Recorded Webinars and Workshops

Check out our recorded workshops here

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Birding in the Barrio

Sebastian Casarez will share his experiences with a birding program in his neighborhood. Birding in the Barrio (Neighborhood) How to spark a love of birding among young minorities will be an 1 hour powerpoint presentation starting with own my experiences of being a young, hispanic birder in the birding community. The importance of diversity for the new generation of birders and ways to help minority birders overcome the fear of birding.This presentation will also explain how The Texas Blue Jay Project helps introduce birdwatching to minorities and low-income children and teens in the communities. I started The Texas Blue Jay Project in 2017 to encourage Texans throughout Texas to explore birds and birdwatching. I especially focused on teaching at several low-income and highly minority communities about birds and how to start birdwatching through my bird presentations and bird walks. In 2018, I started a used bird field guide book drive in efforts to collect as many used bird field books to donate to local schools that had high minorities and low-income students to help introduce and inspire students to learn about the birds and birdwatching. I will also explain how The Texas Blue Jay Project helped contribute and assist several schools on starting a young birders club/ornithology club in their schools. My goal is for attendees to leave with new ideas and tools on how to spark a love for birds among young minorities in their communities.

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Connecting to Nature Through Art and Writting

Together we will explore sketching and writing as a powerful observation tool that gives everyone the means to better connect with the flora and fauna. Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program will provide writing, sketching, mapping and mindfulness curriculum ideas that help to engage visitors in the natural and cultural history of their own communities. These activities are cross curricular and can be adapted for one day trips or yearlong projects. We use will discuss how we use them both ways. You will create your own journal of ideas to take back to your facility and use. Cultivating a community of place-based learning and mindfulness helps to grow respect and a willingness to share a joint conservation vision. 1. We will work in our own journals 2. We will map our location and observations in our journals 3. We will participate in at least one mindful creative writing activity 4. We will create a sample nature journal page for a single observation 5. Handouts will include – yearlong sketching class outline, nature journal prompts, writing prompts, and example field journal pages for your use Inspired environmental education incorporates art, science and storytelling as a pathway to ecological understanding. We will use these 3 to explore the place where you live as a basis for self-discovery and ultimately a deep respect for the land.

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Green School Parks: An Assessment Driven Approach

Since 2016 Austin has been part of the Cities Connecting Children to Nature initiative, a partnership initiative of the National League of Cities and the Children and Nature Network working towards more equitable access to nature for the children of Austin. One of the strategies CCCN Austin has incorporated is green school parks, using joint use agreements between the city and Austin ISD to place nature rich green spaces in under-served communities. As part of this initiative Austin has developed a unique assessment tool that has been used by the City of Austin Green School Parks CCCN subcommittee to get baseline information on all of our joint use school properties. Participants will learn how the Austin Independent School District, the City of Austin and the Austin Parks Foundation are trying to scale the Green School Parks initiative with other community partners. The comprehensive assessment of green schoolyard features, school/community activation and vision for the schoolyards, and professional development needs is creating a baseline for scaling the program. Hear lessons learned in our process and how we have identified challenges and successes at our schools that help to determine their “nature score”.

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Outdoor Adventure for Youth in Public Housing

Dr. Christine Norton of Texas State University shares about work she has been doing in partnership with the University and the Poder Center. Her work focuses on the positive affects of outdoor experiences for youth in public housing.

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Teachers and Students Learning Outdoors

Workshop looking at the outcomes of teaching outdoors with Dr. Sandra Johnson. This workshop is for both formal and informal educators teaching in an outdoor setting. Teachers would like to take their students outdoors to learn, but don’t always know what the best methods would be. They wonder, “How do I maintain interest of the students and control of student behavior while meeting the state standards?” Informal educators have experience in learning outside, but do not always know how to make that learning fit with formal education requirements. They wonder, “How do I make this concept developmentally appropriate, engaging for students, and meet state standards.” This workshop will provide ideas for putting the answers to all of these questions together in meaningful activities. See students as they learn content and skills necessary to meet state standards, while providing examples of meeting the need for developmentally appropriate, engaging lessons using state standards, and take part in example activities illustrating these ideas.

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Using Outdoor Spaces on Your Campus - Pt 3

With COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing, schools are looking for creative ways to address the needs of their students in the upcoming school year. Join experts in the field as they discuss the tips and tricks of taking your class outdoors. Also addressed will be best practices of outdoor lessons and how various subjects can be transitioned into outdoors learning. The workshop will feature breakout rooms and work with various experts in the field of outdoors learning.

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A Youth Led Discussion on Equity and Inclusion in the Outdoors

Panel with youth working towards Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the Outdoors with Ellyssa Saldivar Please consider donating to Texas Children in Nature and help us continue to bring you workshops like this. We want everyone to learn, explore, and connect with nature. To do that we need the environmental field and nature-focused organizations to be more inclusive, diverse and representative of all communities. Join youth leaders from the Austin Parks and Recreation Department Park Ranger Cadet Program to discuss the intersections of racial equity, connecting to the outdoors, and outdoor careers. For the first half of the session, they will share the work they've been doing in Austin to address racial equity by building a green careers pipeline for young leaders. In the second half youth leaders and attendees will dive into discussion topics such as: barriers to connecting with nature, why they focus on race, importance of knowing the history of an area, being a white ally, guidance for having tough conversations & curricular resources, eco-therapy in relation to this work, building partnerships, peer mentorship model, youth leadership development, the importance of elevating youth voices, and creating pathways to employment. Come to the session ready to share stories, successes, challenges, and questions! We hope to have open and honest conversations, share strategies and resources, and strengthen our network of people doing this work,. Together, we can work towards a Texas where nature and outdoor careers are more accessible for people who have been historically excluded.