“I don’t know how to do that.” is a common phrase we hear at the beginning of Nevada Outdoor School camps. From putting up a tent to using a compass, there is a lot to learn in order to recreate responsibility outdoors!
Our Adventure Camps serve kids ages 8 - 10 years old, which means most of these campers are entering 3rd thru 5th grade. For many, spending four full days’ outdoors, including one overnight adventure stretches kiddos into things like a new appreciation of shade and water, while also instilling confidence by allowing them the opportunity to learn how to set up their own tent and help cook their dinner.
All four of our Adventure Camps (3 in Elko and 1 in Winnemucca) have been completed; summer is flying by! We are deeply grateful for the Neff Family of Ruby Valley who donates their private campground for the overnight adventure for our Elko Crew, and for the use of Water Canyon in Winnemucca.
At every Nevada Outdoor School there is a stewardship project, because at Nevada Outdoor School part of our mission is to be good stewards of our habitat, which means doing things and making choices to enhance or protect the space and place in which we live. In order to be the steward (care-taker) of anything, one must learn about the thing that needs caring for. Caring for something also requires a connect to the thing. In order to learn and care, there must also be exposure to the thing. That is why Nevada Outdoor School gets kids outside. When kids spend time outside they are naturally curious about the space and place they are in, so they begin to learn about it. Then, once they start learning about it, they start to care about it. As a connected person, because they have learned and care, with the outdoors and nature, they naturally begin to make choices that have positive impacts on nature and/or themselves.
Trash pick-up is always one stewardship project that we can count on. This is unfortunate because it means there is a lot of trash on the ground, but it also provides an easy and meaningful opportunity for kids to see the difference their effort makes. In addition, it helps campers clearly understand the connection between an action (littering) and an impact on a place, and how choices impact themselves and others. Dispose of waste properly in one of the seven Leave No Trace Principles that we teach at Nevada Outdoor School.
By learning about trash, and how long trash takes to decompose camps become more aware of the trash they generate and the trash around them. Imagine what might happen if we all used one less sandwich bag each week? That would be 52 less plastic bags being thrown away, times millions of people -- that would be a lot less waste! Learning helps us be more aware, and can change our behavior.
Through learning, caring, and connecting each of us has an important role to play in being good stewards of our habitat. Want to learn more about Nevada Outdoor School programs? Visit nevadaoutdoorschool.org. Want to learn more about the seven Leave No Trace Principles? Visit lnt.org. Get outside, it’s good for humans everywhere!