Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

July 2, 2013

Program puts children in touch with nature

Recently more and more people involved in science and education have expressed much concern about our young people’s lack of experiences in the natural world. Several years ago, in fact, journalist Richard Louv wrote a book called “Last Child in the Woods,” in which he bemoans our children’s diminishing contact with nature and the ill affects of this process on children’s growth. He even described a new condition he believes to be afflicting our children these days which he calls “Nature Deficit Disorder.”

Fortunately, we now have a growing number of venues in Western Maryland that are vigorously addressing this problem with a wonderful array of programs. These programs are sponsored by the public school systems, Rocky Gap State Park, the Evergreen Heritage Center, Home Ground, the Appalachian Laboratory, and others such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. These entities also have offerings in which they work cooperatively to insure a greater impact on participants.

I would like to add to this list Coyote Adventures Family Outings. Coyote Adventures is an immersion experience in the natural world that is transformational in nature and helps participants to develop a deep connection with the wild. These connections at an early age are ones which the individuals involved will cherish and will carry with them for the rest of their lives. We have been operating for two years now with a total of 45 outings.

Coyote Adventures is geared toward children 8 to 13 years of age and their parents or adult designee. The program is based upon activities developed by the nationally known Wilderness Awareness School located in Duvall, Washington. The learning process is guided through mentoring the participants to discover for themselves the splendors of the natural world. Activities on outings include story telling, nature games, journaling, and discovery walks. Teamwork, personal growth, development of community and primitive culture are also covered. Outing sites include Rocky Gap, New Germany State Park, Dan’s Mountain State Park, Pleasant Valley, and others. In the summer, swimming is always on the agenda for an outing.

Coyote Adventures takes place every two weeks on Sunday afternoon in the warmer months and once per month during the winter, weather permitting. The program is free of charge, and leaders volunteer their time. Participants are sent an email before every outing so that they know what is going to happen on a particular trip, where we are going, and what to bring along with them.

If you have a child (or children) between 8 and 13 years of age and would like to try out Coyote Adventures, we welcome you to become part of us and have a darn good time!

For more information, and to become a participant, please call Margie Hartman at 301-777-7175 or contact her by email at mhartman7175@atlanticbb.net.

Jack Slocomb,

mentor naturalist,

Coyote  Adventures

Family Outings

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