The Family Play Day in Oakland on April 2nd was wonderful! Significant outreach took place, youth were involved in play ranger trainings, and extraordinary natural materials were foraged for the Wild Zone and event.The Family Play Day quickly took on the look of a village — structures were created with giant palms, bamboo, and other foliage. Little ones played with water and mud, older kids spoke and moved with excitement, and families huddled happily together in their creations. At the end of the afternoon, the materials were gathered again and sorted to remain in the area with the hope of a permanent Wild Zone in the future.
Serving as "Play Ranger Captain" at the Family Play Day in Oakland on April 2nd was a thrill! Karen Payne and David Hawkins of Wild Zones have worked for several years to foster relationships with various Oakland groups, and this paid off wonderfully: a diversity of families joined us, including many who had never been to a park in the Oakland Hills.
I spoke with one family as they were leaving our event. They told me how much they had enjoyed the play and creativity, and the chance to be outdoors. They then told me that before heading home, they were going to take a walk to explore the trails nearby.
Lots of volunteer labor went into making the event a success. The Play Rangers I was guiding (Police Activities League (PAL) Explorers, and volunteers recruited through Bay Area Wilderness Training) worked with intensity and creativity as catalysts for the event. Bay Area Children in Nature Collaborative members were out in force as well, helping with food, welcoming, and play.
I'm looking forward to working to make this Wild Zone a permanent part of the PAL camp in Oakland!
Greetings from the San Diego Children and Nature Collaborative! We co-organized an event on Saturday, April 2, part of San Diego's month long "Family Nature Days April 2011", along with San Diego Audubon Society and SDG&E's Environmental All-Stars program at the San Dieguito Lagoon. Families had the opportunity to come out to experience the beautifully restored San Dieguito lagoon, enjoy the view of the lagoon and wetlands, and get a chance to see shorebirds, waterfowl and other wildlife! There were also hands-on activities for children such as making seedballs, transplanting a native coastal plant, and learning about fish, insects and birds! In addition, there were walks hosted by Family Adventures in Nature along the lagoon trail, as well as stations along the trail set up with bird spotting scopes hosted by San Diego Audubon volunteers!
Truly a collaborative effort and a beautiful day to kick off the month of Let's G.O! In addition, we were celebrating the launch of our new website www.SDChildrenAndNature.org, which lists family nature events happening locally!
One happy attendee had this to say about the family event: "A had a wonderful time going down the trail. He potted a plant, watched a red-winged blackbird through a telescope, observed white bass through a microscope, sorted insects from non-insects, played with plastic fish (for the younger crowd), enjoyed a granola bar and came home with an organic cotton T-shirt size XS courtesy SDG&E and a small pouch that perfectly fits Mama's camera :)...Thanks to the organizers for a great event!"
WOW bro!! Let's G.O. in Albany, NY was a humbling experience...
We started the day with laughter and food at our offices (with the kids watching bebe's kids, CLASSIC) We moved the troop out and walked to our sites... getting our WORK-OUTS on traveling to our 1st location which was the home of Stephen and Harriet Myers.. local philanthropist who took place and use their home as a safe haven during the Underground railroad.. Truly powerful piece to be connected to HISTORY.. Then we took to the streetz cleaning up trash along the way to our next place.. which is the soon to be home of a community raised bed garden with help from our friends at Northface and Outdoor Nation.. The kids and elders from the NAACP bridge the gap for me and we even had one of our local officials Hon. Helen Heath-Roland (a local judge who supports our efforts) come out.. After a day of cleaning we went to the University at Albany for more outdoor games (sack racing, football) and good ol cooking on the grill. Truly healing day... I am thankful that we here in Albany were able to to participate in our national initiative... TRULY THANKFUL Check out www.menofmodel.org and click on our Facebook link for all the photos...
