Missouri Outdoor Summit

 The Missouri Outdoor Summit may be over, but you can now catch up on any seminars you may have missed.


Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Sonja Wilhelm Stanis

David Sobel


Jennifer Grabner

Community Wellness Timeline (Michele Griswold)

Healthy Dining Guide – Eldon (Michele Griswold)

Community Wellness Survey (Michele Griswold)


Missouri Stream Teams

Missouri River Relief

Youth Pollinators Habitat Program


Maps, Apps and Nature


Cruise the Creeks


Forest School

WOLF, In Your Community or Classroom


Crawdads and Dandelions

Keynote speakers:

Dr. Sonja Wilhelm Stanis, University of Missouri, will present a keynote address at the Summit!

Dr. Stanis’ areas of research include the mental and physical health benefits of outdoor recreation.  She will speak about:

Behind the Benefits of Outdoor Recreation: What Research Shows

Intuitively, we all know that being in nature is great for kids and adults alike. But you may be surprised by some of the ways research supports the physical and mental health benefits of outdoor recreation. This presentation will reveal some recent studies that demonstrate how parks and the natural environment can boost community-wide well-being and quality of life. 

David Sobel, Antioch University of New England.

David’s areas of expertise include children and nature, parenting, nature and place-based education, and more.  He will speak about:

Why 21st Century Children Need Nature

A growing number of studies show that getting children outdoors on a regular basis makes them happier, healthier, smarter and helps them develop environmental values. Let’s look at ways that parks departments, libraries, schools and family groups are luring children away from digital recreation and out into the natural world.  From loose parts play in New York City, to place-based education in western Maryland and St Louis, to libraries in Colorado to  forest kindergartens in Maine and California, we’ll look at vibrant examples of communities connecting children and the outdoors.



When: March 19-20, 2015. The summit will begin at 10 a.m. on March 19 and conclude at noon on March 20.

Where: Runge Conservation Nature Center, 330 Commerce Drive, Jefferson City, MO 65101

Why: Studies show that spending time outdoors enhances mental and physical health, outdoor education increases student learning, and stewardship activities help connect people to the natural world around us.  At the same time, child and adult obesity continue to increase, and it seems impossible to find time for outdoor activities in an increasingly busy world.  What role can communities play in helping citizens reap the many benefits of spending time outdoors in nature?

OAKs Logo

What: Keynote speakers will highlight the benefits of spending time outdoors.  Concurrent sessions will highlight resources and examples of ways communities are connecting residents to the outdoors.  Facilitated discussion groups will explore ways to increase collaboration between health care professionals and outdoor-oriented agencies and organizations; discuss ideas for approaching community-based outdoor recreation; as well as other topics identified by participants.

Who: This Summit is for people interested in thinking strategically about how to increase outdoor opportunities in their communities, and in helping connect residents – children and adults – to those opportunities; including health professionals, parks and recreation departments, education professionals, youth group organizers, volunteers, and more.

How: Register now below. The registration fee is $85 and includes lunch Thursday, a reception Thursday evening, a continental breakfast Friday and conference materials. The registration deadline is March 16.

Lodging: The Capital Plaza Hotel is offering a rate of $88 plus tax. Ask for the conservation Federation Room Block. The hotel is located at 415 W. McCarty Street, Jefferson City, MO. Call (573) 635-1234 to reserve your room while space lasts.

The event flyer can be found here.

The event program can be found here.

 Preliminary Agenda

Thursday, March 19
9:30 – 10:00 a.m. Registration – there will be NO on-site registration, so register below
10 a.m.

