Saturday, April 18, 2020 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM EDT
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Kittery Community Center 
120 Rogers Road
Kittery, ME 03904

Driving Directions 


Peg Smeltz 
Antioch University New England 

Morning Workshops

The Importance of Teaching Children Outdoors: An Occupational Therapist’s Perspective
Sue Ford, Occupational Therapist, Kids Thrive OT, Kittery, ME

Teaching Inside and Outside: Mushrooms Everywhere!
Aja Stephan, Kindergarten Teacher, Friends School of Portland, Cumberland Foreside, ME

Outdoors with All Kids: Garnering Administrative Support for Nature-Based Programs
Marie Robinson, Superintendent, RSU 50 (Katahdin region), Staceyville, ME

Stick Play: The Power of Imagination
Anne Stires, Founder/Executive Director Juniper Hill School for Place-based Education, Alna, ME, and Adjunct Faculty, Nature-based Early Childhood Program, Antioch University New England, Keene, NH

Supporting Children’s Development of an Ecological Identity
Patti Bailie, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education, University of Maine, Farmington, ME

Teaching Place-Based Science in Kindergarten (connected to NGSS)
Maggie Corlett, Kristen Giberson, Jessica McMichael,
Kindergarten Team, 
Meroby Elementary, Mexico, ME

Creating Meaningful Offerings & Rich Storytelling Experiences (for ages 3-6)
Adrienne Hofmann and Christina Powell, preK/ Kindergarten teachers, Juniper Hill School for Place-based Education, Alna, ME

Please read through the workshop descriptions to determine how you would like to spend your day. You will select your workshops during the registration check-in time on the morning of the conference.

Conference Brochure
Workshop Descriptions

Afternoon Workshops

Not If, but How: Inclusion and Advocacy in Nature-Based Programming
Lisa Burris, Founder and Director, Turn Back Time, Inc., Paxton, MA

Tips, Content, and Rhythm to Keep Nature Connection Alive - Even in Winter!
Emily Calhoun Woodsmansee, preK/Kindergarten  Teacher, Live n’ Learn Center, Lee, NH

The Natural Nature of Mime
Antonio Rocha, Storyteller and Mime, Stories in Motion and TEDx speaker, Portland, Maine

Working with Two Year Olds in Outdoor Environments
Fred Hoyt and Katie Clark,Twos and Threes Teachers, Eyes of the World Discovery Center, Kittery, ME

School Days to Forest Days: Routines in the Wild
Eliza Minnucci, Founder, Forest Kinder, Tunbridge, VT and Adjunct Faculty, Nature-based Early Childhood Program, Antioch University New England, Keene, NH

I Love My Dandelions: The Why and How of Teaching Music Outdoors
Annie Nixon, Singer & Songwriter, Physical Education Teacher, Center for Teaching and Learning, Edgecomb, ME

Administration of a Nature-Based Early Childhood Program
Jessica Labbe, Director, Eyes of the World Discovery Center, Kittery, ME

has been cancelled due to the Corona virus pandemic.    

Saturday, April 18, 2020
9:00 am – 4:00 pm

hosted by
Eyes of the World Discovery Center
Kittery Community Center
Kittery, ME

Morning Keynote

What Else is Possible? A Glimpse into Vermont’s Forest Day Programming

Eliza Minnucci, Founder, Forest Kinder, Tunbridge, VT,
Adjunct Faculty, Nature-based Early Childhood Program,
Antioch University New England, Keene, NH

Weaving together receptive administration, commitment to space and time, and a dedication to routines, Vermont’s teachers have created a strong culture of weekly Forest Day teaching and learning. Over forty-five public schools now have classrooms spending frequent, immersive time in wild spaces beyond the classroom walls. As teachers and students rediscover joy in their school days, the stories they have to share are inspirational. Bringing you the voices of these teachers and students, the morning keynote provides a glimpse into what can be possible within the structures of public education, as well as a recipe for successful and sustainable programming.

Eliza Minnucci supports teachers in cultivating nature-based play and learning for their students through ForestKinder, a consulting business that she operates with Meg Teachout from her home in Tunbridge, Vermont. She also teaches the Nature-based Early Childhood Curriculum course at Antioch University New England. She has taught young children, most recently kindergarteners in Quechee, Vermont, and previously in Mexico, Chicago, Seattle and Alaska. She is a frequent presenter at In Bloom conferences throughout New England. She is the author, with Meg Teachout, of A Forest Days Handbook: Program Design for School Days Outside, published in 2018. 

Afternoon Panel Discussion

Changing the Face of Education in Maine:
21st Century Children Need Nature


  • Marie Robinson, Superintendent, RSU 50, Katahdin Region, Staceyville, ME
  • Patti Bailie, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education, UM Farmington, ME
  • Hannah Quimby, Director, Quimby Family Foundation
  • Page Nichols, Chief Innovation Officer, Maine Department of Education, Augusta, ME
  • Anne Stires, Founder and Executive Director, Juniper Hill School for Place-based Education, Alna, ME

Facilitated by David Sobel: Author, Consultant, and Professor Emeritus, AUNE

Why does it matter if you bring students outdoors to engage in meaningful learning? What is happening in this movement across the region? How can all we help support its growth? Nature-based education champion and author, David Sobel will facilitate this groundbreaking, forward-thinking panel in which administrators, a higher education professional, an environmental philanthropist, and the DOE Commissioner’s Chief Innovation Officer discuss the importance of nature-based education for all children, everywhere. The fragile planet we are living on needs children who get immersed in and connected to the natural world and their communities so that they become active, contributing citizens.

Registration Fees:

Working Professional                                $125
Group Rate                                                $100
(per person, 3 or more from same school/org)
AUNE Alumni/Co-Sponsors:                       $75
AUNE and College ED or ES Students       $50