Community Nature Connection (USA)
The seven #NatureForAll strategies offer solutions to a worldwide problem of disconnection from nature. They have been developed based on recommendations received from the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress and the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress, and advice from #NatureForAll partners worldwide. They will continue to evolve over time. Not every strategy may be applicable in every situation, so our partners choose the one(s) that work best in their local context.
Growing up, everyone has that moment when they realize that they love the outdoors. Whether it’s when they lay out under the stars for the first time or when they enjoy the smokey goodness of their first campfire-roasted marshmallow. It is thanks to moments like these that people form relationships with nature that last a lifetime. Sadly, not every community has the same access to the outdoors, and as a result these communities miss out on the opportunity to develop a love for nature. That’s where we come in.
Community Nature Connection works to combat the various factors that inhibit underrepresented communities from accessing the great outdoors and addressing the gap in cultural representation in the parks. These factors include, but are not limited to: lack of transportation, lack of training and resources, lack of diversity in programs, lack of effort to increase inclusion in leadership programs, or sometimes, just a general lack of awareness.
With these barriers in place, some communities are deprived of positive experiences with the great outdoors, and furthermore, jobs in the outdoors.
What Strategies Contributed to the Success of Community Nature Connection?
Strategy 1: Bring Children Into Nature at an Early Age
CNC offers multiple youth programs including our Future Urban Naturalist program, which is for early elementary school students, and our Junior Naturalist program, which is for older elementary school students and middle school students. We implement interactive and experiential educational methods during our outdoor activities to fully engage our students with the natural world, and spark a passion for it that lasts a lifetime!
Strategy 6: Seek Out Diverse Partnerships
Partnering with a wide variety of nonprofit organizations and community groups is key in diversifying how we connect with our community, and who we connect with in the community. It is because of our many partnerships that we are so successful in reaching as many people with our programs and services.
Through our efforts, we have served tens of thousands of youth, family, and school groups, and many individuals have seen the ocean or gone camping for the first time through our programs.
One of our favorite results to highlight though, is the success of our Naturalist Explorers program, specifically four youth who graduated from that program, and through the years grew to now lead their own naturalist groups as members of our staff. You can read more about these youth here.
- Connect people with nature as early and as often as possible.
- Advocate for diversity.
- Advance outdoor programs through education, creativity, and technology.
- Collaborate with fellow organizations, educators, and nature-lovers.