Upcoming Place-based Events

Place-based Training

Feb, April, May 2023

Audubon Acres Chattanooga 

More Details Here!

ETSU Teacher Training

March 2023

Jonesborough, Tennessee

More Details Here!

Networking Retreat

April 2023

Jonesborough, Tennessee

More Details Here!

Sussex, England Tour

May 30 - June 6

Details coming SOON!

Save the Date!


 Forest School Teacher Institute

Place-based Training Series: 

Journaling in Nature to Know and Love This Place

Audubon Acres in Chattanooga

(Sessions are open to anyone who works with children.) 

Join Dr. Jean Lomino, co-founder of Wauhatchie School and Founder/President of the Forest School Teacher Institute for these immersions and excursions in nature. Dr. Lomino has trained hundreds of people around the world to work with children and families in outdoor/nature-based learning. She has been practicing and teaching nature journaling for over twenty years, including at the graduate level.

Choose from THREE SESSIONS offered February - May 2023

SESSIONS INCLUDE ($79.50 per person per session):
1. Discovering Heritage and Culture through Journaling February 25, 2023 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 
2. Spring Wonderings with Birds and Blooms  April 22, 2023 from 9:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m. 
3. The Arts in Nature through Journaling May 20, 2023 from 9:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m. 

Bonus Field Experience for Family and Friends:  May 21, 2023 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. 
Field experiences will be offered in November and May the day after the training sessions. During this training follow-up, you can bring friends and family members for self-guided practices in nature journaling. Jean Lomino will be present for consultation. Children are welcome!

Location: All sessions and field experiences will take place in the forests, meadows, and creeks of Audubon Acres, 900 North Sanctuary Rd. Chattanooga, Tennessee

In each session, participants will:

  • Practice the art of nature journaling to connect with their nature kin.
  • Discover and practice joy-filled learning opportunities in nature.
  • Learn how to integrate all academic subject areas into nature-based adventures -- science, mathematics, history, literature, composition, and the arts.
  • Learn to use questioning for creating on-the-spot activities that enrich/extend children’s discoveries
  • Receive a Certificate of Completion from the Forest School Teacher Institute.
  • Become eligible to be founding members of Nature Kin Pocket Forest Schools -- a global community dedicated to helping every child receive their birthright of time in nature.

Payment in FULL is due at the time of registration. Full refunds are offered if requested two weeks prior to the session. 
Questions regarding the sessions, payment, and/or the enrollment process should be directed
to [email protected]

Thank you!

Click HERE to Register


 Forest School Teacher Institute in Partnership with 
East Tennessee State University - Degree Programs, Tuition, Financial Aid

Department of Early Childhood Education

Forest School Teacher Certification

March 28-30, 2023 

Update as of January 23 -- SOLD OUT!  You can request to be on the waiting list at [email protected]

REGISTRATION is CLOSED (January 24, 2023) -- Fee: $429

Camp at Buffalo Mountain, 201 Methodist Camp Road, Jonesborough, Tennessee
Certification is open to anyone who works with children. College credits available.

Join Dr. Jean Lomino (Founder/President of the Forest School Teacher Institute)  and professors Dr. Jane Broderick and Dr. Pam Evanshen (ETSU Dept. of Early Childhood Education) at Seedkeepers Forest School and the newly opened Fauna Forest Farm for this three-day intensive. Practical and place-based, hands-on learning will include:

  • observation and assessment strategies
  • mindful site tours of intentional outdoor learning environments
  • practice of emergent learning techniques
  • place-based activities including naturalist skills, nature journaling, comtemplative practices, learning frameworks

All participants will earn a Forest School Teacher Institute Training Certificate (Fee: $429) with the option of additional college credit from ETSU. 

DATES: March 28-30, 2023


Tuesday, March 28, 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

  • Forest School Key Features and Benefits
  • Observation Strategies and Assessments
  • Site Visit and Observation: Seedkeepers
  • Debrief and Lunch with founders of Seedkeepers
  • Rituals, Schedules, and Mindfulness
  • Integration of Cultural Themes and Activities 

Wednesday, March 29, 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

  • Emergent Learning and Building a Curriculum
  • Site Visit and Observation: Fauna Forest Farm
  • Debrief and Lunch with founders of Fauna Forest Farm
  • Permaculture and Farming in Forest Schools
  • Deep Dive into Creating Emergent Learning Seasonal Frameworks 

Thursday, March 30, 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

  • Naturalist Studies and Best Practices
  • Authentic Engagement and Flow Learning
  • Course Synthesis and Final Stories


Lodging: Update January 20 -- Onsite lodging is fully booked. Nearby hotel lodging is available in Jonesborough.  

