Connecting Children to Nature

by Inside the Outdoors Foundation
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Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
OSS students in the snow
OSS students in the snow

As the school year progresses and we meet more and more students each day, it is the stories they share with us that touch our lives and remind us of why it is we are doing what we are for these kids.  Below are stories that our staff from Outdoor Science School (OSS - ITO's week long outdoor education program for 4th and 5th graders) have shared of some of the students they spend their weeks with in the San Bernardino Mountains.

"My second week at Outdoor Science School, I arrived eager and ready. I met eight girls who would be in my cabin and learn and play together all week. One girl particularly stood out right away. Unlike the others, she was immediately comfortable expressing herself. I noticed her energetic and quirky personality and we bonded in minutes. Then I noticed the other girls’ reactions to her; which were less than positive. Throughout the week, she continued to be herself and had trouble making friends. By Thursday, I observed the other girls and their acceptance of her as they broke out of their shells. By skit night, we were all being silly without reservation. We shared a profound moment on Friday’s last hike. When asked to share what they learned at OSS, my little oddball told us that she now knew people can accept her for who she is. She told me I taught her to love herself. We all cried sweet tears of love and happiness as we parted ways, knowing we were all better off having shared the experience." - Laura, OSS Instructor

"I was following a group on the Wildlife Biology Hike. As we hiked up the hill past a heavily wooded area, I spotted a deer lying down in the trees and grass. One by one, I pointed the deer out to the students. In order to see the deer the students had to stop and look really hard to see the deer camouflaged in its surroundings. It was great to see the students’ eyes light up as they saw the deer’s head and then the rest of the deer’s body. A great thing about this program is that we stop students, encourage them to look, listen, and experience the world around them. When they discover something that they wouldn’t have seen before or wouldn’t have been able to see before, it literally changes their world." - Kevin D., OSS Instructor

"It was Monday night, astronomy night. I was in the field running one of the telescopes showing the students the Orion Nebula. As one of the girl instructor’s cabins was in line patiently awaiting their turn this little girl lightly tugged on my hand to get my attention and said, “Ms. Rice Crispy, are those real?” I replied, “What, the stars? Of course, sweetheart.” “Wow, I can’t believe it, they look so beautiful.” I had to pause, take a moment and really put myself into her shoes before I replied with, “Ya know they sure are.” Sometimes the students are the ones that put it all in perspective for us. Everything we take for granted. We’re reminded of how grateful we are for them with each group of students we encounter." - Chris P., OSS Instructor

"My best experience at Outdoor Science School was sharing my love for the outdoors with a group of girls who never did outdoorsy things. They did not want to get their hands or shoes dirty, or sit on the floor, or touch nature. I used my excitement and showed them how much fun I have with nature to let them see that girls can get dirt on them without making them any less girly. These girls slowly started to see the light through their academic hikes and especially on their night and astronomy hikes. By the time Friday came, they all shared their love for the outdoors and wishes to continue hiking once they get home, during the review hike. I was glad I got to share my interests with these girls and show them the fun inside the outdoors." - Mallory S., OSS Instructor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OSS students working on their journals
OSS students working on their journals
Picture break on the Geology Hike
Picture break on the Geology Hike

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The 2011-2012 school year is under way!  This means students and teachers all over Southern California are preparing to attend an Inside the Outdoors Program!  This year we anticipate serving a total of about 93,700 students and community members through our programs.  That's about 73,000 students in Field Trips and Traveling Scientist Programs, about 16,500 students in Outdoor Science School, and about 4,200 community members in our Community Programs.  Of that, about 60% of the students will attend a program with either a partial or a full sponsorship from Inside the Outdoors.  That's almost 54,000 students!  Imagine the look on the faces of these students when they learn that they get to have a once in a lifetime experience like the ones we offer! 

Since 1974 Inside the Outdoors has become a tradition in many schools, to many teachers, and something that students look forward to year after year.  It is our high quality, standards aligned curriculum, well trained and caring staff, as well as unique hands-on activities that set us apart from all other environmental science programs out there.

