Four Winds Nature Institute is a non-profit organization advancing the understanding, appreciation, and protection of the environment through community-based natural science education and research.

We believe people long for a healthy connection to the environment and to each other. Our programs bring people of all ages together to explore the natural world in their community. These local, hands-on experiences establish connections that will nurture and fuel us all as we work together to address the increasingly complex environmental issues ahead of us.

Four Winds staff members are educators and scientists dedicated to helping children and adults gain the knowledge and science skills needed to understand the world around them and the creative problem-solving and citizenship skills needed to protect it.

May 2020
Dear Four Winds volunteers, teachers, friends:
We understand the challenges that the current school and child care center closures pose for families, not to mention the changes in everyone’s work life and daily routines. Our hearts go out to all.

We’ve been busy during this Stay Home/Stay Safe period providing family-friendly nature-based outdoor science explorations/resources for teachers to include in their distance learning plans for students.

And below are some fun child-focused ideas for families to do together outdoors in nearby nature, while we all are following the Centers for Disease Control’s recommended guidelines to help keep our community healthy and safe.

We all are eager to be out in our communities again leading natural science workshops for volunteers and professional development workshops for teachers and early childhood educators. We hope to see you soon – outside!

With best wishes from all of us at Four Winds,

  • Emily, Chris, Deb, Susan, Becky, Mike, Elly, Joanne, Hilary, Lisa


Nearby Nature our online publication holds a treasure trove of natural science lessons and explorations designed to get children and adults outside learning together in every season.

A Month of Ideas for Exploring Nearby Nature for Families – early spring edition

More Ideas for Exploring Nearby Nature – late spring edition

Time in Nature Ideas for Families with Preschool Children

Nature Journal Prompts — ideas for exploring nearby nature