WLR is excited to announce our newest class offering: Nature Connections.
This outdoor education program is designed to foster future stewards of our natural resources through hands-on experiences that awaken the senses and lead students to a deeper understanding of our local geography while gently awakening their intrinsic love of the land.
Instructor Guy Galante is a Carmichael native who is passionate about the American River Parkway. Guy has led hundreds of walks and talks along the American River with youth and adults covering a wide variety of topics. Previously, he served as the Youth Education Director at Soil Born Farms where he delivered farm and nature-based curriculum. Click here to learn more about Guy.
As an inter-disciplinary program, Nature Connections students will engage not only in science but also art, public speaking, local history, some writing (nature journals) and technology (Google maps and iNaturalist). Learning will be facilitated through the use of “Core Routines” such as Sit Spot, Expanding Sensory Awareness, Questioning and Tracking, Animal Forms, Wandering, Mapping, Exploring Field Guides, Journaling, Minds-eye Imagining, Listening for Bird Language, Gratitude, and Story of the Day.
Nature Connections is built on the foundation of Coyote Mentoring which facilitates conscious expansion of awareness through both the major and minor senses while deepening relationships with the environment including family, community and nature.
From Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature:
“The Core Routines of Nature Connection are things people do to learn nature’s ways. They aren’t lessons. They aren’t knowledge. They are learning habits. Luckily for us as nature guides, shifting our mental habits into these Core Routines of Nature Connection comes as second nature to all human beings. This way of knowing was not born a few hundred years ago, or even with the rise of civilization thousands of years ago. Rather than informing, our teaching job educates ourselves and those we mentor to discover what the Haudenosaunee people call our ‘original instructions.’ Humans evolved with original instructions designed for dynamic awareness of nature. If we can inspire practice of these Core Routines, remembering our original instructions will happen on its own.”
Nature Connections will cover topics such as:
- Hiking Basics: the 10 Essentials and Leave No Trace principles; appropriate clothing, footwear, and foot travel techniques.
- Native Plants and Habitat Restoration: edible and medicinal plants, California Native Plant Society, Invasive plant removal, and native planting processes including seed collecting.
- Watersheds and Water Conservation: macro invertebrates, water quality and water safety.
- Stewardship: trash cleanup, parkway etiquette, plant restoration and maintenance.
- Primitive skills: shelter building, introduction to friction fire, cordage and bush craft
- Wildlife: tracking and identification, including bird language, field guides, and ecosystems
- Parkway Stakeholders: meet and work with others who strive to protect the land and people (e.g. rangers, other naturalists, plant specialists, maintenance staff, farmers, water conservationist)
In addition, the mixed-age program for Grades 1-8 provides opportunities to cultivate leadership and mentoring skills as well as promoting community.
Nature Connections is offered as a 12-week session or, if preferred, choose one of our 6-week options. Classes will be held at Ancil Hoffman Park in Carmichael on Wednesday mornings. Students will need to wear appropriate clothing (sturdy shoes or boots) and may need to bring minimal supplies such as water bottle, notepad, pencil and colored pencils.
For class meeting dates, fees and more information, go to the 2017 Winter-Spring Wednesdays at Ancil Hoffman Park Schedule page.
Please note: Ancil Hoffman is a County Park requiring a $5.00 parking fee. Alternatively, an annual County Parking pass, good for other County parks as well, may be purchased here.