We want to know how you PLAYED, SERVED and CELEBRATED this year!

Please let us know how your event went, share stories, photos, etc.

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Camp-out 101

Brother Yusuf and his Youth Ed-Venture and Nature Network team of youth enjoy a day in the park with Camp-Out 101

LET'S G.O.! Outside Albany was held Saturday April 7 in a small underutilized city park located in what is known as the Ten Broeck Mansion Historical Neighborhood. This day the park offered an experience in nearby nature, unity and team building, a reconnection to nature and an exploration of a deeper sense of place.

The day started with members of the Boys Outdoor Leadership Team unpacking and setting up tents that have been stored away over the winter. These young men are familiar with tents and in no time the park was converted into a mock campsite with ten (10) tents of various sizes and shapes. There were young folks passing by the park, listening to ipods and paying attention to what was apparently a text or message on their handheld devices.

Invited community leaders with youth in tow begin to arrive carload by carload, and the park took on an excitement level that attracted passerbys as well as the Albany City Police department who thought that we were setting up some kind of protest and tent-city occupation in the park. lol!

Fathers and sons engaged in casting fishing lines across the open space in a exercise of snagging plastic toy fish with oversized lures on the end of their lines. The youngsters had a great time reeling in their “catch for the day” and looking back at their dad’s for a word of approval and praise.  

Volunteers and friends of the Youth Ed-Venture & Nature Network provided hot dogs and drinks for all of the participants. There was plenty for all!

Mentored and instructed by the teenage members of the Boys Outdoor Leadership Team (BOLT) and Sisters Promoting Environmental Awareness and Knowledge of Self (SPEAKS),  young ones  were shown how to put up and take down a tent, how to hammer a tent stake in the ground and roll up a sleeping bag. Teen members of the Youth Ed-Venture and Nature Network were invited to a three-day sail on the Hudson River in August on the Tall Ship Clearwater (a floating classroom on the river). Youth volunteers were also signed up for an Arbor day Camp-Out in the Adirondack Mountains where they will join the Forest Rangers on Friday April 27, and Saturday April 28. They will learn how to plant trees, to use the appropriate tools, and engage in an important stewardship activity to benefit our public lands in the Adirondacks.

Community leaders Willie White and Benita Law-Diao of AVillage, Inc. were in attendance representing the South End of Albany. Community Police Officer Willie Hughes, as well as the Director of the anti-violence program Snug (Guns spelled backwards), Jameel Muhammed, were also in the park, engaging youth in positive conversation and support.

Community leader Ruth Senchyna said: “It was a great day in Albany at Brother Yusuf'’s Youth Ed-Venture and Nature Network camping skills training for urban youth. This is a great program that provides urban youth the opportunity to explore the wilderness and experience the healing power of nature. I am looking forward to volunteering on the Clearwater with this group in August. The best moment of the day, though, was when the police showed up thinking that the tents and the campsite demo was the latest incarnation of Occupy Albany!”

Let's GO.!(Let’s Get Outside) is a youth-inspired, youth led Children & Nature Network initiative to rally people of all ages to Play, Serve and Celebrate. The goal of Let's Go! is to bring together intergenerational groups of people to get OUTSIDE together, to be active, have fun and connect with nature.

[+] Click Here to see a photo album of the event.

Thank you, Brother Yusuf, for this inspiring report from Let's G.O.! Outside Albany.

My wife and I celebrated our last Sierra Club Inner City Outings program in New Haven with a day in the woods.

We led ten low-income Latino children to the local park and explored the many natural play opportunities there. Also, we hosted one of the children's 14th birthday parties with a pizza picnic party and brownies! Lara and I will remember the many children who've blessed our presence while living in New Haven the past two years.

Follow the children's' advice and Get Outside today! http://youtu.be/VjfHRmlzQ10

Let's G.O! Petaluma, CA....Family Fun Outside. We were blessed to have four generations together for a family adventure. After a lovely picnic, it was lots of fun to see Kaia, who is one and a half years old, and her great grandmother, Charlotte, who is ninety-one and a half years young! swinging together on the swings.  Kaia loves to hug and say hello to trees and everything green so we made lots of green friends at the park, enjoyed the glorious weather and felt grateful to have time together.

We are eager to hear how you played, served and celebrated Let's G.O.! (Get Outside) 2012! Please share your stories and photos.

Green Tech Boys Outdoor Leadership Team & Mentors

The Green Tech High School Students and their young mentees from Albany
Prep had a Great Ed-Venture in the Adirondacks, in celebration of and service to Let's G.O.!...for April 2012.






WHO: Students from Green Tech Charter High School teamed up with the *ADIRONDACK WILD: FRIENDS OF THE FOREST PRESERVE and energetic DEC Forest Rangers Chuck Kabrehl and Tad Norton, who led an Arbor Day tree planting on a damaged section of Forest Preserve in the southern Adirondacks.

Under the coordination of Brother Yusuf and Green Tech’s Academic Service Learning Coordinator, Ms. Amanda Wilson, 15 members of the Green Tech Boys Outdoor Leadership Team camped out overnight at Lake Luzerne.  This group of young men were encouraged, inspired and prepared for participation in the land stewardship activity taking place along the Hudson River on the next day.

On Saturday morning April 28th 5 younger student from Albany Preparatory Charter School and their High School mentors joined in on this important conservation and land stewardship activity.

WHEN: Arbor Day, Friday April 27, (and on Saturday April 28).These students learned how to plant trees, use the appropriate tools, and engage in this important stewardship activity to benefit our public lands in the Adirondacks.

