Posts Tagged ‘Stalking Education in the Wild’

October News Update

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Follow the Yellow-leafed Road

We are enjoying spectacular Indian Summer days here at camp.  The golden Aspen are almost at their peak and are stunning against the bright blue sky.  We’ve been spying on the herd of elk at Potts Spring and have also seen deer, porcupines, wild turkeys, bobcats, and, of course, the fat black Abert squirrels.  Many of our summer birds have headed south and the year-round bird residents are beginning to show up at our feeders more regularly.

Our High Trails Outdoor Education Center program with sixth graders from District 20 in Colorado Springs has been underway since mid-September. We also hosted a “No Child Left Inside” open house last Saturday and were very happy to have many local families join us for a day of hikes and nature-based activities led by our staff.   We are very committed to doing everything we can to help young people connect with the natural world.  The benefits are enormous—as Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder” says:  “Children who have a personal connection with nature are happier, healthier, and smarter.”

On October 12-14, we are looking forward to hosting “Stalking Education in the Wild”, our outdoor education workshop for teachers, camp staff, naturalists and others who work with young people.  The workshop includes sessions on everything from geology and outdoor teaching techniques to creative writing and international folk dance.

At The Nature Place, Rob Jolly and his staff are busy working with the University of Denver on a team-building and leadership development program for DU’s MBA students.  We have collaborated with DU on this program, where every MBA student spends a long weekend at The Nature Place, for over a decade.  The groups rock climb, participate in an orienteering course, and work through many team building scenarios, all of which teach values-based leadership.

The horses are grazing happily in Olin Gulch and High Tor, where late summer rains helped to produce some tasty green grass.  Soon, they will head out to winter pasture at Fishcreek.

We are most excited about opening enrollment for another season of camp.  The summer of 2013 will be our 65th and we are looking forward to sharing adventures, friendships and lots of fun.  We have already begun enrollment, and additional enrollment information will be going out throughout the month of October.  If you know of interested families, we’ll be happy to send our brochure and DVD.  They can also request information from our website.  We hope you are enjoying the photos from the summer of 2012 which are appearing each month on our website.

We hope you are having a fantastic Autumn!

Time for a Special Place: Part I

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Rachel Carson...sitting on A-Bluff???

Over the weekend, I had the luxury of time.  This seems an odd statement, as most of my weekend was dedicated to planning, presenting or attending sessions at Stalking Education in the Wild, yet—as I reflected—I realized those very sessions gave me a gift that my day-to-day woodland living and working doesn’t always provide.

As I checked the sessions off with each passing hour, I was bemused by the “lack of time” I had to present my information.  Suddenly it was 2:30: time to channel Rachel Carson and head out for my session titled, “The Naturalists.”  One early line of questioning was, “What is a naturalist? And what do naturalists do?”  Answers were varied, from “not much” to “lots of scientific exploration”—and I realized that, in order for our children to become naturalists in their own right…they have to KNOW a place.  And knowing a place takes time.

Ahhh...THIS is A-Bluff

Rachel Carson didn’t have any more time than I do…in fact, with the fiscal and familial responsibilities she took on as an adult (she wasn’t married or ever had children of her own—but she supported many of her extended family throughout her lifetime), she probably had less.  Yet the time she did have—prior to becoming a vocal environmentalist—was spent outdoors: wondering, writing, thinking, observing, and enjoying the natural world.  And, if my telepathic abilities are correct, a great many of those outdoor experiences occurred when she was a child.

American architect Frank Lloyd Wright said, “The future of mankind is dependent on every human being intimately associated with a half acre of ground.” Richard Louv and others in the both the environmental and Children In Nature movement have demonstrated that in order to care deeply about the natural world you have to have spent time in a special outdoor place that is all your own.  This sentiment is echoed by Louise Chawla:

The special places that stood out in memory, where people formed a first bond with the natural world, were always part of the regular rhythm of life: the garden or nearby lake or forest where people played as children, the summer cabin or grandparents’ farm that was visited repeatedly in the course of growing up, favorite hiking trails during the university years. In these places, people became comfortable with being out in the natural world, usually alone or with a small group of family or friends.

