Our Mission & Vision
The Nature Connect mission is to cultivate curiosity, compassion, and connection with the natural world. In a time where computer and cell phone use is so prevalent, we believe it’s important to get kids unplugged from technology and reconnected with the natural world.
Studies show that time spent in nature increases attention span, ability to concentrate, self- esteem, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Children who spend more time outdoors and participate in cooperative group activities also have healthier relationships with friends and family.
Our vision is to support children to develop an appreciation for each other and the natural world, so that they grow into dedicated leaders and environmental stewards in their communities.
Our programs include exploring outdoors, animal tracking, plant and animal study, gardening, animal care, nature and sensory awareness, storytelling, edible & medicinal plants, mentorship, empowerment, primitive skills and crafts, and lots of fun and play!
The vision for Nature Connect formed when, Brinkley Hutchings, an environmental advocate who spent her childhood outside, wondered, “Who is going to protect the planet if children don’t have a connection to the outdoors?” Brinkley created Nature Connect in January 2016 to support children to experience a strong bond with the natural world, so they grow into empowered and dedicated environmental stewards.
In April 2016, a group of 20 families joined together for Nature Connect’s first programs in Wilmington, North Carolina. The community’s response was overwhelmingly positive with an 86% participant return rate and since then, the programs have more than doubled in size and duration. We now serve over 50 families and offer year round programs in the Wilmington/Carolina Beach area.
In 2017, Brinkley moved home to coastal Alabama to be with her family and launched Nature Connect Alabama. Kathryn Waple and Britt Carpenter became Co-Directors for Nature Connect NC and continue to work collaboratively with Brinkley to provide quality programming in both of our communities.