Payment in FULL is due at the time of registration. Full refunds are offered if requested two weeks prior to the session. 

Questions regarding the sessions, payment, and/or the enrollment process should be directed
to [email protected]

Thank you!


 Forest School Teacher Institute

Spring 2023 Retreat: Live the Forest School Way

 March 31 - April 2, 2023


Location: Camp at Buffalo Mountain, 201 Methodist Camp Road

Jonesborough, Tennessee

Join Forest School friends, fans, and colleagues for a weekend of sweet communion at Camp at Buffalo Mountain Retreat Center. We promise to nurture your body, mind, and soul as we uncover how Forest School ethos can be a way of life. A series of workshops and conversations will address "living the forest school way." Sessions include:

  • Practicing mindfulness in the hills and hollers
  • Discovering diversity and reciprocity in this place
  • Learning from the stories of the indigenous people who cared for this land
  • Creating ephemeral art from the inspiration of forest and meadow
  • Sampling health and wellness practices that are grounded in nautre
  • Expanding naturalist skills including a special night hike
  • Enriching Forest School strategies and skills
  • Visiting and observing children at Seedkeeper's Forest School
  • Touring Fauna Forest Farm

Fee: $545 (all meals and sessions included); Single-day pass $195

Limited number of on-site options will be available.  First Come, First Serve capacity of 30. Off-site housing in Jonesborough may be arranged as you choose. 

Questions regarding the sessions, payment, and/or the enrollment process should be directed to [email protected]


Click HERE to Register
Archive of Past Events

Custom-designed experiences -- professional development, certification training, consulting, site development, travel-studies, and retreats!

  • Professional Development: Established private schools and traditional public schools in California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee have networked with FSTI for whole staff training experiences in a variety of formats -- in-person, virtual, one-week intensives, and monthly sessions over the course of a school year. Reach out to us if we can help you solve a problem or better realize your vision. 
  • In-person Certification Opportunities: Regional, site-based teacher and director certificate courses are offered for individuals, schools and communities. FSTI will come to your neighborhood!
  • Consulting Services: Our diverse and experienced team of thought-leaders are available as consultants (by the hour or the project) on topics such as: budget management, site development, fund-raising, forming community partnerships, curriculum frameworks, multi-age learning environments, accessibility for diverse learners, overcoming bias, integrating academic standards, social-emotional wellness, staff training, vision-casting, child development, Montessori immersion, naturalist training, nature journaling, and school management.
  • Site Development: We call it Leave-No-Trace Playscapes™. Some people ask, 'what if we don't have a forest?' Forest school principles are not dependent upon the number of trees you have on your campus, but instead on allowing children to engage authentically in their space. We are helping a fifty-year-old, church-based preschool build a native prairie for children to explore. We are helping a public preschool redesign a playground. We are helping a Montessori school discover how nature is both a provocation and an extension of indoor prepared environments. We are helping a homeschool parent design learning centers on her family farm. Let us know if we can collaborate with you for ideas and locally sourced options for your location!
  • Travel Studies: Our most recent trip (Spring 2022) to study forest schools in England opened eyes, deepened understandings, and built friendships. We are planning more to other destinations. Requests have come forward for Scotland, South Korea, Colorado, Scandinavia, and Canada. Watch our site or follow our Facebook page for upcoming opportunities. 
  • Retreats: We call it sweet communion -- seasonal retreats with kindred spirits in beautiful places. Let us know if you are interested in hosting a retreat in your neck of the woods! Our next retreat will be in a spectacular place in Northern Minnesota, October 2022. 

Browse Our Archive of Recent Past Events


 Forest School Teacher Institute's

 In-Person Forest Teacher Certificate Training

September 8-10, 2022 

Fernandina Beach, Florida

Join Dr. Jean Lomino on the beaches of northeast Florida for a three-day teacher intensive. Activities include observing children doing “forest school” in the sand and surf and in coastal wetlands, learning together about emergent curriculum, introducing cultural themes into forest school, practicing mindfulness, journaling, and naturalist training. This in-person session is limited to 15 participants (first come, first serve).


