Conference Program 2016

The Children and Nature Conference brings together leaders in paediatric immunology, public health policy, nature-based education, and nature philanthropy and political engagement.  The conference program is packed with inspiring presentations about the connection between nature and positive childhood outcomes, and engaging with corporate and political sectors to back the global movement to reconnect children to the natural world, and MCed by comedian Peter Rowsthorn.  

Keynote Speakers

Concurrent Sessions

Panel Discussion

Keynote Speakers

Professor Lyn Beazley

Precis: Professor Lyn Beazley is a passionate advocate for getting Australian children to love and learn science. In her keynote she will speak on the importance of children having positive experiences in nature to help them develop the fascination for the natural world that is the building block of curiosity and scientific mind. In a world facing growing climatic and ecological challenges the need to engage new generations in science is pressing and case for fostering a connection between children and the natural world has never been greater.  More about Professor Beazley...

Dr Alan Logan

Precis: Dr Alan Logan’s keynote will focus on the positive impact of natural environments on the human brain.  He will draw on a growing body of research in making the case that exposure to nature promotes positive emotions, increases mental energy, improves cognitive function and mental health, and has a positive influence on children who have been diagnosed with impulsivity, hyperactivity and attention-deficit disorder.  More about Dr Logan...

Ben Klasky

Precis: Ben Klasky will share insights from one of the world’s leading environmental education centres on the power of meaningful experiences in nature to unlock learning and inspire young minds. He will share the remarkable story of Islandwood, located on Bainbridge Island in the wild Puget Sound, along with the philosophy, science and philanthropy behind its success, and offer an educators perspective on link between nature and learning.  More about Mr Klasky...

Professor Susan Prescott

Precis: Professor Susan Prescott, a paediatrician and internationally renowned specialist in childhood allergy and immunology, will take us on a journey into the world and science behind the modern allergy epidemic and the importance of bio-diversity to childhood health.  She will speak to the connection between our modern indoor lives and rise of non-communicable diseases which are increasingly affecting children and lay out the medicinal properties of early and regular exposure to nature.  More about Professor Prescott...

Martin LeBlanc

Precis: Martin LeBlanc has been at the forefront of the movement to reconnect children to nature for more than a decade. In his keynote he will share insights from some of America’s leading programs to reconnect children from underserved communities to nature, the transformative power those experience have, and the keys to engaging communities and garnering political support.  More about Mr LeBlanc...

Concurrent Sessions

Nature and Health - Professor Susan Prescott and Dr Alan Logan

In this session Professor Susan Prescott and Dr Alan Logan will delve deeper into the way changes in our surroundings impact our mental and physical health. Learn more about the impact of bio-diversity on gut-flora and its correlation to health outcomes, the relationship between time in nature and positive mental health and more. The session will also be an opportunity ask questions and engage in a dialogue on the relationship between nature and human health.  

Nature and Education - Daniel Burton (Nature Play WA and Educated by Nature)

Multi-sensory experiences are vital for healthy brain development throughout childhood. The diversity of nature provides both positive and challenging sensory opportunities for both children and adults. A strong foundation of these experiences not only develop good sensory integration but also create memorable learning experiences, engage creativity and problem solving, promote relaxation and development intimacy and affection for nature. In this workshop, you will learn some of the brain science behind developing the senses, hear sensory discovery stories from Educated by Nature programs and participate in some nature sensory activities that can challenge both children and adults.  More about Mr Burton...

Nature, Politics and Philanthropy - Ben Klasky and Martin LeBlanc (Islandwood)

In this session Ben Klasky and Martin LeBlanc will talk you through strategies they have employed at Islandwood and in other programs to engage the corporate, philanthropic and political spheres in the movement to reconnect children to nature. Mr Klasky has successfully raised more than US$50million to support and grow Islandwood and Mr LeBlanc has been a key figure in engaging politicians in programs all the way to the White House.  The interactive session will also get you started on your own action-plan to boost support for your mission.

Panel Discussion

Professor Susan Prescott, Dr Alan Logan, Ben Klasky, Martin LeBlanc and Daniel Burton will all be on stage to take your burning questions on the relationship between positive childhood outcomes and nature. The 45 minute session to end the formal proceedings of the Conference will allow for a broadening of the conversation around Children and Nature and be MCed by Peter Rowsthorn.

Program subject to change.

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