Nature Based Education Summer Institute

2017 Nature Based Education Home | Friday Sessions | Friday Evening Lecture | Saturday Sessions

Friday Full and Half Day Sessions


Artful Nature: Exploring How Nature Heals Us (Full)

Depart UMF at 9:00 return by 12:00

Presenter: Anna D’Epiro Cushing

Session Description: Nature surrounds us, envelopes us, teaches us, challenges us.  In this session we will explore our most meaningful natural environments and create images that can further connect us to our greater knowing and understanding of ourselves, each other, and the environments that hold us.

The primary goal of this session is that of connection. As we connect more to ourselves and the natural environments that surround us, we can develop further conscious awareness.  With this we are more present to our daily tasks as educators and can increase our creative responses to the children that we serve.  Each participant will be asked to create an image with found natural objects that will serve as a guide to greater knowledge.  Areas of exploration will include but not be limited to what we bring to our work, where we are filled, where we are depleted or challenged, what natural settings and objects inspire us to further greatness in our work.  Participants will be encouraged to utilize dialogue, writing, creative process, and individual exploration to access the “teacher within themselves and nature.”

Presenter Biography: Anna has worked in the field of human services for over 40 years with people of all ages. As an art therapist, writer, and workshop facilitator she has brought exploration opportunities to groups for many years.

Back to Top of Page

Nature Journals: Making, Learning, and Using

At UMF from 1:00 to 4:00


Session Description: The goal for this session is to provide participants will an opportunity to make two different kinds of handmade books that can be used for nature journaling as well as provide them with many ideas for using nature journaling with children.

This session will involve three parts. First, Char will introduce the participants to some of the current Children’s Literature focused on nature and nature journaling. Next, Laurie will teach the participants to make two handmade book forms that can be used for nature journaling. One of the book forms will be a simple journal, and the other will be a book with pockets.

After the students have completed their two books, the presenters will lead the participants on a nature walk to the nearby park to give them an opportunity to do some nature journaling. When we get back from the nature walk, participants will have an opportunity to share their journals. At the end of the session, we will discuss the literacy and science learning that students can experience through what the participants learned during the session.

There are many curriculum connections for literacy and science that this session provides including the following: speaking, listening, reading comprehension, listening comprehension, writing/journaling, learning to appreciate nature, and finally learning about the plants, animals, and trees of the area (science).

Presenter Biographies

  • Dr. Char Moffit is an assistant professor of Literacy Education at the University of Maine at Farmington. Dr. Moffit’s research interests include integrating science and literacy instruction in the primary grades through project-based learning. She has also worked at resident camps working with children in the out-of-doors.
  • Laurie Macwhinnie is the research librarian at University of Maine at Farmington. She has a passion for Book Arts and enjoys teaching pre-service and inservice teachers how to integrate book arts into their classrooms.

Back to Top of Page

Walking Tour of Bonney and Flint Woods: Human and Natural History of Farmington

Depart UMF at 1:00 return by 4:00

Presenter: Jane Woodman

Participants will be provided with a guided tour to Bonney Woods and Flint Woods.  Participants will be introduced to the history of the area.  The Bonney Aqueduct Company was established in about 1898.  It was famous because of the three hand-built wells that provided water to Farmington homes. The operation was discontinued because of the lead pipes, but some remnants can still be seen.

While in Flint Woods, participants will reflect on the quote “Jim Flint loved the outdoors and walked here daily with his dogs. He knew how the Power and Beauty of nature can calm our anxiety and refresh our soul.” In the Flint Woods, we will examine the environment, including a Witch Hazel tree, not commonly found in Maine.  Participants will have time to take in the spectacular view overlooking the Sandy River valley and Mt. Blue.   In addition, participants will learn about human’s impact on the environment, and see where granite was harvested

Be prepared to bring water, wear comfortable clothing and shoes (no sandals please), and rain-gear/bug-repellent if needed.

Back to Top of Page

All Day Hike and Tour of Poplar Falls Hut

Depart UMF at 9:00 – 4:00

Hosted by Kathryn Will-Dubyak (

Hiking and Art are a perfect fit! Join other educators as we explore the local trails in Carrabassett Valley.We will take a 4 mile loop-hike by Poplar Falls, and stop at the Poplar Hut managed by the Maine Huts and Trails.  We will have a guided tour of the facility with a focus on how MHTs works for environmental sustainability, environmental education, and ecotourism.  As an added bonus, we will connect the beauty of this setting to the inspiring work of Andy Goldsworthy through the construction of outdoor sculptures.  

The hike is a moderate trip, so please be prepared with water, comfortable hiking shoes, and rain-gear.  Please bring a picnic lunch.

Back to Top of Page

2017 Nature Based Education Home | Friday Sessions | Friday Evening Lecture | Saturday Sessions