It's a genius idea. Today's urban and suburban kids, caught up in television, the Internet and a myriad of planned activities are often completely without experience of the natural world. Even if it weren't for all those distractions, not many kids anymore live within walking or biking distance of natural areas.
Muddy Sneakers is an outdoor science program for public school students in western North Carolina, providing fifth graders regular (6 - 12 times a year) learning expeditions to nearby natural areas where, in small groups led by trained naturalists, the students can learn about Nature through direct experience.
Enter Muddy Sneakers! They work with fifth graders, the perfect age --young enough to feel a sense of wonder and not distracted by teen age hormones and coolness. What an excellent way to foster environmental awareness! What's more, this outdoor classroom experience often lights a fire in mediocre or poor students, resulting in surprisingly improved academic performance in every area.
Have a look at their website; maybe even think about getting involved! Wouldn't it be great to see programs like this everywhere?