Texas Children in Nature Network Summit: Kids Need Nature and Nature Needs Kids

Join us for our Texas Children in Nature Network Summit and Reception December 6-8, 2023

Summit Header.jpg

Texas Children in Nature Network Summit: Kids Need Nature and Nature Needs Kids

December 6-8, 2023 at the C. Baldwin Hotel in Houston, Texas

Presented by H-E-B.

Location: 400 Dallas St., Houston, TX 77002

Registration Open

During this three-day Summit, TCiNN will bring together health, education, built environment, faith, conservation, and community leaders to shape an even brighter future for the children of Texas. Over 300 community leaders from across the state will gather to strengthen the network and develop opportunities and policies that will connect more children and families in nature.

Conference at a Glance

  • Wednesday

    • 12-4: Workshops around Houston

    • 6-9: Texas Children in Nature Network Night Out- Buffalo Bayou Park

  • Thursday

    • 8-9: Summit Welcome: Featured Speaker Dr. Howard Frumkin

    • 9-10: Keynote Speaker Parker McMullen Bushman

    • 10-12: Regional Meetings

    • 1-5: Concurrent Sessions

    • 5-6: Poster Sessions

    • 6-10: Champions Awards Dinner (Additional Ticket)

  • Friday

    • 8-12:30:Keynote Speaker Dr. Melissa Lem and Concurrent Sessions

Keynote Speakers:

  • Parker McMullen Bushman: Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder of Inclusive Journeys, and the founder and CEO of Ecoinclusive Strategies. Parker Bushman has been a leader in the conservation, environmental education, outdoor recreation and non-profit fields for 24+ years and has served in top leadership for Marine Science, Environmental Educational, and Cultural Interpretive Facilities. Her current work focuses on helping organizations create dynamic organizational change to cultivate diversity and equity at all levels through strategic activism and education.

  • Dr. Melissa Lem: Vancouver family physician, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and Founding Director of PaRx, Canada’s national nature prescription program powered by the British Columbia (BC) Parks Foundation. Also President of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Dr. Lem was the winner of a 2022 Nature Inspiration Award from the Canadian Museum of Nature and sits on the Advisory Committee of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Health and Well-being Specialist Group. A widely published writer, climate change panelist on CBC Radio's Early Edition and in-house medical columnist for CBC TV Vancouver, one of her major priorities is knowledge translation.

Featured Speaker

  • Howard Frumkin, a general internist and epidemiologist, is Senior Vice President and director of the Land and People Lab at Trust for Public Land, a national organization that creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. He is also Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington School of Public Health, where he served as Dean from 2010-2016. Previously he was head of the Our Planet, Our Health initiative at the Wellcome Trust in London (2018-19), Director of the National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (NCEH/ATSDR) at the CDC (2005-10), and Professor and Chair of Environmental and Occupational Health, and Professor of Medicine, at Emory University (1990-2005). His career has focused on health aspects of climate change, the built environment, nature contact, and sustainability. His community and professional activities have included serving on numerous National Academy of Sciences committees, on the Boards of the Bullitt Foundation, the Seattle Parks Foundation, the Washington State Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Green Building Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the American Public Health Association, and the National Environmental Education Foundation, on advisory committees to the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education (Columbia University), the Harvard Center on Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, the Yale Center on Climate Change and Health, the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health (George Mason University), and the European Centre on Environment and Human Health (University of Exeter), on the Steering Committee of the Planetary Health Alliance (Harvard University). He is author or co-author of over 300 scientific journal articles and chapters, and his ten books include Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Health, Well-Being, and Sustainability (2011 and 2022), Environmental Health: From Global to Local (3rd Edition 2016), Planetary Health: Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves (2020), and Planetary Health: Safeguarding Human Health and the Environment in the Anthropocene (2021). He was educated at Brown (A.B.), the University of Pennsylvania (M.D.), and Harvard (M.P.H. and Dr.P.H.). He is an elected member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences and of the National Academy of Medicine, and is a Hagler Fellow at Texas A&M University.

Champions Awards Dinner

Join us on December 7th for our Annual Champions Awards Dinner. This event honors our five award winners to be announced in September 2023. The Dinner will be held at the C. Baldwin Hotel in the Barbara Jordan Ballroom starting at 6:00 on December 7th. Tickets for this event are available with Summit registration for $125 and separately for $200. Tables of eight are available for $1550. Tickets Available HERE

Summit Session Strands

  • Access to Nature
  • Community Engagement and Partnerships
  • Nature for All
  • Formal and Informal Education
  • Physical and Mental Health
  • Greenspace Conservation and Development

Concurrent sessions will take place on Thursday and Friday of the Summit and are one hour long.

The Summit also features a Poster session on Thursday, Dec 7.

