Parent & Teacher Resources

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Children in Nature

Teacher and Parent Resources

The future of the Texas Hill Country really lies in the hands of next generations. Kids spend so much time at the computer, playing organized team sports and preparing for standardized tests, how will they learn about our water systems, native plants and land stewardship strategies? We encourage parents and teachers to connect with each other and provide plenty of opportunities to teach Hill Country kids about caring for our natural world and also how to plan and build sustainable communities.

Area nature centers are a great place to start. They are often a destination for school field trips and they typically have great resources about the local ecology and hydrology. Other great starting points are the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Water Development Board.

With your help, we will keep this resource page current with news and helpful links to foster smart kids who care for the Hill Country. Please send in your suggestions and additions to

Hill Country View SegmentsPhotographer:Mary Gomillion

Children and Nature
Children Need Nature
School Gardens

Recommended Reading Lists

Children and Nature Recommended Reading

Gateway Children’s Nature Connection Recommended Reading and Activities

Texas Children in Nature recommended reading list


Nature Rocks Austin – Helping Austin families find places to enjoy nature, find upcoming activities and share ideas

Austin Families in Nature – an organization of family nature clubs based on the book “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv.

Texas Association for Environmental Education – promotes quality environmental education for the development of an environmentally literate population.

Texas Children in Nature – Public-private partnership of over 80 professionals and organizations to create the Texas Children in Nature Strategic Plan.

Austin Youth River Watch – Austin Youth River Watch is a multi-year, after-school and summer program for high school students, combining peer mentoring with intensive environmental education.

EcoRise Youth Innovations – EcoRise Youth Innovations is a local non-profit organization who partners with high school teachers to infuse sustainability education into the daily curriculum supporting science and technology.

Children & Nature Network – The Children & Nature Network is leading a movement to connect all children, their families and communities to nature through innovative ideas, evidence-based resources and tools, broad-based
collaboration and support of grassroots leadership.

Photographer: Barbara Attwell
Austin Children in Nature Collaborative – non-profit organization dedicated to creating social change so that kids throughout Central Texas have easy and frequent connections to our natural world.

The Nature Conservancy, Kids in Nature – Helping parents get kids outside

Green Ribbon Schools – Green Ribbon Schools (GRS) is an award program that recognizes schools participating in activities that promote and encourage a healthy and environmentally friendly learning environment.

Texas Children in Nature – Group of over 80 partners working together to create a state strategic plan to enable children to spend more time out-of-doors and to better understand Texas’ natural resources.

Youth Launch

National Environmental Education Foundation

Conservation Education from the US Forest Service

Parent Resources

Hill Country Nature Centers

Sustainable Food Center Sprouting Healthy Kids – Sustainable Food Center’s farm-to-school and food systems education project.

Parents Guide to Nature Play – From Green Hearts Institute for Nature in Childhood

Green Hour – The parents place for nature, play & learning

Children’s Activities for Natural Resources Conservation

Educational sites about Astronomy and Space

Ground Water Adventurers – Fun facts and water experiments for kids from the National Groundwater Association.

iNaturalist – You can go to their website or download the app on your smartphone. You can record what you see in nature, meet other nature lovers, and learn more about the natural world.

Teacher Resources

Photographer: Barbara Attwell
Hill Country Nature Centers

Resources for Teachers from TWA – Free distance learning programs via videoconferencing through TWA’s L.A.N.D.S. program

UT’s Environmental Science Institute (ESI) – Connects students to the Environmental Sciences by Providing student educational opportunities and teacher resources, workshops and research opportunities.

Bamberger Ranch Science Camp for Teachers – An excellent learning opportunity for science teachers who teach grade levels 3-5. This workshop offers approximately 30 hours of instuction, (3 CEUs) and the ranch is certifed by the Texas State Board of Education.

Facing the Future – Facing the Future creates tools for educators that challenge students to develop critical thinking skills, build global awareness and engage in positive solutions for a sustainable future.

National Environmental Education Foundation – provides knowledge to trusted professionals who, with their credibility, amplify messages to national audiences to solve everyday environmental problems. Together, we generate lasting positive change.

TWDB Kids Gateway to Texas Water Development Board’s K-12 conservation education resources.

TCEQ Taking Care of Texas: Resources for Teachers and Educators

Project Learning Tree – Provides educators with peer-reviewed, award-winning environmental education curriculum resources that can be integrated into lesson plans for all grades and subject areas.

Children’s Activities for Natural Resources Conservation – Bringing Conservation to Schools

Texas Wildlife Association Teacher and Volunteer Resources

Photographer: Barbara Attwell

Texas Forestry Association Teachers’ Conservation Institute

TPWD Teacher Tool Kit

Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) Teacher Programs

National Prairies Association of Texas Resources for Educators

Educational sites about Astronomy and Space

National Groundwater Association Educator Resources

Statewide Planning Resources

Texas Children in Nature Strategic Plan – Developed by the Texas Partnership for Children in Nature – a group of over 80 professionals and organizations formed to create a formal state plan to enable children to spend more time out-of-doors and to better understand Texas’ natural resources.

Texas National Resource/Environmental Literacy Plan – Created with the mission to provide a framework for ongoing statewide efforts that foster natural esource/environmental literacy as a cornerstone of education, recreation and life-long learning.

Recent Children in Nature News

Good SITES design leads to happy campers at Shield Ranch

The SITES Gold Campsite at Shield Ranch, located just 22 miles from downtown Austin, Texas, serves as the new home for Camp El Ranchito, a scholarship-based overnight camp. El Ranchito started in 2007 as a primitive campsite with the mission to connect children with...

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Outdoors for all: Access to nature is a human right

A FEW YEARS AGO, pediatrician and clinical scientist Nooshin Razani treated a four-year-old girl whose family had recently fled Yemen and settled in the San Francisco Bay Area. The family had received news the night before that members of the father’s family had been...

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Blanco County students paint for the stars

The Blanco County Friends of the Night Sky (BCFNS) last week concluded its 2021 Night Sky Art Contest for students at the high schools and middle schools in both Blanco and Johnson City. The contest, whose theme was “Discover the Night – Deep in the Dark of...

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Guadalupe Master Naturalists win Best In Texas award

The Schertz Parks & Recreation Dept. entered Guadalupe Master Naturalists’ Nature Discovery Series into a state-wide competition for the Best Educational Program in Texas – and won.  The Schertz City Council recognized the honor from the Texas Festival & Event...

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