Our society is navigating uncharted waters, but the natural world is strong and vibrant. It remains a place for us to find deeper meaning, as well as find reassurance and solace in the most difficult times. For children – and for all of us – finding and investing in that deeper connection is more important than ever.
Discovery Southeast is committed to fostering meaningful and transformative outdoor experiences for our community, including in this pivotal time. Here are some of the ways we’re reorienting right now to support education and exploration that deepens our connection with nature:
- Videos and online content. Discovery Southeast naturalists will be producing a variety of videos for our community. It might be an activity to do with your 5 year old in your backyard, an outdoor challenge for your pre-teen, or a community science project you can participate in! Follow us on our website and social media.
- Spring Break and Summer Camp: At this time, even small group camps do not seem responsible to hold. We don’t know when we’ll get there, but there will be light at the end of the tunnel. We are preparing to offer very small group camps once that becomes appropriate. Our likely model will involve perhaps 4 kids, all outside, and without transportation. Again, at this time we are not comfortable putting any of us or our community in a position that may exacerbate the spread of this virus, so we will not be opening summer camp registration until we know more. However, we will continue to follow updates to determine when a small-group program will be possible during the school closures.
- Nature Studies lessons and teacher support: We are reaching out to teachers to support creative ways to maintain our connection with our students who are now at home. We hope to adapt our Spring Nature studies lessons to an online/video format that will still get kids learning and outside. And we hope to have regular content, such as “ask a naturalist” that your classroom can engage in with their naturalist.
- SeaWeek: This year is Seaweek’s 50th Anniversary, and since classrooms can’t go out as a group, we hope to experiment with some live-streaming events!
- JuneauNature.DiscoverySoutheast.org: Looking to learn more about our amazing backyard? With all this extra time on our hands, hopefully spent outside more, you might find yourself asking some questions about the things you’re observing. What better way to spend your evenings than by diving into our naturalist Richard Carstensen’s online resource JuneauNature? We’ll work on doing some of the digging for you, pulling out particularly relevant pieces for you to check out.
Get outside, today and every day.
We all must follow public health guidelines to limit social contact and stop coronavirus from spreading. Following those guidelines, you may find an unexpected gift, to suddenly slow down, find connection, feel part of the natural world. It’s out there, and as the world pauses to figure out what’s next, we have the perfect opportunity to connect with our surroundings. With the dawn of spring, we get to spend more time as witnesses to the great unfurling of life as the snow thaws, and creatures and plants awaken with growth. It’s good for you, your kids, your loved ones, and we all need it now more than ever before.
p.s., Is your family hiring childcare?
If you are looking to hire someone to provide childcare, please let us know. We are thinking creatively to find responsible employment options for employees who would normally work our camp programs, and we would be happy to explore options with you.