Tenacity. Persevarance. Spirit. Unbridled adventure. A deep respect for the natural world and the lessons it teaches you: those of humbleness, responsibility, and connectedness.
These are the things that you carry with you after spending a summer (or 4) at Sanborn. As a camper for many summers, and then as an assistant counselor, I left Sanborn with a sense that things that at first glance seem undoable (climbing Mt. Princeton at dawn, taking 15 8 year olds on a backcountry expedition, cleaning the dining hall after 150 campers pass through its Sunday buffet) are achievable when they coincide with an equal dose of determination and fun.
It is impossible to drive down the dirt road in Florissant after a summer at High Trails without discovering an intense respect and appreciation for the vast beauty and explosive grandeur of the natural world. You gain this at Sunday Vespers, as you sit and watch the sky light up in flame and paint a snow flecked Pikes Peak delicate pinks and fierce reds. You gain it when you listen to the clash and crackle of Aspen leaves around you. You begin to develop an environmental ethic. My own includes a sense of responsibility to be a thoughtful and engaged steward of this land and earth. To look at the world around me and inquire what my place is within it.
With this in mind, I have developed a project, along with my colleague Sebastian Tsocanos, that aims to put this ethic into action. We will traverse the North American Great Plains on horseback to increase public understanding and appreciation of a region that is absolutely pivotal to conservation efforts in North America. Through education and outreach, from both scientific and artistic perspectives, we will engage a wide audience in an investigation of the issues that affect this vitally important region. We will explore what our legacy as stewards of this land has been and what it might become, shaking hands with the landscape and the people who call it home.
We will produce a documentary film that will share the beauty of the landscape and the perspectives of the people we meet along the way. It will be used as an educational tool to promote greater local and national involvement in determining the future of an ecologically imperative region. After we complete the ride, we will present our film at high schools, universities, and other groups, giving talks nationwide promoting conservation of this enormously important region and challenging communities to become involved in its story. In addition, we will exhibit our work at galleries around the country, combining art, conservation, community, and education to deepen ecological understanding and appreciation of the natural world.
Temperate grasslands are the least protected biome on earth, and our own are disappearing at an alarming rate. Our project aims to increase understanding of their fragile state and volatile future and contribute to the growing momentum of grasslands conservation today.
The project requires support–financial and otherwise. For the financial aspect, we have started a fundraising campaign with IndieGoGo, and hope you’ll contribute. You can learn more about our project and make a donation at our Indiegogo page. Please check out it out at: www.indiegogo.com/projects/rediscovering-the-great-american-prairie
Your contributions are so very appreciated, and we’ve arranged some great perks for donors, including photographic prints, and horseshoes thrown from the road!
Learn more about the project and follow us on the road at our website:www.RediscoverThePrairie.org
Please help us make it happen by passing our Indiegogo link on to family, friends, colleagues, and campers. Tweet about it, post it on your Facebook, talk to friends about it. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and support and we can’t wait to share our stories with you from the road!
-Robin Walter, High Trails Camper 97,98,99, 2006; High Trails Staff 09-