Participants will:

  • Practice observation and assessment strategies
  • Learn to use questioning for creating on-the-spot activities that enrich/extend children’s discoveries
  • Understand backwards-lesson planning and create learning frameworks
  • Learn how to incorporate heritage and cultural studies in a forest school setting
  • Engage in mindfulness practices including sit spots and nature journaling
  • Receive a FSTI Certificate of Completion for 22 hours of Forest School Teacher Training

 SCHEDULE (Sessions run 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, daily.)

Day One:  Observation of students and teachers at Wild Oak Explorers Forest School . Observations will be followed by a debrief session. Class topics will include:  Observation and Assessment, Integrating Cultural Themes and Activities (presentation by a museum educator about the history of the Timucua Native Americans and Black History at America Beach) and viewing Developing Rituals, Schedules and Mindfulness, a recorded FSTI session with Windsong Forest School founder Bonnie Cretton. Live discussion will follow.

Day Two:  Observation of students at Playgarden on Jacksonville Beach, followed by a debrief session.  Classes will include Emergent Learning Frameworks for students pre-school through grade 8, and Nature Journaling.

Day Three:  Naturalist training in the morning at Fernandina Beach with a professional naturalist followed by Nature Journaling incorporating interdisciplinary and STEM connections, and a course synthesis project.

TUITION for the 3-day training (Thursday-Saturday): $485* per person 

10% discount for two more from the same school  

*Price does not include meals, transportation, or lodging.


Click HERE to Download Registration Form
Forest School Teacher Institute's

June 2022 Chattanooga Workshop

Forest Schools: Creating Emergent Learning Frameworks Pre K-5

Join Dr. Jean Lomino at Lookout Lake, the birthplace of Wauhatchie Forest School and the new Nature Kin Farm and Forest School. This training is designed for both experienced forest school practitioners and those who wish to implement emergent learning in their individual teaching practice.  Workshop limited to 24 participants.

Location: Nature Kin Farm & Forest School, 3708 Elder Mountain Road, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Participants will:

  • Practice observation strategies to uncover children’s areas of interest during exploratory play
  • Learn to use questioning for creating on-the-spot activities that enrich/extend children’s discoveries
  • Understand backwards-lesson planning and create learning frameworks
  • Discover how to incorporate emergent learning in STEM/STEAM programs
  • Take home a seasonal learning framework to use in their individual teaching venues
  • Receive a FSTI Certificate of Completion for 14 hours of training (2 days) and 21 hours (3 days)

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE (Daily sessions run 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

Day One -- Thursday, June 23: Observation of PreK-5 students and teachers in forest school summer camps. Observations will be followed by debrief sessions to uncover themes of interest arising from the children's explorations. The day will conclude with a presentation on the subject of emergent learning foundations and strategies and a discussion with local forest school teachers and leaders.

Day Two -- Friday, June 24:  Participants, working in grade/age groups, will create emergent learning seasonal frameworks, processing through the steps of: 1) studying the children to discover the themes of interest, 2) developing a general outline of follow-up enrichment and lesson extensions, 3) creating lessons and activities and/or finding resources for lessons and activities, and 4) connecting lessons and activities to academic standards.

Day Three -- Saturday, June 25:  Naturalist training at Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center guided by a professional naturalist and nature journaling with Jean Lomino.

REGISTRATION FEES:  3-Day Workshop (Thursday-Saturday) $300; 2-Day Workshop (Thursday-Friday) $200

NOT INCLUDED in Registration Fees: Meals, transportation, and lodging.

Participation limited to first 24 reservations. 
 To learn more about the host site, Nature Kin Farm and Forest School at Lookout Lake, visit www.farmandforestschool.org


 Forest School Teacher Institute

 Northwoods Fall Retreat

at Camp Widjiwagan 


A message from Jean: As I considered a place for our FSTI fall retreat, I felt a distinct heart tug, for a return to the Northwoods. Seven times in the span of fifteen years I joined a group of grad students on a journey to Camp Widjiwagan, from where we launched on a six-day wilderness canoe trip into the Boundary Waters. During those trips I discovered that this was a place like none other. My soul was rekindled there. I fell asleep each night to the song of the loons and the rhythm of waves crashing on rocky shores. Each day gifted me with something new—cushioned quilts of lichens and mosses on ancient granite; air pungent with the scent of fir, spruce and pine; perfect V’s carved by beavers on glassy water; then at day’s end northern lights dancing on the horizon and timber wolves howling at the rising moon. So I’ve decided I’m going back to this spectacular place. It is where I need to be right now, and I invite you to come with me to meet with our nature kin in the forest and lakes. Come find time for quiet solitude and reflection. Join me as we nurture mindfulness and return to our true selves and to each other. Spaces are limited—sign up now! I look forward to greeting you in the Northwoods!