What is the young naturalist's favorite fungi? The Puffball Mushroom

We are just as busy as Rachel Carson, and some of us may feel even more fragmented by the daily demands of our lives.  Yet when I came back from my two hour walk in the woods, shocked and amazed by the tiniest bugs I discovered in my “Investigation Frame”, relaxed and calm in the face of feeding and putting two young boys to bed before my final session of the day, thoughtful and quiet within my own understanding of my place in this rather large universe, I saw the lovely simplicity of a quiet walk, or sit, in this place I am fortunate enough to call home.

News from Camp: September 1st, 2010

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

All Quiet in the Western Grove

It is much too quiet around camp since second term campers left on August 15. The fields, hills, and lodges are filled with great memories from the summer of 2010, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to spend this time with so many outstanding campers and staff.

One of our tasks during the weeks following camp is to collect and distribute all the lost and found items. We have mailed every major article from High Trails which has a name to the owner. Lost and found items with names from Big Spring went out late last week and early this week, so they may still be in the mail. We still have some jackets, boots, and other items of clothing which do not have names. Please let us know if your camper is missing something and we will do everything we can to track it down and send it to you.

A fun event took place here August 20-22: the Newhoma Mountain and Music Festival. Terry Hayden, Assistant Director at The Nature Place, lined up some great bands that played from mid-day until the wee hours on a stage set up in the Big Spring field. A number of 2010 camp staff stayed around to help with the event and other alums returned to listen to the music, as well as other music lovers who experienced COEC for the first time. The weather was spectacular and everyone had a great time.

The Newhoma Stage

Sam and Scott Shepard have been out in the hayfields since camp ended, cutting and baling the nutritious mountain grass which keeps our horses in good health throughout the year. Big Spring counselors Ian Stafford and High Trails wrangler Lacey Ellingson have also been helping out. Meanwhile, the horses are enjoying a well-deserved vacation in Olin Gulch where there is plentiful grass for munching now.

Our outdoor education program staff will arrive on September 2 and we will begin welcoming sixth graders to High Trails Outdoor Education Center on September 14. Among the staff who will be returning to teach during this program are wranglers Jenny Hartman and Lacey Ellingson, High Trails ridge leadersReggie Cahalan and Maya Ovrutsky and counselor Dee Shiverdecker. Big Spring staff from the summer of 2010 include David Cumming, Andrew Jones, Jeff Krueger, Kevin Robinson, Andrew Tromey and Ian Wilson. HT nurse Suzie Bartley will serve as nurse. Former Big Spring ridge leader Chris “BC” Miller-McLemore will also return in a leadership position. Chris Tholl and Carlotta Avery direct the program; they are assisted by camp leaders Elizabeth Rundle, Johnny Domenico, and Ryan and Ashley McGowan.

Hiking During the 2009 No Child Left Inside Family Fun Day

We have two exciting events this Fall in addition to our traditional schedule. On September 25, we will join with the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument to celebrate “Leave No Child Inside Day” by hosting a family fun day and open house. We will be offering a program of nature-based activities and hikes for families who would like to get their children outdoors for the day. There is no cost for the event.

2010 Stalking Education Theme=No Idea Left Inside

On October 15-17, we will again offer our outdoor education workshop, “Stalking Education in the Wild”. This weekend includes a wide variety of educational sessions led by experts in the field and is open to teachers, camping staff, parents, and anyone interested in learning more about living and teaching in the out-of-doors. Please let us know if you would like additional information on this event.

We are already thinking about next summer and have established our dates. The first term at Big Spring and High Trails will be Sunday, June 12 – Tuesday, July 12, 2011. The second term will be Friday, July 15 – Sunday, August 14. The four terms of Sanborn Junior will be June 12 – June 26, June 28– July 12, July 15 – July 29, and July 31 – August 14. We have sent this information to current camp families and will send additional information in October to camp families, former camp families, and prospective camp families. If you would like to receive our catalog and DVD or know someone who would, we will be happy to mail them at any time.