Train to become a certified family nature guide through Families in Nature’s Guide Development Program (GDP). Gain the skills and confidence to get your school or community out into nature to play, learn and volunteer together!


Anyone interested in taking families outside to explore and learn in nature. This program is for parents, grandparents, teachers, community leaders, environmental educators, professional outdoor guides and more.

The GDP is also a great resume builder for those looking to grow or expand their career in the outdoor, environmental education or conservation fields. Continuing education credits may also be available.

All are welcome to this training and as participants in FIN.


You are invited to join FIN’s community of Guides with three options for participating in our Guide Development Program.

  1. You can attend a Guide Training in person in Central Texas
  2. You can bring our staff to you to train leaders from your own organization, city, school district, or collaborative.
  3. You can join our new Guide Development Online Training – developed in response to COVID-19 and in an effort to make our programs more accessible to communities far from Austin and to create access for teachers, parents and leaders who cannot attend an in-person training.

The Guide Development Program includes:

  • Four training modules, including why families need nature, how to plan successful adventures, risk management and keeping families safe outdoors, the benefits of teaching science outside, discovery-style outdoor teaching methods and best practices, Leave No Trace principles, outdoor skill development, raising up the next generation of conservation leaders, how to inspire hope and a love of nature, and more.
  • Training on and access to FIN’s exclusive Ecologist School Program, which includes access to the FIN Guide version of our original Guidebook before it is published. The Ecologist School Guidebook contains an informal science curriculum of more than 1,500 hands-on S.T.E.A.M lessons in 16 branches of science relevant to ecology, with which participants can earn badges and even certification as a Junior Ecologist.
  • Demos of camping and other gear (tents, sleeping pads, camp kitchens, etc.) from FIN’s Gear Library. Completion of the training will allow local Austin area guides to borrow gear for use at events in their communities.
  • Specific training on FIN’s campus campouts program for schools and other community organizations.
  • Outdoor skill building, including how to make a campfire, outdoor cooking, how to teach knife safety, knots and shelter building, and more.
  • Fun nature activities and lesson examples from the Ecologist School Guidebook.
  • Inspiration and knowledge to help you create your own Nature Community.
  • Community building with a meal around fire.
  • Individual and small-group mentorship opportunities during and after training.
  • Inclusion in FIN’s community of practice to enable you to share experiences and learn from our community of Guides.


To apply for the program, please complete the online application.


Questions can be addressed to Jordan Joly, FIN’s Program Coordinator, at