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Weekly Green Tip: Nature Based Early Childhood Education

June 6, 2014 - Executive Director

Right now things are quiet here at Irvine Nature Center, but it must be the calm before the storm. Fortunately this storm is one of enthusiastic early childhood educators who will descend upon Irvine’s 116 acre campus for three days of lectures and workshops at our 3rd annual Nature Preschool Conference.

We plan on hosting over 90 educators from around the country as we gather to learn from the field’s leading experts and innovators including Mary Hardcastle (you can listen to my interview with her by clicking here), Sarah Olmstead, and Irvine’s own Preschool Director, Monica Wiedel-Lubinski.

Participants not only can attend a variety of additional activities like sunrise yoga and late night ‘smores and drinks around the campfire, but they can also elect to camp out on our 116 acres – and the weather for this weekend is looking amazing! I also had a chance to look over the incredible menu put together by our own Courtney Sagal and I can’t wait for a Woodland Breeze cocktail Friday at the campfire, the make-your-own trail mix bar as a snack during my session on Day 2, and some Pollo Vino Bianco Pasta on Saturday night for dinner. No mind or body will go hungry at this conference!

After a year here at Irvine and two years of watching my son experience a nature based preschool, I can speak with confidence both professionally and personally about the significance of this work. Never before has it been more important as we face global challenges like climate change, population growth, and energy consumption to foster interest in being stewards of our environment.

The children with whom we work now and those in the years to come will be the next generation of teachers, scientists, green-business innovators, politicians, and, most importantly, parents who will pass on a love of nature and an understanding that we are a part of it.


— W. Brooks Paternotte