Nature U: Juntos Afuera/Together Outside

2017 Summit Recap


About the Keynote Speaker: Margaret Lamar

Margaret LamarMargaret Lamar is the of Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Children & Nature Network (C&NN). She works in cities across the U.S. to promote health and wellness in urban communities through infusing nature into urban design and inspiring local leadership to prioritize policies and programs that support everyday nature access for children. Through her work with C&NN, she supports cross-sector city planning for increased equity in urban nature experiences to improve educational performance, mental health and active outdoor physical activity for healthy lifestyles in children and families.

She directs national and international C&NN initiatives that seek to create scalable systems change in cities: Cities Connecting Children to Nature, a partnership with the National League of Cities; Green Schoolyards for Healthy Communities, supporting nature-rich schoolyards in low-income communities; and Natural Families, creating whole-community engagement in nature. She lives in San Antonio where you can most often find her and her two boys on the banks of rivers or walking through dry creek beds.

2016-2017 mini-grant awardees! 

These mini-grants strive to highlight the many organizations and initiatives in Central Texas that seek to connect youth and families with nature and public lands in their community. The Collaborative granted 14 awards of $250-$500 to support new initiatives or current youth and families in nature programs, activities, or events. A big congratulations to our grantees below!


Austin Youth River Watch 

Blanco River Restoration project at TSU University Camp in Wimberly. Camping trip, service learning activities and restoration of riparian environment.

Camp FIre

Camp Fire Central Texas

Black History Garden. Collaboration with Dailey Middle School. Connect youth with nature through gardening and celebrate Black History month by growing food that originated in African countries.


Clifton Career Development Horticulture Program

Palmetto State Park Day Trip. Park Ranger led hike on interpretive trail, fish cleaning and cooking activity paired with food grown in horticulture program.


Cunningham Elementary School

Bike-a-thon. Collaboration with Berkeley United Methodist Church. Promote life-long exercise habits in special needs students as part of AISD initiative. GAVA partnership.


Extend-A-Care Pecan Springs

Nature walks, entomology, tree planting. Day in the Trail Dirt – Trail Foundation. Children in Nature Collaborative – recreation and conservation. Keep Austin Beautiful – Tree Planting.

Families in Nature

Families in Nature 

Family camping trip to Garner State Park. This camping trip is to introduce families to many aspects of outdoor activities and nature; basic camping lessons, outdoor cooking, hikes, flora and fauna I.D.


Friends of the Colorado River

Redbud program – field trip - students learn science behind waterways, impact of people on water resources: conservation and stewardship.


Hernandez Middle School

Operation Play More! show children how much fun it is to get outside and play. Promotional video produced by students showing where local parks are located; social media campaign encouraging students to use local parks and spend time outside.


JP's Peace, Love and Happiness Teaching Garden

Sustainable Food Center and Creative Action Afterschool. SFC garden’s tour and bee ecology with bee hive build. Show-and-tell at Creative Action Community Art Sunday event.


Laurel Mountain Elementary

Collaboration with Mikey’s Play Yard. Mikey’s Play Yard is a focal area for students at Laurel Mountain and needs updating and equipment to enhance and encourage student outdoor activities.

Serve Taylor

Serve Taylor Afterschool

Lake Georgetown hike with native plant education. Will design and build nature art piece and landscape afterschool site.


Operation Achievement 

Collaboration between Southwestern U and Georgetown ISD. Design and implement experiential garden learning curriculum at SU to promote environmental literacy. Incorporates healthy plants and garden building lessons.


Westcave Outdoor

Exploration of Westcave Preserve; geology, native flora and fauna. Faculty and Staff from Cities Connecting Children to Nature Implementation plan and Barrington beautification project unified.


Wholesome Generation 

Walnut Creek water quality testing and nature hike. Part of nature-based curriculum in and around Walnut Creek.

The 2016-2017 grants were sponsored by the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin with funding from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. 

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