National Outdoor Learning Initiative

Ten Strands is proud to be a leading partner in the National Outdoor Learning Initiative to help TK–12 schools safely and equitably reopen.

Breaking News: New California Schoolyard Forest System℠ to Provide Shade to Protect Students from Extreme Heat

The National Outdoor Learning Initiative (NOLI) is a collective impact project led by Ten Strands, Green Schoolyards America, Lawrence Hall of Science, San Mateo County Office of Education, and others.

While online TK–12 education and homeschooling was introduced as an emergency and temporary measure to the pandemic in spring 2020, it has become clear that this approach is wildly inequitable with severe learning loss experienced, especially among students who lack internet access or high-speed internet. 

In addition, studies show that spending time outdoors is critical to student academic, physical, and mental wellbeing. Outdoor environments typically have better air quality than indoor spaces, and environmental conditions may reduce the amount and length of time the COVID-19 virus can stay viable on surfaces.

At the same time, a recent policy brief developed by Lawrence Hall of Science, Ten Strands, and North American Association for Environmental Education highlights the devastating impact of COVID-19 on environmental and outdoor learning organizations, who provide crucial outdoor learning opportunities to students. There is a unique opportunity now for these environmental and outdoor educators to partner with TK–12 teachers in reimagining the educational experience.

Since June of 2020, working groups convened to explore key topics, share ideas, develop implementation strategies, and build frameworks around outdoor learning. An extensive library of resources has now been written by hundreds of diverse subject matter experts from across the country to create guidance for education stakeholders to use as they consider how to make it possible for students to return to schools safely and effectively.

You can learn more about the initiative and view the online resource library here.

Extensive media coverage related to this initiative can be found here.

Photo credit: Thomas Kuoh Photography


Lawrence Hall of Science

The University of California, Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science is the country’s only science center that is part of a top-tier, public research university. This distinctive affiliation allows the Hall to partner with world-class…

San Mateo County Office of Education

The San Mateo County Office of Education is dedicated to serving San Mateo county's 23 school districts in a shared mission to deliver a top-rate educational experience for nearly 94,000 students. The San Mateo County…

Green Schoolyards America

Green Schoolyards America inspires communities to enrich their school grounds and use them to improve children’s wellbeing, learning, and play while contributing to the ecological health and resilience of their cities. Green…