Call for Proposals

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Now accepting proposals for the 2023 Nature-Based Early Learning Conference!

Deadline for Submissions: February 17, 2023

Submit a proposal

About the Conference

The Natural Start Alliance’s annual Nature-Based Early Learning Conference brings together hundreds of new and seasoned nature-based early childhood education professionals from the U.S. and abroad. Sessions explore how to plan, implement, and advocate for nature-based early learning programs; report on new and relevant research; share best practices in teacher education; explore education policy; and examine other topics that advance the field of nature-based early learning. The conference will be offered online in 2023 and will be held in person in 2024. This year, Natural Start invites proposals for live and on-demand online sessions that advance innovation, quality, and equity in nature-based early childhood education

The Natural Start Alliance requests proposals for sessions that:

  • Are solution-oriented and include concrete takeaways
  • Share new research, advances in practice, innovative ideas, or relevant case studies
  • Promote equity and inclusion
  • Target emerging, intermediate, or experienced professionals (note that most attendees are experienced nature-based educators)
  • Reflect the practices described in the Nature-Based Preschool Professional Practice Guidebook

Theme: Bringing Back Balance

This year’s conference theme is Bringing Back Balance. We particularly invite proposals that explore the mental health and wellness of children, families, and educators, addressing one or more of the following themes in nature-based education:

  • Social-Emotional Learning
  • Children’s Spiritual Development
  • Managing Challenging Behaviors
  • Environmental & Social Justice
  • Sustainability & Climate Education
  • Advocacy

Session Formats

Sessions will be offered in both live and on-demand formats. 

Live: Live sessions are 30-50 minutes in length and will be offered during the live event, July 24-28, 2023. All live sessions will be recorded and available for viewing on-demand following the live event.
On-Demand: On-demand sessions are 30-50 minutes in length and include presentations and posters, which are download only. On-demand sessions will be pre-recorded and submitted by June 15, and will be available for viewing at any time throughout the conference and following the live event.


Presentations are traditional sessions, typically a talk or media presentation, exploring a topic relevant to nature-based early childhood education. (Live or On Demand)


Demonstrations share a specific technique, approach, or activity with attendees by showing how to do it and sharing instructions for participants to recreate on their own. (Live or On Demand)


Poster presentations report on the results of research, display a case study or resource, or are otherwise conveyed in a graphic format. Posters are offered as a download and can be accompanied by a short video or audio summary. (On Demand Only)

Session Strands

The conference will feature five thematic strands:

  • Teaching
  • Administration
  • Research
  • Teacher Development (focused on efforts to prepare educators entering the field or that provide educators with ongoing training or support)
  • Strategies for Change (focused on strategies for making the case for and engaging allies in nature-based early learning)

Audio Visual Equipment

All presenters will need access to a reliable internet connection and, in all cases except poster sessions, a web camera. Natural Start cannot provide any audio-visual equipment.

Live sessions will be scheduled by Natural Start on the Natural Start Alliance/NAAEE Zoom account and will take place in Zoom meeting rooms, with all the tools available to any Zoom meeting, including polls, chat, and breakout rooms. All live sessions will have a dedicated room moderator for tech support. 

On-demand sessions will be recorded in advance of the conference and must be submitted by June 15, 2023. Natural Start will work with presenters to schedule and/or upload session recordings once a session has been accepted.

Live and on-demand sessions can make use of outdoor environments if the presenter has the proper technology, tools, and connection needed to deliver a successful outdoor presentation. 

Presenter Discount

Lead presenters of accepted proposals will receive a complimentary conference registration. One registration will be offered per session.

Review Process and Notifications

Proposals will be evaluated by a review committee based on alignment with conference objectives, relevancy, clarity of learning objectives, overall quality of submission (all required questions answered completely and clearly, etc.), and consistency with accepted standards for effective adult learning. Notifications will be sent in early April 2023. Accepted presenters must register by the presenter registration deadline in order to remain in the conference program




Thank you for your interest in sharing your expertise with conference attendees. We look forward to reviewing your proposal!