Nature Narratives

Nature Narratives is Metro DNA’s collective storytelling project, providing opportunities for partner organizations to elevate our work and the ways we are promoting healthier people, communities, and natural places in metro Denver.

Nature Narratives also will help us define a shared story of our ongoing efforts to make the metro Denver region a thriving place for people and for nature.

Use the FREE resources! Knowing how important it is RIGHT NOW to raise our voices and uplift those too often left unheard, we have adapted and are sharing our workshop materials here for free! Get to work, and check out our community contributions in support of equitable access to nature and community health, wealth, and safety during our summer-long celebration of Safe Summer Kick Off on Get Outdoors Day!

Start YOUR Nature Narrative Today!

Listen to the podcast: Created by our CU Boulder Masters of the Environment student team, these episodes capture the stories, voices, and perspectives of our partners and friends on a number of themes.

  • Episode 1. Introduction, featuring Alliance Director, Dana Coelho
  • Episode 2. Education, featuring
    • Rachel Gillette, Bekky Harkins & Julianne Gagnon, The Greenway Foundation
    • Matt Robbins, Jefferson County Open Space
    • Shane Wright, Lincoln Hills Cares
    • Josh Morin, Taddiken Tree
    • Stacey Eriksen, US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)
  • Episode 3. The South Platte River
    • Holly Piza, Urban Drainage and Flood Control District
    • Stacey Eriksen, US EPA
    • Gordon Robertson, Denver Parks & Recreation
    • Beth Nobles & Monique Fair, Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership
    • Skot Latona, South Platte Park
    • Rachel Gillette, Bekky Harkins & Julianne Gagnon, The Greenway Foundation
  • Episode 4. JEDI – Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
    • Parker McMullen Bushman, Butterfly Pavilion
    • Kim Weiss, Environmental Learning for Kids
    • Cindy Chang, Groundwork Denver
    • Therese Glowacki & Ernst Strenge, Boulder County Parks & Open Space
    • Monique Fair, Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership
  • Episode 5. How do you define nature?
    • We talk about nature every month – after all, this is the Nature Narratives podcast. But what does that word mean? It turns out, it means different things to different people. Follow along as Alex and Nikki collect definitions of nature from professionals in the Denver Metro region that work with nature every day. What you hear may surprise you!
    • Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, The Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership, Groundwork Denver, Biohabitats, City of Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks, Metro DNA, Broomfield Open Space & Trails, Denver Parks & Recreation, The Greenway Foundation, Mile High Flood District, Heart of the West Counseling, Jo Burns Consulting, Taddiken Tree, Arapahoe County Open Spaces, Environmental Learning for Kids, Climate Courage, Jefferson County Open Space, The Butterfly Pavilion, National Wildlife Federation, Lincoln Hills Cares, Adams County Parks & Open Space, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, South Suburban Parks & Recreation District, Environmental Protection Agency, Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute, Rocky Mountain Wild, and Boulder County Parks & Open Space.

Upcoming workshops:

Past workshops: 

  • Thursday, April 25, 2019, 1:15-2:30 pm @ Partners in the Outdoors Conference
  • Tuesday, October 2, 2018, 12 pm – 5 pm @ Butterfly Pavilion
  • Saturday, October 6, 2018, 10 am – 1 pm @ REI Flagship, Denver
  • Thursday, December 6, 2018, 6 pm – 8 pm — special workshop for Denver’s GOCO Inspire Youth Advisory Council

Project goals are to:

  • Elevate the unique and complementary work of organizations across metro Denver
  • Highlight diverse definitions of nature and ways of engaging with nature
  • Articulating diverse values of nature that will build toward a shared regional vision of people and nature
  • Foster connections among partner organizations

As facilitator, capacity builder, and champion, Metro DNA will provide several types of support to help partner organizations develop, articulate, and share their narratives through audio, video, photography, or other formats. This support will include training sessions, direct staff support, and marketing.

What are participants saying? 

  • “I felt like it was a great workshop that was well balanced. While every attendee had different skills or knowledge with equipment or storytelling, the workshop really was able to keep everyone engaged and I believe each person had a take away piece.”
  • “I enjoyed the entire thing, but my favorite part was how engaging the content was and how casually it was presented. The overall atmosphere of the workshop was casual and welcoming, which facilitated a lot of dialogue and conversation among participants and instructors.”
  • “The handouts were really helpful, especially the storyboard template and the tips & resources.”
  • “I appreciated learning about the technical side of video production, including affordable (smartphone!) equipment and best filming and editing practices. The technical jargon can be intimidating, and I feel like I have a better understanding and am much more comfortable with the equipment and the process now.”
  • “I enjoyed reviewing and analyzing existing promotional videos, discussing what works and what doesn’t work, and diving into communications strategy and messaging for specific audiences.”
Why Participate?

Whether you’re telling your organization’s story for the first time or publicizing stories you’ve already collected, participating in Nature Narratives will support your efforts by:

  • Offering in-person trainings to guide the storytelling process
  • Sharing a “best practices” resource guide on storytelling and video production
  • Providing staff support for developing your organization’s story (or refining an existing one) and helping your organization identify your target audience (funders, local communities, families, youth, and/or the broader public)
  • Showcasing your organization’s stories through a shared media platform, joint marketing, and, potentially, professional development of a unifying Metro DNA story that compiles partner stories into one regional nature narrative.

All Metro DNA partner organizations are invited to participate in Nature Narratives free of charge! Not a partner yet? Join today! Or maybe tomorrow, after you enjoy an awesome workshop and take a few steps toward realizing your new video project.  🙂

Need some inspiration? Here are a few great videos we’ve been reviewing for content, messaging, and technique.

A Tree For All (3:14) celebrates the accomplishments of partners and volunteers working with Friends of Trees in the Tualatin River Watershed. They busted their goal of planting 1 million native trees and shrubs, and are ready for more!

This “about us” style video from Metro DNA partner, Denver Audubon, highlights their work connecting people to nature and inspiring the next generation of conservation stewards.

Never underestimate the power of music or passionate spokespeople… especially kids! This video (3:19) by North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) communicates the value and power of environmental education.

Sometimes a little bit goes a long way! With no voice-over, no interviews, and just a few great shots, this short video (0:47) by Summit Dog Rescue lets you know who they are, what they do, and makes you want to go out and adopt a dog.