Leadership Summit
September 22-23, 2020 // Atlanta, GA

Let’s turn things Inside-Out

We believe that the well-being of children and the wild places we love are inextricably linked. And while research proves that regular time outdoors is essential for children’s healthy development, today’s kids are less connected to nature than ever before.

This is why we gather—as leaders, educators, practitioners and parents—to turn the trend of an indoor childhood back out to the benefits of nature.

Since 2007, we’ve been honored to convene the children and nature movement at grassroots gatherings, summits and conferences. Please join us this year for the 2020 Inside-Out Leadership Summit.


September 22-23, 2020

Atlanta Hyatt Regency, 265 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30303

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Out of concern for our attendees, staff, board and partners due to COVID-19, we are rescheduling our upcoming Leadership Summit. While we recognize that this is a significant change in plans, we are pleased to announce that rather than cancel the event, we’ve been able to secure new dates. The Inside-Out Leadership Summit will now be held September 22-23, 2020, at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. Please contact us with specific questions and watch this website for updates.


The Leadership Summit provides a forum for strategically selected leaders to share big ideas and advance action agendas. Through an application process, participants are selected to represent diverse perspectives, skills, voices, disciplines and approaches to connecting children to nature. Participants will work in 6 action areas that support the healthy development of youth:

  • Health & Nature for Community Well-being
  • Green Schoolyards
  • Nature Connection for Youth Development
  • Advancing Policy for Youth Outdoor Engagement
  • International Action: #NatureForAll 
  • City Government

We will accept applications until all action areas are full.  Action Area descriptions can be found in the Program section. Apply today!


The 2020 Inside-Out Leadership Summit offers two days of peer networking, keynote speeches and hands-on workshops:

DAY 1: Tuesday, September 22

  • Keynote Address: 8:30am
  • Action Areas: 10:30am – 4:30pm
  • Networking Reception: 5:00-6:00pm

DAY 2: Wednesday, September 23

  • Keynote Address: 8:30am
  • Cross Pollination Discussion Groups: 10:30am – 12:00pm
  • Leadership Workshops: 1:00-4:00pm

Cost (in U.S. Dollars)

  • 2020 Summit registration fee: $395.00
  • Young leaders (up to age 30) reduced registration fee: $250
  • Breakfast and lunch are included in your registration fee, both days.
  • Participants will cover their own hotel and travel expenses.
  • A block of discounted rooms is available at the Atlanta Hyatt Regency for $179/night.
  • 30 scholarships were awarded through an application process.

The Inside-Out 2-Year Residency

In 2018, C&NN moved to a 2-year residency model for our leadership summits and international conferences. After identifying a host city engaged in exemplary work to connect children to nature, we host a 2-year residency in that city, beginning with a leadership summit in year one. Leadership summits convene action areas of changemakers, thoughtfully selected through an application process to represent the diverse points-of-view, people and disciplines of the children and nature movement. In year two, we host an international conference, open to all, and now the largest gathering of the children and nature leaders in the world. This model allows for both intensive agenda setting and strategic planning at leadership summits — and broad engagement and activation at international conferences. Throughout our 2-year partnership with host cities, we work to support and elevate local efforts to increase equitable access to nature, and provide technical assistance and national partner connections to advance host city goals.

Join us in advancing the best ideas for turning the trend of an indoor childhood Inside-Out!  

DAY 1: Tuesday, September 22

Keynote & Action Areas
8:30am – 4:30pm

Networking Reception

Work with peers in assigned action areas to advance ideas and strategies for connecting children and communities to the benefits of nature. Action Areas include:

Health & Nature for Community Well-being

In partnership with the Salzburg Global Seminar, explore ways in which nature access can impact public health, youth development, mental health and health equity.

Recommended for: Health care providers, policymakers and planners, community development leaders, youth development practitioners, city leadership, researchers.

Green Schoolyards

Advance and activate the national Green Schoolyards Action Agenda’s vision that “All U.S. communities offer access to green schoolyards by 2050 to enhance children’s healthy development, community wellbeing and positive environmental impacts.”

Recommended for: Community leaders, city representatives, school districts, health departments, park districts, and nonprofits interested in green schoolyards as a strategy for nature access.

Nature Connection for Youth Development

Explore best practices and strategies to combine youth development and nature-based programming towards a common goal of supporting the positive growth and social emotional learning of young people.

Recommended for: Leaders and providers of nature-based programs (i.e. environmental education, conservation) and/or youth leadership and development programs.

Advancing Policy for Youth Outdoor Engagement

Discuss strategies and define the most effective tools to implement policy initiatives designed to increase equitable connections to nature on a state, federal and/or municipal level.

Recommended for: Policymakers, leaders and youth development advocates currently interested in implementing policy on a state, federal or municipal level.

International Action: #NatureForAll

In collaboration with #NatureForAll, explore the most promising opportunities to connect children with nature at a global scale. Develop an action plan to increase the collective impact and influence with a focus on health and wellbeing, cities, childhood development, and international policy.

Recommended for: Leaders and practitioners from outside the US and US-based practitioners interested in partnering internationally.

City Government

Advance the role of city government in increasing equitable access to nature with a focus on partnerships, policies, funding models, and program planning. (By invitation only; contact conference@childrenandnature.org)

DAY 2: Wednesday, September 23

Keynote & Cross Pollination Discussion Groups
8:30am – 12:00pm

Participate in cross-cutting discussions to further refine outcomes from action areas.

Leadership Workshops

Register for hands-on workshops led by experts in the field, offering practical tools and resources and cross-sector networking:

  • Activating Research to Make the Case for Nature Connection
  • Building a Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Movement
  • Advancing Policy for Equitable Access to the Outdoors
  • Working in Constellations: Expanding and Strengthening Your Network
  • Using Strategic Communications to Advance Your Work

How do I apply?

To be considered for the Summit, you must complete and submit this application form. Be sure to select an Action Area:

  • Health & Nature for Community Well-being
  • Green Schoolyards
  • Nature Connection for Youth Development
  • Advancing Policy for Youth Outdoor Engagement
  • International Action: #NatureForAll
  • City Government

Full descriptions of Action Areas can be found in the Program section.

Application Deadline:

Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis until all Action Areas are full.

How are Summit participants selected?

Participants will be selected by a committee consisting of leaders from various disciplines and Children & Nature Network staff. The selection committee will work to ensure each action area has a wide range of perspectives, skills, diverse voices and strategic thinking. (If you received a personal invitation to participate from an Action Area leader, you do not need to apply. Please follow the registration instructions provided with your invitation.)

2021 Inside-Out International Conference:

June 3 – 5, 2021
Atlanta Hyatt Regency, Atlanta, GA

Outcomes from the 2020 Leadership Summit will drive programming for the 2021 International Conference, open to all. This premier gathering of the children and nature movement will feature inspiring keynotes, hands-on workshops and peer networking opportunities for up to 1,000 sector-disciplinary leaders who are making real progress in increasing equitable access to nature in their communities.