Nature-Based Learning

Students laughing in nature


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Nature Collective provides children opportunities to connect with, experience, and care for nature daily.

Nature-based learning is essential for children and adults as they build an affinity for and a sense of belonging in outdoor and natural spaces. People who spend time learning outdoors in nature are “smarter, healthier, and happier,” having engaged in physical, social, and cognitive activities that boost their environmental literacy and overall wellbeing. They are also more likely to care for and protect these natural resources as environmental stewards.

Through our formal and collaborative partnerships with San Diego County school districts and other organizations, Nature Collective is co-creating culturally responsive, experiential learning opportunities that connect youth and families to nature.

We have four distinct programs that work together to support child and family learning in nature throughout the year.

Our School Learning Unit + Field Trip program engages 3-8 grade children in observations and investigations of nature at their school and at the San Elijo Lagoon and Ecological Reserve.

Students touching plants at San Elijo lLagoonAbove: Students observe California sagebrush (Artemisia californica) during a field trip.

Our Get Out In Nature program hosts children and their families on half-day nature adventures to local parks and natural settings.

Group of students and their families along the trail

Above: Families setting out to explore Annie’s Canyon Trail

Our Pollinator & Indigenous Plant School Garden program encompasses whole school communities in “small scale, big impact” conservation projects on their campuses.

Students observes native plantsAbove: Pollinator + Indigenous Plant Garden at a partner school campus

Our Nature Inspired Summer Camp program engages school kids on a week-long adventure, visiting and studying a variety of local ecosystems and environmental careers.

Student and chaperone at Harbaugh Seaside Trails collecting transect dataAbove: Camper collecting transect data 

Thanks to San Diego Gas & Electric, who has generously supported several of our education programs for 12 consecutive years.

And thank YOU, your support makes programs like this possible. 


Individuals/ Foundations/ Funds
Sally + Steven Angus
Gladys Baird
Benjamin Bohl
Helen Bourne
Lori Cathcart
Cindi + David Clemons
Joan Davis
Cathie + Gordon Dixon, J.P. Morgan Securities Charitable Gift Fund Program
Barbara + Larry Dovenbarger
Linda + Paul Edwards
Fariba Faegh
Warren Fox, Schwab Charitable
Lisa + Mark Franovich
Peggy Dugan French + William French
Renita Greenberg
Debbie Hanna
Bill + Elaine Hartleb
Donald Davis + Lesa Heebner
Chantel Hill
Colin + Vicky Holman
Ken + Chris Hornback
Michael + Jeannie Huse
Michael Imrich
Paul + Maggie Judge
Michael Kalichman + Linda Roux*
Gwen Kenney
John + Sheryl Keis
Trudy Kohout + Stephen Perry
Joan + John Kroener
Mitchell + Hilde Kronenberg
Steven + Alexis Larky, Schwab Charitable
Brendan Laurs
Deb + Greg Lefevre
Brian + Sharon Loveman
Donna Mancuso + Frederick Dawn
Jack + Lois Martin
Geoffrey Miller + Karen Haubrich
Thomas Mowry
David + Kristen Newman
John + Barbara Nommesen
Mark O’Connor
Larry + Tina Pryor
Philip Raffee + Lois James
Nancy Rech
Jerry + Lynn Sandlin
Billy + Ellen Simms
Eric Slater + Marcia Pilatti
Pemberton + Jean Smith
Ronald + Susan Styn
Tom + Julia Walker
Jan Wier*
Christine + John Willems
Clint + Elizabeth Winant
Susan Wright
Jeffrey + Karen Young

In Memory
Harold Todd + Gloria Sica in memory of Shirley Elaine Floyd for Todd & Robin Floyd
Randall Ryti in memory of Carl Biehl

Corporate / Nonprofit
California Native Plant Society
The Fish Market

*President Circle

If you didn’t have the chance to donate in April, you can still help:
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