With your help students will get to experience the wonders of the tide pools at Crystal Cove and Dana Point, the grandness of 200 year old oak trees at Irvine Regional Park and Modjeska Canyon, and get to see the ocean for the first time at Upper Newport Bay.  Students who attend Outdoor Science School will get to see starry night sky’s for the first time and hear the howls of coyotes or the screech from an owl; all while building self-esteem and making lasting friendships.  These are experiences that no child should go without!

Thank you for making these children’s dreams a reality!

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This has been a very exciting year so far for Inside the Outdoors!  We expect to serve 126,000 students and teachers by the end of this year!  (That's in just a couple weeks!)  

Thanks to all of you who made it possible; to our staff, teachers, parents, and community supporters!  Without supporters like you many of these students would not be able to experience the wonderful hands-on experiences that they do with Inside the Outdoors throughout the year.

Our year is almost to a close and will begin a new with summer camp in July and school programs in Spetember.  However, the funding need has dramatically increased for this next year.  We all have felt the dip in the economy and this is when we need our supporters to rally around us the most!  There are many ways to show your support for Inside the Outdoors Foundation.  You can make a donation, become a member, come to one of our many community events (http://ito.ocde.us/Programs/Community.htm), volunteer, or spread the word and share Inside the Outdoors Foundation with your friends, family, and co-workers!

From the words of a student:

"Thank you so much for your donation. This was a great experience and you made it possible!"                                                                                                                                                                      -  Tori, 5th Grader, attended Outdoor Science School

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Schools continue to face significant cuts in core programs making it almost impossible for them to take field trips without help from the community. However, the need for science-based field trips that enhance classroom learning continues to increase as students need a strong science foundation to be prepared for their future. With the help of our supporters like you Inside the Outdoors has been able to provide necessary sponsorships to deserving, low income students so that they are able to participate in Inside the Outdoors Programs.

Since the start of the 2010-2011 school year Inside the Outdoors has served over 38,000 students and of that 27,000 were sponsored at some level to be able to attend our programs.  The students and teachers that participate in our programs continually tell us how grateful they are to be able to attend one of our Field Trips or Outdoor Science School as well as how ITO's programs raise their science test scores and gives the students more confidence with science and everyday activities.

“This program brings out the best in kids who don’t normally enjoy science in the classroom! It’s such a treat to watch these kids get excited.”  -  5th Grade Teacher, Los Coyotes Elementary School

“I will never forget that I saw a whale and a dolphin and other creatures when I went to Crystal Cove.  Thanks for making this possible for me!”  -  Kelly, 5th Grader

“The adventurer, risk taker, explorer, inquisitor, part of their personas came to life. You really helped plant the need to know for the children. Thanks!”  -  Principal, Wilson School

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It's that time again! Kids are waking up early, preparing their backpacks, and getting on school buses all over the nation. With the start of school also comes the start of Field Trips and Outdoors Science School, connecting children to nature and giving them valuable real life lessons that they can apply when they return to their classrooms. At Inside the Outdoors, the hustle and bustle of training staff and getting schools signed up is well under way. During this busy time we work with many teachers who are trying to find funding to help pay for the Field Trips their students need and look forward to all year. Last year Inside the Outdoors was able to give sponsorships to 82,800 students! It's with your help that makes it possible for these students to experience nature in a way they never have before. For some of these students parks and open spaces are just something they have heard about from others, never going there themselves. Some of these students have never seen stars in a night sky before or have ever been to a place where there are no buildings and freeways for miles. This is what Inside the Outdoors offers to students, teachers and their families. This year Inside the Outdoors expects to give sponsorships to thousands more low income students. Your generous donations continue to make this possible. Students eyes will continue to light up with wonder and amazement, teachers will continue to see their students understanding concepts as never before, parents will continue to hear the joy and appreciation for the experiences their children received. It is these experiences that make what we do so meaningful in the lives of these children.

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Inside the Outdoors Foundation

Location: Silverado, Ca - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @itofoundation@yahoo.com
Project Leader:
Lori Kiesser
Program Development Manager
Costa Mesa, California United States
$13,805 raised of $50,000 goal
 
180 donations
$36,195 to go
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