By Beth Sullivan
We have passed the Solstice. The kids are out of school. For some families it will mean camps, vacations away and planned activities. For some it will mean a lot of home time and opportunities to plan things together as families. The days are longer, there are places to explore, the great outdoors beckons. But sometimes the kids (or parents) just don’t want to let go of their phones. Sometimes kids need a bigger incentive. Sometimes parents need a little help. Sometimes all you need is a good place to start, and you can take those phones with you!
|Low tide at Knox Preserve reveals a lot of fun treasures.|
Welcome to Hike and Seek
We have been working on this project for a couple of years. Different than every other summer scavenger hunt, this one will keep interest all year round and for many years. It is not a contest. Educators love it. We also do not have a big budget to do advertising, so it is spreading by word of mouth, presentations and website links.
|From the Avalonia home page follow the links to adventure.|
We know that kids in school have had fewer opportunities for field trips as budgets get cut. Now, more than ever, it is so important for us to teach our children the importance of our natural world: habitats, the web of life, how we are all inter-related, and how our every action can have a significant impact on other parts of our world. Kids need to develop curiosity. From there respect will grow and a desire to learn more. That is how new stewards of the land are made.
|Hiking with children can give them a greater sense of self confidence and a willingness to explore.|
Avalonia Land Conservancy owns and stewards close to 4000 acres in Southeastern CT. Many properties are trailed, open to the public, and just waiting to be explored. For many years I was lucky to be involved with environmental education for kids in this area doing school programs and field trips. I got to witness the excitement and awe as school-age kids walked in woods, stood at a pond side, touched something “scary” or learned a really cool new fact about something outdoors. It was wonderful.
|A group from Pine Point School found the big erratic boulder at Paffard Woods.|
I also came to realize that not all parents or group leaders are totally comfortable trying to understand or teach this kind of information. They needed some help. A trip leader or naturalist is not always available when you need them. But with Hike and Seek, we hope to offer some insight into those special things you will encounter along the trails, and give parents, leaders and older school kids an opportunity to use their phones and media to enhance their excursions.
|Journaling and recording your reflections can be a great follow up to a Hike and Seek learning adventure.|
Please take some time to look at the project on-line here. It has expanded since last summer when we were experimenting with the concept. It will continue to grow as Avalonia grows and offers more places for our members and friends to hike. The local libraries are embracing the program, as is the Stonington COMO.
|Find a preserve you want to explore and get out at any time of the year.|
If your group would like a presentation, introduction, or materials about Hike and Seek, please contact the Avalonia office or use the Hike and Seek email: firstname.lastname@example.org We will be looking forward to your posts on Instagram or Facebook or via email. We will post the photos you send to the Hike and Seek email address.
But mostly we want you all to get out and enjoy the lovely land we have preserved together. Why hide it? Share it!
Photographs by Avalonia friends.