The model was originated in the San Francisco Bay Area by The Environmental Volunteers, where a small group of environmental education (EE) providers recognized that the traditional approach of offering single, one time experiential programs to as many classrooms as possible was not achieving the educational and stewardship results that could be achieved through collective impact.

They piloted a new shared service delivery model that has now been expanded to include 20 nonprofit education providers, implemented districtwide, studied by a local funders collaborative (EEFC), and proven through independent evaluation to create a student population more environmentally aware, academically enriched, and measurably more proficient in science.

  • Deliver multiple natural science education programs from different providers to a classroom;
  • Coordinate program delivery so that each program leverages the others, teaching or reinforcing STEM concepts;
  • Use local nature preserves as ‘living science labs’; and,
  • Develop long term relationships with schools so that students receive reinforcing educational experiences year after year.

The Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation, under the direction of its former Executive Director, Dana Marcus,  is proud to have supported and co-developed the Education by Nature model, learning community, and collaborative software tools that support this work.  With the guidance and support of the foundation, and the members of the EEFC, there are several current implementations and variations of the Education by Nature model:

Science by Nature, SF Bay Area, California, through Environmental Volunteers

  • Uses original online platform (currently developing a Salesforce App);
  • 20 partners offer programs and online requests;
  • Five (5) Partners participate in the first district-wide collaborative in partnership with Mountain View Whisman School District;
  • Piloted highly successful Transportation Fund;
  • Provided first multi-year study documenting proven results;
  • Participates in Learning Community.

Education by Nature: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, through Children’s Nature Institute (CNI);

  • Five Partners serving 6 schools;
  • Uses semi-customized online platform;
  • Developed online evaluation through a grant from
  • CNI Leads the Learning Community and knowledge sharing, across Massachusetts, through Museum Institute for Teaching Science;

  • Uses semi-customized online platform for Teacher Professional Development Opportunities statewide, with regional capabilities

Hawai’i Teacher Hub, Oahu, Hawai’i, through Pacific American Foundation and the Learning Coalition;

  • Uses semi-customized online platform;
  • Participates in Learning Community

The California Department of Education’s CREEC Network, statewide across California, through the Office of STEM Education.

  • Uses fully customized, multi-permission level statewide online platform with events calendar and regional pages;
  • Has spawned organic, smaller, local collaboratives that participate in the learning community, including:
    • Chico: Outdoor Education for All! (OEFA!)
    • Monterey Bay: MBEE Environmental Education
    • Los Angeles: LA Watershed Collaborative

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