Submit a Poster Session Proposal

Texas Children in Nature Network Night Out - Wednesday Evening

Join us on Wednesday, December 6th, at the Buffalo Bayou Park from 6:30-9 for an exciting evening of food, activities, and networking. Partners from Buffalo Bayou Partnership, the Houston Public Library, Gulf Coast Master Naturalists, Fort Worth Botanic Garden, and more will host a variety of nature fun activities - including: Houston Illuminated Cistern Tours, a nature art activity, nature play, a star party and more. Join us at the park for a night of play!

Transportation to Buffalo Bayou Park (105-B Sabine St) is not provided. The park is located within approximately a 10 minute walk of the C. Baldwin Hotel. There is also parking available for the park by the Visitor Center entrance (105-B Sabine St). Additional paid parking is available at 1643 Memorial Drive.

Wednesday Workshops

We are doing half-day workshops on Wednesday afternoon, December 6th. These workshops will feature some great programs our partners are doing and highlight wonderful nature spaces across the Houston Metro-Area.

You will be asked to choose a workshop upon registration, all workshop registration changes must be given prior approval and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. A full listing of the workshops with descriptions can be found below. As workshops fill they will be removed from registration. NOTE: All workshops are rain or shine.

A box lunch is available for purchase with your Summit registration and purchased lunches will be available for pickup at the hotel upon check in.

Our Wednesday workshops are:

1. Bike Share and Urban Greenways to Promote Access to Nature

Texas A&M University

Presenters: Drs. Jay Maddock & Deb Kellstedt & Houston BCycle, Laura Knutson & Tony Banks

Location: Buffalo Bayou Greenways, 1-4pm

Maximum #: 15

2. Cultural Tapestry: Weaving Community Connections through Identity, Nature, and Art

Student Conservation Association (SCA)

Presenters: SCA Youth, SCA Program Staff & Buffalo Bayou Partnership

Location: Buffalo Bayou Park – 105-B Sabine Street, Houston, 77007

Maximum #: 30

3. Engaging New Audiences through Camping Adventures

Texas Parks and Wildlife - Texas State Parks

Presenter: Lisa Reznicek

Location: Sam Houston Park, 1-4pm1000 Bagby St, Houston, 77002

Maximum #: 45

4. Engaging Your Community in Walking Programs: Wellness Walk and Walkshop in Buffalo Bayou Park

Urban Paths

Presenter: Laura Conely

Location: Buffalo Bayou Park, 1-4pm 400 Dallas St, Houston, 77002

Maximum #: 45

5. Fishing for the Next Generation of Conservationists - The Benefits of Fishing and Angler Education

Texas Parks and Wildlife – R3 Program

Presenters: Jason Mercer & Adam Comer

Location: Sam Houston Park, 1-4pm1000 Bagby St, Houston, 77002

Maximum #: 30

6. Health and Wildlife Out Your Back Door: Optimizing health for people and ecosystems

Memorial Park Conservancy

Presenters: Liz Jordan, Memorial Park Conservancy & Staff

Location: Memorial Park – Kinder Land Bridge and Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Prairie, 1-4pm Parking Lot at 7575 N Picnic Lane, Houston, 77077

Maximum #: 30

7. In the Forest or on the Playground: A Case Study of Nature Play at The Fay School

The Fay School

Presenters: Melissa Sherman, Ozden Ozkanoglu & Bienenstock Playgrounds Staff

Location: The Fay School - 105 N. Post Oak Ln.

Maximum #: 30

8. Inspiring Community Science through Wildlife Gardening

Houston Museum of Natural Science

Presenters: Laura Davidson & Melissa Hudnall

Location: Houston Museum of Natural Science 1-4pm - 5555 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, 77030

Maximum #: 30

9. Interpretation on the Go

Texas Parks and Wildlife – Texas State Parks

Presenter: Danielle Bradley-Okay

Location: Sam Houston Park, 1-4pm1000 Bagby St, Houston, 77002

Maximum #: 30

10. It Takes a Village: How Houston-area Organizations are Collaborating Together to Strengthen Environmental Education in the Community

Houston Zoo

Presenters: Houston Zoo Staff & Community Partners

Location: Houston Zoo, 1-4pm6200 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, 77030

Maximum #: 100

11. Nature Smart Libraries: Connecting Nature and Literacy

San Antonio Public Library and Austin Parks & Recreation Department

Presenters: Cresencia Huff, San Antonio Public Library & Melody Alcazar, City of Austin PARD-Cities Connecting Children to Nature Program

Location: 500 McKinney St, Houston, 77002

Maximum #: 30

12. School of the Future: Building a Wildly Healthy, Climate Ready School and Campus

The Nature Conservancy & PBK Architects

Presenters: Jaime Gonzalez, The Nature Conservancy & Melissa Turnbaugh, PBK Architects

Meet-up Location: C. Baldwin Hotel Lobby 400 Dallas St, Houston, 77002Workshop

Location: Jefferson Early Learning Center, 14061 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, 77083 1-4pm (approximate return to hotel at 4:45pm)

Maximum #: 30

*All attendees will go on charter bus. Meet at 12:00pm. Departure promptly at 12:15pm.

