I have been reading the blogs on the site and sharing concerns of many of the issues that we all seem to be facing!

I have a place (my backyard! 52 acres) near Atlanta, Ga, The Cabin Path. We have a lake, log cabin, walking trails, a labyrinth, and a Native American rock circle and NA trees. I have been having nature and art workshops for about 5 years now. Most of the workshops are for home schoolers, and until this year, I have offered them for free. This year, I asked for $5 donation to cover costs of supplies. We use mostly "nature" made materials, but there are some craft supplies needed. I don't turn away anyone if they cannot pay. I also give them the option to help out with trail pick-ups and clean up projects to trade for workshops.

For our workshops, we meet in the Gathering Room and discuss the topic for the week (and sign liability releases!) They then get their bags to gather "supplies" along the trails. We walk and look, sit and listen, and talk about things we discover. We return to the Gathering Room for nature crafts, and end the day with a picnic.

This year, there are new expenses..gravel for the road and parking area, hired help and chain saws for trees that have fallen (we've had years of drought then RAIN and a rough winter)... I have come close to closing down, but I love doing my workshops, and I believe deeply in the "cause" so, I have started the "Big Kid" workshops..pretty much the same workshops offered to children..but for adults! I do ask for donations from them, and it has been a way to fund my children's workshops..and week by week, I am able to hire some help and get a little gravel!

Big Kid Fairy Workshop!

Sometimes, "Big Kids" forget to "play" and maybe the key to getting the children outside is to remind the parents how important it is to take time to walk and look, sit and listen, and talk about things they discover. It's not only connecting to nature, but it's also connecting to your heart and soul.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

~George Bernard Shaw~

If we all keep trying, our "cause" will be a reality. We owe it to our children, our grandchildren, and ourselves.

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Comment by beth chase on March 22, 2010 at 4:50pm
Thank you for sharing. I would love to be able to do something similar. I think it is an awesome venture. I am glad that you decided to keep with it and that it has been something of a restoration from a difficult year.
Comment by John Thielbahr on March 22, 2010 at 9:41am
This is beautiful, Sarah, and your workshops sound wonderful. Your experiences with your nature center and with the children (and adults) can be valuable to others. Thank you for sharing all this. The Children & Nature Network is working on some new partnerships in the Atlanta area that might want to connect with your nature center. No guarantees but I will keep you posted. Very best wishes and continued success with your journey. It is important. John

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