The Issue: Outdoor Camps Increase Conservation Skills
Environmental education is important. Especially in an age when children spend much of their days indoors with video games and TVs. Outdoor camps serve not only as bridges that connect children to nature, but also encourage them to engage with their peers. And the numbers speak in their favor: youth who participate in outdoor science camps demonstrate a 27% increase in their conflict resolution skills, mastery of science concepts, and concern for conservation, according to a 2005 study from American Institute for Research. Even 6–10 weeks after their participation, youth were observed to recycle more at home and engage in positive environmental behaviors.
The Campaign: Sending Underserved Youth to Camp
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by Environmental Volunteers to promote environmental stewardship and positive social engagement. For every $500 raised, Environmental Volunteers can send one underserved youth in grades 1–8 on a weeklong day camp, including transportation, museum and park entrance fees, and kayak rentals. Erin Craig, former board member and volunteer, will match donations up to $3,000.
During camps, youth—51% of whom are from low-income families in East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, or Redwood City—explore local landscapes, play outdoors, and express themselves through art projects. Last summer, campers climbed oak trees and explored the creek at Bol Park, collecting and releasing water striders and tadpoles.
Squeals fill the room as children uncover beetles and worms. Although digging through mud isn't a standard classroom activity, this class is learning about microelements at the bottom of the food chain. And the kids get to get their hands dirty. In an interview with Palo Alto Online, Environmental Volunteers' Executive Director Allan Berkowitz explained that classroom lessons should move away from traditional lectures. Instead, he wants “kids to touch and taste and smell their way to science education."
To that end, Environmental Volunteers leads hands-on activities in nine natural-science subjects including Baylands ecology, energy and natural resources, and Nature in your Neighborhood. Every year, Environmental Volunteers conducts 90-minute classroom programs—where kids learn how Native Americans respected the environment or simulate earthquakes with an electric shake table—lead two-hour follow-up field trips, and host summer day camps to teach 10,000 children across the region. The organization also runs a nature center for the public that teaches about the natural world from its location in the Baylands Nature Preserve. For those who can’t make it, a webcam shows a 24/7 view of the marshes outside the center on San Francisco Bay.
See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand at the Groupon Grassroots blog.