Reaching Nature Connection: Singing Snails and Rainbow Tails
East Coast Outdoor Conference for Early Childhood Educators, Teachers, Counselors, Parents, and Mentors
October 2-4, 2020
at Earthaven Ecovillage
near Asheville, NC
With this year's theme, Singing Snails and Rainbow Tails, presenters Lia Grippo, Kelly Villarruel, and Erin Boehme will immerse participants in timeless crafting, joyful singing, and the freedom of play all in the spirit of the young child.
This conference is a program of The Academy of Forest Kindergarten Teachers, co-sponsored by SOIL.
CEUs available through Antioch University, Santa Barbara.
Registration open.Skip To Registration
About the Conference
Reaching Nature Connection is an annual outdoor conference based on forest schools, wilderness awareness, and early childhood education. The conference is designed for beginners and experienced educators alike, as well as therapists, administrators, homeschool families, camp counselors, grandparents, and parents who have an interest in developmentally appropriate nature mentoring for children.
Reaching Nature Connection invites you to join in an exciting weekend of hands-on, research-based, and anecdotal learning. As always, the conference will be infused with songs, games, stories, and deeper nature connection.
Reaching Nature Connection provides an opportunity to set your watch aside and allow the leaders of the conference to hold time for you. The rhythm of each day is designed to move between active and contemplative learning, with a thematic thread running throughout. We will flow between lecture and hands-on components, weaving together our learning through a variety of approaches, with each new component building on the next.
Collaboratively taught by Erin Boehme, Kelly Villarruel, and Lia Grippo with special guest Doug Elliott.
Learn more and invite others to Wild Tales - Strange but True Adventures in the Natural World with Doug Elliott.
Friday, October 2
6:30pm Dinner (pre-ordering required)
7:30pm An evening of stories and songs with Doug Elliott (optional)
Saturday, October 3
8:30–8:45am Conference check-in. Please arrive by 8:45am.
9:00am–5:00pm Conference begins promptly at 9:00 am (break for lunch)
6:30pm Dinner (pre-ordering required)
7:30pm An evening of connection and peer-mentorship (optional)
Sunday, October 4
8:00am Breakfast (pre-ordering required)
9:00am–4:00pm Conference begins promptly at 9:00am (break for lunch)
This program takes place at Earthaven Ecovillage. This permaculture-based community offers a unique living classroom where participants will engage with the natural world, eco-infrastructure, and the intimate experience of rural community living.
Several accommodation options are available at Earthaven Ecovillage and in the surrounding area.
Cost per person: 1 night $35, 2 nights $50, 3 nights $60
Private indoor lodging
Cost for 1 person: 1 night $80, 2 nights $125, 3 nights $150
Cost for 2 people (shared bed): 1 night $120, 2 nights $187.50, 3 nights $225
Various options in Bat Cave, Black Mountain, and Asheville.
Earthaven is nestled in the heart of the rural Southern Appalachian Mountains, 30 miles outside of Asheville, NC on curvy mountain roads and within two hours of three airports.
Delicious, omnivorous meals are prepared by talented culinary artists from the Earthaven community. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options available. Snacks and beverages (tea, coffee) are provided. Participants are invited to help with meal clean-up. Many hands make light work.
As much food as possible is sourced from Earthaven and its surrounding farms and gardens, with some ingredients sourced from local grocery stores. Our meals are created with seasonal, local, fresh, wildcrafted, humanely-raised, and organic ingredients.
***If you have dietary needs beyond the ones listed here, please be prepared to bring supplemental food to support your nourishment and well-being. Our kitchen simply cannot accommodate all diets.
The full meal plan includes 6 meals, Friday dinner through Sunday lunch. A partial meal plan is also available; you can select anywhere from 2-5 meals. On your registration you will be able to indicate which meals you want.
Options available: Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Sunday breakfast and lunch.
- Full Meal Plan (6 meals): $72
- Partial Meal Plan (5 meals): $60
- Partial Meal Plan (4 meals): $48
- Partial Meal Plan (3 meals): $36
- Partial Meal Plan (2 meals): $24
Tuition Sliding Scale: $300-$400
Current ECE Student
If you are a current ECE Student, please email us for a 25% off coupon code to use at checkout, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuition includes instruction, and all materials. Camping and private indoor lodging are available for an additional cost. Meals and transportation are available for an additional cost.
We offer partial scholarships (50% of the bottom of the sliding scale) to black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) who otherwise would not be able to afford to attend. We understand that BIPOC experience more financial and institutional barriers to participation, and this is one way we are able to create more access. If you identify as BIPOC and would like to receive a scholarship, please contact us at email@example.com.
How to secure your space
Step 1 - Register: Fill out the registration form. Please give yourself plenty of time to complete the application, because it cannot be saved until submitted. (Your space is not reserved until your payment is received.)Register Today
step 2 - Payment: Use the cart below to select your tuition, meal, transporation, and lodging options, then select "Add to Cart." After the page refreshes, select the "Checkout with PayPal" option and continue through the PayPal website.
SLIDING SCALE: Because some people have more financial means than others, we have created a sliding scale fee system to accommodate a range of economic realities. The high-end of the scale reflects the value we believe the program holds, and the low-end offers a more accessible entry point. By choosing a higher price point, you are helping make the program more accessible to others for whom the low-end may be cost-prohibitive. Please consider your needs and resources to determine what might be a stretch, but not a strain.
We also accept checks or money orders payable to the following address and note the class for which you are registering in the memo field:
School of Integrated Living
11 Full Circle Trail
Black Mountain, NC 28711
Crowdfunding and Fundraising: Check out our Crowdfunding and Fundraising page for creative ways to engage your community and launch a "Community Supported Education" campaign. This approach can help support your investment in yourself, your community, the planet, and future generations.
If you cancel, you may:
- Transfer your registration to a friend (they would need to register online).
- Donate your place to someone who would not be able to participate without financial assistance (SOIL would handle this).
- Request a refund per our policy:
- 90% refund for cancellations prior to 30 days before the start of the program.
- 50% refund for cancellations prior to 10 days before the start of the program
If SOIL cancels this program for any reason whatsoever, you would receive a 100% refund.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with registration questions.