round pond walk

Young Explorers Project

While the great outdoors isn’t far away in South Hero, many barriers can get in the way of kids exploring the natural world. From increased pressure of homework and screens, to a lack of adult companionship outdoors, kids often spend the majority of their time inside. Building on a pilot program with the Worthen Library in 2018, South Hero Land Trust worked with two new partners in 2019 to change that for kids in Grand Isle County.

The collaboration with Land Trust began when some of our mentors expressed a desire for more hands-on outdoor activity choices during the school year. With South Hero Land Trust’s long history of getting students outside, active, and exploring the natural world it seemed like a perfect partnership for our program.

The Grand Isle County Mentoring Program pairs students with community mentors in all five County towns. The pairs meet weekly at their local schools to read, play games, work on projects, and learn together. The Champlain Islands Parent Child Center provides early education for young children and an after-school/summer program for school-aged children. Both programs were looking for ways to lead more hand-on activities outside, and were excited to join our Young Explorers Project this summer.

As “Liese Reagan, GIC Mentoring Program Coordinator, says, “the collaboration with Land Trust began when some of our mentors expressed a desire for more hands-on outdoor activity choices during the school year. With South Hero Land Trust’s long history of getting students outside, active, and exploring the natural world it seemed like a perfect partnership for our program.”

As part of our Young Explorers Project, SHLT built special backpack toolkits for each program (with partial funding from RiseVT). Themes range from pond or forest exploration to gardening and healthy eating, and the kits include books and tools specific to those themes. We developed trainings to empower teachers and mentors in each town to enjoy outdoor activities in learning, play, and exploration.

Exploring the outdoors with a parent, teacher, or mentor is often the first step is a child’s lifelong enjoyment of the natural world. We are excited to see local children and their adult companions on many adventures outside. If you are interested in your own outdoor adventure, visit the Worthen Library and check out one of their Young Explorer kits.

FAQs

Who can use an Young Explorer Backpack?

Anyone! While the Champlain Island Parent Child Center and Grand Isle County Mentorship Program backpacks are just for use by those programs, there is also a set of backpacks at the Worthen Library in South Hero that you can borrow anytime.

What does it cost to participate?

Nothing. The Young Explorers Backpacks are FREE to borrow.

How can I support this project and others like it?

Make a contribution to South Hero Land Trust HERE>>.

 

Questions?

Call Guy Maguire at South Hero Land Trust: 80-2372-3786 or email guy@shlt.org