The mission of Families in Nature is to connect children and their families to nature and to each other through time spent learning, playing and volunteering outdoors.
Families in Nature (FiN) is a federally tax exempt 501c3 non-profit organization and we strive to engage families of all backgrounds with children of all ages. FiN is in its 8th year as an outdoor education program and is currently serving families with children ranging in age from 4 months to 17 years old, with interns in college and beyond. FiN activities are aimed at teaching children and their parents about ecology and conservation through hands-on experiences in nature, while they spend quality family time together. The activities include nature walks, field science experiences, service projects, camp-outs, lessons in outdoor skills, S.T.E.A.M. aligned lessons and more. Each activity has time for learning and time for playing outside. It is amazing what a group of kids (and parents) will come up with when they have unstructured time outside together.
We strive to create confident, capable, independent, curious, engaged, interested and connected children and families. The physical and mental health benefits, as well as the educational benefits of time spent in nature are well documented in Richard Louv’s books “Last Child in the Woods” and “The Nature Principle.”
FiN teaches field science through the use of hands on learning. FiN families experience hands on field science with local biologists and ecologists throughout the year. For example, families have the chance to volunteer with Texas Parks and Wildlife to band wild birds at Guadalupe River State Park. We also study water quality and aquatic insects with the City of Austin. We go birding and learn marine biology on the Texas Coast, and we have many other educational adventures. Our goal is to educate children and their families about the world around them and to create environmentally literate students. “In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” – Baba Dim
Families in Nature promotes strong families and a strong sense of community through shared experiences in nature. We hope to provide a “tribe” as described in Michael Gurian’s “The Wonder of Boys.”
FiN creates scheduled family time as a restorative part of our busy, over scheduled lives where every member of the family is probably headed in different directions all week long.
FiN works to instill confidence in families so that they will feel safe and capable taking their children hiking and camping. We teach camping using the principles of Leave No Trace.
FiN provides opportunities for volunteer service to families who want to do volunteer projects with their children.
Participation in FiN can help children and their parents reduce stress by spending time outdoors without the distractions of screens, phones, bills, laundry, and all of the other minutia of everyday life. FiN activities create emotionally accessible time with family and community.