How could I help connect more people with place and playful learning?
The outdoors have always played prominently in my childhood, career choices and well-being. Learning By Nature has become a lifestyle in many ways. Learning by Nature is a vehicle by which I can engage people of all ages and abilities with nature, right outside their door. It all started with my life passion and short career as a wildlife biologist. I loved what I did, chasing big horn sheep around mountain tops, sloshing after trout in blue ribbon streams, trapping migrating songbirds and raptors. It was a story book life. All except maybe the part about living out of my truck and sofa surfing between jobs. That got old quickly.
I discovered I had a passion for the natural world and a knack for communicating and sharing nature’s amazing gifts. These skills eventually translated to becoming a naturalist and guide. Spin the clock and globe a bit more and I eventually earned a teaching certification with the intent of changing the world through the classroom. Students enjoyed my classes, however, the institutional structure proved to be a challenge to teach how and where I envisioned. Opportunity presented itself to help develop an outdoor science school in Montana and from there many life-changing community connections emerged.
Teachers and parents enjoyed the programming I offered and wanted more! More ways to get children outside, more professional development for teachers, more accessible outdoor spaces to learn, play, heal and relax in. It hit me again…. Why should interacting with nature be so difficult when it’s always right outside our door? How could I help connect more people with place and playful learning?
Enter, developing outdoor classrooms and natural playgrounds. The concept originally came as my solution for one school, to help blur the walls between classroom learning and outdoors; between access and the outdoors; between economics and the outdoors. After almost 20 years building community and building nature connections as a director for multiple nonprofits, we launched Learning by Nature.
Together, We Change Lives Through Play
Learning by Nature is a leader in developing playful landscapes that promote exploration, collaboration, innovation and learning. Our Natural Playgrounds, Playspace and Music Park designs and installations offer a healthy balance of free play, intrigue and risk. They employ and build upon essential skills children and adults call upon throughout their lifetime. Learning by Nature’s engaging outdoor spaces build community.
Through collaborative partnerships and close working relationships with our customers and highly skilled contractors, Learning by Nature offers a full line of consulting, design-build and project management services. Learning by Nature enjoys the gifts of working with all groups, all ages, all abilities, all landscapes. Institutional, personal, corporate, healing, recreation—the connections we help build between people and their landscape and amongst their community changes lives.
“Learning by Nature owner, Bobbi was a pleasure to work with—meeting with our HOA park committee several times to help us understand the process and work on designs until we came up with the finished product. … the end result has been great! Kids and adults of all ages have enjoyed the added features of the natural area near the existing traditional playground and soccer field.”
“Bobbi helped us design ways to utilize our outdoor spaces and her methodology was full of intelligence, grace and patience. From the beginning, she helped us involve students in planning, plantings for our amphitheater area, our garden beds and finally this year, the involvement physically and intellectually of every student and adult in creating a riparian classroom near our stream. Bobbi is a leader in the community and in our initiative of engagement at Hyalite Elementary School.”
“Bobbi helped us develop our vision through concept and landscape design, site placement, and project coordination. She provided the knowledge and insight needed in order to carry out the plan. We would have experienced many challenges without her expertise. Bobbi was very easy to work with and engaged all participants into taking on ownership in our project. She also provided guidance with grant writing, a letter of intent for district project approval and community support. It was a great experience working with Bobbi.”
Bobbi Geise, MA, CPSI
Bobbi Geise has been playing outside professionally for more than two decades. She has made it her mission to work with communities of all ages, abilities and sizes to create engaging playful landscapes and re-focus classroom activities and curriculum toward using the great outdoors as a context for learning. A background in education, conservation, fundraising and community design coupled with professional development in landscape design, accessibility and playground safety, Bobbi is the synergistic Director of Learning by Nature. Get in touch to see how Bobbi and her team can support you in natural playful placemaking.