UMF leads the way with third annual Nature-Based Education Summer Institute, May 18-20

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Miyako Kinoshita with dog
Miyako Kinoshita

FARMINGTON, ME (April 24, 2018) — Interested in implementing or expanding upon nature-based programming in your classroom? The University of Maine at Farmington, a long-standing leader in teacher education, is pleased to announce its third annual Nature-Based Education Summer Institute—Friday, May 18 to Sunday, May 20, 2018, on the UMF campus.

This innovative conference will help educators inspire learning in their classrooms and educational settings based on a child’s sense of wonder about nature.

Kicking off this year’s institute will be a free, public lecture by Miyako Kinoshita, a farm education program manager at Green Chimneys, from 7-9 p.m., Friday, May 18, in the Emery Community Arts Center.

Green Chimneys is a non-profit organization in Brewster, New York, that serves children with special needs. Kinoshita, with a diverse background in special education, is Green Chimneys’ key facilitator specializing in emotional and behavioral crisis and management in animal assisted activity and animal assisted education settings.

She trains and supervises 12 Sam and Myra Ross Institute interns every semester and consults with therapists on campus on how to incorporate animals and nature into therapy sessions. A noted speaker, Kinoshita has lectured extensively in the U.S. and internationally.

Saturday, May 19, will offer a full-day conference. Space is limited, so please submit your registration and payment soon to reserve your space for Saturday’s conference. For cost, registration forms and more information on all sessions, please visit

Anne Stires
Anne Stires

It begins with registration at 8 a.m., in the UMF Olsen Student Center, followed by a keynote by Anne Stires, founder and director of Juniper Hill School for place-based education in Alna, Maine, at 9 a.m., in Lincoln Auditorium in Roberts Learning Center.

With an affinity for nature and environmental education, Stires founded the Juniper Hill School to share her enthusiasm for learning through the lens of place. Her school, formerly her grandmother’s farm, is now where her students begin their immersion in the adventure of learning by studying the natural and human environments around them.

Stires directed a place-based education program for 25 schools on the the midcoast region of Maine for the Quebec-Labrador Foundation Marine Program. She has a master’s degree from Antioch University where she teaches.

A full-day of diverse nature-based session options will follow the keynote.

A Hut Hike overnight experience Saturday, and a half-day nature-based activity on Sunday will complete the institute.

Low-cost accommodations are available on-campus for Friday and Saturday night. Participants will stay in a single residence hall room with bedding provided.

For more information, contact Sue Farris, UMF coordinator of education assessment and special projects at or 207.778.7315.

Images can be found at:
Photo Credit: Submitted photo
Photo Caption: Miyako Kinoshita
Photo Credit: Submitted photo
Photo Caption: Anne Stires

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