WHERE: Hudson River Management Area lies along the east bank of the Hudson River north of the village of Lake Luzerne in Warren County. Take Northway Exit 21, Rt. 9N to Luzerne, and follow directions to be sent later. A central feature and major attraction of the area are the dozen or so miles of frontage on the east bank of the Hudson River. This area is popular for camping, swimming, picnicking, boating, and other recreational activities.

TREES are coming from the Saratoga Tree Nursery courtesy of the NYS DEC

*ADIRONDACK WILD: FRIENDS OF THE FOREST PRESERVEThe mission of Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve is to advance New York’s ‘Forever Wild’ legacy and Forest Preserve policies in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, and promote public and private land stewardship that is consistent with wild land values through education, advocacy and research.

The “Nature Fun Area” at the Kids First Fair on MCB Camp Pendleton brought “nature” to this 17thAnnual Fair for the first time. Seventeen local nature providers and organizations came together to provide hands-on nature experiences for children and their families, as well as information about programs, camps, and other opportunities to get out in nature. Experiences ranged from live animal encounters to trying out kayaks on dry land to building forts to planting seeds and beyond! 

In addition to partnering with the Fair's main sponsor, Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS), the San Diego Children and Nature Collaborative (SDCaN) collaborated with several key organizations to deliver such a successful event, in which more than 5,000 attendees participated. Key collaborators included the Sierra Club (both National and Local), the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, Family Adventures in Nature, and Mission Trails Regional Park. Agencies that participated in the Nature Fun Area of the Kids First Fair included: Birch Aquarium, Buena Vista Audubon, Camp Pendleton Game Wardens, City of Escondido Parks & Recreation, City of Oceanside Parks & Recreation, Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve, Family Adventures in Nature, Lakeshore Learning, Project Wildlife, San Diego Botanic Garden, San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Sierra Club, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Another highlight of the event was the inclusion of the ClifKids Backyard Game of the Year contest winning game from last year. Thanks to generous donations from ClifKids, we were able to play the game, hand out free products from ClifKids and promote the contest to hundreds of military kids!

Kids of all ages and families got very excited to play the game, and were very motivated to find out they could invent their own outside game with the chance to win lots of prizes, including a $10,000 scholarship to the grand prize winner (contest is open to kids ages 6 - 12 -- click HERE for more information)! 

Beyond "bringing nature" to the Kids First Fair, we more importantly helped organizations and military families connect. I think it is particularly important to reach out to the military community, as the community that they are. By participating in the Nature Fun Area of the Fair, doors were opened to families and local nature providers. In many cases, it was the first exposure to such organizations and participants received information about the organizations and the wonderful nature-based programs they offer! 

The San Diego Children and Nature Collaborative hopes to build on this event and the relationships that began to continue a more targeted effort with military families in the future. In addition to building relationships with military personnel and support agencies (critical to our efforts), we will be again collaborating with local organizations to provide a similar event on October 13th of this year. This "military family nature day" (official title TBD) will again be offering a variety of exhibits (we're hoping for about 25) that provide hands-on, nature-based activities for kids.

The "Loose Parts Nature Play" area is always a hit, so we'll be sure to include it in the upcoming event!

Feedback and suggestions are more than welcome! If you have any ideas to share with me, please reply! Thanks!

We had a great turnout!

More than 50 people turned out to help clean up trails and do trail maintenance.  Pulled in about 16 large bags of garbage & recyclables from the property

We also held a compost bin workshop beforehand.

Mudpie Magic Earth Day Celebration - April 22, 2012.  Ridge Way Farm, Morgantown WV.  Families enjoyed a gardening project (sugar snap pea tee-peas) and presentation by the Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia (creance flight of a red-rehabilitated red-tailed hawk).  We also enjoyed a reading of Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell followed by a discussion of following your own dreams to make them real!  The event was concluded by free play in the puddles and fields.  Ridge Way farm is a developing community garden and educational working farm that will also be home to the Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia.

We went strawberry picking for the fourth year in a row and caught this toad!  

Green Spiral Tours is a "Family Adventure School" based in Saint Louis that offers free and affordable field trips designed to connect families and nature.   Once a month, Green Spiral hosts a "flashmob" field trip to one of the great nature destinations in our area; last year we milked goats, played bocce ball, rode the metro to the "whispering wall," visited a "living building" in the pouring rain and sailed toy boats in Lafayette Park after eating chocolate croissants flown in from Paris.  

Events spiral around the calendar, so our next trip will be to an organic farm, which we do each summer.  All are welcome!  If you are in Saint Louis, search for Green Spiral Tours and join the email list.  It's free for now, but donations are requested and passed along to local non-profits. 

Sounds great Jessica!
Are you a member of the "Natural Families Network" here on C&NN Connect yet? Sounds like you should also register on the "Movement Map" as either a family nature club (my recommendation, for your monthly get togethers) or as a program, whichever you feel "fits" better.  Whatever you choose, sounds like a blast to me!! 

I love that you're encouraging families to get out and connect with and strengthen their bonds with nature! Keep up the good work! 



National Coordinator, Nature Clubs for Families
Children & Nature Network 

Hi Janice!

I agree, I am functioning more as a nature club than anything else.  

I will check out the Natural Families Network and the Movement Map; thx for the tip. 

What other resources to you provide?  I could use some help. 

Namely, liability and tax information.

Can we talk on my personal email?  jzika.hoagland@gmail.com 


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