Join us for three mindful, soul-filled days in the Northwoods.

  • Experience the wonders of nature and moments of quiet reflection, walking the trails, canoeing the lake, and just being.
  • Fellowship with kindred spirits. Become acquainted through story-telling, art, naturalist presentations and learning from this land’s native people.
  • Sample a variety of health and wellness practices including Finnish sauna and works of the hand.
  • Come for an unforgettable experience that will nurture your body, mind and soul!

 Location: YMCA Camp Widjiwagon, 3788 North Arm Road, Ely, Minnesota


Terms and Conditions: A $200 deposit is required at time of registration with the balance due by September 14. Full refund granted if requested on or before September 1. In the unlikely event the retreat is cancelled by FSTI, full refunds will be given.  

Lodging: Comfortable cabins with bunk style beds accommodating 12 people in 3 separate bedrooms. Cabins include a full bathroom and living room heated by a wood burning stove. Additional bathrooms and shower rooms are in close proximity to each cabin.

EVENTS will include:

Sunrise Yoga

Nature Hikes

Nature Journaling, Poetry, Drawing

Herbal Workshops: Health and Wellness, Aromatherapy

Bread making

Spa Offerings

Silent and Solo

Nature Literacy: bird watching, geology, tree study, mammals, astronomy

Guest Presenters: Naturalists, Forest School educators

Work of the Hand: Traditional Ojibwe cooking, skills and art, basketry,
carving, whittling, fire-making, cording

Songs and Stories

Wilderness Adventures

Sunset Sauna 

Star Gazing

Form more information about Camp Widjiwagan visit https://www.ymcanorth.org/camps/camp_widjiwagan


Click HERE to Download Fees and Registration Form
Forest School Teacher Institute's

June 2022 Jonesborough, Tennessee Workshop

Forest Schools: Children Learning in Nature

Join Dr. Jean Lomino at The Camp at Buffalo Mountain, the home of Seedkeepers Forest School.  Experience three days of sweet communion, nature-inspiration and focused professional growth. The training is designed for both experienced forest school practitioners and those who wish to learn about the philosophy and practice of forest school education. There will be time to explore over one-hundred scenic acres onsite with creek, pond, gentle trails, plus easy access to numerous public trails and waterfalls in the area, including part of the Appalachian Trail and the Nolichucky River.  This workshop is conducted in partnership with, and endorsed by, the Early Childhood Education Department of East Tennessee State University.  Limited to 15 participants.  


The Camp at Buffalo Mountain (and Seedkeepers Forest School), 201 Methodist Camp Road, Jonesborough, Tennessee

For more details about the location and lodging:  www.thecampatbuffalo.com

For more details about Seedkeepers Forest School:  www.seedkeepersforestschool.org

Included in the workshop:

  • Multiple Forest School training sessions
  • Observation of students and debrief at Seedkeepers Forest School
  • Conversations with FS leaders and teachers in the field
  • Nature Journaling, sit spots, and naturalist training
  • Personal consultations with Dr. Jean Lomino
  • Certificate of Completion for 18 hours of training, endorsed by FSTI and ETSU Department of Early Childhood Education


The Director’s House includes 5 bedrooms with accommodations for up to 12 guests with 3.5 bathrooms. Additional cabin space is available if needed. Porches and decks overlook beautiful views of the mountains and forest.  Meals are included with lodging fee (continental breakfast, sandwich lunches and catered evening meals) Thursday-Saturday. 

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE (More details coming soon!)

Day One -- Thursday, June 16

Nature Inspiration: Journaling and Sit Spots

Foundations of Forest School: Philosophy, Key Features, and Benefits

Day Two -- Friday, June 17

 Visit Seedkeeper's Forest School: Observations and Debrief

Teaching/Learning Strategies: Place-based Education, Emergent Learning, Inquiry-based Learning, and STEM

Day Three -- Saturday, June 18

Nature Inspiration: Naturalist Training

Developing Emergent Learning Frameworks: Learning Standards, Seasonal Themes, Backwards Lesson Planning


$510 Workshop (Thursday, Friday, Saturday), all Meals (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) and nightly Lodging (Thursday, Friday) 

$425 Workshop (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) and all Meals (Thursday, Friday, Saturday); no lodging

$350 Workshop (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) no meals and no lodging

Click HERE to Download Registration Form


 Natural Start Alliance

 Nature-Based Early Learning Conference July 27-30, 2022 

Cincinnati, Ohio

Jean and Joe will be presenting at the Natural Start Alliance Annual Conference in Cincinnati on July 28.

