On a cold November day, we waited for the yellow school bus to arrive bringing a wary group of students for the first of a three day outdoor education adventure. Most of the kids had never set foot on a hiking trail - much less spent an entire day outside in near freezing temperatures. After some coaxing to leave the warmth of the bus, activities began. As they walked outside, it did not take long for attitudes to change. With smiles and new found confidence, the kids plunged knee deep in the pond to capture invertebrates.
After three days - unearthing fossils, flipping over rocks and logs looking for salamanders and bugs, and combing the ground for Native American artifacts - natural curiosity took over and they were hooked. They asked questions about the creeks, trees, and creatures they encountered. They cleaned up after themselves so as not to tarnish the areas they explored. They soaked in the science of the world around them and loved it.
On the last day while hiking back to the bus, the kids stopped in the middle of the trail. They didn’t want to leave. They had fallen in love. Nature was already more than they ever imagined. These children - due to financial or other challenges - were unable to join their peers for an overnight outdoor education program offered by their school. Your support can make it possible for more children in our community to experience our incredible natural world. Your support can give them (and us) places to unwind, exercise, and adventure. Your support can make it possible to save more places to fall in love with our incredible natural world.