipartisan Senate Outdoor Recreation Caucus, served notice that the work of getting kids out into nature need not be an occasion for factional squabbling.

“This isn’t a partisan issue,” Udall said.