Challenges have been faced by everyone in every way this year. Nature Net, a local network working to connect families, children and educators to the environment, has addressed these challenges with creative solutions. Every spring, Nature Net produces thousands of Nature Passports, free, kid-friendly scavenger hunt booklets, that are normally delivered to elementary schools to go home in backpacks. Before Nature Net could deliver Passports to schools across the area, stay-at-home orders were put in place and students were sent home.
Without an easy way to get Passports to students, Nature Net staff took a new approach, using the technology kids already love. Nature Net’s student intern, Kelly Esthenter, worked to design an interactive printer-friendly version that families can print in their own homes. With the printer-friendly Passport, kids are instructed (with an adult’s help) to text a unique keyword to Nature Net to receive a special nature mission. The new Passports are a fun way to encourage children to get outside and get exploring with their families. Not only do missions ask kids to look a little closer at their environment, they also encourage kids to think a little deeper about what's around them and their own connection with nature. Missions can be completed at specific Nature Net sites or any backyard or neighborhood.
The original Nature Passport, as well as the printer-friendly version, are both available on the Nature Net website at naturenet.org. Full, printed ready-to-go Passports are also available for pickup from the Passport boxes at selected sites, including Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Bethel Horizons Nature Center, Lussier Family Heritage Center, Pheasant Branch Conservancy, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Welty Environmental Center, and with your curbside pick up at Wild Birds Unlimited. An updated list of locations is available at naturenet.org/nature-passport/.
Nature Net Director