Network Building Lab Resources


Several conversations with grassroots action area leaders, from the Children & Nature Network Summit 2018, led to the idea of creating a network-building lab for the Children & Nature Network Conference 2019 with four overlapping elements and focus on equity and inclusion.

Equity and inclusion

Network weaver June Holley expressed, “Network approaches cannot become transformative unless the network explicitly works on dismantling white supremacy culture and racism.” She adds that networks only flourish when people are able to interact as peers, valuing everyone’s input and involvement – and that many aspects of dominant or white supremacy culture hold us back from reaping the benefits of networks, but are so pervasive as to be hidden from our awareness.

We posted questions and comments from the grassroots leadership action area from the Children & Nature Network Summit to carry over to the Children & Nature Network Conference .

Network Building Lab

The idea of developing a network-building lab evolved as an integral part of the network-building track for the Children & Nature Network Conference in 2019. The lab includes dedicated space to allow continuing engagement and interactions across sessions.

Three network building sessions will share network principles, apply network practices through a lens that includes traditional and evolving concepts of equity and inclusion, and consider being known and connected in developing network capacities. Three other sessions include panels and provide case studies in developing and sustaining networks that span from community to global scale.

At the summit last year, we gathered as grassroots leaders. Our intention is this year is developing network weaving practices to advance the network (and movement) as a whole.

Network Building Lab Space

Network Leadership 
Easy-to-access network weaving practices, based on years of research and work creating with experienced colleagues in the field, are part of the evolving and ongoing work related to the network-building lab to strengthen the movement.

An annotated list of network and network leadership articles is here.

Network Weaver Mindsets Posters in the conference room include several themes: foster connections, cultivate collaborations, remember abundance, honor differences, hold tension, see the whole, and broadcast and translate.

Network Mapping
Following the Summit in 2018, participants expressed a strong desire to stay connected following the Summit in 2018, to both continue to build relationships and network capacity. Our mapping showed a dramatic increase in connections during and after the summit. The ‘before’ grassroots action area map from the Summit 2018 is here. The ‘after’ or post-summit map of grassroots leaders is here.

The mapping project is a collaboration between the Bay Area Children in Nature Collaborative and MIG.

Network Building Sessions & Resources

Network Leadership —  Jane Wei-Skillern • Carolyn Verheyen • Jose Gonzalez
Participants learned best practices of effective network leadership and tools for building trust and relationships to achieve social impact. The principles include: trust not control, humility not brand, node not hub, and mission not organization.

Resources for the Network Leadership session include Jane Wei-Skillern’s presentation, website, and article Four Network Principles for Collaboration Success.

Developing and Sustaining Networks: Creating Collective Impact John Fisher • Sharon Danks • Nathan Larson •
Participants learned how well-developed networks and networking among our organizational peers strengthen the work we do and can drive collective action. This session defined the power and purpose of well-defined networks, shared examples of collective impact, and effective networking strategies. Presenters provided brief descriptions of the networks they have developed, emphasizing the how and why of bringing people together.

The link to the presentation is here. Other resources include the networking and communication resources for school garden support organizations: School Garden Support Organization Best Practices and Resources for Networking and Communications 

Busting Barriers to Access: Training, Gear Libraries, Community, and the Power of Immersive Experiences Outdoors! —  Kyle Macdonald • Becca Katz
(description and resources to be added)

Film Showing: Teach Me To Be Wild — Anne Veh • Mary Roscoe
The film Teach Me to Be Wild was a universal healing story that brought together many interconnected elements: children, animals, nature, silence and the power of safe, non-judgmental listening spaces. The non-releasable wild animals at a sanctuary in Northern California became Wild-Teachers and helped heal generations of hurt children.

More resources: Steve Karlin and Susie Bear and Holding Healing CirclesFor those who expressed an interest in hosting a screening, you can learn more here. The film is offered in the spirit of a gift, and you can visit the website, Teach Me To Be WILD for access to the film and more offerings.

Network Leadership with Equity and Inclusion In Mind —José González
Participants engaged in framing Network Weaving Leadership best practices with Equity and Inclusion in mind. This session comprised a brief presentation on network leadership principles and interactive exercises that demonstrate how to apply network leadership through a lens that includes traditional and evolving concepts of Equity and Inclusion.

José ‘s presentation is here. Resources include: Toward an Ethics of Activism and brief videos with José González on themes related to networks: Network as a Living SystemNetwork WeavingChanging MindsetsMapping, and Ecosystem. Several articles by José include: Sin Fronteras: The Consequences of Lines on a Map, Hiking in Huaraches, and Finding Home in Nature, How to Meet a Flower, How Do People Know About Nature?, Fire. Power. & Love., Fire. Forgiveness. & Forging Forward, and Love. Power. Passion & Justice

Building Community Scale Collaborations to Connect Underrepresented Youth to Nature: Six Unique Perspectives — Jackie Miller • Keith Desrosiers • Carlos Lerma
Nature Kids/Jóvenes de la Naturaleza Lafayette (NKJN) is a five-year, 10-million-dollar, 27-organization collective impact project designed to connect underrepresented youth to nature in the city of Lafayette, Colorado. In this session, you will learn what it takes to build a community scale, collaborative nature connection program like NKJN.

Network Lab: Enhancing Our Leadership Capacity by Being Known and Being Connected —  Jeremy Roethel • Mary Roscoe • Carolyn Verheyen
As an introduction to this session, Jeremy Roethel wrote, “In order to build supportive, thriving networks that help us reach our goals, we must first look inward in order to intentionally create outward, exploring how we show up, connect with others, and relate to our personal leadership. See the article, worksheets, and presentation for this workshop.

Youth and 21stCentury Land Stewardship — Annie Burke and Sue Gardner
This session shared how taking care of the land in the 21st Century is different than what was required in the 20th Century. Today we need to work with all people on private and public lands to heal, connect, and responsibly steward the land. Young people are leading the way with programs that are inclusive, innovative, and impactful for both the people involved and the earth. 
(resources to be added)