This is a conference of kindred spirits that will inspire and inform your work. Consider joining us for this interactive session! 

Bushwhacking: Untethered and Holistic Learning for Children 6-12

How does nature-based learning work for elementary-age children? How does child-directed learning correlate with academic skill development? These are leading questions as schools expand the use of outdoor learning spaces. Discover how emergent learning integrates seamlessly with academic subjects.

Conference Registration Here

April 2022 SPRING Tour:

Forest Schools in England

Join Dr. Jean Lomino for an inspiring Forest School Learning Odyssey to the South of England.  After three days in London, we will lodge in Canterbury and visit surrounding villages for a taste of authentic English living. We will tour forest school programs in various settings in Kent—on the seashore, at a farm, in city centers and in the forest. Our host, Clair Stevens, is a leading forest school global advocate based in England, an author, speaker and a professor of Early Learning at Canterbury Christ Church University. She opened an award-winning nursery school, Manor House Nursery and Forest School, in 2008. Jean and Clair will co-facilitate class sessions designed for trip participants.  

Location: Kent County in Southeast England. Historic Canterbury will be our "base-camp"!

Forest School Site Visits:


Wednesday, April 27 ~ Fly overnight to London

Thursday, April 28 ~ Transfer by public transport to London Hotel. Orientation walk in the hotel's neighborhood.

Friday, April 29 ~ London - group and individual options include Changing the guard at Buckingham Palace, Walks in Regent's Park, British Museum, Evensong at Westminster Abbey. Training overview with Jean.

Saturday, April 30 ~ London - group and individual options include National Gallery, Greenwich Observatory, Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral. Group discussion with Jean and guest. 

Sunday, May 1 ~ Travel to Canterbury by train or rental van. Orientation walk and individual/group explorations. Dinner and panel discussion with local forest school leaders: Clair Stevens, Toni Buchan, and Stuart Welby.

Monday, May 2 ~ Tiny Tribe Forest School site visit and conversation with the founder. Lunch over the open fire. Afternoon trip to Quex House Museum and Outdoor Kindergarten and Farm  where we will meet  founder Clair Stevens. Topic: Site development and engagement with local schools. Evening Forest School debrief.

Tuesday, May 3 ~ Forest School Principles and Practice session with well-known forest school trainer Stuart Welby on the eastern shoreline.  visit. Tour Broadstairs Harbor and Bleak House. Evening debrief.

Wednesday, May 4 ~ Meet with director Dr. Alison Body who will lead us in a Conservation study for children and families at the Lead by Wild site.  Afternoon visit to Dover Kearnsey Abbey Forest School. Tour Dover Gardens and see White Cliffs of Dover. Visit and collect fossils at Warren County Park.

Thursday, May 5 ~ Naturalist training and Nature Journaling at Larkey Valley Nature Preserve and the Great Stour Way Trail. Return to London Heathrow airport hotel for the night before flying home next day.

6 May ~ Fly back to the USA

PRICE (not including airfare): $1,590 per person in shared twin or double room

Participation limited to first 12 reservations. 

INCLUDED in cost:

  • Eight nights hotel with breakfast in shared double or twin occupancy
  • Transportation (train or car) from London for 5 days in Kent

•Minimum deposit of $500 per person due upon reservation. Balance due no later than March 15.

After March 15 all payments are non-refundable.


  • Airfare 
  • Meals other than breakfast
  • Cost of public transportation in London
  • Admission fees to historical sites and museums

For more information, contact trip coordinator Gerald Martin at Star Mountain Travel
157 Star Mountain Road
Florence, MS 39073 USA
Phone (601) 891-0414 


 Forest School Teacher Institute's

 Louisville Forest School Summer Day Visit

July 27, 2022 

Louisville, Kentucky

Enjoy a day-long sojourn observing, conversing, and communing with a network of forest schools. 

Jean and Joe will be presenting at the Natural Start Alliance Conference in Cincinnati July 28-30.

We plan to spend the day before in Louisville doing some site visits, reflection, and visioning. Would you like to join us?