Design Professionals

If our cities, our town, our neighborhoods and our homes are designed to promote consistent interaction between people and their surroundings environment, people will learn to value and care for the Earth as if it were their own. If children are exposed to nature at a young age and are encouraged to foster an evolving relationship with the outdoor environment in which they live and play, they will begin to understand and value the natural world as part of their everyday existence.

With each new project and newly designed space, there exists an opportunity to influence the way that children, families, and communities interact with the exterior environment. With a thoughtful and educated design approach, these new spaces can be designed not only to teach about the natural world, local ecosystems, and wildlife, but also to maintain the ability to create a deep routed bond between people and the natural world. 

The San Diego Children and Nature Collaborative will help provide information to the design community that will help to enhance the relationship between children, their community, and their environment through effective site planning, access, the use of native vegetation.  For further information, contact Ilisa Goldman, Landscape Architect, at

National design and management guidelines for natural areas in children’s outdoor play and learning environments.

Pathways for Play, Integrating play into communities and bringing play back into nature,

NatureGrounds, designing nature back into playgrounds,

Natural Learning Initiative, promoting nature in the daily experience of all children,

Gardens and landscapes that promote health and well-being,

NWF Natural Play Prospectus

Designing for Children’s Outdoor Play and Learning Environments, presentation by Ilisa Goldman at Schoolyard Habitats Teacher Workshops on May 19 and 23, 2012.

Nature Play and Learning Areas Guidelines is a project conducted by the National Wildlife Federation and the Natural Learning Initiative, NC State University, with the support of national partners. The aim is to develop national design and management guidelines for nature areas in children’s outdoor play and learning environments.

The Guidelines Project has issued a Call for Participants in a registry of Nature Play and Learning Areas to support and potentially illustrate the best practice criteria specified in the Guidelines. Click here to access the Call for Participation.