I have been developing a program using my sled dogs to encourage people of all ages to be more active in the winter. I incorporate hands on learning with the dogs and we go for winter hikes on snowshoes with a dog or two along. I am also a biologist so the hikes are "nature hikes". Also the kids get a chance to go dog sledding and I stop along the way to talk about the landscape, the beaver hut, buck rubs, tracks, etc I have found the dogs help to get some people outside that normally would not spend an afternoon outdoors. I am able usually to enlist a graduate student from the biology department to help me too. The location I do most of this at, Red Willow Bible Camp, Binford, ND has now an OWL trail! I am hoping this discussion site will help me with ideas and ways to improve the program I am working on.
Hi Helen! Welcome to the forum. This is great! We're always looking for new and innovative ways to get people outside in winter. I hope you'll continue to be part of the ongoing discussions here and that you find the forum a rich source of resources and camaraderie. I appreciate you chiming in.
Suz, I plan to check back periodically and will share things as they develop this winter. I have 3 days set up with Girl Scouts in late Dec. and am working with some local Boy Scout troops also to incorporate the dog sledding and nature adventure into their programs. I have read over some of the events occurring and it is wonderful to see what is happening.
I thought you might find IditaNature - a new way of connecting children with nature and dogsledding (and the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, in particular) - of interest. I've attached a flyer I've created describing it and IditaNature info will soon be posted on the official Iditarod website. Kids at our local Headstart preschool each got to go dogsledding last March as their prize for meeting the IditaNature challenge...it was the highlight of the school year for many of them. And the snow play that happened while they waited their turns was priceless. I'm sure your program will be really successful in getting kids excited to spend more time outdoors!
Thank you for the flyer and what a unique idea using the minutes outside and miles of the race. This winter is my 3rd winter working with the Girl Scouts and each year I have to add more days so all that are interested can enjoy being with the dogs.