The Natural Teacher brought 10 of my 5th graders to NorCal's largest state park. Henry Coe State Park is a Mecca for wildflowers in the spring. The weather on Saturday was perfect for a 4 mile hike through oak woodland and chaparral habitats. We identified 21 species of wildflowers with many more not being ID'd. Adults and kids all had a blast. We saw some wild turkeys and a few deer during the ride. Of course the kids were too noisy and excited to spot any wildlife on the trail. Well, maybe a few squirrels, jays and some soaring turkey vultures. We enjoyed a nice lunch at Frog Lake then explored a hillside and climbed some rocks. On our explorations we found a downed tree that was home to a termite colony where we had a closer look at the difference between the workers and the soldiers. Under the bark we also found a centipede, a click beetle larva (wireworm) as well as an adult click beetle. Some of the highlights during our adventure was barrel rolling down a hill and getting very dizzy as well as running through the stream. There was plenty of time for discussions during the hike, among the topics were fire ecology (over 50% of Coe burned a few years ago), pollination of gymnosperms, forest ecology, butterfly biology and much more. Topics were chosen by teachable moments encountered on the trail or by students' questions. TONS OF FUN. What a way to spend a Saturday!
Thanks to Inner City Outings and all their selfless volunteers who give their time so that I may bring these kinds of adventures to my students. You can volunteer or donate too... http://www.sierraclub.org/ico/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2011
Jean Dorcus, Education Manager, Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center
(617) 983 8500 x6903
PEOPLE OF ALL AGES IN BOSTON PLAYED AND CELEBRATED DURING YOUTH-LED LET’S G.O.! (GET OUTSIDE)
(Mattapan, MA) – (April 14, 2011) – Children and families came together to play outdoors at a Nature Play Date that was held at Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center in Mattapan on Saturday, April 9, 2011 from 10:00 am-4:00 pm. The Nature Play Date was part of the Children & Nature Network’s Let’s G.O.! (Get Outside) campaign and Children & Nature Awareness month, both of which take place in April, 2011.
The goal of Let’s G.O.! is to bring together intergenerational groups of people to get outside and be active, have fun, and connect with nature. The Nature Play Date was a FREE event for families and children to dig in the dirt, make a dam in our stream, or build a shelter. Unstructured outdoor play is a fun way to develop creativity and a deep connection to nature. While children played in the Nature Nook, adults played alongside them or just relaxed in the seating area. A Mass Audubon teacher naturalist provided digging tools and music and art activities. The weather was sunny and warm, and many families brought a lunch and stayed for hours. One child buried “treasure” (a cross-section of a log) in the sand area, then drew a treasure map so others could find it. Many children worked together to haul sand and sticks to the stream, where they experimented with different materials to dam the flow of water. Cries of “I love mud!” were heard several times.
Families are invited to two more Nature Play Dates, on Saturday, May 7 and on Saturday, June 11. Stop by anytime from 10 am to 4 pm to connect with nature! For more information, check out massaudubon.org/boston.
The Create-With Nature Earth Day Celebration was beautiful. Families made new friends, honored a special place in creative and playful ways, and learned the power of collective action. C&NN Managing Director Amy Pertschuk and her family were engaged in art-making, and in dialog about the children in nature movement. An online article appears here ( http://www.marinij.com/marinnews/ci_17864295 ) with print version coming today in the Marin Independent Journal (circulation 30,000).
Thanks to the Natural Leaders Network for inspiring this and so many other efforts this month!
PS - more about the event: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=315722132178
Sierra Club: a proud partner of Lets G.O.!
The Sierra Club is committed to a future where outdoor experiences are available for all young people, everywhere. Its one of the main reasons we partnered with C&NN and the North Face to found the Natural Leaders Network in 2008. We believe in the power of our nation’s young leaders to build the foundation for a healthier and greener future, and have seen that faith rewarded with this year’s Lets G.O.! (Get Outside) initiative.
Think about it: hundreds of events, across the nation, being led by youth- we can feel things changing. Take Sierra Club volunteer and Natural Leader James King, planning a signature event in Atlanta, GA. Through his work, he highlighted an important community green space and encouraged more people to get outdoors every day. Or Larry Volpe, a Sierra Club Inner City Outings leader and Natural Teacher, who took 5th graders out to Henry Coe State Park. It’s leaders like James and Larry who are the inspiration.
Here at the Sierra Club, we can’t think of a better way to celebrate Earth Month and our founder John Muir’s Birthday. So Let’s G.O.! We are already lacing up those hiking boots. See you on the trail.