Families in Nature works tirelessly to break down barriers to spending time in nature. We have been working on developing an online version of our Guide Development Program to overcome the barriers of time availability and the need to travel to our in-person trainings.  COVID-19 made it necessary to cancel all of our in-person Guide trainings for Spring 2020, which instigated FIN to speed up the creation of our online training option.

Our Online 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 a 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.


Our next Online Guide Development will be offered January 19th and 21st from 7-9pm CST.  

FIN staff will host 4 interactive, 2 hour meetings online. You can register here.

There will also be approximately three hours of reading and reflection to prepare for the training that will be sent out to all participants on June 8, 2020.

How and How Much?

To apply for the program, please complete the online application. And then register for the training on our website calendar.

We would like to invite you to become part of our very first online cohort of FIN Guides. As part of our first cohort, we would like to offer a 25% discount on the program fees. Normally, the cost of our online Guide Training will be $200 per person, including access to FIN’s exclusive Ecologist School Curriculum before it is published as a book (expected early 2022).
Join our online Guide cohort for $150 per person in 2020!

Full and partial scholarships are available. Apply here.
FIN is pleased to offer this program at no charge to guides associated with FIN’s 2019-20 school and community partners, and guides from Title I schools in the Austin area, thanks to funding from the Texas Parks and Wildlife COOP grant.

For questions or additional information, please contact: Jordan Joly, FIN’s Program Coordinator, at jordan@familiesinnature.org.