For over 20 years, Nature Net has encouraged children and families to get outdoors using an annual Nature Passport scavenger hunt and journal. Passports can usually be found at all Nature Net sites, but with the “Safer at Home” order shuttering some sites, this year’s Passport might look a little different. For the first year ever, Nature Net is providing a free, mini print-at-home Nature Passport at naturenet.org, in addition to the usual journal booklet, to help families participate in Nature Passport activities.
Nature Passport is an outdoor self-guided family program at various environmental education sites throughout South Central Wisconsin. The theme of this year’s Passport is “Earth Day, Every Day” in celebration of 50 years of Earth Day. Nature Net sites have created missions to help children develop an appreciation for the Earth around them. Nature Passport booklets will be available at all currently open Nature Net sites. The booklet, the Mini Passport, and updates on which sites are open are all available online at naturenet.org. Passports are available from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
The Mini Passport is a simple one-page sheet that folds into a tiny booklet. With a parent’s help, children can text each site’s codeword to discover a unique nature mission. Once the mission is complete, parents can initial the Passport and watch as their child discovers 19 new ways to interact with the world around them. Although some missions are specific to a site, most can be completed in your backyard, local park, or any area outside.
As COVID-19 continues to shift schools and work online, it’s more important than ever for everyone to take a break from technology and get outdoors. Finding creative, fun, and educational ways for children to spend time outside can be challenging, and Nature Net is here to help. Nature Passport is just the beginning. You can find other resources for connecting with nature at naturenet.org.