10:00 – Opening Plenary Session – Welcome and Opening Remarks

Keynote Presenters:

  • 10:30 – Why 21st Century Children Need Nature – David Sobel, Antioch University of New England; followed by five minutes of participant response
  • 11:15 – Behind the Benefits of Outdoor Recreation: What Research Shows – Dr. Sonja Wilhelm Stanis, University of Missouri, Columbia; followed by five minutes of participant response
Noon – 2 p.m Lunch and Outdoor Sessions – 1/2 of participants will eat then do an outdoor session while 1/2 will participate in an outdoor session first, then eat.
Rnd 1: 2:15-3:30Break: 3:30-3:45Rnd 2: 3:45-5:00 Concurrent Session: These moderated sessions will focus on programs and opportunities to connect people with the outdoors for mental and physical health, recreation, learning and stewardship. Presenters will highlight what they are doing in their community. Each participant will be able to participate in two indoor sessions and one outdoor session.

  • Be Outdoors (Mental Health and Well-Being): Learn some ways communities are providing outdoor opportunities that support mental health and well-being, and discuss ideas for your community.
    • Creating a Healthy Community One Step at a Time – Michele Griswold, Healthy Community Coordinator
    • The Southern Boone Learning Garden: A Model for Garden-Based Education in Central Missouri – Jennifer Grabner, Executive Director
    • Neighborhood Greenways St. Louis – Jennifer Allen, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Trailnet
    • Outdoor Living in Bolivar & Polk Counties – Michelle Morris, Polk County Health Center
  • Play Outdoors (Recreation and Physical Health): Explore ways to get outdoors and be more active. Discuss examples of community focused outdoor recreation. 
    • Bass Pro Outdoor Fitness Festival: Outdoor Days – Martin MacDonald, Bass Pro
    • Cruise the Creeks: Biking and Learning – Daniel Schneiderjohn, City of Columbia
    • Get Outside with Columbia UPOP – Meredith Donaldson, UPOP Program Coordinator
    • Maps, Apps, and Nature! – Shannon White, Missouri 4H
  • Learn Outdoors (The Outdoors as a Learning Laboratory): Hear examples of natural resource education opportunities and share ideas for providing outdoor learning experiences for students.
    • The Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems (GLADE) – Dr. Janice Greene, MSU
    • Crawdads and Dandelions – Mona McCormack, Science Teacher Sedalia Public Schools
    • Forest School: Risk and Grit in the Wild – Brandi Cartwright, Raintree School
    • WOLF, In Your Community or Classroom – Misty Mitchell, Wonders of Wildlife
  • Care for the Outdoors (Stewardship Opportunities): Discover opportunities to participate in conserving and managing Missouri’s abundant natural resources (and reap the benefits of spending time outdoors)
    • Adult Volunteers at Work: Stand Back! – Jodi Moulder, Missouri Master Naturalist Program, MDC
    • Youth Pollinator Habitat Program – Ryan Diener, Pheasants Forever / Quail Forever
    • Stewardship Through the Missouri Stream Teams – Holly Neill, Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coalition
    • Gathered by Thousands, Measures in Tons – Steve Schnarr, Missouri River Relief
5:00 p.m. Reconvene in Auditorium

  • Participant Response / participation
  • Overview of Friday Morning Session
5:30 p.m. Adjourn for Reception
6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Social, Canterbury Hill Winery: 1707 S. Summit Drive, Holts Summit

  • Heavy hors d’ouvrés and cash bar
  • Sponsored by Bass Pro Shops


Friday, March 20
8 a.m. Continental Breakfast
8:30 a.m. Reconvene, Identify Topics for Facilitated Discussion Groups
Rnd 1: 9-10Rnd 2: 10-11 Facilitated discussion groups – two rounds of facilitated small group discussions, will address these and topics identified by participants.Engage in dialogue with other participants around questions such as:

  • “How can we encourage collaboration between health care and outdoor recreation providers?”
  • “What are some strategies for providing community-based outdoor recreation and learning opportunities?”
  • “What are some limiting factors and how have others overcome them?”
11 a.m. Closing Plenary Session

  • Report Outcomes from Discussions
  • Participant Response / Participation
  • What happens next – Personal Commitment Post Cards
Noon Adjourn

The Annual Meeting of the Conservation Federation of Missouri will be held at the Capitol Plaza Hotel beginning Friday evening.