Saturday, November 6, 2010

Muddy Sneakers


 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.
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.
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?




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17 comments:

Merisi, Vienna said...

Wonderful program, I hope they find many financial supporters and volunteers!

I am so grateful I grew up in the country and that my children had the woods and a creek to explore right in their backyard. My heart goes out to children who do not know such luxuries. I hope that "Muddy Sneakers" becomes a program every child will have access to, and often.

June said...

"...often lights a fire in mediocre or poor students, resulting in surprisingly improved academic performance in every area."
************
Does it really? That's wonderful.
And not so surprising, really, when kids find out that there's so much to learn and to know outside in the big wide world. Pretty inspiring idea!

Marilyn said...

Such a worthwhile program that gives so much to children who would never otherwise have this experience. wonderful photos.

Martin H. said...

This is a great project. A chance for kids to explore and get close to the natural world.

Sometimes I hear myself, telling Speckly Woo! about the things I did when I was small. All that freedom seems a little unreal somehow.

Brian Miller said...

that would be very cool actually...these programs are great for developing minds...

Elora said...

I'd love the chance to share nature's beauty and wonder with kids this way. Wonder if there's a program around here...Thanks, Vicki!! I'll check into it.

Elora

Miss_Yves said...

A great program!

Bouncin' Barb said...

This is a great idea. Kids do in deed need to know the world around them. I remember going to the Bronx Zoo one time and a little boy was asking his daddy about a bear. It was so clear he was an urban raised kid like so many in NYC. Sad too.

Vicki Lane said...

When I was growing up in a suburb, Girl Scouts provided access to Nature in a similar way. But this program reaches all the kids in a given fifth grade and happens during school hours, giving opportunity to kids who might not be likely to join the Scouts.

The program is tied to the fifth grade curriculum and the kids do journals and compass work and various activities that relate to in class work. And reports from teachers indicate that many students improve significantly when their work is related to something 'real.'

Reader Wil said...

I love such programs. They are indeed very important for children but also for adults. Even in the more or less rural area where I live, there were children who didn't know where milk came from. Even if we are surrounded by cattle grazing in the fields. They simply thought it came from the milk factory!

Paul C said...

What a great, earthy, memorable name. So true, that this program targets the right age, grade. Children love to explore nature at this age if they have the chance.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

I feel that being outside with nature is an important part of being young. This program sounds quite progressive for a public school system. I read recently, can't remember the source, that young folks have chemical reactions in their brain when they are with nature and as a result they perform analytical tasks better as an adult. Sorry I don't have the source and I am paraphrasing. -- barbara

Pamela said...

Great program! Children and Mother Nature are needing this more than ever.

Kath said...

Thank you, Vicki. This is indeed genius!!

Tipper said...

Neat program-can't wait to check it out!

Mel said...

What a great program. Girls Scouts filled this void when I was young too, so I was sad to see my daughter's suburban troop more interested in trips to the mall and the build-a-bear store. Ugh. Needless to say, we didn't last long in that program.

jennyfreckles said...

Sounds like a good scheme. Nature and the wild is so crucial to my psychological balance, such an antidote to the city. Glad the kids can glimpse that. Great name for it too, Muddy Sneakers.