"Must we always teach our children with books? Let them look at the mountains and the stars up above. Let them look at the beauty of the waters and the trees and flowers on earth. They will then begin to think, and to think is the beginning of a real education." - David Polis, Environmentalist
This is something to keep in mind as our children head back to school with the start of the new year. Each year Inside the Outdoors serves approximately 150,000 students, teachers, and community members throughout Southern California. Over 60% of the students attending ITO programs are from low income families and receive sponsorships to participate. That is roughly 90,000 students a year counting on the generous support of others to give them the experience of the outdoors. For many, attending an ITO program is their first experience in nature; going to the beach, the mountains, seeing the starry night sky, playing in the snow, walking through a creek, and much, much more! The experience, knowledge, and friendships gained stays with these students for a long time. Most of the adults that we connect with can remember their experience with outdoor ed. when they were kids! This just proves the impact that being outdoors in a learning environment can have on a person.
With the continued cuts to education, opportunities such as the ones ITO provide get less and less for students. Schools and teachers depend more on outside agencies and individuals to help them continue to give the students the same experiences that the students before them received. This is where ITO and its supporters can step in. With your support we are able to give students the opportunity to learn and grow from the outdoors, experiences that last a lifetime.
Thank you for your continued support! And...
"Let your walks now be a little more adventurous." - Henry David Thoreau
One of our goals at Inside the Outdoors is to create better stewards of the environment. It is the children of the world that will be taking on the responsibility of making it a better place. By sharing our passion we help foster an apprication for science and nature and all the wonders our Earth has to over. Bellow are letters from students who attended Outdoor Science School to Mother Earth, on ways they can make the Earth a better place.
"Dear Mother Earth,
I am glad that you let us live on this planet. I will try to save the planet by not ruining oceans, forests, and more land. I want the animals to have a good place to live. I will try my best to protect the Earth for you.
Sincerely, Cesar M."
"Dear Mother Earth,
I will pick up a lot more garbage. I will ask people to cut less wood from your forests, and that we should only chop down trees when we need it. I will clean up in my community and I will help save the Earth. Thank you for providing us with food, water and much more.
Sincerely, Leslie Y."
With your continued help we can continue to provide these life changing experiences for students and help create empowered young people that will strive to make this planet a better place for all.
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
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!
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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