Hi there! Nice to meet you.
My name is Christina Pickles (yes, my real name and I will never change it!). I have been connecting people of all ages with the natural world for 20 years in the badlands, forests, streams and streets.
Six years ago I was challenged to develop a program to support nature connection and outdoor experiences for young children. Through creating this program, I learned about the importance of play. It was eye-opening for me and I have pivoted my work to put play at the centre of all that I do. I believe it is the best way children (and adults) connect with nature, their communities, their bodies and each other.
I live along the banks of the Bow River with my husband and 6 year old daughter.
In 2018, I was honoured to receive a national award from The Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication (EECOM). This award recognized the Get Outside and Play program and the work I have done advocating for outdoor play and nature connection in the early years.
"Over the past 4 years, Christina has engaged over 800 educators in professional learning sessions in 10 communities, enabling 4000 children and 1500 adults to get outside to connect with nature and each other." -EECOM award
Sharing Outdoor Play
Supporting a wider conversation about the importance of outdoor play and nature connection has been an important part of my work. I take all opportunities to share this topic with anyone who will listen on podcasts, morning television and newspapers.
CBC Radio covered Get Outside and Play Week in 2017 and 2018. Highlighting the 262 rolls down the hill in 2018!
For three years, Get Outside and Play Week encouraged early childhood educators, parents and communities to celebrate outdoor play at the end of May. In 2017, the Calgary Herald covered one of our events. Read the article here.
Presentations and Conferences
I have had an opportunity to present outdoor play and nature connection workshops to local and international audiences including:
- International Play Association Conference
- Calgary City Teachers’ Convention
- Greater Edmonton Teachers’ Convention
- Association of Early Childhood Educators of Alberta (AECEA)
- The Alberta Resource Centre for Quality Enhancement (ARCQE)
- Southwest Alberta Teachers’ Convention
- Southeast Alberta Teachers’ Convention
- Heart of the Provider Conference
- Medicine Hat and District Child Care Association Conference
- Grande Prairie Early Childhood Conference
- Fort McMurray Early Childhood Conference
- Mount Royal University - Guest speaker
- Bow Valley College - Guest speaker