A Way Forward – The Manitoba Nature Summit

The Manitoba Nature Summit Inc., was founded in 2008 by a small group of Early Childhood Educators (ECE’s) who professed an eagerness for sharing their love of the outdoors with others.

The group was concerned with the lack of outdoor play that was happening in ECE programs and after many conversations determined that perhaps the people who were providing ECE might be lacking an understanding of what it means to be outside, or in short, what to do outside with children.

The idea for a Summit, a meeting of the minds, was developed and the first-ever Manitoba Nature Summit was held in September 2010.  Adults who work with children were invited to explore and experience an outdoor extravaganza of activities, all with the mindset that these were things that could be done with children.

Folks from Wilderness Awareness School ( from Duvall, Washington shared their awareness raising expertise with a small but committed group of educators.

Met with success, the second Manitoba Nature Summit was held in September 2012 with choices of activities to engage in and develop the sense of being outside with children is not only good for them but good for those who work in Early Learning and Child Care, the education system or outdoor learning programs.

The majority of the workshops were facilitated outdoors in a hands-on interactive manner to ensure educators filled their own personal toolkit with activities, fun and knowledge that they could in turn share with the children they interact with.

Here are some of the highlights of the 2012 Manitoba Nature Summit.

Dr. Heather Hinam shared her vast knowledge of Manitoba’s flora and fauna.

Severn Cullis-Suzuki delivered an empowering emotional address that exemplified the power of the grass roots movement.

Laura Reeves led the group in a dusk “Blind Drum Stalk” walk where we learned how to walk like foxes.

Marghanita Hughes shared the beauty of fairy houses and the joy of connecting children with nature.

Gardening can happen even in the smallest urban space and children still get their fingers muddy.

Camp Manitou,, provides a beautiful riverbank setting to re-connect with nature.

The Sunday morning closing ceremony was powerful for all participants.

In Manitoba the movement is growing to get children of all ages outdoors regardless of the weather.  A small but committed group of early childhood educators, teachers, college instructors, government officials is leading this group.  Watch for details of the Manitoba Nature Summit 2014 on our website at or on Facebook.

The Manitoba Nature Summit is a collaboration of some amazing professionals in Manitoba – early childhood educators, teacher, government official, college instructors.  Pictured below are the authors of this success story.

back row (l to r) – Corine Anderson, Sigrid Quinn, Kristi Fitzgerald, Maddi Kettner, Michele Henderson, Ruth Lindsey-Armstrong , front row (l to r) – Jamie Snydal, Cheryl Tremblay, Mavis Lewis-Webber

1 Comment

  1. This is a wonderful example of how dedication and belief can bring about change. I had the pleasure of meeting and working with the Manitoba Nature Summit team last month. Their enthusiasm and passion was inspiring and I left Manitoba feeling excited about the future. Here’s to more Nature Summits sprouting up across the world…

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