Local outdoor learning expert Nancy Striniste has just published her first book, Nature Play at Home: Creating Outdoor Spaces that Connect Children with the Natural World.
Filled with beautiful photos and drawings, the book is inspiring for anyone who enjoys seeing children full of joy and wonder.
A landscape designer who has trained educators and worked with schools around the Mid-Atlantic and around the country, Nancy is the founder of EarlySpace, based in Arlington, Virginia. She is is also a leadership team member of NoVA Outside, an alliance of environmental and outdoor educators.
On April 7, Nancy gave a presentation discussing the importance of children experiencing time in nature, addressing the benefits of natural playspaces and providing how-tos for homeowners and educators at a packed book launch event on April 7 benefiting NoVA Outside, a fiscally sponsored project of United Charitable, a registered 501(c)(3) public charity.
Nancy said of the book launch celebration, “It was a deeply meaningful day for me— to share my work and have it be well received was such an honor. That moment, before my talk, when I looked into the room and saw rows of people all paging through my book will stay with me forever. I had goosebumps!”
The attendees had good reason to pore over her book.
Acclaimed Last Child in the Woods author Richard Louv calls Striniste’s book “a magnificent resource for transforming backyards into stimulating environments which enhance children’s creativity, learning, and fun.”
Library Journal refers to the book as an “eye-catching volume” and gives it a starred review with the verdict “Colorful and filled with great solutions for connecting kids to the natural world; highly recommended.”
Nancy’s talk began by having attendees close their eyes and recall memories from childhood. “We may be educators or parents but we also are all former children,” she said.
Although she’s presented in many venues over the years and called on participants to connect to their sensory impressions of youth, this was the first time she had family and old friends in the audience, “remembering their childhoods and nodding in agreement at the research.” Hours after the presentation, people at her dinner table were “still eager to share their memories of climbing trees and eating mulberries.”