Nature-based Learning and Natural Learning Environments

Nature-Based Learning

When the adults who care for children are more comfortable being in the outdoors, they will provide more opportunities for children to be outdoors.  

We provide professional development through both in-person classes and on-site coaching.  Classes focused on nature-based learning are offered throughout the year at the Douglas-Sarpy Extension office. We can also come to you, providing a program developed to meet your specific needs.  All classes offered by Nebraska Extension are NDE approved for DHHS in-service hours.

Natural Learning Environments

All children should have daily access to quality outdoor learning environments.

Our work is based on a decade of research by North Carolina State University’s Natural Learning Initiative on the Preventing Obesity by Design model. This research showed that by improving the design of outdoor spaces through affordable interventions and training early childhood professionals, young children and early childhood programs enjoy substantial benefits:

  • Children are more physically active in the outdoors and engage in social interactions more often.
  • Children and providers enjoy naturalized outdoor spaces and spend more time outside, supporting healthy behaviors.
  • Hands-on gardening encourages the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables.

We are currently accepting programs into the pilot phase of the our Natural Learning Environments project. While involvement in the program does not guarantee funding, we provide the following services at no charge:

  • Design assistance to turn your vision into an attainable plan
  • Family and stakeholder outreach to share your vision and plan
  • Assistance with grant writing and project management
  • Professional devleopment and coaching for staff
Contact Katie Krause for more information: or 402-444-3338