Northern California / Nevada Chapter

The chapter includes the State of California north of and including the cities of Monterey, Merced and Bridgeport, and the State of Nevada excluding Clark County.

Region / Chapter Member Care Manager: Carla Cummins

After careful deliberation the organizing committees of A4LE events have decided that it will be in the best interest of all delegates to postpone upcoming events through May. Our number one priority is to ensure the safety and security of our members and delegates. Given the rapid escalation of the COVID – 19 (“Coronavirus”) and subsequent declarations of emergencies and health crisis concerns from local, state, provincial and federal government officials, we felt the need to take this course of action.

At this time, A4LE staff and volunteers are negotiating to find alternative dates that are suitable for postponement of events. The planning committees have promised stellar events, and we do not want to lose that momentum. We will be seeking a remedy to this that will carry all of the hard work forward, taking all events to fruition at a later date. We will continue to update on the progress.

Webinar: Turn Your Campus Inside Out!

A Safe Return to School with Outdoor Learning

Turn Your Campus Inside Out!

October 8, 2020
3 PM to 4:15 PM

AIA Credit Documentation and Learning Objectives

Members and public sector: free
Private sector non-members: $10

Register in advance for this webinar:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Register by October 7, 2020 at 5:00 pm Pacific. The Zoom link will be sent out to attendees on the morning of October 8.

Presentation Format:
Webinar with audience Q&A participation

Webinar Focus:
Students, like adults, spend 90-95% of their time indoors. What if the reverse were true – what if we designed our schools with outdoor experiences in mind first? There is growing enthusiasm for and interest in outdoor learning and this is particularly relevant in our region, where many counties are in the top 3% nationally for average daily sunshine. Today, as schools utilize their existing outdoor spaces to safely return to on-campus instruction, it is time rethink the nature of the classroom.

Presentation Description:
We have known for some time that activity outdoors is linked to our physical, mental and emotional health and well-being, and our ability to learn. A growing body of research demonstrates outdoor play and study for students result in lower stress levels and increased attention, focus, resilience, motivation, competence, and inclination to act as agents of change in their local environments. Studies also indicate that being outside greatly reduces the transmission of viruses like Covid-19. When combined with hand washing, social distancing, and wearing masks, taking learning outside is a great option for in-person instruction and supports our natural need for physical human connection.

In this panel discussion, we will explore the essential ingredients for activating outdoor learning on our school campuses quickly and safely. We will hear from an urban public school district and rural charter school that are both using their existing outdoor spaces today as a strategy to support families by returning to in-person teaching and learning. How are they doing it?

This presentation is for design professionals, school leaders, administrators, facilities professionals, teachers, students, and parents.

Learning Objectives:
This webinar will explore topics of biophilic design, project based learning, and Next Gen Science Standards (NGSS) outdoor learning. The focus outcomes are directed at answering these questions:
  1. What is the impact of teaching and learning outdoors on students? What is the impact on teachers and parents?
  2. What are the challenges schools are facing in implementing outdoor learning and how are they turning obstacles into opportunities?
  3. What steps can I take to support outdoor learning in my school/school district today?


Anna Harrison Anna Harrison, ASID LEED AP ALEP (moderator)
Director of Educational Planning, Aedis Architects

Anna is an experienced educational planner, workshop facilitator, interior designer, and educator who has worked with a variety of nonprofit agencies, professional associations, corporations, K-14 school districts, and private individuals over her 30-year professional career. As a recognized industry leader in biophilic design, sustainable design, innovative learning environments, and organizational health, Anna leads transformational workshops crafted from a blend of interactive facilitation techniques including design thinking and guided mindfulness meditation. An avid amateur naturalist, Anna enjoys scuba diving, bird watching, and caring for her edible garden and chickens.

Claire Latane Claire Latané, MLA ASLA SITES AP (panelist)
Assistant Professor, Cal Poly Pomona

After over a decade of practicing landscape architecture, Claire now teaches full-time in Cal Poly Pomona’s landscape architecture department. Her work centers around mental health and well-being; promoting equitable access to humane, nature-filled urban environments; and climate-resilience. Claire’s spring graduate studio partners CPP students with K-12 school communities to create community-led, nature-based campus master plans that support mental health, physical health, climate-resilience, and eco-literacy. In 2017, the Landscape Architecture Foundation selected Claire as one of the inaugural Fellows for Innovation and Leadership to explore high school design that supports students' mental health, well-being, and safety. More recently, she initiated and organizes the Emergency Schoolyard Design Volunteers for the National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative. Her book, Schools that Heal: Design with Mental Health in Mind is due to be published by Island Press in early 2021.

Paige Cisewski Paige Cisewski (panelist)
Principal, Charter School of Morgan Hill

Paige Cisewski served as the principal of Charter School of Morgan Hill (CSMH) from 2004-2015 before stepping into her current role as Executive Director. She was part of the founding team that shared a vision for an alternative K-8 public school with an emphasis on project-based learning, strong family involvement and community interaction. CSMH has been fully accredited by WASC (Western Association of School and Colleges) and has earned the California Distinguished School award. The School currently serves over 600 students and has a lengthy waiting list. Mrs. Cisewski earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Master’s degree from Stanford University. Prior to CSMH, Mrs. Cisewski worked in education for over 10 years as an elementary and middle school teacher and principal.

Heather Molloy Heather MacDougall Molloy (panelist)
Director, Outdoor Science School
Santa Cruz County Office of Education

Heather has worked in outdoor education for 23 years, the last 14 of which have been at her current job as the director of the Santa Cruz County Outdoor Science School. She holds a California Administrative Credential and a Masters in Educational Leadership. She is former chair and current member of the California Outdoor School Association (COSA). During Covid times, Heather is directing an outdoor distance-learning-support and STEAM program called the Science Outside Schoolyard Childcare program for public schools in Santa Cruz County.

Thank you to our Sponsor:
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