Support and Join Us!

Since our birth in 2003, The Naturalist School has been devoted to the care of wild creatures and places and of course, that includes people in wild places. We have partnered with agencies, conservation groups, cities, provinces, and counties throughout North America. We believe that creativity and intellect are born of the wildness within each of us, and that the consilience of the humanities and science makes human communities healthier, more intimately connected to nature, and more deeply committed to preserving the rich ecosystems of our planet.


We invite seekers from all walks to walk with us, plant with us, create with us, and to grow in nature with ecologists, artists, philosophers, and poets. We rely on grants and the kindness of our supporters to make our programs possible.


We discover and grow wildness within and all around us throughout the year. In the past few months, The Naturalist School has:

  • Conducted learning-based biological surveys of plants, birds, fungi, odonates, and other taxa for conservation easements and nature preserves in eastern Nebraska and Iowa’s Loess Hills.
  • Sponsored a series of workshops for poets and artists in wild places.
  • Collected locally-wild seed for our native tree-planting projects.
  • Continued planting an arboretum in Omaha’s Old Market with the Downtown Improvement District.
  • Helped home-owners create chemical-free backyard habitats for birds and pollinators and preserve neighborhood trees.
  • Taught local ecology and planted trees with elementary school students.
  • Created a “shack simple” Sunday residency series for wild writers in winter.
  • Initiated a native plant preservation project on a historic Native American sacred site.
  • Presented nature-writing workshops with University of Nebraska at Omaha Master of Fine Arts students and alumni.
  • Welcomed and included artists-in-residence from the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in our various activities.
  • Invited people from all walks to join us for quiet and contemplative walks (“Saunters”) in the Loess Hills and on the bluffs along the Platte River.
  • Partnered with Tallgrass Prairie Oak Savanna Fire Science Consortium/University of Wisconsin on workshops for land managers.
  • Hosted a tree-planting days at North Omaha’s Prospect Hill Cemetery with The Union for Contemporary Arts, local elementary school students, and volunteers.
  • Presented ecotherapy and mindfulness-in-nature workshops in wild and native settings.
  • Donated and planted wild native trees in local nature preserves.
  • Partnered with an Omaha high school to plant bird and pollinator outdoor classroom.
  • Worked with healers from the Pawnee Nation to identify and collect medicine plants.
  • Created and hosted Earth-house retreats to celebrate the poetry of women of color for youth and adults.
  • Presented Black Elk-inspired poetry readings and presided over Tree of Life ceremony at the John G. Neihardt Center.
  • Continued our work on the natural history of Pahaku, holy Pawnee site, and organized works days.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is covidpoetsonalogrsmith.jpg

Please partner with us to support our work! You have two options: Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to:

The Naturalist School

c/o Golden Hills RC&D


To make a non-deductable donation, send a check to:

The Naturalist School, PO Box 4008, Omaha NE 68104.

Questions? Call Jack Phillips at 402.571.7460 or email .

And join us for a retreat or Saunter!