Nature-based Learning at Abraham Lincoln School #22

Rochester Ecology Partners is offering nature-based learning services to the Abraham Lincoln School #22 community. The goal of this collaboration is to improve wellness, academic achievement, and community relationships for everyone.

Teachers: Sign Up for NBL

Questions can be sent to Lindsay Clark

What is nature-based Learning?

Nature-based learning leads to improved wellness, community development, and future readiness. Rochester Ecology Partners works with schools to design and facilitate experiences that get everyone engaged with nature. We will work with your learning community to build a program that meets your needs. We can plan one field study for a class or develop plans that get everyone out of the building throughout the school year.

Why is nature-based learning important?

  • Healthy communication and improved reasoning skills
  • Improved emotional, mental, and physical health
  • Improved academic performance
  • Greater school, student, family, and community connections

The Services We Offer

We facilitate experiences that are rooted in nature, holistic, and aligned with learning goals. Our first priority is meeting the needs of the school community and we will work with you to build a plan that works.

Nearby Nature Lessons

One to two-hour curriculum-aligned experiences that provide students with direct experience with natural phenomena on or near the school grounds.

Community and Personal Development Experiences

One hour to full day experiences that lead to social and emotional development as well as a stronger community for students, faculty, and families.

Field Studies

Curriculum-aligned experiences within Greater Rochester that provide nature immersion connected to academic knowledge and wellness objectives.

Professional Learning

Opportunities for teachers to learn and grow as educators by engaging them in activities that build relationships to the natural world and each other

How does it work?

Rochester Ecology Partners received a grant from AES Energy to support this work. This has created a “bank” of services we can provide to the school. Teachers can sign up for activities and lessons guided by Rochester Ecology Partners throughout the 2023-24 school year.

  1. Figure out what you want to do (even a little idea is enough!).
  2. Fill out this google form to share your interest.
  3. A member of the Rochester Ecology Partners team will reach out to make a plan


  1. The smaller the group the better. We can be creative about how to make this happen.
  2. Advance notice is appreciated. We would like at least a week to plan and prepare.
  3. Teachers are active participants. When we lead an activity we need your help and will ask for you to support us.

Example Lessons and Field Studies We Can Lead

SEL Lessons

Collaborative nature art experience – students work together as a team to create a piece of art from nature
Nature games – Play games to focus on class cooperation and decision-making.
Sensory walks – Use your eyes, ears, nose, and hands to learn more about your surroundings. Focus on a specific sense to amplify the experience.

ELA Lessons

Nature writing – protocols for observing and writing about nature get students connected
I Spy vocabulary – students explore the outdoors looking for and taking note of content-specific vocabulary words related to the outdoor experience. Students use these words to write a poem about their time outside.
Creating maps and writing directions – students work in teams (or individually) to create a map of their school grounds, and then write directions about how to get to a specific location on campus.

Math Lessons

Counting on nature – Using materials in nature to create math expressions
Collection math – Students explore and gather items from nature to sort and compare by different variables.
Area, perimeter, diameter, radius – Use nature to learn more about measurement concepts, and use real-life examples to bring size to life!

Science Lessons

Environments and Survival – Seeking examples of how plants, animals, and other living things survive in urban and natural environments
Needs of plants and animals – Studying the ways different living things get the things they need to survive and thrive
Patterns of Earth and sky – Using observation and inquiry to understand how the movement of our earth affects the weather and climate

Alignment With Standards

Whether it is sitting under a tree writing a poem or building a reed raft to float across a pond it is easy to find ways these experiences are not only aligned with standards but are often superior ways to meet them. We strive to make sure activities align with not only content but culturally responsive and SEL standards.

Standards Alignment

  • New York State Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework
  • New York State Social Emotional Learning Benchmarks
  • Common Core ELA standards
  • Common Core Math standards
  • Next Generation Science Standards
  • New York State Social Studies Framework

Who are the Rochester Ecology Partners?

About Us:

We are a non-profit that helps all people find nature where they live, work, and play through nature-based learning and community building. We believe that by doing this we can improve our community’s capacity to co-create a bright and hopeful future.

Our staff:

Chris Widmaier – Executive Director
Lindsay Clark – Program Development Manager
Timmi Okung – NBL Educator
Loretta Hauslauer – NBL Educator

We are grateful for our supporters

Rochester Ecology Partners appreciates the support of our community. Our nature-based learning learning with schools program is made possible with support from businesses, individuals, and school communities. If you would like to contribute your time, talent, or treasure to our work please reach out or make a donation today.

AES Energy

AES Energy has provided a $100,000.00 grant to provide direct services to schools, professional development opportunities, and support the development of our program as a whole.

Monroe County Parks

The Monroe County Parks Department has provided reduced price and free access to lodges and shelters in parks like Ellison, Genesee Valley, and Mendon Ponds.

Rochester City School District

The RCSD has worked with us to build relationships and facilitate nature-based learning with contracts funded by the American Rescue Plan.