About Us

San Diego Children and Nature (SDCaN) was organized in January 2009 by individuals and educational, environmental, business, and community groups with shared concerns that today’s children have fewer and fewer opportunities to experience nature. Over 60 organizations are working together to preserve opportunities for San Diego’s children to learn in nature and play outdoors.

At San Diego Children and Nature…

Our Mission is to lead the regional movement to connect all children to nature by providing professional learning and networking for educators, families, and communities.

Our Vision is a world in which all children play, learn, and grow with nature in their everyday lives.

Our Goals have been established to implement our mission:

  1. Increase public awareness of the value of nature and outdoor experiences.
  2. Enhance schools’ ability to connect children to nearby nature.
  3. Partner with community groups to value, promote, and provide opportunities for outdoor experiences.
  4. Drive changes in attitudes, skills, and behaviors that lead to positive relationships with nature.
  5. Promote learning, sharing, and networking.
  6. Build a sustainable organization to support our mission.

SDCaN brings to San Diego the national Children & Nature Network, which believes that nature makes kids healthier, happier and smarter.

Our organization meets every month to develop programs and initiatives to help bring children to nature together. You are invited to join our meetings, to learn from others, and to share your opportunities and successes with collaborative members and partners. Email us for more information.

San Diego Children and Nature is a 501(c)(3) organization that depends on community donations and grants. If you would like to support our organization, please Donate Now via PayPal. You will receive a letter confirming that your contributions are tax exempt.

Why Children and Nature?

SDCaN_Liz_ChildrenAfterSchool_oct09Children who learn in nature and play outdoors are happier, healthier, and smarter!

Happier by Nature.  To feel the sun and the rain on our skin, dig in the soil with our hands, hear crickets chirp, and see birds soar is to form a bond with other living things and the world we share. By venturing into “nearby nature,” children and families have opportunities to explore and learn while having fun and bonding.  Resources at Families.

SDCaN_GirlSmiling_ChildrenInGrassHealthier by Nature.  Nature is the ideal playscape for the climbing, running, pondering, and wondering that are essential for healthy child development. Playing outdoors in nature is a high-touch alternative to a technology-saturated lifestyle. Children and families that connect with nature increase their mental and physical wellness and gain a sense of life balance. Resources at Health.

Smarter by Nature.  Nature is an outdoor classroom where children experience science, math, language, and group learning by observing, touching, listening, smelling, telling, and doing.  When children connect with nature, they also connect with each other, their families, and the community as they learn that they are part of something bigger than themselves. Through their experiences in nature, they become more passionate stewards of the natural world.  Resources at ClassroomTeachers

We invite you to get involved in the Collaborative:

  • Take time to enjoy nature with your children, grandchildren, friends, and neighbors–today!
  • Attend the monthly Program Leadership meetings first Wednesday, 5-6:30 pm in person and/or via Zoom.
  • Join a project group or be a project coordinator to increase children’s nature experiences in school or youth programs.
  • Develop contacts for Parent-Teacher associations or serve as School Nature Champion for your school district or school.
  • Draft and provide graphics for informational materials for exhibits, fairs, and local audiences.
  • Suggest additional information to add to this website.
  • Post information on our Facebook page about local nature places and programs for children and families.
  • Invite SDCaN to give a presentation at a meeting of your service club, school, garden club, business or other gathering.