13. SPARK School Park Tour – Exploring Two Green Schoolyards

SPARK School Park Program & Partners

Presenters: Staff from SPARK School Park Program, National Wildlife Federation - Monarch Heroes Program, Asakura Robinson Design, Environments & Co., Families in Nature, Rose Toro-Artist, Urban HarvestMeet-up

Location: C. Baldwin Hotel Lobby 400 Dallas St, Houston, 77002

Tour: 12-3pm (approximate return to hotel at 3:30pm)

Maximum #: 45

*All attendees will go on charter bus. Meet at 11:15am. Departure promptly at 11:30am.

Conference Lodging Options

  • Texas Children in Nature Network has a conference block of 75 rooms at the C. Baldwin Hotel in Houston, Texas, 400 Dallas St, Houston, TX 77002. Room block will be held until November 7, 2023. You can register with this link.
  • Other nearby hotels

Parking and Transportation

Parking is available at the C. Baldwin Hotel for both hotel and day guests. The cost is $48/day. We encourage our Summit attendees to use Houston public transportation while in town, day passes are available for $3/day. Learn more

Meals and Happy Hours

  • Full registration includes the following meals:
  • Wednesday evening hors d'oeuvres
  • Thursday Breakfast and Lunch
  • Friday Breakfast
  • A boxed lunch for Wednesday (Dec 6) will be available for purchase with your registration.
  • Hors d'oeuvres will be served at our Wednesday evening Texas Children in Nature Network Night.
  • Thursday Happy Hour is part of our Poster Session time. This event will feature free non-alcoholic beverages and a cash bar for beer and wine.
  • Champions Awards Dinner Tickets (December 7) will be available for purchase with registration.
  • Dinner is not included and is on your own.

2023 Champions Awards

Every year Texas Children in Nature Network honors individuals or organizations that have gone above and beyond to improve the lives of children through strengthening their connection with nature. The awards ceremony will be hosted at the C. Baldwin Hotel on December 7, 2023. We encourage you to nominate individuals and organizations in Texas who exemplify engaging children in nature.

We are currently accpeting nominations for champions in the following catagories

  • Emerging Leader - Work in this category is innovative, creative, scalable, adaptable to other communities, engages other youth, and employs high community impact.
  • Individual - Work in this category is innovative, creative, scalable, adaptable to other regions, and engages TCiNN partners and supporters. It includes multidisciplinary collaboration (i.e., public health, business sector, diverse groups) and employs high community impact.
  • Organization - Project is innovative, creative, scalable, adaptable to other regions, and engages TCiNN partners and supporters. It employs multidisciplinary collaboration (i.e., public health, business sector, diverse groups) and results in tangible on the ground community impact.
  • Business - Connecting children to nature is an important part of the company’s core values. This could include financial investment, community engagement, advocacy for access to nature and time spent outdoors, and on the ground projects that work to connect children and families to nature.

2023 Texas Children in Nature Network Champion Awards Dinner

At every Texas Children in Nature Network Summit we honor individuals or organizations that have gone above and beyond to improve the lives of children in Texas through strengthening their access to and connection with nature.

Join us at the C. Baldwin Hotel, on December 7th at 6:00 for an awards reception honoring this year's award winners. The event will feature and awards ceremony, networking opportunities, a seated dinner, and a silent auction.

Thank You to Our 2023 Summit Sponsors

Our Texas Our Future Logo (Updated 2022).jpg

Presenting Sponsor: H-E-B

TPWD Logo CMYK 8-10-20.jpg

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department


Children and Nature Network

Buffalo Bayou Partnership

Buffalo Bayou Partnership

SCA Logo - Marsha towns.jpg

Student Conservation Association

Driscoll Health Plan Logo_H_RGB (1).jpg

Driscoll Health Plan

Bienenstock Logo - Print Quality (1).png

Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds

GCH LOGO copy.jpg

The Garden Club of Houston

The Fay School

The Fay School

NWF-Logo-smaller png.png

National Wildlife Federation


Blackland Collaborative

Saint Arnold logo.png

Saint Arnold Brewery


Fox & Seeker Distilled Goods

Center for Health and Nature

Hayden and Lynn Brooks

Lyda Hill Philanthropies

Rambler Sparkling Water