Grantee: Mosquito Range Heritage Initiative – Alma, Colorado
Project Title: Family Outdoor Adventure Series
Identifying the Obstacles to Environmental Education:
South Park is a spectacularly beautiful location adjacent to the Mosquito Range Mountains. Yet many families never explore the mountains due to lack of knowledge, job pressure, discomfort, & other reasons. Few organized outdoor natural science opportunities exist there for children other than occasional school field trips. South Park families are primarily low income, with 95% of children enrolled in the local preschool qualifying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Most residents (80% ) find employment outside of the county including Summit, Jefferson and Chaffee Counties. That leaves little time, money or opportunity for such outdoor adventures.
A Captain Planet Foundation grant helped Mosquito Range Heritage Initiative (MRHI) to host the 2014 MRHI Family Adventure Series to an extremely enthusiastic audience of children and their families. Ten free hands-on workshops based on Growing Up WILD/Project WILD were held. Natural science topics were wide-ranging and included fishing, birds, bats, wildflowers, invertebrates, oceans, geology, ants and backbones. Children enjoyed building bat boxes, hiking through the woods, searching for seashells, examining worms, creating bird puppets, rock hunting, learning to fish and more. Their participants were primarily local residents, with a few visiting families.
Their most effective measurement of success was participation. From just 7-8 participants at their first two workshops, we saw participation jump to 21-39 children plus their parents during the peak of the season.
“This is so cool.”
“Thanks you so much for doing this.”
“We wouldn’t have been able to come if it wasn’t free.”