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New "Kaleidoscope in Nature" Brings Science, Nature and Arts Together for Kids

The Green Adventure Project was named the 2014 recipient of the Prana Fund Award. The award will be used to expand the “Kaleidoscope in Nature” summer program series in which Green Adventure Project partners with Charlottesville Parks and Recreation and the Piedmont Family YMCA. The number and scope of these hands-on adventure learning programs will increase and is now expected to reach 1,000 city and county children.  Local artists Meg West and Chicho Lorenzo and environmental architect Fred Oesch will collaborate to incorporate art and science through painting and sculptural creations around natural and environmental themes.

Brookes Sims, Piedmont Family YMCA Director of Child Care Services shares, “Our children thrive on these opportunities. We support the programs’ goal to ‘wake up’ children to their own environmental surroundings through fun and highly engaging activities in a supportive environment.” Program partner, Erica Goode, Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Program Manager adds, “Green Adventure Programs have significantly increased our youth’s exposure and comfort in the outdoors. For many of them, it’s been their first experience with really exploring and engaging with their outside environments.”

Science + art = excellent outdoor learning experiences

The Green Adventure Project’s main initiative behind the summer program series is to get kids out into nature and connected with their environment. The summer program series is for all ages with classes ranging from kindergarten to high school. Programs like Amazing Adaptations, Geology Rocks, and the Watershed Experiential Trip all incorporate observational development with hands-on learning and an emphasis on the impacts of human behavior. “Kaleidoscope in Nature” blends activities like rock climbing in the Blue Ridge Mountains or canoeing in Virginia’s watersheds with the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) benchmarks for that grade level. A win for parents and students.

The Green Adventure Project, a non-profit organization, offers experiential nature and science education programs with the goal of fostering a lifelong commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability. They are based out of the Triple-C camp, a thirty-five acre homestead south of Charlottesville.

The Prana Fund was established in 2006 by the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation to support non-profits working with kids to integrate visual arts with nature, the environment, animals, and wildlife. The movement towards experiential, adventure, or environmental learning has been gaining momentum since 2005 with the publication of the book Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. In his work, Louv introduces Nature-Deficit Disorder and explains how children spending less time outdoors can lead to behavioral problems and mental disorders and offers solutions.

Article by Rachel Morales, citizen scientist, environmental scientist and new community correspondent for Science Matters.

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