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A call for Community Support 

to a child’s access to Nature Connection programing

“Alone we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” - Helen Keller

Dearest community,

 

We are calling on you, your generosity, your warm hearts and your many hands to make light work.

If you're up for a lengthy, heartfelt and humble post, read on.

If you just want to know how you can help, here's how:

What's next?

To make our school & offerings for children sustainable. To live out of "survival mode" & wondering if we can run our next programs. To be able to keep providing enriching experiences for the Land, environmental & children's benefit, we are asking for your help to keep scholarship funding available for our Fall & Winter programs.

For this, an additional $1500 has been added to our goal.

Additionally, funds to compensation of Indigenous People’s engagements in our programs; additional workshops for the children's benefits; and tools, supplies, books is the next goal.

See the detailed breakdown Here

As I know many - if not most of you are aware & living it yourselves - these are really hard & frightening times. I know that the collective is feeling it. I not only read it through the words spoken on social media; but I experience it through the personal interactions I have had with so many of you. I’m feeling the emotions coming through so vulnerably in my inbox as of late. 

 

I knew full well when I took the risk to dedicate myself to this business full time, to put myself and my dreams out there, that this would be hard. Like, really hard. I didn't, however, anticipate that it would be THIS hard on my own as a sole entrepreneur. This business has been through the big C hurdle and now a great economic & environmental crisis. I’ve ridden the waves the very best way that I can, up until now.

 

{Please know that I am sharing this story with so much gratitude, and so much humility. This is NOT easy to do, but it is made easier knowing that this community has consistently shown up, and I hope that .Thank you for being here, it means A LOT!}

 

An alarming amount of families are suffering and scared. They are desperately seeking help knowing there’s a real potential that they won’t be able to support their children in the important exposures our programs bring. It breaks my heart!! Right now, that comes in the form of financial assistance. I have done my very best in the last years to offer pay-what-you-can options to the families needing it. In fact, since we started programming 2 years ago, I have often had to completely cut down my own paycheque to keep the program running (and when I could, I was only paying myself for program hours, not even everything else that happens off-site). It was so worth it though; because being witness to the magic that happens in the woods is quite the privilege. I couldn't take that away from the children (or myself) and my colleagues; and I couldn’t bring myself to cancel the programs either (although I have had to do that too before). But for the most part, I took it upon myself to make the cuts. But friends, I can no longer do this on my own. I need your help!!!

 

I strongly believe that every child has a right to nature connection programming & nature-rooted learning. Aside from the overwhelming amount of evidence and studies that prove children’s access to these programs - such as Forest, Farm & Nature School - is immensely beneficial, I have had the privilege of seeing the impacts first hand. What will safeguard & protect not only the land we are on every day, but our children’s, are the following benefits:

  • Whole-holistic health (Richard Louv, 2008) & wellbeing;

  • A greater acceptance of self (Howell et al., 2011)

  • Positive affect & happiness (Capaldi et al, 2014)

  • Resilience & confidence;

  • Opportunities of autonomy through individual risk management empowerment;

  • Ability to self & co-regulate with Nature;

  • Understanding & advocacy of the importance of land stewardship;

  • Proenvironmental behaviors (Arendt et al., 2014)

  • Proenvironmental attitudes (Nisbet et al, 2009)

  • Prosocial behaviors (Weinstein et al., 2009)

  • Therapeutic experiences with spending time in gardens and with animals (Richard Louv, 2008)

 

In fact, the meaning of “Nature Connections” goes beyond learning facts about animals, bugs, trees, or even survival skills. The pathways to Nature Connections is about prolonged physical contact with nature’s elements & the emotions experiences received while in nature. It is about the compassion exhibited during that connection; and the meaning and beauty found by engaging our senses while in nature. (A. Barrable, 2020)

 

These are the impacts & the global understanding of why we do these programs, and why we continue to advocate for the benefits of children’s involvement in them.

 

I’ve had to take a big step back and reflect on how I can best continue to stay true to the belief of “Nature for all”; yet think of how this business can stay afloat with all the compensations needed. I already had to cancel one of our programming days for the summer, and have been greatly fearing having to cancel altogether. But this, to the children’s detriment. I’ve had to weigh options and realize that putting the ego aside for the sake of the children is a chance I need to take. Because, not only do I wholeheartedly know the immense benefits of our work; I know that our system needs it. Without nature connection programming - which educates the current generations with the next ones in mind - every living being will be impacted consequently.

 

And so here my 'Why' - My call for your support to a child’s access to Nature Connection programming & Nature-Rooted Learning. We need you, friends. They need you!

______________________

Breakdown for additional funding will be going towards:

 

  1. The compensation of Indigenous People’s engagements in our programs (which I respectfully cannot add a public monetary value attached).

  2. Ongoing scholarships for the 2023-2024 season - $2000

  3. The salary for facilitators for additional workshops that will greatly benefit the children and help other businesses too. Most workshops range between $350-$1000. Examples are:

    • Yoga in Nature;

    • Mindfulness exercises, emotional & body awareness;

    • Learning a language (e.g. Ojibwe/Chippewa, sign language, Urdu, Spanish, Arabic, Italian, etc.), as the families attending our programs speak those languages.

    • Herbalism & foraging

    • Black in Nature facilitators

    • Environmental scientists with specific specializations

  4. Tools, food, and supplies to support children’s safety, grounding, nature connection & learning - $2000+ is the current goal. Examples of items are:

    1. We often cook over the fire & provide all supplies for this

    2. Whittling knives & Fire Strikers for the children to practice & learn

    3. Tarps & different types of cord

    4. Pelican heavy-duty sled to help bring gear to and from the forest

    5. Hammocks or material to make hammocks

    6. Extra winter & rain gear for children needing them and/or if they forgot/lost once at program

    7. First Aid replenishment items, hand & feet warmers, extra blankets, etc.

    8. Crafts & game supplies

    9. Resource books to build our lending library to our mentors & the families in our programs.

 

We are a small program with razor thin margins. We work hard to keep our fees as low as possible to make our Farm & Nature School accessible for families. However, this means we rarely have funds laying around for multiple scholarships, resources, supplies, a structure to run during winter times, and hiring of special guests to enhance children's learning opportunities (e.g. Indigenous teachings, specialized skills workshops, diversifying language learning, etc.). If you have the means & a giving heart, please consider making a donation to help us cover these costs.

 

 A huge thank you to those who gave me the push in confidence & support to do this call out. To remind me that our programs are valuable of this. Without you, I wouldn’t have been brave enough.

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Funding breakdown
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