Next week kicks off a collaborative planning effort to engage youth in our community with the outdoors. Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), a state program funded by lottery dollars, recently introduced the Inspire Initiative, a five-year strategy aimed at inspiring Coloradans, especially kids, to appreciate, enjoy and take care of the great outdoors. Walking Mountains Science Center, SOS Outreach, YouthPower365, Eagle County Schools and Eagle County Public Health and Environment have come together as partners on this important initiative.
In May, two youth events will be hosted by the partner organizations: one at Eagle Valley High School on May 11th, and one at Battle Mountain High School on May 17th from 3:30pm to 5:30pm. The goal of these events is to engage and solicit feedback from Eagle County high school students about:
• Their perspective on and experiences in nature and the outdoors.
• Their opinions on barriers and access to nature and the outdoors.
• Their suggestions on how to improve our community.
Walking Mountains Science Center is leading the effort to bring together the partners during the first 18 months of this project, which is supported by a generous GOCO planning grant. Later in the process, other partners and community members will have opportunities to offer their ideas and feedback. In August of 2017, an implementation proposal will be submitted to GOCO for funding, up to several million dollars, to make the plan a reality for our community.
At the youth events in May, students will participate in activities to gather information about places they currently use for recreation, barriers that prevent them from spending time outdoors, the emotions they feel and people they connect with in the outdoors, and the outdoor activities they would like to do more. The Eagle Valley has the striking natural surroundings critical to engaging the entire community. Now, through collaboration, these partner organizations can move forward on a shared vision to provide a holistic approach to a child’s well-being by experiencing nature.
About Walking Mountains Science Center
Walking Mountains Science Center’s mission is to awaken a sense of wonder and inspire environmental stewardship and sustainability through natural science education. Visit www.walkingmountains.org or call 970.827.9725 for more information.