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Session Descriptions: Day 1 PM Block: Barber

  • Session presenters, offerings, locations, and/or schedule are subject to change
  • In some cases, target audiences have been identified, but all sessions are open to everyone

NatureSpace: Utilizing the Schoolyard to Connect and Educate Children about the Natural World
August 8, 1:00-1:40pm
Haley Barber, Program Director, Conanicut Island Sailing Foundation
Jane Mitchell, Kindergarten Teacher, Jamestown School District


  • Science, K-8
  • Audience cap: 40
This presentation highlights the journey of two passionate and experienced educators on their quest to connect children to the natural world through nature-based learning. The presenters will share ideas that are easy to implement and will support your current curriculum. All the activities include outdoor exploration, observation, and hands-on investigation that can be facilitated in and around the schoolyard for grades Pre-K-6. Not only are the lessons fun and engaging, they are also aligned with the RI state standards. Come get inspired and learn how easy and fun nature-based learning can be.

Haley Barber is currently the Program Director of Conanicut Island Sailing Foundation which promotes that all people become stewards of the earth, especially the marine environment. Haley designs and teaches a variety of nature-based programs for grades PreK-8. These programs are used in the classroom, after school programming, and through an award-winning summer camp called Sea Adventures Camp.

Haley holds degrees in both Environmental Science and Early Childhood Education from Lesley University. She is most inspired by her year and a half teaching outdoor education to inner-city students in the Redwood Forest in Northern California. 

Jane Mitchell is a born naturalist. With her enthusiasm and knowledge of science and nature, she has been educating and inspiring children and families for over 30 years. She teaches kindergarten at the Melrose School in Jamestown, RI. Her love of nature was sparked by exploring and playing in the ponds, brooks, and gardens near her childhood home. She is committed to connecting and immersing children into the natural world through exposure and education.

Jane has a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Rhode Island and a degree in Horticulture.

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