What is Growing Up Wild?



Growing Up WILD (GUW) is an early childhood education program that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. Through a wide range of activities and experiences, Growing Up WILD provides an early foundation for developing positive impressions about the natural world in addition to lifelong social and academic skills.

The Growing up WILD guide is designed to teach children ages 3-7 through 27 field-tested, hands-on activities. These activities include outdoor explorations, scientific inquiry, art projects, music and movement, conservation activities, reading and math connections and "Healthy Me" practices.

Growing up WILD entails social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive fields to help foster learning and development in all areas. The activities support developmentally appropriate practices allowing children to learn at levels that are individually, socially, and culturally appropriate. Best of all, GUW activities are correlated to Common Core (K-2), Maryland Environmental Literacy Standards (PreK-2), National Association for the Education of Young Children  (NAEYC) Standards and the Head Start Domains.

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Award-winning Material

Family Choice and RNRF logosIn 2009, Growing Up WILD won the Family Choice Award! The Family Choice Awards was founded by the Family Magazine Group, America's largest free parenting publication, and is recognized as the premier resource for the very best in children's and parenting products and services. The Awards recognize the best in children's and parenting resources.

Growing Up WILD is also the recipient of the 2011 Excellence in Journalism Award from the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation. The award honors and encourages excellence in print journalism about natural resources. RNRF seeks to advance public education and understanding of important natural resources issues through dissemination of accurate and scientifically-based information about the environment.

How to Grow Up WILD!

The Growing Up WILD (GUW) activity guide is available either by attending a 3-6 hour educator training workshop or by buying the books directly from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. It is recommended that educators attend a workshop to gain hands-on experience with the guide in addition to tips and tricks from GUW educators. Workshops can be scheduled to accommodate your group or school's in-service training. Childcare providers may be eligible to receive elective curriculum credit for attending a Growing Up WILD workshop.

For information on trainings near you, please check out the Workshop Schedule page, or contact the state coordinator for updates on upcoming workshops and additional information on Growing Up WILD and Project WILD:


Sarah B. Witcher
Department of Natural Resources
Wildlife and Heritage Service
580 Taylor Avenue, E-1
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Project WILD training Partners

The following organizations help to provide Project WILD professional development around Maryland.

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