What is Nature-based Education?
How we define it:
- Learning (in or out of school) that is connected to a sense of place
- Outdoor learning: Any type of learning that occurs outside
- Experiential learning that connects learners to their communities
It can look like…
- Poetry reading outdoors
- Learning in a community garden
- Math class in an outdoor classroom
- Learning about climate change’s impacts on a local ecosystem during a nature walk
What is the Nature Based Education Consortium?
The Nature Based Education Consortium (NBEC) is a Maine-based multi-generational collaborative network of outdoor learning leaders and stakeholders working together on systems-level efforts to ensure that every Maine youth has access to powerful outdoor learning experiences.
Below: The Climate Education Advocacy working group. Photo taken at the group’s summer 2021 in-person retreat at The Ecology School.
Our network’s mission is to enable all Maine youth to learn outdoors, in connection with their community and natural environment. We work together to dismantle systemic barriers to outdoor access, to cultivate new resources, opportunities, and partnerships, and to amplify diverse voices to build and shift our understanding and appreciation of outdoor learning.
Some recent successes:
- Climate education advocacy: In early 2022, a Climate Education Bill, LD 1902, developed by the NBEC Climate Education working group, was introduced into the Maine legislature, passed in the House & Senate, and was funded with $2 million! This bill supports professional development for Maine teachers in the topic of climate education, and its success was due to incredible grassroots advocacy, especially by youth and educators.
- Local outdoor learning advocacy: In 2020, in order to support schools in finding safe solutions to instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic, the NBEC’s Local Outdoor Learning Advocacy working group convened 220 educators from schools statewide for a forum on outdoor learning, and began hosting an Outdoor Learning resource portal for schools. This group hosted an additional Outdoor Learning Forum in 2022.
- Stories for change: In fall of 2021, the Stories for Change working group, which is a BIPOC-centered outdoor storytelling initiative, collaboratively created and published its first story. It has now published three stories!
Our network currently has four working groups: Climate Education Advocacy, Stories for Change, Outdoor Equity Fund, and Local Outdoor Learning Advocacy. These groups are all working, in different ways, to build collective action toward the shared goal of equitable access to outdoor experiences for all Maine youth, through advocacy, storytelling, and relationship-building.
Interested in getting involved in a working group?
Fill out the interest form here! bit.ly/JoinNBEC