About Us


Cincinnati Nature Center is committed to helping all people, especially children, discover and experience nature in the Greater Cincinnati area. We operate three outreach programs, providing the necessary resources: access to nature on our trails; naturalists, interns, and trained volunteers; and facilities, curriculum, and teaching materials. Funding is made possible by Annual Fund contributions, designated gifts, grants from local foundations, and the Nature Center's endowment income.

 If you’re interested in helping the Nature Center serve children in one of these programs, either through volunteering or making a gift, or contact Mary Jo McClain at mmcclain@cincynature.org.

With your support we can help more children benefit from nature!

School Program

In the early 2000s, we began to see a decline in school field trip attendance due to reduced school funding and school administrative decisions that more classroom time was necessary to improve standardized test scores. Today, Cincinnati Nature Center is in the midst of a redesign of our school program which now includes a focus on training teachers to incorporate nature into their own curricula. A field trip to Rowe Woods is often part of this larger program, rather than just a one-time experience. 

Nature PlayScape Initiative

Cincinnati Nature Center's Nature PlayScape is a model of the Nature PlayScape Initiative (NPI). Through this initiative, Cincinnati Nature Center and University of Cincinnati's Arlitt Child & Family Research & Education Center aim to create a regional model to demonstrate how to effectively use the outdoors for healthy child development. Research tells us that unstructured play in nature is critical to this development—physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. And because each generation spends less time in nature, it's never been more important to get kids connected to the earth. The collaborative is funded by a grant from the Harriette R. Williams Downey Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation. 

NPI aims to educate adults about the importance of unstructured play in nature and increase the number of natural play environments to ensure children have access to our natural world. We must overcome the barriers that impede nature play, including; parental fear, preoccupation with electronic media, reduced access to green space and overemphasis on academic readiness and over-scheduling of children’s time. The Nature PlayScape serves as a demonstration site to educate local school, park, and early childhood administrators about how to incorporate unstructured nature play in their facilities and programs.

We provide information and resources to companies, organizations, and municipalities looking to enhance or build natural play areas. Talk to us about:

  • Speaking engagements
  • Consulting and information
  • Tours of the Nature PlayScape

For more information, contact natureplayscape@cincynature.org