Teens Escape Screens on an Eco Adventure with LandPaths

Category: Blog, Bohemia Ecological Preserve, Inspired Forward, Rooting Youth in Nature, Youth Programs

By LandPaths Staff

January 13, 2021

The first weeks of 2021 have been challenging on a national scale. We wanted to offer you a chance to take a cleansing breath and learn about something positive happening here at LandPaths.

We hope you’ll take a moment to read about how in the second half of 2020 we piloted a three-week session of Saturday outings for local teens. Once the shelter-in-place order is lifted we will resume these sessions. Hopefully this tale of happy teens healing in nature at Bohemia Ecological Preserve will soothe your nervous system a bit!

For some of the teens, it was their first experience building a fire, cooking in the outdoors, going on long hikes, foraging for mushrooms, searching for salamanders, and kayaking on a pond. And it was a chance to escape from the screens and digital interactions that have become so ever present in their lives.

“This LandPaths event has greatly nurtured and expanded my love for nature and fungi, in particular. It has also made me want to go on hikes more often. Overall, this experience has been awesome and made me want to work for LandPaths,” said a teen participant in Teen Eco Adventure.  

Teens also received an introduction to kayaking, in preparation for future trips to Jenner when it is safe to do so, says Youth Programs Manager Jamie Nakama.

Partnering with Middle Schools

LandPaths’ youth team has been working with Restorative Specialists at Cook Middle School and Santa Rosa Middle School to establish Inspired Forward clubs. Some of these students were able to attend the Eco Adventures sessions thanks to scholarships.

Considering the rising pandemic-induced mental health crisis among local teens, this is a crucial time for creative partnerships like this. The Inspired Forward clubs currently meet on Zoom every Thursday and the plan is to get students outdoors for more Eco Adventures as soon as school groups can gather again.

“LandPaths eco adventure trip was an amazing experience for our youth. It brought students together while still being socially distanced at the preserve. Staff were absolutely wonderful; they were creative and engaging with the students. The youth were able to see and experience things that while local to our area, they had never done before. I greatly appreciate the lifelong positive impacts that these trips will have on our youth and look forward to doing more,” said Briana Seely-Clark, a Restorative Specialist with Santa Rosa City Schools.

“I hold a great appreciation for the folks at LandPaths who have supported our effort to create a learning opportunity for our youth. By way of this collaboration, we have worked toward establishing a club that combines Lawrence Cook Middle School and Santa Rosa Middle School students in a setting that promotes self-development and ecological learning. Personally, I have seen how our youth are learning, embracing nature, and are becoming more engaged,” said Manny Morales, Restorative Specialist at Cook Middle School  

Be on the lookout for more Eco Adventures for Teens in 2021!

Teen Eco Adventure Participant

" I had so much fun today! We found two Jerusalem Crickets, two alligator lizards, and a giant pacific salamander, which I had never seen before. I enjoyed kayaking in the pond and racing with Carlos. I feel much more connected to my group now because of the experiences we have shared, and I like the hiking that we did. I feel very happy to have been a part of this program and I hope that others get to experience and be part of it as well. "

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